Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Children's Book Review: Frostborn (Thrones and Bones #1)

Lou Anders

Frostborn is the first in a series of adventure books set in a Norse inspired fantasy realm complete with dwarves, giants, wyverns, and dragons. The book’s two young protagonists are each at odds with their place in the world (a feeling that young readers are sure to identify with). Karn is the firstborn son of his family. That means he is next in line to inherit the prestige and responsibility of his father’s position as hauld of the family farm. No one asked Karn if that’s what he wanted to do, if it were up to him he would travel the world and master his beloved board game, Thrones and Bones. But his birthright saddles him with responsibility beyond his years. Thianna is half giant and half human. She lives with her father in the mountains among full-blooded frost giants. At seven feet, Thianna is a dwarf in comparison to her full-blooded peers. She constantly feels like a misfit and is anxious to dismiss her human heritage on her mother’s side and live as a full giant, but nothing can change the fact that she is different.

These two cross paths when they accompany their fathers to the yearly trading event between giants and humans at an outpost between realms called Dragon’s Dance. They are the only young people among the traders, so they are often paired up while the adults conduct their business. Clever Karn and rambunctious Thianna don’t exactly get along, but they strike up a friendship nonetheless. When the trading has come to an end, both of the kids’ lives are turned upside down. Through different circumstances the two young heroes are forced to flee in order to save themselves and their family. They are brought back together by chance and make a great team despite their differences. These two go head to head with a dragon, undead henchmen, trolls, and more and they manage to come out unscathed. The story comes to a very satisfying conclusion, leaving no cliffhangers. It still left me wanting more, which is really the best way to end the first installment in a series.

This novel has much to offer to a variety of readers. It can appeal to both boys and girls, since the point of view switches from Thianna to Karn equally. It’s also a great pick for kids who enjoy fantasy movies like The Hobbit and even Frozen. It is a great middle grade read for upper elementary and middle school students, but it would make an excellent read-aloud for kids who aren’t ready to tackle it on their own yet. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The characters display growth, courage, brains, and resourcefulness that I think kids will identify with and hopefully emulate. Also, the author, Lou Anders, is a Birmingham resident. I love to support local authors, especially when their books are so good!

Mollie McFarland
Springville Road Library

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