Book review - The Spear of Odin by Kieron Dann
review by Becky
It will be your light when all that surrounds you is darkness! A hidden door, buried deep in the mud, is the only clue that a team of archaeologists has in uncovering the find of a lifetime. Beneath it, surrounded by terror, lies a majestic spear with powers that mere mortals above would never believe possible. So it falls to Adam Blake and his unusual counterparts to face destiny and go below into a maze of mysterious tunnels and chambers. Only there will they be able to halt the evil ghost of Theobald the Viking Lord from igniting the disastrous chain of events that he was denied a thousand years ago. Magnus the Priest was his obstacle then. Will Adam be able to share in a similar victory? And is there another presence from the past that will influence the battle of good versus evil?
Available on Amazon.com: The Spear of Odin
This is very much a norse fantasy book for children about 12-13 I'd say but it still has some fascinating character including the bully, victim and victim's friend, some nasty teachers and a very lovable dog. The author does give some good background to each of the characters to show why they are like they are so it does help them deviate from being sterotyped. The story outline does have some similarities to the way Kate Mosse writers her books in which a series of characters follow an almost parallel arc across different period of history and time. This I thought would help keep it interesting for the child reading and does help add drama and tension as the plot unfolds. Within the prologue which sets the scene for the entire story during the viking times in a scandinavian settlement in England the author does try to show the reader the none stereotypical view of the vikings although some of the language used by the Viking Odin Priest did worry me as it hinted he could read and write when in fact most Vikings were illiteratre, some such as Priests may well have used runes but only as a divination tool not for actual documentation also the phrase "spritiual development" was far too modern for such an era to even be thought of let alone used. I also felt a bit uncomfortable with the way each character developed an "epiphany" like state about themselves and life. I can see how they might realise the truth of reality and how people aren't always nice and how being with the incrowd isn't always good and how to stand up for what's right instead of allowing wrong to occur e.g. the bully vs victim YET it kind of spoils the essence of courage each of them finds in realising and accepting such truth.
All in all it is a very entertaining and gripping plot with a very unexpected twist at the end and like all children's books it ends with a happy scene despite some strong brutality in the more tense scenes.
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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