Runemarks by Joanne M. Harris

    On 23rd November, it was my turn on the Blog Tour to celebrate the re-issuing in hardback of  Joanne M. Harris' fantasy novel, Runemarks. You can read an extract from the book here.
I am following up with a short review.

My Thoughts

    Based loosely on Norse mythology, I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns of this epic story. A fantasy world of goblins and gods, we follow the quest of Maddy Smith, a young girl, marked out as a witch by the mysterious rune mark on her hand. Set in the Nine Worlds, 500 years after Ragnarok, when the power of the gods of the Aesir and Vanir were destroyed. the Order exists to keep the Worlds in check. In the World Above, stories of the gods of Chaos have been banned and storytelling and dreaming of the past are outlawed. Maddy's secret is that she enjoys magic, even if she does not yet understand the extent of her powers. As the story develops, we meet a huge cast of characters, some of who are very engaging, particularly the goblin, Sugar and Sack. However, it is Loki who has the most depth as you try to decide, along with Maddy, just how far you can trust him.

    Before the story starts, there are maps and a list of characters to mull over, as well information about the history of Ragnarok and a glossary of runes. It feels like a substantial tale before you even start but in fact, the plot travels on at a good pace, especially once Maddy has set off on her journey down to the World Below. It is well written and engaging with touches of humour. Although it can be read as a stand-alone,  Joanne Harris has written three books in the Rune series: A Gospel of Loki which is the prequel to Runemarks and its successor, Runelight. If you enjoy being immersed in a fantasy world full of allusions to Norse mythology, this may be the series for you. 

In short: a great story built around intriguing characters, set in a fascinating alternative universe.

Thanks to Ben Unwin at Orion Books for a copy of the book. 




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