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Kirkus Review

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Review Issue Date: August 15, 2022
Online Publish Date: August 3, 2022
Publisher:Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

This first entry in the Runestone Saga series introduces readers to a world of witches, gods, demons, and humans.

Drawing on Norse mythology, this ambitious, original story captivates from beginning to end. Eiric Halvorsen and his mysterious half sister, Liv, are fighting to maintain ownership of Sundgard, their unusually prosperous farm located in the depressed land of Muckleholm; Sten, their drunken stepfather, has designs on it himself. When their mother, Sylvi, dies of exposure while protecting the infant son that Sten has rejected and left out to die, Liv and Eiric know they will be the next victims. Instead, they kill Sten and, for protection, make a deal with Jarl Harald, the regional leader, to search out a group of mythical islands, where the volur, or witches, live.

A concurrent storyline follows Reggin, a thrall enslaved by fire demon Asger. Reggin is forced to use her considerable healing and musical abilities to make money, but worse is the painful transmission of her energy that Asger takes by touch to sustain himself.

Eventually these two plots converge in a satisfying, organic way. The novel is lively and well told, with twists galore. This innovative story with a satisfying ancient mythology baseline strikes a refreshing note for the genre.

Publisher's Weekly, September 15, 2022

Children of Ragnarok (Runestone Saga #1)

Cinda Williams Chima. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (560p) ISBN 978-0-06-301868-6

This sweeping, Norse myth–inspired series opener from Chima (the Shattered Realms series) follows Eiric Halvorsen and Reggin Eiklund, two white-cued 16-year-olds desperate for freedom. To avoid their extended family’s wrath after killing their abusive stepfather in self-defense, fisherman and farmer Eiric, a Viking descended from gods, and his half sister Liv strike a deal with regional leader Jarl Karlsen: if the siblings locate a rumored stronghold of witches, or wyrdspinners, Karlsen will pay off the siblings’ persecutors. Elsewhere, Reggin Eiklund, a spellsinging, runecasting foundling indebted to fire demon Asger, plays music, peddles remedies, and runs cons for Asger’s financial gain while leeching her energy to sustain himself. When Reggin performs sorcery one night at an alehouse, two wyrdspinners offer refuge from Asger at the Academy of the Grove, a hidden paradise and training ground. Chima toggles between Eiric’s and Reggin’s equally electrifying perspectives, and the tension, stakes, and complications mount as their paths intertwine. The vibrantly characterized, racially diverse cast is replete with courageous, resourceful women, imparting feminist undertones. Despite its scope, length, and complexity, Chima’s epic never outstays its welcome, stoking anticipation for the sequel. Ages 13–up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Nov.)

Indie Love

“Thoroughly enjoyable. Great story, great action, and a cool twist on Nordic myths with Asgardian heroes, Jotun witches, and fire demons. It is the Sword & Sorcery adventure I didn't know I was waiting for. Can't wait for the sequel!” – Kristine Jelstrom-Hamill, Buttonwood Books and Toys (Cohasset, MA)