A Delightful Fantasy That Will Entertain and Inspire
Series: Thrones & Bones (Book 1)
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Crown Books For Young Readers
Buy the Book
Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.
Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.
When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.
It’s tough being twelve. And when you add things like duty and legacies to the equation, it’s even tougher.
Karn Korlundr’s father talks of nothing but responsibility. As firstborn son, Karn’s next in line to be hauld and inherit the family farm. Though this is a position of rank in Norrøngard, Karn sees no honor in it. He has different dreams — his sights are set on seeing the world. He’d much rather hone his skill at the traditional board game Thrones and Bones than study farming and trading.
Family heritage also casts an uncomfortable shadow for Thianna. Her father is a giant, but her mother was human, so at only seven feet, Thianna cuts a puny figure for a frost giant. And bully Thrudgelmir never lets her forget it. His incessant mocking leaves Thianna ashamed of her differences and convinced that she’ll never measure up.
An annual trade gathering brings Karn and Thianna together. And when individual dangers have them each on the run, they cross paths and unite in a struggle for survival.
Too frequently in a book, you grow weary of exposition as you wait for the adventure to begin. Not so with Frostborn. Anders quickly develops interest and sympathy for his players, and it’s enjoyable to simply watch them in their everyday lives. Readers will relish the chance to explore Anders’ compelling world alongside Karn and Thianna. As future installments promise to expand the territorial map, fans of series like Ranger’s Apprentice should be eager to follow this adventure and watch the world grow.
There are worthy villains here: a mysterious stranger, a treacherous uncle akin to The Lion King‘s Scar or Hamlet‘s Claudius, two-headed trolls, and ghostly warriors. If that’s not enticing enough, there are also dragons, or “wyverns”. The story benefits from perfect pacing. Anders handily manages alternating narrative viewpoints, jumping from one hero to the other in the same chapter before the two finally merge.
Have I mentioned how fond I am of these characters? It’s a pleasure to watch Karn and Thianna interact. I’ve not found a young heroine as endearing as Thianna in some time. Since when have we seen a girl beam with pride when someone remarks how large she is! Karn’s fittingly awkward around Thianna, and there’s a lot of banter and silliness derived from the size differential between the two. Though our protagonists begin the tale as lovable little misfits (well, maybe Thianna’s not so little), they find they are made of stronger stuff than they once believed.
4.5 of 5 Hearts. A Delightful Fantasy That Will Entertain and Inspire.
Frostborn lies in a literary sweet spot — the gap between middle grade and young adult. Within its pages, kids aged 10 to 14 will find a perfect introduction to the fantasy/adventure genre, one with just the right mix of humor, suspense, and adventure. Lou Anders’ Norse-influenced work couldn’t be released at a better time. The popularity of Disney’s Frozen should make picking up this book feel natural!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Random House Children’s Books and NetGalley for allowing me access to the title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”