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Runelight

by Joanne Harris

Series: Runemarks (2)

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1686130,839 (3.44)3
The squabbling Norse gods and goddesses of Runemarks are back! And there's a feisty new heroine on the scene: Maggie, twin sister to Maddy but brought up a world apart - literally, in World's End, the focus of the Order in which Maddy was raised. Now the Order is destroyed, Chaos is filling the vacuum left behind.… (more)
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English (5)  Dutch (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Great follow up. I practically swallowed this book whole! ( )
  libgirl69 | Jan 14, 2018 |
Read this review, and many more on my blog October Tune!

The Order is destroyed, but everything is far from over. In World’s End, a girl named Maggie is about to learn a lot about her past. In Malbry, the Gods are trying their best to stop the world from ending, but with Odin the Allfather dead, Ragnarok may mean the end of Aesir and Vanir alike. They must find out the truth behind a mysterious prophecy, stop the world from ending and rebuild Asgard. Piece of cake.
At the beginning of this year, I found out about Runemarks, a fictional book about Norse Gods. I had been a fan of Norse Mythology for a while now, and I was a bit saddened by the fact that there were hardly any fictional books about it; there were plenty for Greek and Roman Mythology, but only a handful for Norse. Then, I found Runemarks and immediately fell in love with the summary. I purchased the book, read it and loved it to bits. When I was in Newcastle, one of the books on my list was Runelight, and Waterstones just happened to have one copy with the right cover (the one that fits my Runemarks cover); so of course, I bought it.

Almost all the characters from the previous book are in Runelight as well. There’s Maddy Smith, who I thought was the main character, but I don’t really think there’s a main character at all in this book (but if it is, it would be Maddy). The Æsir and Vanir Gods (including Thor, Loki and Frigg), Skadi of the Ice people, a goblin called Sugar-and-Sack; and of course the people of Malbry (including Crazy Old Nan Fey, Mae Smith, Adam Scattergood). And there were some new characters; Maggie Rede (not to be confused with Maddy), Sigyn, Angrboda, Jolly, Fenris, Skól, Haiti, Hughie and Mandy, and a horse called Sleipnir.
Out of these new characters, I have to say I liked Hughie and Mandy the most, though I have to admit throughout the book I wasn’t entirely sure of their loyalty to the people they swore loyalty to. In the end, it was kind of obvious who they were loyal to and I could have slapped myself for not realising that sooner. I liked reading about them, about their plans and their schemes.

I loved reading about the Gods trying to make sense of the prophecy that Ethel had made, about their fight against the creatures that escaped from dream and eventually their journey to World’s End, where after a while they realised they really needed Loki (who’d have thought?!). I especially liked their traveling carnival and I would pay to see a movie made just out of their adventures as that carnival.
The book was divided into several ‘books’, each with a nice little quote at the beginning. There were also some nursery rhymes (one including an old lady flying a washing basket), and the prophecy that Ethel made of course, the one that the Gods had to figure out before traveling to World’s End. In the end, when the parts of the prophecy came true, I have to say it surprised me because I had never expected certain things to go the way they went.

I just love Joanne Harris’ writing, though it’s not really simple, kind of the same as Lord of the Rings and the Trials of the Core perhaps, with several (made-up?) words that were very difficult for me to pronounce and understand, lots of talking in accents (mainly from Hughie) and of course lots of talk about Ragnarok, Chaos, Hel, Asgard etc. This book also teaches the reader more about Norse Mythology, and makes you curious to know even more (at least that’s what it did to me). I really really loved it! I am definitely going to check out more of Harris’ books.

As I said before, Hunin/Hughie talked in a very strong accent in his human aspect, and sometimes I just couldn’t understand what he was saying. So after a while, I just skipped the words that were too hard and got along just fine. There were also the inhabitants of Malbry talking in accents. Though those accents weren’t as strong as Hughie’s and I could manage to read them just fine.

There was also the whole changing POV’s still, which made me realise that this book didn’t really have a proper main character at all, though in my head it’s still Maddy. And there was some confusion with several names. There was Maddy Smith, Maggie Rede and Mandy. I especially confused Maddy and Mandy a lot of times, and then I started asking myself why Mandy was in Maggie’s room, or why Mandy was suddenly riding Jorgie/Jormungand.

The final battle, to save World’s End; to restore Order and banish Chaos was amazing. The Rainbow Bridge (which always makes me think of Mario Kart) made an appearance, and the three riders; Carnage, Treachery and Lunacy (two of those who were very surprising) were really awesome. Of course, several moments during the story I asked myself if the Gods were ever going to have some luck for once, but in the end it all worked out and the book had an amazing and satisfying ending, in my opinion.

I loved Runelight as much as I loved Runemarks, and I will definitely recommend these two books to everyone who loves a good story about love, friendship and Norse Gods. ( )
  october.tune | Nov 15, 2017 |
Maddy, child of Thor, the Lightening Ash is torn between her new, adoptive family, the Aesir and the new revelation of her twin sister, Maggie.

