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The Sea of Trolls

(Sea of Trolls #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  14,783 ratings  ·  1,061 reviews
The year is A.D. 793; Jack and his sister have been kidnapped by Vikings and taken to the court of Ivar the Boneless and his terrifying half-troll wife; but things get even worse when Jack finds himself on a dangerous quest to find the magical Mimir's Well in a far-off land, with his sister's life forfeit if he fails.

Other threats include a willful mother Dragon, a giant s
Paperback, 459 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published January 28th 2004)
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Eva Smith I don't think you read the book. One of the major themes is to appreciate and love the Life force. War is mentioned, but this is not a war story. It i…moreI don't think you read the book. One of the major themes is to appreciate and love the Life force. War is mentioned, but this is not a war story. It is a delightful story about a boy who goes on a grand adventure. I have read this story many times because it brings me a lot of joy.(less)
Sara Martínez Pérez-Tomé It is a children's book, I could tell when I was reading it.
But still, it's a nice book to read, it tells the adventures that Jack - a just kidnapped…more
It is a children's book, I could tell when I was reading it.
But still, it's a nice book to read, it tells the adventures that Jack - a just kidnapped child- has on the land of vikings.
It is for chldren but, in my opinon, it teaches a lot.
I think you should read it :) (less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  14,783 ratings  ·  1,061 reviews

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Michael Fierce
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hobbit fans, fans of Nordic Scandinavian fantasy
After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.

This book has everything I enjoy in a story. Charm, wit, cool scary creatures, and likeable characters you can connect with.

It's a children's book. A children's book that is also for adults.

It has a background and history that ties its
Mar 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 11-and-up, fantasy
Really I would give this book 3 1/2 stars. I liked it.

In my daughter's review, she said this book was "gruesome" so I felt compelled to read it to find out what that meant to her. I would not use that same word to describe it. It is a story set in Viking times, and a historical event was used as background to this story - when Lindisfarne, AKA the Holy Isle was destroyed by Vikings in 793 AD. Although this is a story about Vikings, that is only one aspect of it. And for this story to be believab
Emily Michelle
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thought I would adore this series. I love historical fiction; I love middle grade/YA books; I love Norse mythology; I love books about the British Isles and about folklore, so I doubly love books about British folklore. And this series had it all. I thought that this one would be one of those series that I would check out from the library and love so much that I'd run to the bookstore and buy my own copies. And then I read the trilogy and it was . . . nice. It was fun. But it wasn't great.

Amy Neftzger
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jack is a young bard in training when he is kidnapped along with his sister and taken by a group of Beserkers and brought to their icy northern land. The book chronicles Jack's capture and adventures as he embarks upon a quest to win back his freedom and save his sister from the temperamental half troll queen Frith. The book creatively adapts Norse mythology into a engaging adventure story that demonstrates the clash of two cultures and how the children learn to work things out to accomplish the ...more
Mark Adderley
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hazel Lee
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hazel by: Chase.curriculum
I loved reading this book - epic adventure, full of all the traditional elements of a good fantasy: trolls, dragons, warriors, bards, and magic. But the adventure is made better by the complexity of the characters. There are no clear-cut lines between good and evil in this book - only characters that are very human in their imperfection. I think this book does a good job of pushing young readers to think about cultural relativism - or at least introduce them to the concept.

I was annoyed by the
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I purchased this book a while ago for two reasons: the cover and the setting. If that were the only reasons for buying this book, then you will be a happy camper. If you believe the story should whisk you away like the cover and setting should, then you will be kind of…meh, as I was.

Let’s break it down shall we?


Setting - The world was beautiful. It was full of life and color and smells. I truly enjoyed being in the world that was set up. I feel like the author did the Norse mythology justic
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit it, I gushed throughout nearly this entire book. I listened to it, and the narration was superb, and I think that played a large part in my enthusiasm for it. Nonetheless, I do think the writing is high quality. Simple, direct, concise, and spellbinding.

Jack and his sister, Lucy, are forced on an adventure with lovable, loathsome wild men from the North. They romp and role with a girl who wins belching contests and wants to die fighting as soon as possible. They cower before half-trolls
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Jan 25, 2021 rated it did not like it
Sloppy worldbuilding will always throw me out of a story. The historical context blended reasonable anthropological detail with a mishmash of religious, mythic, and philosophic anachronisms without regard for the cultures supposedly represented, and the fantasy world ultimately felt flimsy and overpainted - about as authentically represented as a Lisa Frank, but with fewer emotional touchpoints.

