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Thursday, February 19, 2015
The Aesir Kids by James Grant Goldin and Charlotte Goldin
THE AESIR KIDS
by James Grant Goldin and
Middle Grade Fantasy
They’re the children of the Norse gods, with incredible strength, magical weapons and monsters for pets. They’ve got problems with school, bullies, family issues and attacks by giants.
And when Asgard, the home of the gods, is threatened with utter destruction, it’s up to the children of Thor, Sif, Loki, Freya, Balder…along with some very extraordinary friends…to save it.
THE AESIR KIDS tells the story of…
THRUD, the pre-teen daughter of Thor, who has to balance fighting trolls and giants with her after-school job waiting tables at Valhalla… FIRE, young master of flame, the son of the three mysterious Norns and perhaps the key to saving the Nine Worlds… MAGNI AND MODI, Thrud’s younger brothers, whose strength is matched only by their knack for getting into trouble… ULL, the greatest skier of the gods…except for, maybe, SKADE, the four-year-old goddess of skiing… TJALFI, the human boy who can run like the wind… ROSKVA, Tjalfi’s sister, who can hear something happening many miles away… FORSETI, the level-headed son of Balder, who’s as good with a bow as he is with a written test… NOSS, the beloved daughter of the Goddess of Love… HELA, the sensitive little girl who hates her destiny of growing up to be the Goddess of Death…
Along with other gods, godlings, light-elves, trolls, dwarfs and creatures, these young heroes must find a way to save the universe…and find the core of courage within themselves. THE AESIR KIDS is a fantasy novel based on many actual characters from Norse mythology. It’s the first published collaboration between author James Grant Goldin and his ten-year-old daughter, Charlotte Goldin.
Packed with Norse mythology and adventure, THE AESIR KIDS is a book Rick Riordan and all mythology fans won't want to miss. Although all the favorites (Loki, Thor and Odin) are mentioned or present, this story goes into the next generation. With it's diverse age range of characters, readers of several ages will feel drawn into this exciting world, especially since the powerful kids of Asgard aren't really all that different than normal ones here on Earth.
Starting with a gentle, tale-telling Grandpa, the reader is already hooked by the time the adventures begin. And with a first chapter title The Frost Giant's Treasure, interested is guaranteed. I especially enjoyed the opening scenes. Although it's clear that these kids originate from powerful 'gods' (throwing around a huge boulder in a game of toss isn't easy), their sibling banter is so familiar, it's hard not to feel right at home.
The writing is great for the intended age group, never bogging down with too much description and keeping a realistic dialogue with just enough of the surroundings to allow the fantasy free run. The characters are distinct and packed full of personality. It was fun to bounce between their daily lives (which are similar to our own) and the exciting adventures, which kept me on the edge of my seat. The only thing which bothered me was the number of characters. Although all are fun and have their place, it was difficult to remember who was who until I was fairly far into the book. There is a list in the back, but honestly, the back is the last place I look for things when I want to dive into a book and start on page 1. It would have been nice to see this in the beginning. Also, I found the first pages a little difficult for 'unknowers' of the Norse mythology. One or two sentence background descriptions of what Asgard is or the Bifrost bridge or even Odin/Thor would have easily broaden the audience.
Although there's a ton of action in this story, there are also several messages buried in the pages. My personal favorite was that battles are not always won by strength and war, but friendship, kindness and loyalty also play a huge role in the scheme of things.
James Grant Goldin is a TV writer whose work has appeared on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel and elsewhere. He first became interested in Norse mythology as a child, and was lucky enough to eventually pass that interest on to his daughter Charlotte. They would make up games based on Norse myths, and those games were the basis of their first full-length collaboration, “The Aesir Kids.”