I am delighted to be participating in the blog tour for The Serpent's Ring by H.D. Bolton with my review and a guest post from H.D. Bolton herself. I am a huge fan of Norse mythology, which Bolton will be talking about in her guest post today!
The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus #1)
by H.B. Bolton
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum ... that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.
Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.
The Serpent's Ring is well written for middle-grade readers. The writing is simple with few embellishments, and the world of Asgard is beautifully wrought. Exploring the world with Evan and Claire was by far the most fun. I enjoyed meeting all the different and unique people living there. Personally, I would have liked to see more detailed exploration of the plot, maybe some more plot twists. For the reading level of the intended audience, however, it's understandable.
While, I would have also liked to see Evan and Claire figure out more things by themselves, in a world where the gods and goddesses play prevalent roles, I can see how they would want to meddle with the children's quest to retrieve the Serpent's Ring. It may even be more realistic, as two children would need divine intervention in order to stand a chance of outwitting a god. There are also some conversations that info dump rather than let readers figure things out along with the characters.
The story is well-paced and filled with a cast of charming characters. Young readers will be fascinated by the children's adventure and look up to Evan as a young hero who doesn't back down in his quest to right a wrong and save his world. I recommend this for upper elementary and lower middle-grade readers who enjoy fantasy reads.
Universal Dreams and Norse Mythology
Guest Post by H.B. Bolton
Jormundgand, the Midgard Serpent, was born to Loki Odinson and the giantess Angrboða. To Loki’s heartbreak, his father, Odin, cast Jormundgand into the sea. The serpent continued to grow, eventually circling the earth and biting his tail. If he were to release it, the world would have flooded and mankind would have been destroyed.
Photo credit Cayusa
Ragnarok marks the end of the cosmos. According to legend, Jormundgand will poison the sky and attempt to unleash his tail. Before he is able to do this, Thor will attack the giant serpent and reign victorious. In a tragic twist, the god of thunder will gradually die from the serpent’s poison.
For a long time, I had been intrigued by the story of Jormundgand and his ability to raise the seas. Before writing The Serpent’s Ring, I had a recurring nightmare involving an enormous wave washing over land. Since I am from Florida, this event took place at the beach. After many such dreams involving cool and clear water, sharks eventually swam through the waves and have since continued to torment me.
Then one day, I discovered that J.R.R. Tolkien had a similar dream that plagued his mind. Being from England, his “Great Wave” washed over green lands and above the hills. Upon further research, I found that he gave this dream to one of his characters from The Lord of the Rings, Farimir. Farimir spoke of this dream in The Return of the King, sharing it with Éowyn. Tolkien recognized a connection of his Great Wave to a universal myth. Perhaps through sharing his nightmare, he was eased of his torment.
It was because of this that I decided to write about my dream in The Serpent’s Ring. The story opened with Evan having a nightmare similar to my own. Later on, he discovered his dreams were linked to Jormundgand and Aegir (Norse god of the sea). I connected my Great Wave to Norse mythology and the giant serpent.
Photo credit Aria Nadii
I still have nightmares, but only on occasion, and it doesn’t hold the same mystery and fear as it once did.
I found this video on Youtube and have since enjoyed watching the Nordic imagery and listening to the lyrics in the song.
"Let It Rock"
Currently, Barbara Brooke, who writes some books under the name H.B. Bolton, resides in sunny Florida with her supportive husband, two adorable children, gorgeous greyhounds, and scruffy mutt. She is actively creating new worlds and interesting characters for the next book in one of her series. Shhhh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write spellbinding, heart-pounding women’s fiction, she also writes books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young adult fantasy story.