Saturday, June 20, 2015

Frostborn (Thrones & Bones #1) review



About 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.


Review:
A couple of weeks ago Lou Anders was on the blog discussing the many elements that are incorporated in his book Frostborn. Now it's time to reveal my thoughts about the book...

My first thought before starting the book was, "A middle grade adventure book? O yes, I'm up for it!"

Kids (or adults) who claim that reading is boring should pick up the Thrones & Bones series. The opening chapter has readers riding with Talaria on the back of a wyvern. But not just riding, trying to escape. With pursuers right on their tail, Talaria and the wyvern must dodge projectiles being shot at them. Will they come out of it alive?!

After the action packed first chapter, Lou Anders, calms the story down and introduces Karn, one of the main characters of the story. Readers soon discover that this boy has brains. After Karn, we meet Thianna who is brave. Since she is only half frost giant, she has a thirst to prove herself to the other full blooded frost giants.

Thianna and Karn meet when each of their dads take them along for a gathering between the Norrøngard people and the frost giants. The two realize they don't have a lot in common, but are forced to survive together when  both run into each other while eascaping from separate evil foes. 

The story has multiple points of view. It is mostly told through Karn's and Thianna's viewpoints. I love how distinct each character's personality is. As they encounter obstacles on their journey, each one chooses to handle the situation their distinct way. For Thianna, it is physical, hands on, with a show of force. Karn, on the other hand, analyzes the situation and sees ways to outmaneuver an opponent to best him or her. You have brains and brawn with this duo!

The way both characters' situations are resolved are ingenious. Karn knows he won't be able to win in a physical fight, so he devises a plan to win another way. Thianna might be able to match her foes' physicality, but her enemies don't want her specifically, but rather something she has. With help from another character, the item won't be able to fall into her enemy's hands. 

By the end of the book, the plot line is wrapped up. Then Thianna decides to explore more of Lou Anders' world and takes off. Want to see what happens next, you have to pick up book two of the Thrones and Bones series, Nightborn.

All of the fantasy elements Anders incorporated in this book, made it fascinating. (You'll definitely check out his thoughts on creating Frostborn by checking out his post: Trolls, Dragons, and Draug... Oh My!) The book has no foul language and only very mild violence, so it is perfect for the middle grade target audience. It can also be enjoyed by boys and girls. I highly recommend it.

As an added bonus, Anders breaks down the Thrones and Bones game rules in the back of the book. There are illustrated examples of the game board and the moves each piece can make.  Readers can create their own game and actually play it with another player. 

But if you want a more digital gaming experience to go along with the story, check out the Knattleikr game!

About author Lou Anders:

Lou Anders's research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally.

Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature.

Frostborn, which Publishers Weekly described as “thoroughly enjoyable” (starred review), is his first middle grade novel. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. 

You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones