by James Jennewein & Tom S. Parker
Review by Mel Jacob
HarperCollins Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061449369
Date: 01 October 2008 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Screenwriters James Jennewein and Tom Parker begin their new tongue-in cheek young adult fantasy series with Rune Warriors set in Norseland. It chronicles the coming of age of Dane the Defiant from the age of nine into young adulthood.
Astrid, the Blade Mistress, and Dane's love, shows plenty of gumption and gives no quarter to him or others. A tomboy, she hunts and fights alongside Dane. When the vile tyrant, Thidrek the Terrifying, takes Astrid captive along with Odin's Shield (the village's protective totem), kills Dane's father, and destroys the village, he leaves Dane dazed and injured.
Bent on saving Astrid and punishing Thidrek, Dane and his friends pursue the villainous crew. The assorted group includes Dane's buddies Drott the Dim, Fulnir the Stinking, and Ulf the Whale, as well as his erstwhile enemies Jarl the Fair, and the vicious brothers Vik and Rik. They must put aside past differences and work together to free Astrid.
A villain to hate, Thidrek shows no softer side although his fascination with Astrid comes close. However, he remains willing to sacrifice her to gain control of the world. .
Fierce fighting and physical trials keep the pages turning. As a fantasy, the authors take liberties with real Norsemen, but provide plenty of background to enjoy and inform. Anything that gets young people to read is welcome.
Some of the characters act too modern and hip, and, at times, the language verges on modern slang. The crude humor may offend some, but fits the characters. Action propels the novel forward at a breakneck pace. The ending sets the scene for the next volume in the series.