Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK by Cinda Williams Chima Kirkus Star

CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK

From the Runestone Saga series, volume 1

by Cinda Williams Chima

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-06-301868-6
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

This first entry in the Runestone Saga series introduces readers to a world of witches, gods, demons, and humans.

Drawing on Norse mythology, this ambitious, original story captivates from beginning to end. Eiric Halvorsen and his mysterious half sister, Liv, are fighting to maintain ownership of Sundgard, their unusually prosperous farm located in the depressed land of Muckleholm; Sten, their drunken stepfather, has designs on it himself. When their mother, Sylvi, dies of exposure while protecting the infant son that Sten has rejected and left out to die, Liv and Eiric know they will be the next victims. Instead, they kill Sten and, for protection, make a deal with Jarl Harald, the regional leader, to search out a group of mythical islands, where the volur, or witches, live. A concurrent storyline follows Reggin, a thrall enslaved by fire demon Asger. Reggin is forced to use her considerable healing and musical abilities to make money, but worse is the painful transmission of her energy that Asger takes by touch to sustain himself. Eventually these two plots converge in a satisfying, organic way. The novel is lively and well told, with twists galore. Liv and Reggin are portrayed as strong, nuanced women; Reggin has a lovely, dry wit. Eiric is a classic Viking. Main characters are White; secondary characters bring racial diversity.

This innovative story with a satisfying ancient mythology baseline strikes a refreshing note for the genre.

(map) (Fantasy. 13-18)