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Jo Bunt

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Enders (Starters 2)
Enders (Starters 2)
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Second Book!, 17 Jan. 2014
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So, Callie now has a guardian and is no longer an unclaimed minor. Plus she has a nice house. Things should be good.

But the Old Man still keeps talking in her head. And also someone else who may or may not be her dead father. And she's still not free of her brain chip, which means theoretically anyone could control her body again.

Also the first book left off with easily the most inventive romantic tangle I've ever read. So things clearly aren't over.

The Old Man has found a way to use brain chips as bombs, making Callie and the others with brain chips extremely dangerous weapons. And then Callie meets Hyden, who is the Old Man's son and has a plan to stop his dad wreaking anymore destruction. But Hyden might not be all he seems....

Ok, this book may actually be one of the best I've ever read. It is completely compelling, has some amazing plot twists and pretty cool world details. Characters are likable and interesting and the story is incredibly fast paced and never gets boring. Also, whilst most recently published sci-fis seem to have moved away from the idea that the dystopian world should represent anything or have any kind of message, I feel like this one has some fairly interesting reflections about the relationship between the young and old generations in a society and the conflict of interests this causes.
The love-interest plot here is also pretty clever.

Oh, and I was a bit sad Rhiannon wasn't in this at all because I really liked her in the first book. But she wouldn't have had much to contribute here, so ah well.

As for the ending...well, this appears to be the last book in the series, and whilst I kind of respect the decision to avoid making it a trilogy like EVERY OTHER SCI FI there is some room for a sequel here and the ending did leave a lot unresolved. It wasn't a BAD ending though(and I've noticed sci-fis seem to have problems with ending the last book, so that in itself is quite impressive) just a not entirely resolved one. Still, if there WAS another book I would definitely be happy.

by Scott Westerfeld
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Fame, truth and lies, 28 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Extras (Paperback)
I wasn't quite sure what this was going to be about when I first picked it up,if it was going to have any of the same characters as Uglies or not but...

Aya Fuse's city, located somewhere in Japan, has dealt with the problems caused by everyone becoming a non-bubblehead and demanding far more resources than the city can really afford by introducing the "reputation economy". This means the more times your name is spoken, the more resources you're allcoated and it has left almost the whole city fame obsessed. Aya's older brother Hiro, who is a similar age to Tally from the other books, made himself famous by reporting other people's stories almost immediately and in Aya's opinion has become a stuck up snob with no time for anyone but him. Her goal is also to become famous by "kicking" others stories and her plan for doing this is to integrate herself with the "Sly Girls", a clique who hate fame and try to avoid notice and so that she can secretly post their story to the whole world.

For a while the book is similar to Uglies, as Aya grows to like the Sly Girls and feels guilty for betraying them. However this is NOT Uglies and whilst Aya and the Sly Girls surf along the roof of a train and spot something very, very odd, the story takes a turn in another direction.

Basically, although Extras, like the other three books, is in three parts, it can really be divided in half, based on when Tally Youngblood comes into it, because after that it gets quite different. For a start, although Aya remains the point of view character, the emphasis really switches to Tally. At first it was odd seeing her through another character's eyes, but you quickly get used to it(Tally promises to help Aya and Aya trusts her, but is she making a mistake...?) and of course some of the ambigiousness of the ending to Specials in terms of Tally's relationships with Shay and David(who also make appearances) is resolved.

I think one of the best things about this series is that Tally and Aya aren't exactly...good. A lot of the time they tread a very fine line between being the heroine of the book and being something resembling the villain. And they plenty of the time do selfish or nasty things, which makes a contrast to other, more idealised, heroines of books. And most of the other characters are just as ambigious. Usually it annoys me when reviews say books have a lot of twists and turns, but this one really does. And I think most of us can far more easily relate to Aya's fame obsessed world than we could to Tally's beauty obsessed one in the earlier books.

This is a book, like the rest of the series, about frienship and betrayal, specialness and ordinariness, right and wrong and most of all truth and lies and the narrow gap between them. But Extras is also about fame and anonymity. Enjoy.

by Julie Bertagna
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex dysotopian sci-fi, 12 July 2012
This review is from: Aurora (Paperback)
So even though I liked Exodus, I was really disapointed by the sequel, Zenith. In places it didn't even make sense and it was basically just one long run of suffering. At the back of Zenith there was a Q and A thing with the author saying there would be a sequel, but after 4 or 5 years of no sequel turning up I started to think it must have been cancelled. And then I found this in a bookshop...

