Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Paperback: 358 Pages
Publication: May 7, 2013 by Atom
In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters--wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.
The gods died a long time ago.
Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history--because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.
However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids--led by Matt--will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.
◆ A copy was provided by Little Brown for review ◆
Drawing heavily from Norse mythology, Loki's Wolves tells the story of the descendants of the Norse Gods as they battle monsters, seek the special items, and overcome the tests in order to prevent the end of the world. Armstrong and Marr have done their research, and they incorporate the mythology so well into the novel that it not only fits into context, you get an overview of Norse mythology as you read this novel. It was a bit odd to learn that the story takes place in South Dakota, mostly because I had a picture of Norway in my mind until there, but it's a small detail.
The story is told from the perspectives of Matt, Fen, and Laurie. Each of their perspectives adds to the story and builds upon one another with each adolescent bringing a unique view to the story. Matt is the son of Blackwell's political leaders and has been held to a high standard from an early age. The sheriff's son, he's expected to set a role model for other kids. The pressure only increases when his family reveals to him that he has been chosen as their champion to represent their ancestor Thor in the upcoming Ragnarok. Despite his fears and overwhelming desire to run away from everything, Matt has a good heart and strong will. He faces his challenges head-on; sometimes, he's a little quick to take action, but he has the makings of a leader.
On the other hand, Fen is always doing things that'll get him in trouble. Fen is restless and quick to anger, but his heart is in the right place. And it's clear how much his cares for his cousin Laurie, a kind, spirited girl who has been like a sister to him. It's cute how Laurie handles her overprotective cousin, and I love how she never lets the guys get away with telling her to stay back just because she's a girl.
After an unnatural twister blows through town amidst other trouble, the three know that they need to find the other descendants of the Norse gods in order to prevent the end of the world. They meet a bunch of unique and interesting characters, and it's fun seeing their abilities revealed. My favorite has to be Baldwin. He's such a cheerful, easygoing guy, filled with odd notions and impossible to dislike. Given his special powers, it's understandable why he acts and thinks the way he does.
I also love how the story doesn't get overly carried away with the magic and adventure that it forgets where it takes place. There is a side of realism to the story that I often see left out in stories set in our world. This hit me at the same time that it hits Matt--when he's stopped by the police, and he realizes that he's not at home anymore.
Loki's Wolves is a highly enjoyable middle-grade fantasy read. I recommend this for those who enjoy a good middle-grade fantasy and/or a story with a sound mythological base.