Friday, October 7, 2011

Retro Friday Review: The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc."

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Publisher: Atheneum
Publication date: 2004
ISBN: 9780689867460
Source: Audiobook download from the library

When Jack and his sister are stolen by Northmen and taken as thralls to their home, Jack isn't quite sure what to do.  When they are brought before the half-troll queen, Frith, he ends up forced to go on a quest for a magical well hidden deep in the kingdom of the Trolls.  Can he complete this quest, with the help of the gruff Thorgill and Olaf one-Brow in time to save his sister from being sacrificed?

Things I Liked:
What a fun story!  I wish I'd read this one sooner.  The mythology is absolutely fabulous.  I adored learning more about Norse and Scandinavian mythos, particularly the gods and the trolls.  The story is interesting and unique and it evoked the great quests so common in high fantasy.  But what I really loved was the historical element as well.  This is set in the dark ages of England and Scandinavia and that setting is written so thoroughly that you can't help but fall into it!  The book is rich with myths and history and entirely relatable characters.  In addition, it talks so neatly about the issues of slavery and the animosity between countries that you almost don't notice it.  I adored Thorgill and I could write an entire treatise on her complexities, but I'll spare you.  I listened to this one on my new horrifically long commute to work and it kept my mind completely off the traffic (hopefully in a good way).  The narrator does incredible voices and accents and I truly loved delving into this story through audio.  A fantastically underrated fantasy series that I've got to read (or listen to) more of.

Things I Didn't Like:
It did seem a bit long, but for fantasy fans the thick book will be nothing extraordinary. 

It felt rather Lord of the Rings ish
Icefall by Matthew Kirby
A bit like the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan

s-factor: ! 

there were some here and there
mrg-factor: none 

v-factor: ->-> 
several rather gruesome battles described

Overall rating: ***** 

Anybody else read this series or know of any other Viking books for kids?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Sigh, there's so many books out there I'd like to read. :(

  2. This was my first Nancy Farmer book and I thought it was such a great story and so clever. I can't for the life of me get my kids to read it though. It's become a long-running family joke when they say they don't know what to read, I say "You could always read the Sea of Trolls..."

  3. I've actually never read anything by Nancy Farmer. This sounds fantastic. And I'm so sorry about the long commute . . . ugh.

  4. Other Viking/Norse mythology books--Runemarks, by Joanne Harris, is a good one, and Odd and the Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman, and the just published Icefall, by Matthew Kirby. And Katherine Langrish has a nice series, that begins with Troll Fell.

    I've never read this one, but I've been meaning to for ages!

  5. (I see now you already had Icefall; blushes)

    And Rick Riordan is going to be turning Norseward for his next series, which is exciting!

  6. This sounds great and just like my kind of story: history and norse myths/legends!

    I am kind of frowning though, trying to think of similar stories other than those already mentioned. Contemporary stories anyway, but if I stick with (much! ;-)) longer established authors there's Rosemary Sutcliff's Beowulf and Henry Treece's Viking saga (I can only remember "The Road to Miklagard" but there was more than one title.)

    I also commiserate on the commute, but audio books are a great sanity saver!

  7. Jenny, I feel exactly the same way. This book sat on my shelf forever and I finally had to listen to it to get it "read."

    Shelley, I sure hope you can convince them sometime!

    Angie, oh, you should definitely get to The House of the Scorpion or this one - they are fabulous. I know lots of people commute, I'm just not the best at it (oh, the road rage :)

    Charlotte, thanks for all the great suggestions! (I think I thought of Icefall because of your review). I was really excited to read that Riordan was planning to do a Norse series!

    Andie, apparently there are many more than I first thought (isn't it always that way when I ask for suggestions?) And amen to audio books!


Love it when you comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Copyright © melissa of One Librarian's Book Reviews 2008-2015