Maggie, raised in World’s End, a child of the Order, has strict, unflinching beliefs that have not relaxed as World’s End succumbed to chaos and disorder. She knows what is right and has strong beliefs – including in the rune-marked demons that once plagued the world. The same rune marked demons that are her family. Her world turned upside down by the discovery of her rune and her power, she becomes caught up in the plotting of Mimir the Wise, the Whisperer and his quest for power and grudge against the Aesir.

The Aesir and the Vanir must make a strange deal with the forces of chaos that once brought them down in Ragnarok and make the long and difficult trip down to Worlds End with very little time to do it in.

And the end of days are coming again. The freeing of Sleipnir has caused the river Dream to overflow it’s banks and Malbury is in danger of falling to its waters. Three riders must ride forth, Carnage, Treachery and Lunacy, signalling the end of the world – again.

If everything goes according to plan, Asgard will rise again – but who will be its master? Or will chaos consume everything?

There was so much about this book I loved.

I love Norse mythology. I’ve said before that I’m a mythology geek and seeing the Aesir and the Vanir in all their glory in a story is always going to hook me in. And not just the Aesir and the Vanir – but Mjolnir personified? Fenris, Hati and Skol with human aspects? Hunin and Munin? This book was designed to hook me in.

Throw in an epic quest to rebuild Asgard, a prophecy and a world that has been turned on its head and you have a great story to tell with it. A lost child coming to terms with her power, Maddy, our hero from the last book, torn between her sister and her new family. The Dream unleashed, Sleipnir walking the skies, chaos stalking everything, ready to destroy all. New runs, new powers, new gods and, of course, the intricate and crafty plans of the gods themselves. I do love some cunning plotting.

And there’s Loki. There’s always a lot to be said for Loki. And this is a very unique take on Loki – not Loki the deceiver or even Loki the manipulator. This is Loki the unlucky, poor Loki the often put upon, Loki the trickster with a brilliant and quick mind but without a great many fans – and Thor always ready to hammer him.

The problem with this book is how very long it took to tell that story. We had several storylines: Maddy and Perth; the Aesir and the Vanir; Maggie, Adam and the Whisperer and always poor Loki. But they took a long long time to get anywhere. This book is over 500 pages and covers a span of about 10 days and a lot of that time is spent being rather repetitive. The Aesir and the Vanir are bickering (I wanted to see more of the Aesir and the Vanir, get a greater sense of them – especially since I’m a mythology geek and just loved having them all around – including members we don’t often see. But it was just one long argument). Maggie is torn between her beliefs, Adam and her family and Maddie torn between her long lost sister and her loyalty to the Aesir. All interesting concepts, but we return to them time and again to find them wandering endlessly in circles each in their own storyline, thinking on it, but not developing it. It felt like a lot of passing the time was going on.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
This book follows on from the events of Runemarks, 3 years earlier. Maddy is now 17, and for the past three years, she and the rest of the Aesir have been living quietly in Malbry. Unknown to them, however, a new and previously dormant power is rising in World’s End … this is Maggie Smith, who (a) turns out to be Maddy’s twin sister, and (b) is working for Odin’s arch enemy, The Whisperer.

A prophecy foretells that the end of The Worlds will happen (again) in 12 days time. Now the gods have to decide how to work together in order to get to World’s End in time to hold back the forces of Chaos and rebuild Asgard.

There is great richness in this book. Firstly, the interplay between Maddy and Maggie, their joy at finding they each have a twin and their dismay and confusion at finding themselves on opposite sides is wonderful. There are also many colourful and comic characters, especially the maverick Loki who gets into (and out of) the most amazing scrapes.

I particularly liked the wonderfully imagined "Lucky's Pocket Pan-Daemonium Circus" dreamt up by Loki to allow the Gods to earn some money (and hence food) on their trip from Malbry to Worlds End and also to camouflage them (by keeping them hidden in plain view). Each of the Gods uses their particular characteristics (eg Thor’s strength, Freya’s beauty) to make up a travelling show, and the episode with the Sun Shield is brilliant!

However, I did find the story line very confusing to follow (even though I have read Runemarks, albeit over 2 years ago), and feel that there are too many characters, who have too many names each, and who aren’t sufficiently differentiated for the reader to get to know them properly. This, combined with the (to me, irritating) tendency for characters who are dead to come back to life and defeated forces to pop up again, meant that it really didn’t seem to matter who wins and who loses (because it will all probably happen again in 500 years anyway!)

Overall, I found this book less satisfying than Runemarks. ( )
  hashford | Feb 11, 2012 |
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The squabbling Norse gods and goddesses of Runemarks are back! And there's a feisty new heroine on the scene: Maggie, twin sister to Maddy but brought up a world apart - literally, in World's End, the focus of the Order in which Maddy was raised. Now the Order is destroyed, Chaos is filling the vacuum left behind.

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