June 24, 2013

Thor’s descendants face modern foes

By Kelley Armstrong
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Unlike Harry Potter, 13-year-old Matt Thorsen has always known he has magical powers. As descendents of the Norse god Thor, Matt and his family hold various leadership roles in their small town of Blackwell, South Dakota. Meanwhile, descendents of trickster (and shape-shifter) god Loki, including Matt's classmate and nemesis Fen, are perpetually causing trouble . . . especially when they use their magic to transform into wolves. And Fen's cousin Laurie has special powers too, although the exact nature of her talent remains a mystery to her.

When the Blackwell town council realizes that Ragnarök—an event which some view as the end of the world but others see as simply a time of great change—is approaching, Matt is unexpectedly named Thor's intended champion. But how can he be a champion of the gods, Matt wonders, when even standing up to Fen is a challenge? And who are the mysterious kids who suddenly arrive in his life, offering him advice on how to defeat the terrible Midgard Serpent?

Putting aside their differences, Matt, Fen and Laurie set off on a journey across South Dakota, seeking descendents of other Norse gods as well as a series of magical objects. Along the way, they encounter tornadoes, trolls and a group of companions—some friends and some foes. All of them know the endings of the ancient myths: Loki leads an army of monsters against Thor, who is later killed by the legendary serpent. Will the old tales repeat themselves . . . or has the time come to create new stories?

Writing under their initials, adult/young adult authors Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld series) and Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely) team up for their debut middle-grade collaboration, the first in a planned trilogy. References to Norse mythology abound, but all names of gods, monsters and events are defined within the text, making the story accessible both to readers already steeped in Norse traditions and those encountering these tales for the first time. Strong male and female characters, plus a combination of action, adventure and humor—and numerous full-page illustrations— make Loki's Wolves a particularly promising choice for reluctant readers, especially fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

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Loki’s Wolves

Loki’s Wolves

By Kelley Armstrong
Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN 9780316204965

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