Well I don't know if the amount of time it seems to have taken to write meant the author could correct whatever went wrong with Zenith, but this book is waaay better. Unlike the first two, it's told through the perspective of just about every character who's involved, starting with Pandora, the urchin found by Fox at the end of Zenith, who has since fallen in love with him and wishes he'd reciprocate her feelings. Although actually that's never openly stated. One of the good things about this book in my opinion is that it doesn't flesh everything out for you-a lot of the feelings and emotions are implied or assumed and that gives a tint of uncertainty to the whole thing.

Probably the biggest problem I had with this book was that, since it's been years since I read Zenith, I had trouble remembering a lot of detail the book seemed to expect me to know. I kept thinking Who's Wing? Who's Scarwell? Urchins have webbed feet? Was Broom the name of that woman who went missing? I couldn't check in Zenith and Exodus becasue I'd got them out of the library so didn't have them anymore.

Lily, Fox and Mara's daughter, is in love with Wing, the urchin from the first two books, who is living with wolves and the more hostile urchin Scarwell, in a cave. Since Scarwell is jealous of Lily and Wing, she tells Lily that her real father is Fox rather than Rowan, as Lily has always been told and so Lily sets out to find him, with Wing as a guide. However things are complicated when she is captured by Clayslaps, the missing son of Pollack and Broom from Zenith, who although a slave himself, is working as a slave trader for the sinister land on the other side of the mountain(also from zenith but it's explained far better in this book.) At the same time Candle, the daughter of Clayslap's owner, is preparing reluctantly for her marriage to Tuck Culpy, the mysterious bridge builder and overlord of the land. I did NOT like Tuck at all in Zenith but since he is not remotley marketed as a goodie in this book, I actually got quite fascinated by his character this time around. The plot is very complex and has plenty of twists and turns. There isn't so much a love triangle this time as a love pentagon, or something like that anyway.

Lily was o.k. as a main character, but I was more fascinated by the other younger female characters, Pandora and Candle. It's a mark of the realisticness of this series that they're not...nice...and you really wouldn't know where to put them in the goodie/baddie camp. Their interactions with Lily, who they're both jealous of, for different reasons, were really interesting. And I also liked seeing Candle come into her own...

Mara is in this book, in case you're wondering and she actually does a lot. We also get to find out about Fox's parents.

Two Truths and a Lie: A Lying Game Novel
Two Truths and a Lie: A Lying Game Novel
by Sara Shepard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So who killed Sutton?, 12 Jun. 2012
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Emma Paxton is pretending to be her identical twin Sutton Mercer and has managed to fool everyone who knows Sutton. The reason she's doing this is because Sutton's killer has blackmailed her to, since as long as Sutton isn't missing there's no murder to be investigated. But at the same time Emma is trying to find out who the murderer is so she can expose them to the police. To do this she has to unravel Sutton's rather mysterious life. And at the heart of the mystery is a boy called Thayer Vega who supposedly loved Sutton but ran away because of her.

When Thayer returns and ends up in jail because of Emma's actions, this causes a rift with Sutton's best friend and Thayer's sister Madeline and Sutton's sister Laurel. But because Emma doesn't know anything about Thayer, she doesn't understand what it is they're angry about. And what she wants to know is if it was Thayer who killed Sutton.But it's hard to investigate without giving away who she really is...

The amazing thing about this book is that even though most of it's characters are snobs and bullies, the author describes them in a way that makes you actually like all of them. I really don't want any of these people to be Sutton's killer, but one of them is. And whoever it is is a pretty good actor because they all are acting like they really think Emma's Sutton. I also do feel kind of sad that Sutton(who is narrating the book as an unseen ghost who follows Emma around) will never have the chance to mend her rifts with any of the others or explain why it was she did certain things.

This isn't the last book in the series, in case you were wondering, and judging by the last series the author wrote, there's going to be a lot more. Which is kind of annoying becasue I don't want to wait that long to find out what really happened to Sutton. But anyway, this books a pretty good sequel-I think I liked it more than the second one although I wasn't that sure in the middle, when a few too many bad things were happening. But I loved the last third and I definitley can't wait for the sequel.

by Julie Bertagna
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh-oh, 14 April 2012
This review is from: Exodus (Paperback)
The best thing you can say for this book is that it feels like real life. Not because the characters are so well drawn you feel you know them or the descriptions are so lifelike or the plot is so terribly believable. No, Zenith feels like real life because it's events don't happen in an ordered, meaningful way where everything is explained like in most books but are seemingly random, often never properly understood by the characters and sometimes don't enrich the plot at all. But annoying as it is to read, this does make the book feel almost like a true story.

