Monday, October 6, 2014

Edge of your seat fantasy for tweens (and up)

Frostborn explodes into action on the very first page, propelling readers into the story at a breakneck pace that continues throughout the novel.

Karn and Thianna couldn’t be more different. Karn want’s to escape his birthright, leave the family farm, and find out what’s beyond Norrongard’s borders. Half frost giantess, half human Thianna only wants to fit in with the other giants and live out her life in peace on the giant’s frozen Northern mountain, but the pureblood giants bully her and take every opportunity to remind her that she isn’t one of them. Karn and Thianna meet at a trading fair, and a tentative friendship is born.

At the end of the fair Karn’s Uncle Ori betrays him, tricking him into challenging the undead warrior Helltopper for a battle. Karn’s father is lost instead, and Karn runs away in fear and guilt, chased by Helltopper’s undead servants. Meanwhile Thianna and her father return to their home to find foreign warriors riding wyvern looking for Thianna. She must act quickly to get away, though somehow the warriors are able to track her and follow close behind.

Chance, or fate, throws the two friends together again and each quickly comes to rely on the other’s unique skills to survive. Thianna is strong, loyal and brave. Karn’s years honing his Thrones and Bones game have given him an eye for strategy and an ability to see the enemy’s weaknesses. Together they battle draugs, giant linnorms, evil uncles and fierce warriors in an effort to save themselves and their loved ones.

Anders’ middle grade tale seizes the reader’s interest and keeps it. Karn and Thianna are fun, intelligent characters, and their friendship has chemistry. Personally, I appreciated that the two never viewed each other romantically, instead naturally falling into an easy camaraderie. The plot is well thought-out and fast-paced, written to capture a reader’s imagination. This is a book to hand boys and girls, adventure lovers, fantasy fans, and those who don’t think they like to read. I look forward to the next installment. 

Anders, Lou. Frostborn (Thrones and Bones book 1). New York: Random House Children's Books/Crown, 2014. 4 stars.

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