A good idea almost well-executed, but not quite.
Chris Gager
Time for even more escapist fiction. For this we're back in the early Dark Age. Middle Earth, Beowulf, Berserkers etc. Will get more into it tonight.

So far, so good, but the adventurin' hasn't really started yet. The oh-so-typical mentor/teacher/wizard - student thing is happening, of course, and reminds one of The Wizard of Earthsea, and many others.

Moving along now in this entertaining book. Jack's quest will end soon and the book with it. The book SERIES, however will go onward. Whether or no
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
The basis for the Celtic mythological worldview is that there is a separate world from ours, parallel and magical, that can be reached through certain states of mind, interactions with magical creatures, or portals. And the basic hero myth of all cultures starts with a mundane reality (almost always with a farm boy), a journey to a strange new land, magical talismans, and the return home.

This book takes the hero myth and the parallel world myth, blends it together with a veneer of historical fa
Kate Hale
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I would have ever picked this book up - simply because of its title. I know that's a little shallow, but to me trolls spell BIG, UGLY, and HAIRY. Ugh. Although they are all of these things in Farmer's Sea of Trolls, the story beautifully weaves Nordic mythology with fictionalized history in this tale of adventure. It takes place in Anglo-Saxon Europe, where the Vikings (known in the book only as really large Northmen with a thirst for booty and plunder topped with wild red hair) ar ...more
Ai Miller
This book was super super fun! The writing managed to make it really believable that we were seeing the world through a child's eyes (well, an 11-year-old) and it was still really an intriguing, wonderful book. It also felt very self-contained, though I am intending to go off and read the other two. It was clear that Nancy Farmer did a lot of research, but not in an info-dump way that makes it clear that's what she was doing. The book was exciting and an easy read--I finished it in about two day ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember finding this one in a pile of old books in the used-book market, I held in my hand thought about it, left it behind me, returned back and got it , that was nearly 2-3 years ago,,,

and only now I got the chance to read it, to be honest the cover art was not encouraging me enough, the novel looked old , but there is time for every thing, and so i started it.

In the beginning the pages and the story felt uncertain, the way the story been told was weird ,I didn't know how the rest of the pa
☼Book her,   Danno☼
Hmmm. This is one of those books where you should ignore the star ratings and find a reviewer with similar tastes to try and determine if you should give it a try. Which is to say that while I only gave "Sea of Trolls" 3-Stars that I can see why other people, especially younger readers, would love it. The story is interesting and there's lots of adventure. Plus the writing is decent... so what's not love, right?

Well, I found a couple of things that detracted from the reading experience. The firs
Karen A.
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: junior-fiction
I love Nancy Farmer's guts. She tackles new genres like she has nothing to loose and always comes up with excellent work. The Sea of Trolls has a great young protagonist in Jack who is loaned to the local Bard by his poor farmer father. From the Bard he begins to learn magic but just barely and not enough to save his village from being pillaged by the Vikings. He and his sister are taken captive. Beginning an exciting and perilous journey back to the land of the Vikings. Lots of Nordic mythology ...more
Kaethe Douglas
I'm enjoying this quite a bit, during my doctor's office waits. I recommended it to the Possum, too.


The conjunctivitis sure slowed my reading down. Oh, but this was fun. All the pleasure of Norse mythology, but zippier than Tolkein. Great characters, particularly the way Jack never feels like he'll get the Norsemen.

As a special added bonus, I understand Odd and the Frost Giants rather better now, too.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It took me a year to finish it because I started reading it to my daughter first and then we kind of got stuck and I put it aside.
But the book is great, amazing characters and mythology and history woven together.
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer is an intense, interesting, suspenseful fantasy book based around an 11-year-old boy named Jack, and his little sister Lucy. The book takes place in 793 A.D. of a fantasy world. This world is separated into 3 regions, each containing different occupants. One is an icy region containing the Ice trolls called Jotunheim, one containing the berserkers, and one containing humans. Jack and Lucy are kids in a family of four, living on a seaside town. Jack spends a lot ...more
Nicolas Brown
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It was fantastic, and the narrator of the audiobook was amazing as well! It made me laugh out loud, and it caused me to sit a few extra minutes through intense scenes. It didn't make me cry, but not all books need to make you cry. I'm excited to read the next book. ...more
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: older children/ YA
Recommended to Doriana by: Middle school Librarian
I read the Sea of Trolls for the first time in grade six, soo probably 2005/2006. I came across it by way of my school librarian to whom I had been complaining that I had been having trouble finding YA novels that appealed to me after falling in love with adult writers (my teachers very much disapproved of my choice of novels for silent reading, what they had against people like Brenda joyce and Dean Kootnz is beyond me, I guess they never read good horror or historical romance.) My librarian ga ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book, Nancy Farmer writes very well. This book is a clean read and will completely just suck you in. It is the first of three books about a boy named Jack. Jack starts out as a regular old farmer's brat but the Bard, an old man living in an old Roman house up the road from the village, starts training Jack to be a Bard too. So Jack learns all sorts of magic and fun things that his father thinks are all very unholy. See, Jack's father, Giles Crookleg, wanted badly to be a monk and do a ...more
Elizabeth McDonald
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Zach
I picked this up on audiobook after reading Zach's review, and I must say that I enjoyed it as much as I think I would have if I had found it when I was ten - which is to say, very much. It's on my imaginary list of "books that would be good to read aloud to my hypothetical offspring".

I am enchanted by Nancy Farmer's settings. Having previously tackled Zimbabwe in 2194, she now tries her hand at Saxon England and Scandinavia ca. 793. She mixes genuine history, authentic historical fiction, mytho
Jan 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Nancy Farmer comes through again! A winner of a number of awards including multiple Newbery Medals, her stories have captivated me ever since I read The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm in middle school, which I'd picked from a list of Newbery winners.

The Sea of Trolls is in a completely different style than the other two books I've read by Farmer, and this is something I really like about her. When you pick of a book of hers, you know it's not going to be same story, different characters or even the
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
May I just say that I ♥ Nancy Farmer? She is possibly my very favorite author. I love the pictures she paints with such simple, exquisite strokes. I love her characters who seem so innocent and unsure, yet they are immensely brave. I love the friends she creates, and the feeling of reality that soaks through her stories, even if they are about trolls and vikings and giant owls. This book especially was just a joy. I absolutely loved Jack, the young bard apprentice who has to find himself on an e ...more
Things I Liked:
What a fun story! I wish I'd read this one sooner. The mythology is absolutely fabulous. I adored learning more about Norse and Scandinavian mythos, particularly the gods and the trolls. The story is interesting and unique and it evoked the great quests so common in high fantasy. But what I really loved was the historical element as well. This is set in the dark ages of England and Scandinavia and that setting is written so thoroughly that you can't help but fall into it! The boo
Although a long read, this a great book to read aloud because it appeals to people of all ages. Tempting to "buffer" between sessions together though! We all caught one another buffering when we read this book together. ;) Lots of primary school kids have borrowed our copy and it has gone to many read-ins. There is something about Nancy Farmer's style and the way the action keeps on coming and the characters keep on developing that makes this book a page turner. The House of the Scorpion and The ...more
Nov 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This gripping book by Nancy Farmer is about a boy who is a little farmer brat that is given the chance of a lifetime and takes advantage of it. Jack is taught to be a bard by Dragon Tongue and is and taken on life threatening adventures.

The bard of their town named Dragon Tongue is an all powerful wizard who takes Jack under his wing and teaches him the ways of a bard. When the Northman King finds out about Dragon Tongues’ existence he sends a nightmare to take the bards’ wits. The northmen c
Evan Hays
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
The best children's/young adult book I have read since the Graveyard Book. Highly recommend this one. The author, who actually has a science background, really did her historical research for this one. The backdrop is northeastern England (probably somewhere around what today would be Newcastle) around the year 800 AD. This is Saxon England, England greatly influenced by Celtic Christianity, England that still holds onto many of its pre-Christian ideas and mythology, and England on the verge of ...more
Kelley Ceccato
Mar 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a rollicking adventure, a feast if you like Norse mythology. I have to admit I was thoroughly entertained by this book, even as I spent a good bit of it grinding my teeth. I would recommend this to any young boy who loves fantasy and adventure -- but I would hesitate before suggesting it to any girl who loves same.

The book's main flaw, and it's a big one (for me, anyway), is that its female characters are uniformly repellent. Of all of them, only the very minor characters of Heide and (p
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Nancy was born in 1941 in Phoenix and grew up in a hotel on the Arizona-Mexico border where she worked the switchboard at the age of nine. She also found time to hang out in the old state prison and the hobo jungle along the banks of the Colorado River. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, earning her BA in 1963. Instead of taking a regular job, she joined the Peace Corps and was sent to ...more

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