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Loki’s Wolves
by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr

The first book in The Blackwell Pages series

In the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, the old Norse gods are not forgotten. In fact, most of the town’s residents are descendants of the gods. Matt Thorsen, as his name implies, is from the bloodline of Thor, while his classmates Fen and Laurie are the children of Loki. When the town’s rune readers realize that Armageddon is imminent, they ask for a champion, and the runes point to Matt. Upon the thirteen-year-old’s shoulders falls the duty to gather up the champions of the other gods so that they can take their place in the ultimate battle. Will the children’s paths follow the fates of the original Norse gods, or can they change the outcome of Ragnarok, preventing the end of the world?

It was inevitable that a middle school adventure series featuring the Norse gods would be released. Rick Riordan of Percy Jackson fame has already staked a claim, announcing last year that after he finishes his current Heroes of Olympus series he’ll be starting a new Norse series. As much as I love Riordan, I was curious to see how a different author might handle Norse mythology, so when I heard that Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr had teamed up for a new trilogy I was intrigued.

Granted, I am many years past my middle school days, and I realize that books written for the tweeners will not be as stylistically complex as an adult novel. But if a story is strong and the characters believable, it can transcend young readers and appeal to adults, too – Harry Potter, anyone? That said, I don’t think Loki’s Wolves has the strength and polish to please an adult reader. It’s exposition heavy and extremely plot-driven, and written to be read quickly and easily by a young reader. Once the action gets going, it’s virtually non-stop. Something or someone is constantly attacking the kids as they try to recruit other gods. These scenes are interspersed with long segments where much is said but little is actually revealed.

Our hero, Matt, is interesting because he’s a rather reluctant hero. Growing up, he was never the “good” one in the family, because he was always outshined by older brothers, and when he’s elected as the hero it’s a dubious honor – because everyone in town knows that Thor’s ultimate fate is to be destroyed by the Jörmungandr. Matt’s hardly thrilled. Fen is the petulant anti-hero, reluctantly teaming up with Matt only to please his sister Laurie, who rounds out the trio with her intelligence and courage. If only the guys would stop trying to shelter her from every danger in such a condescending way, the group might actually be able to stop Ragnarok.

The rest of the cast isn’t nearly as well-developed. For example, we’re told again and again that Baldwin, the modern incarnation of Balder, is sooo nice and sooo likable, but based on what he says and does I am unconvinced. He’s got virtually no personality. If anything, I guess you could say he leans a little towards nerdy, but the only thing that makes me think he’s especially charming or enjoyable to be with is the writers going out of their way to point it out whenever he appears. By the end of the book there are a lot of underdeveloped characters running around.

Ultimately, this book was not for me. It didn’t do anything badly, but the book never went deep enough into its themes to appeal to me, and the writing simply didn’t aim for anyone outside the 8 to 12 demographic. I can’t speak for how this would appeal to a kid actually in that age range, only for adult readers who may have been drawn in my plot descriptions or the names of the authors, both of whom also write young adult and adult fiction.

2.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about Loki’s Wolves, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: The Divorce of Henry VIII by Catherine Fletcher
2011: Christopher Moore and Ian Corson at Books Inc for “The Griff”
2010: The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
2009: Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant
2008: Rahab’s Story by Ann Burton


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