Jack is a boy out of place. At the age of thirteen a family catastrophe causes him to be uprooted from the comforting routines of English life and plunged headfirst into a new life in a remote Scandinavian town. Skirmishes with school bully Lukas prove Jack is no pushover but the real test comes when his new friend Skuli reveals a terrifying secret. The body of a Viking Boy; an ancient warrior buried beneath a glacier. This is the set up. The talented Miss Eastham is drawing back the bow. But the real fun comes once she unleashes the instrument of destruction itself because from this point on ‘Arrowhead’ flies straight and true, a brilliantly constructed teen/ya thriller told at warp speed which will enthrall boy and girl readers alike. Jack’s world quickly spirals out of control as an ancient curse is unleashed. The dividing lines between reality and fantasy become dangerously blurred. New enemies are crawling out of the darkness. His family are starting to change in disturbing ways. Violence and betrayal become the touchstones of this disorientating new world. Jack’s quest is filled with a growing sense of isolation, physical threat and supernatural terror. Ancient prophecies are beginning to wreak havoc in the contemporary world and, together with his friends Skuli and Emma, only he can put things right. Earthquakes and plagues, visceral end of world scenarios, loom large if he fails. Plenty of writers can throw action at the page. Others can do emotion. But precious few can do both in quite the way that Ruth Eastham can. What is more, as Arrowhead demonstrates, she is a true storyteller in the old fashioned sense, capable of making us care for her characters whilst at the same time never losing her deliciously hard emotional edge. Arrowhead plays with wonderful themes; is it that the ancients have cursed us? Or have they merely foretold that we will curse ourselves? A satisfying literary feast in every possible way. Miss Eastham has done it again. This is a worthy successor to ‘The Memory Cage’ and ‘The Messenger Bird’. Five stars.
Eastham girl is a strong and cruel, but in many ways romantic, new-Horror creative: her last book Arrowhead is absolutely frightening and fast-paced… but has got lot of spirit too; so much culture, so much history, so much soul in it. Some really thrilling and fascinating northern Europe settings guest a fantastic, magic story of pure adventure, of friendship and discovery... But the book also nails a sort of doom for humans and nature, rightly symbolized by dark animals, chill climate and the downfall of the four elements. A rocking reading masterfully merging past and present - throwing yourself in frost ice-caves or ancient curses, mobile text messages and Viking runes, school bullies plus monasteries of old. Making you love the characters (young and mature ones) and having you simply glued to each page. The Ruthless Ruthie, the Lady of Lore, the Blonde Author of Crimson Infernos did it again: this is the Spring/Summer 2014 book to be read, discussed, supported and loved. A must! (Waiting for the big budget movie inspired by it...)
Having enjoyed Messenger Bird and Memory Cage I eagerly awaited Arrowhead. It didn't disappoint. The pace was fast to begin with and kept up throughout. A real page turner. Anyone with even a small interest in Norse mythology will love the way it is woven into the plot. The characters have a depth to them that not all books with such pace achieve. I would definitely recommend it to other readers.
From the outset this is a fast moving tale. Both myself and my 13 year old daughter loved it and could relate to the characters, who were very real. Imaginative, yet real. Good for girls, boys and adults too. A thoroughly good read, plus well researched to embed a bit of history and geography too.
Although I am somewhat older than the target audience for this book I really enjoyed reading it. It is a nice fast paced adventure with plenty of Viking history to whet your appetite & in fact I wish some adult books were as enjoyable to read. I think it would appeal to any teens who have an interest in history or archaeology & they may even want to discover more about Vikings & their myths or sagas after reading this book. This is Nordic Noir for teens that is set in Norway & I think it is a good read for either girls or boys. The characters here have plenty of depth for this kind of book & it seems quite well researched & thought out. The main thread here is of friendship & bravery, even across the centuries. The story is about an ancient evil Viking curse & does involve a dead Viking boy trapped in a glacier so some caution may be advised before giving it to younger children