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Review: Odin's Ravens by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr

Monday, May 26, 2014

Odin's Ravens
by M.A. Marr & K.L. Armstrong

Series: The Blackwell Pages #2
Genre: MG Fantasy
Hardback: 352 Pages
Publication: May 13, 2014
by Little Brown Books BFYR


Seven kids, Thor's hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things standing against the end of the world.

When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right?

But the descendants' journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. But that's only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor's hammer, and stop the apocalypse--a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right.

◆ A copy was provided by Hachette for review ◆

I felt like there is too much going on in one book. The tweens go through adventure after adventure without pause. There's barely any time for a break before something new comes up. While this can sometimes make for a fast-paced, thrilling story, it didn't work for this story. Rather, it felt like too much is trying to be crammed in too much in one book, resulting in a lack of focus to the story. On top of that, the tweens don't really know what they're doing and often rely on other people to tell them what to do; instead of solving things themselves, they stumble around until divine intervention turns them in a different direction.

The multiple POV didn't work for me either. While I like multiple POVs when the different narrators contribute an important perspective to the story, it doesn't do more than give us insight into different characters' thoughts here. It wasn't like they got separated, or one person knew something that another person didn't and it was important for us to know. Here, I feel like it's unncessary for the most part and actually detracted from the story because it jumps around from narrator to narrator so much and even made small skips in time that created awkward gaps in the storyline.

I do like the team. They're a group of likable characters in their own ways. Matt is expected to be the leader and champion despite the lack of experiences to draw from. Laurie wants to fight, but the others keep telling her to stay back. Baldwin is easy going and amiable. Owen wants to help but has to stay back because of his powers. And I have a soft spot for Fen especially because he keeps trying to do the right thing and being awkward going about it. The group dynamics are fun and filled with good humor. However, the dialogue often seems forced and tends to drag, as if it's placed there for the sake of conversation.

With one more book to go, it doesn't feel like the tweens have matured enough to take on Ragnarok. The biggest thing going on plotwise here is that they have achieved some important items and goals that may help them in their final battle. There is also the discovery of the brains behind the Raiders and the nasty cliffhanger the story left us on. While I wouldn't recommend this book to MG-fantasy readers as there are better ones out there, chances are high that I'll pick up Thor's Serpents because I've grown attached to some characters, and I'm interested in seeing how this all goes down.

Additional Information

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5 comments on "Review: Odin's Ravens by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr"
  1. This is why I have yet to try any of Armstrong's YA or Middle Grade books; I love her UF series so hard, that I'm afraid one bad read would ruin it for me.

    1. Yeah, this MG series isn't as great as either author's books for older audiences.

  2. The team sounds nice, but sad that there seemed to be too much going on.

    1. Yeah, with so much going on, there's little focus to the plot and character development, which is disappointing. There was a lot of potential to the series.

  3. Too bad you didn't like the writing style with all the POVs. I know what you mean, that each POV should contribute info.

    Glad you like the characters and hope they'll grow up enough to tackle the villain.

    Lovely review :)


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