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Frostborn (Thrones and Bones)

Review

Frostborn (Thrones and Bones)

Fantasy writers have their share of settings to choose from and are, of course, free also to create whole new worlds. Lou Anders, in his debut middle grade novel, FROSTBORN, the first in the Thrones and Bones series, creates a whole new world by placing the action in both a Viking-like culture and a place where giants, wyverns, dwarves and dragons mingle with humans. This setting serves as a fascinating backdrop to some interesting characters and lots of exciting adventure.

FROSTBORN is the story of two 12-year-olds who, at first, cannot seem more different. Thianna is half-giant and half-human and lives far north in a cold and icy climate. Because she is far larger than a grown human man and far quicker and quieter than the typical giant, she doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere. Her father and others try to tell her that it is important to honor both her human and her giant sides. While bullies like Thrudgelmir always make her feel small, in more ways than one, without her human mother to guide her, Thianna wants only to embrace giant culture and ignore the world of the humans.

While much is resolved, Anders leaves the stage set for the next installment of this fun and energetic new series.

Karn is from a Norrønir village where his father is the largest farm-holder, called the hauld.  Someday Karn will be hauld, but for now he just wants to play his favorite game, Thrones and Bones. When Karn goes with his father to barter and trade their wares in the city of Bense, he meets Thianna --- the preteens’ fathers make them play together, but soon they grow to like one another’s company. Upon returning home, a series of dark and dangerous events soon find both of them running for their lives and finding each other again.

Fierce women riding wyverns arrive looking for a horn they claim that Thianna’s mother, Talaria, stole more than 13 years ago. At the same time, Karn’s uncle Ori tricks him into opening the barrow of a long dead king named Helltoppr and his three After Walkers. Even though Karn escapes, his father is killed. On the run from the human soldiers on wyverns and from Helltoppr’s minions, Thianna and Karn must use their wits, strength and particular talents to outsmart their enemies and help keep each other safe.

Facing trolls, soldiers and zombie-like hunters, their journey takes them through an ancient and wondrous city, all but abandoned, home to a gigantic dragon and then back to the barrow to confront Karn’s uncle and rescue the people they love. Karn begins to understand his role as future hauld of the family farm, but Thianna feels she must search out her mother’s distant homeland and finally find the answers she never thought she needed. While much is resolved, Anders leaves the stage set for the next installment of this fun and energetic new series.

FROSTBORN is a great first fiction outing for Anders. The action is well balanced with some thoughtful sections, and while Thianna and Karn are in immediate danger, there is nothing very scary or violent in the book. The blend of magical creatures, mythology and fairly realistic ancient European cultural markers make for an enjoyable read. Thianna and Karn are likable characters who still have a lot to learn and many feats before them. And readers can play Thrones and Bones along with them, using the instructions for the game (which Anders created based on Viking board games) included at the end.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on August 7, 2014

Frostborn (Thrones and Bones)
(Thrones and Bones #1)
by Lou Anders

  • Publication Date: August 5, 2014
  • Genres: Fantasy, Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385387784
  • ISBN-13: 9780385387781