The whole of the book is from the point of view of Mara,who is sailing with the refugees on a ship, Fox, who is plotting a revolution beneath the city and a new character called Tuck who is a "gypsea".Now I really really didn't like Tuck at all. The author seemed to intend him to be a "mixed bag" character who is a combination of good and bad which is fair enough but there wasn't actually one moment when I rooted for him or liked him even the slightest bit. His vendetta against Mara seems completely unreasonable, even given the circumstances, because it's very obvious it's not her fault what happened with his people. His later love interest plot with her was an interesting enough plotline now I think back on it but whilst I was actually reading the book made me scream with frustration because I just wanted her to end up with Fox. I was not remotely interested in the plotline about him finding his true talent, which is what he takes up at the end of the book and I kind of felt that he had beeen given the happy ending Mara should have had, which did nothing to endear me to him. What he does before he runs away from Mara's group is just EVIL. Interestingly the review to the sequel hint that he becomes a villain so...we'll have to see.

As for Fox, I liked him in the first book but since he never did anything at all in the bits of Zenith that were about him, I've started to go off even him. I was hoping the fact he was living with Lily would mean we got to hear more about her and Callum but the author completely dispenses with Callum and we never get to know how he feels now about either her or Fox. I know he was only a minor character in Exodus but I actually found him fascinating and it really annoyed me that we didn't even find out how he feels about Fox's betrayal.

Other characters don't do anything to improve the book either. Rowan behaves like an ass in this one and the ending about him didn't make me happy at all, Mara's companions from the first book are quite interesting until one of them vanishes and the others just mope for the rest of the book, and the new characters introduced seem there to fit cliches-the tough mean girl who's endured loads of suffering and squares off against the heroine but then realises they're actually alike and they make friends, the wise old woman...The author appears to get bored with these characers halfway through and they either die or vanish with no explanation.

Then there's Mara herself. The author appears to be frightened to turn her main character into one of those heroines who whines all the time about missing their boyfirend and goes so far the other way that Mara comes across as not missing Fox at all. Again the author goes down the route of cliche with what happens to Mara, setting the sequel up well but not making this book any better. Some of Mara's personality has seems to have been sapped by the events that happen and she mostly just moves sluggishly through the book, reacting lethargically or with resignation to the next bad event. The only time she wakes up is when she meets Fox through the computer system; she actually reacts with indignation to the fact people knew about risng sea levels and did nothing instead of the general guilt and sadness she treats everything else with, whether or not it actually deserves guilt or sadness. I'l admit the author takes quite an original approach with the ending of Mara's storyline but it didn't make me happy.

The real problem with this book wasn't the characters or the plot, it was the way events were strung together. Things happen and are just never explained and characters jump from one place to another with no apparent reason for how that happened. At one point Mara is a prisoner with some other characters. The scene then jumps to those who've escaped being prisoners hiding out in a cave. Suddenly they see Mara walking across the beach towards them! But she stops, having just discovered the dead body of another character. One of the people in the cave asks a question and it is answerered by Mara, who is now standing right next to them, even though a minute ago she was on the beach. Then they move on to talking about how they're going to survive, never mind how Mara escaped from those who'd caught her, never mind the fate of the others caught with her and never mind how the woman on the beach ended up dead. It just ddin't make sense.

On top of that, the whole book was just too sad. Nothing and I mean NOTHING, good happened on one single page. I kept thinking that all the early suffering was going to be made up for later, but it never was. I suspect this book would actually be much better on rereading because I wouldn't have false expectations and in a way the tragedy that plays out is shaped and done quite well but this wasn't what I was expecting at all and it really annoyed me that it didn't do anything I wanted it to.

But on the plus side, all it's faults do make it feel very like real life. I'm not sure if that's what the author was going for, but it is one strength.

Nobody's Princess (Princesses of Myth)
Nobody's Princess (Princesses of Myth)
by Esther M Friesner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Well..., 19 Dec. 2011
This book is the story of Helen of Troy or Sparta as an older child.

Helen is a princess who feels she has a special connction with the goddess Aphroditie and who wants to learn to fight and wrestle like her brothers(btw, this is not made up ,some ancient sources really do say Helen liked wrestling and hunting).

