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Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

(Zaria Fierce #1)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  43 reviews
"Come here Princess, and let me eat you."

On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she's surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard wa
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 6th 2015 by Keira Gillett
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Nicole Chinnici
Zaria Fierce and the Secret of the Gloomwood Forest was such a fun adventure!

“Zaria would have loved to have a stargazer too in order to read more books. There was never nearly enough time to read all the books on her to-be-read list.”

The first book in Gillett’s Zaria Fierce trilogy introduces us to the title character, a thirteen year old girl who is shy, quiet, and loves reading. After a short prologue that establishes her character and backstory, it jumps right in to the meat of the story whe
Kathy Haw
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A thrilling and imaginative journey into the world of trolls, elves that trade in secrets, wolves, flying reindeer, winter-wyvern's and more. A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today's technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.

Zaria is a fascinating character who finds out a secret in the end that changes her life. This will ultimately lead her into new, future adventures. I look forward to reading
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is another excellent story for young adventure fantasy fans! I read it twice. The first time, in my free time, for enjoyment. The second time, as the narrator for the Audible audiobook. I'm a big fan of this genre. I loved this journey through the dark forests of Norway with Zaria and her friends--who turn out to have some interesting secrets. They discover a world that little book-worm Zaria never knew was actually real. She also discovers things about HERSELF that she couldn't have d ...more
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received this book free from the author in exchange for a review. I loved this book! The writing style was excellent. The plot was very good and I loved Zaria. I can see a lot of middle school students enjoying this book.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy/Adventure set in Norway
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
Originally posted at Log Cabin Library

The Secret of the Gloomwood Forest begins on Zaria's birthday, while she is running across a bridge to catch up to her friend Christoffer. Zaria stumbles upon Olaf, the river's guardian, who threatens to eat her. Drawing from her knowledge of fairy-tales (The Three Billy Goats Gruff), Zaria attempts to dissuade him and makes a bargain to bring him a feast within three days in exchange for him letting her pass. When Zaria tries to tell her family and friends
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
NOTE: I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The plot in this story focuses on 13-year-old Zaria as she travels far from home in order to rescue her best friend, Christoffer, from a river-troll. Accompanied by three of Christoffer’s other friends, she runs into all sorts of mystical creatures she never knew existed. The story is fast-paced and filled to the brim with action. If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy,
Amie's Book Reviews

Author: Keira Gillett

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Fiction

Narrator: Michele Carpenter

Length: 4 hours, 2 minutes

Release Date: March 11, 2015

Publisher: Keira Gillett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Zaria's family moves to Norway just before her thirteenth birthday. Zaria's last name may be "Fierce" but she is actually an introvert. She loves to read fantasy novels and wishes her life was more like the lives she reads abou
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, author-req
My review was originally posted on my blog: Love thy Shelf. This book was provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Zaria is what you think is a normal 13-year-old looking for the adventure that she reads in her books. When she encounters a river troll, she strikes a deal that she doesn’t follow through with because she doesn’t know if it really happened. After a couple of uneventful days, she forgets all about it. Until her best friend, Cristoffer, is nowhere to be found. After strikin
Tammy Spencer
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Let me start out this review by saying two things: I don't normally read YA literature and I hardly ever post reviews. That being said, I have to tell you, I am so happy I picked up Zaria Fierce. There is a sweet innocence to it that reminds me very much of The Chronicles of Narnia. But don't be fooled by my comment: there is a fantastic scene where the kids flee from wolves and trolls on a frozen river that will leave you dazzled and is, frankly, one of my favorite parts of the book. Although o ...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Synopsis- Zaria Fierce was not fierce. Or so she thought, that is, until a river troll kidnaps her best friend. Then she, pitted together with his other friends (one of whom is actually a changeling (a creature swapped for a look-alike human)), goes on an adventure up the river, into a world mixed with the modern world and the ancient myths of Scandinavia.

What I Thought- This was a really good book with a great setting and cool plot line. I really liked how it didn’t hide that Zaria was adopted
Karen Oates
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a mystical, magical tale of friendship and comradeship which blossoms more and more with each turn of the page. The story is set in Norway and includes several unique, uncommon creatures whose help and hindrance put Zaria and her cohorts in compromising situations which seem to multiply as their journey concludes. The climax is both intriguing and exciting and feathered with the friend’s dreams of returning home to their families. The Author, Keira Gillett, describes both the characters ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say I had no idea what to expect, but I enjoyed this much more than anticipated. Zaria is lovable and kind, and her friends are brave and supportive. And their adventures, while significantly less violent and hair-raising than much of modern fantasy, is, in my opinion, perfect for its intended audience.

I enjoy the writing style, it flows well, and is far more mature in phrasing and dialogue than most YA fiction I've read. Gillet
Specs Bunny
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Keira Gillett kindly gave me a free copy of the audible book for a review. (I am no native english speaker and certainly no writer, so I hope everyone who reads this will excuse my "foreign" tongue).

This book has all the right ingredients for me: Norway, magical adventures, nice children, legends combined with modern day society. A story that is easy to get into and keeps you listening.

