Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Children’ by Bjørn Larssenorganised by Storytellers on Tour. I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE).
Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’
Magni never wanted to be like his father, a murderous, absent, cheating alcoholic: Thor – the feared and beloved God of thunder. When Thor destroys everything and everyone his son knows and loves, Magni vows to stop the violence. His dream is to bring peace and prosperity to the Nine Worlds, then settle down with the man he loves. But is it possible to remain good in a place this bad? How do you escape cruelty in a universe built on it, or the shadow of your father when everyone calls you by his name?
Maya knows she’s a failure and a disappointment to her foster-parents. How could a child raised by Freya and Freyr – Goddess of love and God of sex – have no interest in the greatest of pleasures? Obviously, it couldn’t be the torture they subjected her to, or treating her as a tool that might someday be useful. Maya, her rage at their games more powerful than she knows, wants freedom to pursue her own destiny. But how do you forge your own life away from your God-parents when you’re nothing more than human?
A retelling of the Norse myths unlike any other, Children will answer all the questions you never knew you had about the heathen Nine Worlds… before leading you into the Tenth.
Well, what a way to kick off #Norsevember. Children is a stunning book inside and out – I mean just look at that cover! I had seen this one mentioned here and there, and it was the cover that immediately caught my attention because it is beautiful, and as it turns out a perfect cover for this book.
As beautiful as the cover is though, the writing is even more so, across all aspects – setting, characterisation and especially dialogue, and can and will wring every emotion of you at one point or another. A masterclass in writing, with a narrative to match, and I was pulled in from the start and so immersed in the world and the characters, that it felt like waking from a vivid dream whenever I was able to put the book down which was always a fight.
This isn’t a book where you are given everything about the world and characters from the beginning, but the more you delve into Children, the more you discover, and the payoff is a narrative that refuses to be forgotten. It must be mentioned that in keeping with the Norse Mythology that inspires it, Children is a brutal book, and it doesn’t shy away from the darker elements, but that element is never overwhelming, and you feel the good just as vividly as the back, and it makes for a beautiful, emotionally powerful narrative that hits home on all levels.
Children were presented primarily through the POV of two descendants Maya and Magni who are living in the shadow of their legendary predecessors, and this was such a fascinating approach to Norse Mythology that immediately set this book apart. I was loosely familiar with the mythology behind this retelling, and Children took that and made it into something new and different in all the best ways. I love retellings, but it’s retellings like this, which takes what we think we know and strips that away, breathing fresh life into an old story. Magni and Maya were both beautifully written, and we got to experience so much of their world and personal stories, and it was written in such a way that everything was laid bare – good and bad – and you can’t help but be utterly riveted by their experiences and development, and it has been a while since I felt so invested in characters. And that extended to the secondary characters, even those that only had a brief, passing appearance, because they were all an essential part of the book.
I was blown away by Children, and it was one of those books that lingers in your mind and calls you back to it because of the sheer impact it has. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, especially for anyone with an interest in Norse Mythology, and who want to lose themselves into a book that will grab hold of you and refuse to let go even after you’ve read that last page. Now, I am off to grab a copy of Storytellers – Larssen’s previous standalone book, and I will be keeping my eye out for future books both in this series and in general because Children has elevated Bjørn Larssen to an auto-read for me.
About the Author:
Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself. His writing is described as ‘dark’ and ‘literary’, but he remains incapable of taking anything seriously for more than 60 seconds.
Bjørn has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland. He owns one (1) husband and is owned by one (1) neighbourhood cat.
Children (The Ten Worlds #1) – Bjørn Larssen – ***** (5/5 Stars)
If you’ve read it or read in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.