When she goes to Mycenae to drop off her sister to be married, Helen somehow ends up going on to Caledon, were she ends up in the caledonian Boar hunt and then to delphi, where she befriends the oracle.

There are appearances from Castor and Polydeuces(or Pollux as he's called by the Romans), Clytemnestra, Atalanta, Theseus,meleager, Leda, Tynderus and pirithous as well as numerous references to various gods.The setting of dark age Greece felt reasonably convincing, although I'm not sure travel would be so easy at that point as it appears to be in this book and there is no mention of outside attack ,which was probably happening on a large scale at the time.

Now this book was very well researched and it can be read equally well be somene who does or doesn't know a lot abot Greek mythology. However, I didn't feel the plot was quite enough to sustain the book-basically, Helen and her brothers go off on a couple of adventures, meet a few nice people, meet a few nasty people-and then there's a set up for the next book.

this book is actually the prequel to a story by the author in Young Warriors: Stories of Strength, edited by Tamora Pierce. I really recomend you read this as well, since it is actually really good, better than this one.

Daughters of Rome (Rome 2)
Daughters of Rome (Rome 2)
by Kate Quinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a tired storyline, but..., 13 Dec. 2011
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On the surface, this isn't the most original storyline. Four young girls, blood relaives and all very close to each other, are living in a time of political turmoil which they become caugt up in as they experience love, death, danger and a test of their friendship.
But what makes this book stand out is the characters.
The complexity of the character's in Daughters of Rome was really great. In the author's earlier book Mistress of Rome, in spite of the male narrators being convincingly flawed and thoroughly likable anyway, female main characters could feel a bit black and white. Who's ever met anyone quite as egocentric, uncaring and incapable of feeling others pain as Lepida?Particularly with her apparently lucky life circumstances and happy life before the book.

In this book, on the other hand, the main characters Cornelia, Marcella and Lollia are all vividly drawn ,thoroughly believable and never annoying.Supporting characters are mostly the same and Galba, Otho and Vitellius, the first three emperors of the year are all portrayed originally enough to make them interesting. And whilst they might fit the "four devoted sisters" prototype(in spite of not all being sisters) the main character's relationships with each other are not idealised. They frequently have rather nasty, judgemental thoughts about each other.Most impotantly, the ending is NOT what you would expect of that type of book. In fact, I really recommend you don't read this before you do Mistress of Rome because without knowing what happens in that book, the ending to this will not make you happy.

One of the best things about Daughters of Rome was that when one of the characters does something that makes you dislike her you actuaully understand why-it all makes sense in terms of the values she was raised with or something unsatisfactory in her life. This is particularly true for Marcella-I thought the author did a very good job of explaining why she ends up acting in something of a villain role.

In spite of all this,there were still some things I didn't like about this book. First, i agree with other reviews that Diana was a bit of a letdown compared to the other three narrators. I would say the book would do better without her except that she is very important to the "Marcella" plotline, both in terms of Marcella's development and changes and to her eventual conclusion , though in a way that makes me sympathise with Marcella even when I don't think I'm supposed to. Lyn ap Caradoc, the major character in the "Diana" plotline, was rather too similar to Arius in Mistress of Rome in lifestory, if not in personality.

and then there was the role of Domitian in this book. Don't get me wrong, his early character here is fascinating and the scenes in which he appars are some of the best, although I'm not sure how they'd read to someone who hdn't read the first book. It's just that I'd been hoping we'd find out more about his relationships with his father and brother which if you read Suetonius, are really intersting and there was very little on this. You can actually find out more about his older brother Titus by reading Mistress of Rome than this one. Domitian's father Emperor Vespasian was a "wit" who used most of his jokes to make fun of Domitian in public, but here he is portrayed mostly positively. In the end, there isn't much choice from this book other than to say Domitian must be "naturally evil", since there is no explanation for his twisted behaviour and I always think that makes the least intersting baddies.

But I still think that Daughters of Rome is the one of the most intersting historical fiction books you're ever likely to read.

Stravaganza City of Secrets
Stravaganza City of Secrets
by Mary Hoffman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite in this series, 31 Aug. 2011
Matt, a dyslexic rugby player who is afraid his girlfriend Ayeesha will dump him is the latest stravagante.He goes to Padavia where he is not dyslexic at all and works on bookbinding with his Stravagante Professor Constantin. Constantin also teaches Luciano and Cesare who are studying at the uni of Padavia. However, although Matt is drawn to talia and unlike heroes of previous books has to come regularly or the bookbinders will get suspicous(not sure why this didn't apply to Sky in Flowers) this actually makes his problems worse as Ayeesha feels he is pushing her away by hanging out with Georgia, sky and Nick all the timetalking about Talia.

