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The Sleeping Army

(Mortal Gods #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Freya is an ordinary girl living in modern Britain, but with a twist: people still worship the Viking gods. She's caught in her parents' divorce, and shuttling between bickering adults is no fun. One evening, stuck with her dad on his night shift at the British Museum, she is drawn to the Lewis Chessmen and Heimdall's Horn.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 20th 2011 by Profile Books (first published October 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  180 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Beth Kemp
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-fantasy
This was a bedtime read with my 8 yr old which we both greatly enjoyed. The world of the novel is exactly like ours, but with the small detail that Christianity never caught on and the established religion is Norse. This shift was accomplished thoroughly and seemingly effortlessly with little details like the days being called 'Wodensday' and 'Thorsday' etc and people saying things like "oh my gods". The story begins in the British Museum, which (as well as being integral to the story of course) ...more
Harry W
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book of adventure and an action-packed storyline. Francesca Simon makes good funny books!
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has an amazing premise - a kid's book taking place in a contemporary Britain where Norse religion rather than Christianity is the dominant force. Unfortunately, the bulk of the book is a totally generic quest story which would have made almost as much sense with a protagonist from our world (the only significant payoff for the premise throughout most of the text is that it explains why a not-particularly-intellectual 12-year-old would know enough about Norse mythology to understand her ...more
Courtney Johnston
It's a great conceit. Imagine Christianity was never anything more than a shortlived exotic cult. Imagine most of the English-speaking world still worshiped the Norse gods instead, a world of Wodensday and Thorsday, of years dated AW (after Woden), a world where Leonardo painted not the Last Supper, but Woden feasting in Valhalla with his warriors on the night before Ragnorak .

This is the world into which Francesca Simon drops her reader, looking straight out of the eyes of Freya, a
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
It took a while to get into but I thought it was a great idea for getting fiction lovers into history. However, it annoyed me that Simon chose to use phrases such as Lazy Cow and Oh hel/Gods as I was hoping that I could use the book with my class and I don't feel it's appropriate to promote a book with such phrases in a school. As a book for sharing at home with children, I would recommend it.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book for kid's! I read it to my 9 month old son but look forward to rereading it with him when he reaches the "farts are funny" stage in his life! May be a bit scary in places so probably best suited for 8 plus.
Just what I needed. Loveable characters and a plot to grip you.
Yorky Caz
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not a bad little book. Quick read and made me want to read more about norse mythology!
Jemima Pett
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
Imagine a world where Christianity didn't take off and the predominant religion in Britain was based on the Norse Gods. I must admit I've always enjoyed these parallel universe type of stories, and Francesca Simon cleverly works in the Norse concepts with UK religious governance. Freya is in the British Museum one evening, being looked after by her Dad who works there. By meddling in something she shouldn't she is whisked off to the home of the Gods, to find she has nine days to solve their prob ...more
Maera Black
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very clever book. It opens with lively, witty prose, outlining what the world might be like through the eyes of a twelve year old girl if Christianity had never come to Britain, and people still worshipped Norse Gods. Simon does fantasy so well. I hope we see more from here. She is known for writing for a much younger age group than this so I wonder, if in some places in the novel, she neglected to supply her characters with a bit more emotional depth. That said, she doesn't skimp on t ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was an interesting fantasy book about a young girl living in Britain. But everyone still worships the viking gods. Freya's quest is thrilling, and is just like a Percy Jackson quest. This book is a good one, and should be read by many children.
Some themes are tradition vs. change, overcoming your fears, and friendship. Tradition vs. change is one of the themes because Freya's tradition's are not really worshipping the gods. After her quest, she begins to try and spread the gods i
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 10 years old +
A great, fun, adventure-filled story!

Freya lives in modern England as it would have been if people had continued workshipping the Viking Gods. That in itself is pretty hilarious, and I appreciate all the research done by the author to make the story and language believable. For example (this isn't really a spoil): on the first page, Freya's parents are talking on mobile phones, but say "Thorsday" instead of "Thursday".

Freya accidentally blows an ancient horn in a museum,
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A truly enchanting and adorable story perfect for young readers (age 10+) which opens a whole new captivating world not just into norse mythology and the norse gods but also an England where the ruling religion was the norse faith and not christianity. Francesca Simon introduces these ideas in a very charming and clever manner. The characers are fun to encounter and reveal a suprising amount of depth for such a short book. It has some great sketches of dramatic scenes at the start of each chapte ...more
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
A fun little children's book that twists north mythology. Worth a read but I think it's a borrow from the library book not a buy it book. "Freya lives in modern Britain with a twist: people still worship the old Viking gods. Stuck with her dad on his night shift at the British Museum, Freja is drawn to the Lewis Chessmen and Hiemdall's Horn. Unable to resist, she blows the horn, waking four chess pieces from their enchantment: Roskva, Alfi, Sleipnir and Snot the Berserk."
Oct 12, 2013 rated it liked it
It was a great idea for a book, and there was quite a lot of humour in it. Unfortunately it really didn't grab me. The heroine was like an adult view of a child, and I felt it was written more for adults than for children. Some problems were down to bad editing. Overall I felt she wasn't really in the story, so I wasn't either.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
I saw this book on a list of great YA books. Unfortunately it just didn't work for me. Obviously this is for a younger group of kids, but still character development is lacking. I never really cared about anyone in the book so it was hard to be invested. The whole situation seemed to be resolved too easily too. Oh well can't win them all.
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Was really good but it was confusing with all of the names of the gods and the places but once i started reading it it was very hard to put down.
Lil Jen
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful fun story to read!

Super cute, super fun- these are by far my favourite type of stories (wether written for children or for adults)
Mark Jones
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and fun. Surprisingly unviolent and works in some of the original Norse legends.
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book please let there be more.
Tugba Sabaz
Sep 24, 2016 rated it liked it
insanlarin viking tanrilarina inandigi gunumuzde gecen cocuklara yonelik bir hikaye. keske bir yerinde cocuklara yonelik oldugu yazsaydi
Charlotte Coleman
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good enough.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bizarre and fantastic!
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Great idea, less than prefect execution. It does tend to sound a bit like Horrid Henry at times, which is not really the right tone for a book like this.
Daniel Cloete
rated it liked it
Mar 29, 2017
rated it really liked it
Mar 17, 2018
Matt Cooley
rated it it was ok
Sep 06, 2015
Beckiie Jade
rated it liked it
Jun 10, 2013
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Goodreads Librari...: Kindle version isn't quite right. 3 13 Feb 24, 2019 07:15AM  

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Francesca Simon grew up in California and attended both Yale and Oxford Universities, where she specialised in Medieval Studies. How this prepared her to write children’s books she cannot imagine, but it did give her a thorough grounding in alliteration.

She then threw away a lucrative career as a medievalist and worked as a freelance journalist, writing for the Sunday Times, Guardian, Mail on Sunday, Telegraph, and Vogue (US).

Other books in the series

Mortal Gods (3 books)
  • The Lost Gods
  • The Monstrous Child