Review – Runemarks
By Joanne Harris
This book was a no brainer at the bookstore. I loved Chocolat and my friend loves YA and fantasy so how could I go wrong picking this as a gift? Well, it has been 7 months and she only got 1/3 of the way through so I swiped it from her last time I was at her house. I was engrossed. There aren’t too many books with Norse mythology at its core and it was a wonderful deviation from werewolves, romance and vampires.
In this book Ragnarok happened 500 years ago, meaning the end of the world already happened, the gods killed each other in the final battle (Odin, Loki and the like). Mankind has moved on, many of them worship one god called the Nameless and all magic is shunned. Even dreaming and storytelling are forbidden. Maddy was born with a rune on her hand, so she is blamed for anything wrong that happens in the village and is an embarrassment to her family. It also means she can work magic. Luckily she lives in a remote village and wasn’t destroyed at birth by the Order, the group that currently makes the rules and worships the Nameless. This is a coming of age story of an outsider girl finding out her true self, her family and her full potential. It was an epic, full of magic, old and new gods, goblins and a long journey. These people go to Hell and back, literally.
So the story was long. I read some reviews and others had a bit of a hard time with that. In fact, my friend got derailed for probably that very reason. While I was reading it I was conflicted, it felt long, (I couldn’t believe how long it took me) but I also was very excited that I still had more story to read. Also, since a lot happens, the story never drags. So if you like to read something quickly, realize this book is a little bit of an investment, but I really think it is worth it. I also don’t know much about Norse mythology, except what I learned from American Gods and The Sea of Trolls, but my quick research after I finished the book showed that most of what happens in Runemarks is spot on. But realize that a lot happens and it can be a little confusing. But if you just roll with it, things do make sense eventually. Of course, Harris does have creative license since no stories are written about the time that this novel happens (after Ragnarok).
I read somewhere that there were rumors of a sequel, I really hope they are true! Solid 4 stars.