Meanwhile in Giglia the di Chimici are keen to get revenge for the death of one of their own at the end of Flowers. Fabrizio di Chimici sends his cousin Filippo(Francesca's brother) to befriend luciano and catch him under the new witchcraft laws Rinaldo di Chimici has persuaded the governor of Padavia to introduce. Ignoring warnings from Enrico the spy, who is now working for him, that Filippo is not his friend, Luciano classes him as one of the "good" di Chimici. And Luciano is not the only person the new witchcraft laws threaten...

Whether or not you will like this book basically depends on whether you liked the first three. if you're not intwerested in what Luciano and other characters did next don't read this. I don't actually think Flowers needed a sequel, it ended pretty perfectly but it is nice to see all the characters again. The most interesting old characters in this book are probably Luciano, Arianna and Enrico. I do agree with the other reviews that the older covers were much nicer.

The first third of this book is just the genereal lives of the characters where they drift aroubnd meeting each other and forming alliances-there's also a lot of detail about things like printing presses- and this was the part I didn't like much. But once the evil eye comes into it(saying more would be a spoiler)the book speeds up and gets considerably better. Matt takes a significant role in the action in Talia and starts to sort his problems out. The last third is a Grand Climax followed by what happens afterwards.

There's some foreshadowing of the next book which doesn't really have anything to do with this one e.g. Beatrice di Chimici's restlessness. Also there's a mystery about a member of the Manoush which the author doesn't appear to plan on resolving which is very annoying. It wouldn't be fair to say cvharacters are shown in black and white, but they move more towards that direction than they did in the first three books. In Masks for instance, Rinaldo and Enrico were villiains but you could sort of sympathesise with them and even like them. In this book Enrico isn't a villain at all and Rinaldo's entering into the church seems to have caused him to lose his scruples and become vile bordering on evil(not that I'm saying that's unrealistic; Renaissance church importants did sometimes seem to be psychopaths.)

There's also more about Science in this book, particularly anatomy-and what anatomnists were actua\lly permitted to do.You couldn't donate your body to Science in those days.

A good thing about Secrets in contrast to some of the others is that the action in the real world is actually relevant to the action in Taluia-they're not two seperate stories and actually spill into one another.

So overall, if you liked the other books ,you'll probably like this one too-but if you're planning on starting the series I really wouldn't start here. At the very least all the names will confuse you very quickly.

Sigrun's Secret
Sigrun's Secret
by Marie-Louise Jensen
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sigrun is great!, 25 April 2011
This review is from: Sigrun's Secret (Paperback)
This is the sequel to Daughter of Fire and Ice, although I only realised that when I started reading it.

In Daughter of Fire and Ice(spoilers ahead) ,Thora is kidnapped by a norwegian chieftain, Bjorn Svanson, who is fleein g to Iceland. However he is killed by a slave who's sister he has just murdered. Thora has a vision of her and the slave going to Iceland so they decide he should pretend to be Bjorn Svanson and they should escape on his ships as the King's army are coming after the real Bjorn and are likely to squash anyone in their way. Once they've done that, they come to love each other but Bjorn is then forced into marrying Ragna, who turns out to be a healer-gone-bad, who uses her skills to kill anyone who offends her. But at the end, when the kinsmen of Svanson come to avenge him, Ragna is accidentally killed and everything gets revealed to everyone, both her past and Bjorn's.

Sigrun is Bjorn and Thora's daughter-she also has a brother called Asgrim- but because her parents are scared that childrten will blurt things out she's been told her father really is a former Norwegian chieftain who ran away because he didn't want to submit to the king and that he was married to Thora before they left. However the real Bjorn svanson had a son, Halfgrim, who is now old enough to seek revenge and he arrives, captures Sigrun and tells her wrongly that both her parents were his father's slaves.

an agreement is made that Bjorn should leave Iceland for three years with Asgrim and Sigrun ,but as soon as they're on the ship he clams up and won't talk to Sigrun about what's really going on. Asgrim meanwhile gets more and more resentful and angry with his parents and starts drinking. Sigrun is depressed because she has to leave her home and Bera and Helgi's son Ingvar, who she loves.

they meet up with Thrang ,the sea captain from the first book and his son Leif and go to stay in York, where Thrang is now living. sigrun finds that her skills as a healer, which wrre taught to her by her mother but she never really mastered, have suddenly increased because of an amulet Ingvar gave her.

