Here There Be Books (BL)

I love books with great characters who go on adventures and/or solve mysteries re: invading aliens/vampires/etc. I blog about those books at Here There Be Books!


This is the BookLikes thingy for HTBB.


Runemarks - Joanne Harris -- Originally reviewed at Here There Be Books. --I've gotten more and more fond of books with Norse mythology in them, probably because I took a really good medieval history class last semester that covered quite a bit of Viking history, which naturally made me more interested in everything to do with Viking and so on. One thing I've noticed about these books, though, is that the protagonists tend to be all boys, and I prefer to read books about girls (because I am one, and, by the way, there aren't nearly enough fantasy books starring girls without any romance in them). So! I really liked Runemarks because it had loads of nifty Norse gods and mythology in it, and a female lead that did things besides trying to woo her boyfriend! (Not that she had a boyfriend.)Maddy is a really strong female lead, one who has powerful abilities and isn't afraid to go off and have her own adventures. She's also pretty realistic, by which I mean she felt like a real person to me, with feelings and dreams and a personality of her own. I also liked that she was really-- I don't know how to say it. Female? She didn't just seem like Ms Harris had taken a boy character and switched him into a girl-- Maddy was a real girl and her gender was an important part of herself. Does that make sense? I hope it does, because I don't think there are tons of female adventure types that actually like being a girl and want to do things as a girl; it always seems instead that they disguise themselves as boys or something (Shakespeare does that a lot in his plays).Anyway, the story is a really exciting one, with battles and magic and gnomes. It slows down a bit in the middle, and the ending was somewhat of a disappointment to me because it was sort of like Maddy had been pushed to the side in favor of Odin's subplot. But I had a wonderful time following Maddy along in her adventures, and the rest of the characters were sufficiently flushed out enough to not just become prop figures.One character who really surprised me was Loki, who nearly always is portrayed as an almost evil character, more malicious than mischievous (think American Gods, maybe). The Loki in Runemarks is very sympathetic, and it made me think of him more as a person who is trapped in a place he doesn't want to be, where he can't ever win and he has to look out for himself because no-one else will. I think he even says somewhere in the book that the gods are happy to use his talents when it suits them, but then sweep him under the rug (or try to kill him) when they no longer need him. So, yeah, that made me empathize with him more than despise him, even when he did try to trick Maddy out of something (he made up for it later, anyway).I really enjoyed reading Runemarks. I think it'd be a great book for anyone interested in alternate universes, Norse mythology, strong female adventurer characters, and fun fantasy stories that aren't exactly swords-and-sorcerers but do give that sort of thing a nod. The ending isn't exactly a cliffhanger but it does leave room for a sequel, which I think Ms Harris is working on now. I think.

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