Runemarks Paperback – 4 Sep 2008
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"Especially enjoyable are Harris' aphorisms, her satire of joyless piety and the comically irreverant vernacular spoken by a dissolute goblin and the trickster god Loki" (Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times)
"Joanne Harris deploys a big cast in relentless action across a cosmic panorama. This is a mighty feat of storytelling and a fascination re-envisionment of Norse mythology" (Books for Keeps)
"Her dramatic story rollocks along for 536 pages with magical transformations, nets of blue fire and a spunky heroine" (Amanda Craig The Times)
"This is a fantastic romp through the world of ancient magic, which should appeal to all adventure lovers aged 10-12 and above" (Ruth Coleman Inis)
Maddy Smith is a girl who has got it bad. Born with the runemark of the title on her hand, she is an oddball in her village, befriended only by a mysterious old man called One-Eye, who teaches her all she knows of magic. Unlike ordinary humans, Maddy can see goblins, and knows that where her friend's glam (magic) is weak, hers is strong, though quite how strong she only discovers when she goes underground and meets a young man who calls himself Lucky. Before long Maddy is coping with the reawakened Sleepers, formerly Norse gods. Together with a pleasingly cynical oracular head called The Whisperer, who has plans of his own, she has to prevent the Nine Worlds from descending into Chaos.
Ever since Chocolat, Harris has played with the idea that magic might actually work, and it was only a matter of time before she, like many other adult authors, wrote a book for children. Her enjoyment at being able to go the whole hog is palpable, and her dramatic story rollocks along for 536 pages, with magical transformations, nets of blue fire and a spunky heroine.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel which is quite long for a childrens novel relates Maddie's adventures as she crosses over into the different worlds. On her journey she encounters many colourful characters including norse gods. No-one is quite who they appear to be and who actually can Maddie really trust! There are lots of twists along the way. Joanne Harris in this book demonstates her ability as a storyteller. Although i did feel that she did not explore the character of Maddy strongly enough that said a very readable story.
An outsider who has to discover and grow into her power, runes, magic, Norse gods, goblins, sharp humour, action and adventure, and an abundance of clever twists all combine to make this a high-voltage read that's hard to put down. I've read reviews that say you would need some knowledge of the Norse gods to understand this book, but I don't agree. Their characters are part of the story and it's not important to know their mythical backgrounds - though you may find you want to explore them, and the runes, further after reading 'Runemarks.' There's a list of characters and a brief description of the individual runes at the beginning of the book, which makes it easy to see who's who - the cast of characters made me laugh, because it swiftly becomes clear, before you even start to read the book, that Loki is Trouble with a capital T.
If you're expecting a novel along the lines of 'Chocolat', 'The Lollipop Shoes', 'Gentlemen and Players', 'Sleep, Pale Sister,' or any of Joanne's adult books, you'll find 'Runemarks' to be very, very different but just as well-written. As an author she has always admirably resisted being typecast, and 'Runemarks' reveals how extraordinarily versatile she is as a writer.
The characters are interesting, different and some really magical. I'm a fan of Joanne Harris anyway, particularly of '5 quarters of the orange' and the 'lollipop shoes', but this (in my humble opinion) is the best so far in terms of substance, storyline and excitement.
I would think it's appealing to such a range of people; men and women, young and old... it's very different.
And, what's more, the ending is left quite 'open', so let's hope there's another to follow..!
So why 4 stars? Only down to the fact I had a little trouble keeping up with all the characters and who's side they were on. But to be fair, that was probably my fault because in certain parts of the story I had to keep putting the book down due to busy periods. Otherwise it would have gotten 5 stars
Most Recent Customer Reviews
disappointing...full of incidents, adventures, betrayals, fights and good versus evil contests, but very dully written...in a standard reporting style.. Read morePublished 27 days ago by april
Want more reviews like this one: niasbookfort.blogspot.co.uk
So this book is one I picked up at Christmas, read half of it, and then didn't pick it up again for three months;... Read more
Really enjoyed the first three books. A colourful, well-planned narrative with a mixture of medieval characters and events woven into fiction which has whetted my appetite to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Julie Chamard
Okay, some background. Joanne Harris has written another book on the same topic called The Gospel of Loki which is perfect and hilarious and exactly what you need if you like books... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Maiko
A standard fantasy book following the usual themes, there were no interesting characters to get into or plot twists. If you're looking for a book to hook you, this is not it.Published 6 months ago by Toby Parkes
This is a wonderful book, and despite being written for children it makes intelligent adult reading too. Read morePublished 8 months ago by S
I enjoyed this book enormously. Joanne Harris is such a good writer that she has created a page turner of an adventure using characters from Norse legend in a way that captures... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Tina Marina