Quite a bit of the book is taken up by a mystery around Leif, a saxon called Leola, the local royal family and a slave Sigrun rescues called Maria. Although obviously the characters haver big problems and some of the themes around raiding and slavery(there's a lot more about this in this book) are quite dark, the tone of all this is fairly cheerrful,unlike the last book which was a bit too full of suffereing for me, so I wasn't prepared for what happens next, when the book suddenly turns very bleak and a lot of bad stuff happens. I can't really say anymore without completely giving it away but this isn't just an extra book-it will change the way you see Daughter of Fire and Ice too.

In the end, Sigrun, who is a brilliant character, saves the day in a really satisfying way (and some stuff that didn't make sense about Halfgrim is also explained) but it didn't quite make up for the bleakness of earlier.

here are a few more gripes:
Sigrun and Asgrim never learn about their father's first wife, even though they are given clues about it. this seems a pretty important part of the story to be missed out, even though I know it's not that relevant to the plot of this book.

This book doesn't resolve many of the mysteries of the last one. We never learn more about the fake Bjorn's real family or what happened to Thora's father and I was expecting it to at least clear up the second of those.

I was never sure what "sigrun's secret" actually was. She has quite a few secrets but there isn't one that stands out over the others and is integral to the plot. Still, it does make a good title.

the book is also a bit broken up-it's almost like several little stories about the same character each of which ends as the next one starts.

But none of these are major problems and on the other hand ,as other reviews said, the history is woven in really well, there is a huge amount of cultural detail but it's not mentioned unless it's actually relevant to the story, the characters are likable, believable and consistent and the main character really grows throgh the story. So yes, overall, a great novel.

Goddess of the North: A Comprehensive Study of the Norse Goddesses, from Antiquity to the Modern Age
Goddess of the North: A Comprehensive Study of the Norse Goddesses, from Antiquity to the Modern Age
by Lynda Welch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but takes itself a bit seriously, 29 Mar. 2011
This is a book about the female aspects of the Ancient Norse religion( that is Scandenavia and Germania, basically the religion described in Snorri Sturluson's Prosse Edda). It explores the goddesses snorri mentions and how Christianity has tried to repress knowledge of them.

It is from a pagan American perspective and assumes it's readers are the same but mostly you can ignore these bits because the rest of the book is relevant to anyone. It starts off by talking about Christianity and feminism and then gives an overview of all the stuff covered in Snorri ,including lists and descriptions of all the goddeses(and more briefly gods).Then it starts linking different goddeses who are basically just versions of each other until it gets it down to three, which the author calls The Mother(the "Great Mother" or "Mother Earth" in other books ) represented by Frigg, Odin's wife, The Daughter(the one other authors call "Spring Maiden" ) represented by Freya, the most famous Norse goddess and The Grandmother(who gets called "The Crone" in lots of other books , rather unfairly)represented by the giantess Skadi who joins the gods.Each goddess fits into one of these categories and where it seems unclear (i.e. Idun, who guards the apples of youth) the author explains why she put them where she did. There are also lists of their attributes.

The book then goes onto identify other parts of Norse mythology, such as Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds, as well as the four seasons(3 for the Norse) with each goddess. Finally, it talks about how witchburnings were actually to do with fear of the goddess and the way she survived in fairy tales and the implications of being pagan today.

So first of all the positives. The book is interesting, well written and relies on written evidence ,personal interpretation and common sense rather than archaology and personally I find this more interesting. It can be read by anyone and explains things quite well so you don't have to know anything about Norse religion to understand it. It also uses texts which aren't easily to find if you don't belong to some academic elite, both ancient and modern. nor does it start waving around fancy terms like Neolithic and Paolithic and talking about ancient towns and excavation sites as if it expects everyone to know what its talking about, which is what I've found with other Goddess books. It presents texts with tables and sub headings to give the reader a break from continous blocks of text.

However, at times it got a bit preachy about what's wrong in society and even when it was right about what it was saying this could be annoying. The parts about what Norse society was like seem a bit idealised in places and everything was decribed using overly positive terminology. Every single goddess seemed to be called "beautiful" before she was anything else(even when the ancient texts don't mention their looks at all) and the male deities are never described in this way!

Overall, a useful and interesting text which I would recommend to anyone but especially to pagans as they could appreciate the references to the goddess being real more than me.

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