For me a really nice way to start the new year, a gentle read with good narration by Michele Carpenter. It has
Brandi Nyborg
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The author very kindly offered me a chance to read her book. This is a quick, but extremely fun read! It's a awesome fantasy novel, filled with vividly detailed settings, and beautiful illustrations. It's a book that you will like regardless of your age. There's nothing I like more than strong, intelligent characters, and these kids are both. Zaria and her friends will have rooting for them from the first page to the last! A must read for fantasy fans!
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Deal maker for me was Norwegian setting. Zaria is a bookworm who learns that things known and unknown to her are real. Having read many Norwegian tales to my own children, I was delighted to pass this one along to the grandkids! The audio performer did a magnificent job of interpreting differences between beings. Hoping to read more of Zaria, and hope that Michele Carpenter will perform them!
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I won this via First Reads

A fun spin on Grimms fairy tales for kids. As with Grimm some of the illustrations are on the scarier side, but I think that will resonate with a lot of kids. Well written and entertaining throughout.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a very fun adventure book filled with awesome characters, amazing settings, and an awesome fantasy twist. Very enjoyable book.

My full review:
Danissa Macaraig
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
The review was also posted on:

picla Author: Keira Gillett
Format: eBook
Publisher: Keira Gillett
Number of Pages: 224
Date Published: March 6 2015


On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she's surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria countero

Boundless Book Reviews
Zaria, an avid fairy tale reader, finds herself in a fairy tale dilemma. After her friend is missing, she confronts the troll she believes took him and began an extraordinary adventure to win his freedom. It was very well written, adventurous, and intriguing.

I liked listening to the story, and the narrator did a great job. I rate it 3.5 Boundless stars. I liked it.
Leonor (Ner)

As part of Zaria Fierce Blog Tour: check out the review on the blog so you can read an excerpt of Zaria Fierce and a guest-post by Keira Gillett where she teaches us how to pronounce the names in the book ;-)

Disclaimer: Thank you Keira Gillett for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3,5 cups/stars

Based on Scandinavian folklore, Zaria Fierce was an adorable read. Set in Norway, we follow Zaria and her friends through an adventure filled with trolls,
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Zaria Fierce & the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett Zaria and her family recently moved to Norway and Zaria has made a few friends already and is enjoying learning the myths and legends of Norway. One day on the way to school, she comes across Olaf the river troll who threatens to eat her. She counteroffers with a feast to be delivered in three days time. He lets her pass. However, she doesn’t hold up her end of the bargain and she finds there are consequences. Pretty soon, she and he ...more
Zaria Fierce was such a quick and engaging read that I listened to it in a day. It's the type of book that is so easy to listen to that you've most of it done before you realise.

One thing I loved about the book is Zaria herself. She is a bookworm and loves fantasy books so is quite surprised to meet an honest to goodness troll named Olaf. He wont let her cross but she tries to trick him like in Billy Goats Gruff. She tells him she will do something for him, but once passed she thinks that maybe
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was reviewd on 1Mom2DaughtersBookBlog

Hi it’s Katie again and today were doing Zaria Fierce and The Secret of Gloomwood Forest by-Keira Gillett, the first book. Zaria wishes for things to be more exiting like in her books but what she didn’t realize is she’s going to to get more than she bargained for. Its her birthday and she’s going to school when she gets blocked by a river troll. First shes surprised and curious. But he threatens to eat her, she counteroffers and they make a deal. S
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Take a timid girl, put her in a seemingly impossible situation, and you’ll find out what she’s really made of. Zaria Fierce, a 13 year-old living with her adoptive family in Norway, finds herself up against trolls and magical creatures of all sorts when she heads to school one morning and is confronted by Olaf, a troll – you got it – from under a bridge. She thinks she’s outsmarted the big creep, but he gets the last laugh when he kidnaps her best friend, Christoffer. Now, it’s up to Zaria and h ...more
First Reads winner! Three and a half stars. It took me a while to finish this book because my daughter started reading it at the same time, so I had to find it among her things. She was very engrossed in it for a long time. This is a fun fantasy adventure, with more adventures in store as the author continues the trilogy. I look forward to seeing what happens next with Zaria and her friends.

One theme that stood out to me is that, although there might be times when you don't make the best decisio
Kathleen Wedel
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a charming and intriguing story of friendship, loyalty, perseverance, and adventure within a fantasy land, where real people encounter trolls and other whimsical creatures. The heroine, Zaria, uses her wits to win the freedom of her friend and learns to be braver than she thought possible. The illustrations are simply outstanding and the audio book would make a great take along for a long trip. I think it is appropriate for all ages, but probably would appeal best to young teens and twee ...more
Karin Gillett
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! It reminds me of Harry Potter while being completely different. If you want a Harry Potter fix, read this series. I can't wait for the actual book to come out when we can see all the illustrations, etc. (I read a preview.) Full disclosure: The author is my daughter, but that does not affect my review.
Nicole Bracewell
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest is an adventure from start to finish and almost impossible to put down until you know what will happen next to Zaria and her friends, and because of that I already cannot wait to read the second book of the series to see what new adventures await them
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Awesome new book. I'm 70 and really enjoyed this book. I hope it will become a series and even make the movies. It is up there with some really great ideas like Harry Potter.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Received this in exchange for an honest review

Here it is.

We enjoyed this book a lot. My kindle read it as a bedtime story and they couldn't wait for the next chapter.
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Hi! I’m Keira Gillett and I am from Palm Bay, Florida. By day I am a IT Systems Analyst; by night I’m a children’s author. I own a dog, named Oskar, after a giant ruler in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy I wrote. He's my little foxy-baby, and has me wrapped around his little paw. We have lots of fun adventures together, which you can follow on Instagram with the hashtag #oskarpie.

The Zaria Fierce Trilogy

Other books in the series

Zaria Fierce (7 books)
  • Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword
  • Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper's Golden Shoes
  • Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well
  • Aleks Mickelsen and the Call of the White Raven (Zaria Fierce, #5)
  • Aleks Mickelsen and the Eighth Fox Throne War
  • Christoffer Johansen and the Return to Jötunheim

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