Book Review #34: Frostborn (Thrones and Bones, book 1)

Thrones and Bones

Thrones and Bones by Lou Anders

Title: Frostborn: Thrones and Bones
Author: Lou Anders
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 5 August, 2014
Available Formats: Dead tree, ebook, audiobook
Rating: mild PG for mild violence and undead creatures

I met Mr. Anders several years ago at a convention and have been a fan of many of the books he has edited. Somehow, in my absence from social media, I missed that he had authored a book. Knowing a good editor leaves there mark on an author’s story, I wondered what kind of story Mr. Anders would tell when it was his to begin with.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.

Readers will embark on a sweeping epic fantasy as they join Karn and Thianna on a voyage of discovery. Antics and hair-raising escapades abound in this fantasy adventure as the two forge a friendship and journey to unknown territory. Their plan: to save their families from harm.

Setting; The first thing that caught my attention upon reading the synopsis of the book was the obvious Norse connection and flavour. It really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I have a not so secret fascination with Norse mythology and find it hinted at in many stories, but portrayed in very few. Frostborn is definitely an exception. Mr. Anders world is populated with enough humans, ice giants, trolls, wyverns and dragons to satisfy any viking lore master.

Plot: Our two young protagonists are unsatisfied with the life fate and the gods have handed them and strive to achieve the life they envision. However, things don’t turn out as they have intended and they must embark on a mission to save their respective families and discover there is more to the world than they had ever expected.

Characters: Karn and Thianna are about as different as two people can be. Though they are both teens, Karn is a young man destined to the bucolic life of being the leader of a farming community, while Thianna is a half human  frost giant that desires nothing more than to find a way to fit in with her father’s people. Both Thianna and Karn are written with a wry sense of the understanding of dealing with teenagers and the issues that concern them.

Odin’s recommendation: I was warned by Mr. Anders that Frostborn was written with an intended audience considerably younger than myself. Indeed, the book reads easily and quickly, and I expect many 10 year olds could read it without trouble. However, one thing I’ve discovered over the years is that a good story transcends age, and make no doubt about it, Frostborn is a very good story. I enjoyed looking over Karn and Thianna’s shoulders as they discover more about themselves and humanity in general. I enjoyed that the male and female heroes received approximately equal time in the book. I greatly appreciated that, while there was a journey, there was no quest (really!). Finally, I simply enjoyed a good story told in a straightforward manner. Mr. Anders isn’t trying to trick anyone with the outcome of the book and the violence and monsters are toned down to a considerable extent in order to make this a good story for almost any age. I intend to share it with my 8 year old son as soon as we finish the series we are currently on.

Frostborn is available online at Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble as well as many other resellers. If you have children, teens, or just enjoy a good story that is well told, go buy it. And then you can join me waiting for the sequel: Nightborn

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