- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 23 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Abridged
- Publisher: Random House AudioBooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 31 July 2007
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002SQD4I4
Runemarks Audio Download – Abridged
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|Audio Download, Abridged, 31 Jul 2007||
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By this time, the old gods have been all but forgotten, and any sign of magic is frowned upon and punished by the new Order. Occassionally, a child or animal is born with a ‘ruinmark’ (runemark), and still holds some magical ability, and the novel follows one such child, Maddy, and her old friend One-Eye (Odin), as the world begins to change again and the old gods are awakened.
I really liked the world building in this, as it has a distinct fantasy novel feel and a lovely, mountainous setting, while ‘the Order’ has obvious parallels with the spread of Christianity and its hypocrisy. I love the way the author has taken the traditional history/mythology and intriguing information about runes and the geography of the Nine Worlds, and used it as a starting point for a new plot.
I had mixed feelings about the first couple of chapters; it felt like a lot of background information was crammed in there to get it out of the way, which resulted in too much telling and not enough showing when it came to character descriptions. But the the action starts fairly quickly, with the return of One-Eye and the opening of the hill, and then the novel starts to come into its own. I liked the way that the plot paralleled the classic myths with the descent into the Underworld and recovery of a lost item or person.
But while I really enjoyed the first and last third, the middle third of the book, that focused on the squabbling of the Vanir and the ambitions of Nat Parson and the Examiner, was a bit slow. I think a lot of that could have been cut out and the novel could have been shorter and faster paced. Also, the chapters were short and regularly switched point of view, which made the story feel disjointed. My favourite chapters were those concerning Maddy, Loki and Odin, and the other characters became tedious at times. As much as I loved the subject matter, I don't think this is one of her best-written novels. But I enjoyed the journey through the Nine Worlds and will go on to read Runelight.
Superhuman campaigns to gain absolute power - and wars to thwart such intentions - take the reader into the realms of the fairy tale, and like fairy tales, are often extremely grim.
Into this scene of magic and turmoil is drawn young Maddy Smith, a village girl who’s always been seen as “different”, not least because of a strange-coloured rune-mark on her hand, with which she was born.
There’s no denying Joanne Harris’ brilliance, or the excitement of this story of the ancient gods, but I thought she dragged it out far too long. By three-quarters of the way through, I was anxious to reach an end, but I felt the author was having such a ball indulging in the sheer fun of letting rip with her imagination, that she just couldn’t bring herself to stop. It must sound crazy to say of a story of myth and magic, that some parts were more beyond belief than others. But that is what I found. Nevertheless, it’s a gripping read.
Onto the book itself: This is one of my all time favorites, I actually bought it before as a first edition but of course, the friend I lent it to misplaced it. I ordered this because I was dying to read it again. Witty, sharp fantasy book about norse gods and implied romance that is just the PERFECT book without overstating anything. Really makes you fall in love with the characters, it is in my opinion Joanne Harris' greatest work. Subtle and understated tensions between all the characters, she really makes you FEEL their relationships rather than having to blatantly state them. Subtle and witty, sharp and sarcastic, but endearing and exciting. This FABULOUS book is a must-read for fantasy lovers and lovers of caustic wit! 10/10.
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