The Sleeping Army (Sleeping Army 1) Paperback – 3 May 2012
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Children will love the banter, the darkness and physicality of the tale (Guardian)
A wildly original, rollicking twist on Norse mythology (Jacqueline Wilson)
Guaranteed to bring gales of laughter (The Times)
Breathtaking, magical storytelling. I loved this book (Eoin Colfer)
An exciting new novel for children 8+ from one of the bestselling children's authors in the world, the creator of the Horrid Henry seriesSee all Product description
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This army was supposed to have woken with her, but only three turned up, so they accompany her on her quest. A modern girl, she’s pretty clueless about self-sufficiency and squeamish about what she eats. Her companions don’t think much of her either, but she proves she’s got more resources than she thinks she has and does a mean trick of using kindness and consideration to people that have never known it to get through some sticky situations.
I read this in one sitting and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I didn’t think I was going to when I started it! It’s a well constructed tale with lovely illustrations and delightful imagery. It’s writing that brings things to life in one’s imagination.
An excellent book for older children and teenagers who like adventure and fantastical beings or legends.
Freya is a great character. A normal modern girl dragged into an adventure with children from the Dark Ages and a berserk, she's really out of her depth and seen as slightly pathetic by her co-adventurers. The narration focuses on her perspective, although it is third-person, allowing us insight into her thoughts and feelings as she undertakes the extremely daunting challenge set her by Woden.
Aspects of myth are used and incorporated extremely well - even to the point where it is clear which parts of the story deviate from the canon of Norse myth. This is where the set-up of a world based on Norse belief that has become fairly stagnant works best, as Freya is able to question the myths she's been brought up with and compare them to the reality that she is now experiencing. As the blurb above indicates, Freya's quest is all about restoring the gods to youth, but her knowledge of mythology tells her that they don't age. Effectively, the established myths have been PR for the gods. This detail ensures that any readers who aren't greatly familiar with Norse tales will clearly know 'real' myth from what has been added for this story. This demonstrates the respect with which the novel treats the myths and, like so many other aspects of this book, is very clever indeed.
Overall, this adventure is a great addition to a child's library. Although the main character is a girl, there is nothing in the story (or the cover) to spoil boys' enjoyment of it. I would heartily recommend this to lovers of fantasy adventure stories and those who enjoy mythic tales.