Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Sea of Trolls

Well, it's not even a week into Summer Vacation and I've lost track of what day it is already. I think it's Wednesday. I've walked 4 mornings in a row, including the regular Sunday walk, so therefore, it must be Wednesday. Speaking of Wednesday, did you know that Wednesday is named for the norse god Odin? It's Odin's day. And Thursday is Thor's day. I have norse mythology on the brain these days because I've just finished listening to Nancy Farmer's The Sea of Trolls while at the same time reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods (which I finished ahead of schedule) for the One Book One Twitter experiment.

The Sea of Trolls is an epic tale of a young boy named Jack who becomes the apprentice to the village Bard and is just beginning to learn magic when his village is attacked by viking berserkers and he and his younger sister are kidnapped to be sold as slaves. When the leader of the berserkers, Olaf Onebrow, learns of Jack's talents, he decides to keep Jack as his own personal bard. Thus begins Jack's many adventures with the brutal vikings, including traveling to Jotunheim in order to save his sister's life. Jack's good deeds serve him well on his adventures and by the end, he gains the confidence of a full fledged bard. I actually read some of this and listened to most of it. Either way, it was a wonderful adventure story and the audio book was well done. One interesting aspect of the story is that Jack eventually comes to respect and care for his captors as friends and has to reconcile his affection for Olaf with his repulsion for the violence the berserkers commit against the innocent. And I should say, the violence is brutal, no sugar coating it here. This book is the first of a trilogy. Book 2 is called The Land of the Silver Apples and book 3 is called The Islands of the Blessed. There are many references to norse myths and the Beowulf story in this book. It might be helpful to read D'Aulaire's Norse Myths to get some back ground before picking up The Sea of Trolls. And if you enjoyed it and are into norse mythology, you might also enjoy Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, a story in which Odin, Thor, and Loki are main characters.

While I was listening to The Sea of Trolls, I was working on several knitting projects, none of which are quite finished. I have a sweater that needs buttons, a sock that needs a mate, and a pair of fingerless opera gloves that needs it's loose ends woven in. As soon as something is finished, I'll post a picture.

Having had my fill of fantasy, lately, I'm now in the mood for some science fiction. I've started reading The Doom Machine by Mark Teague so I'll talk about that next time.

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