Monday, July 27, 2009
Rune Warriors by James Jennewein and Tom S. Parker
Another juvenile lit novel I picked up from the library while waiting for something else to come in, and there were more than a few surprises that were amusing, if somewhat low class.
A young man, Dane, has to figure out a nickname for himself at the annual games. Among his Norse countrymen, he has a lot to live up to, being the son of the respected village chief, Voldar the Vile. Lut, the village shaman, teaches the boy about runestones and keeps an eye on Dane because of a frightening dream Lut had when Dane was born. Lut doesn't know if it is a prophesy, or just a nightmare, but he has a soft spot in his heart for Dane.
Dane is also in love with one of the most unique girls in the village. Astrid doesn't bother with makeup or fine dresses or jewelry, but would rather play with axes and knives and anything else that is razor sharp. She likes Dane a lot, but doesn't think he has what it takes to be a good husband.
The local liege Lord, Thidrek the Terrifying, is planning a hostile takeover of neighboring kingdoms, and unfortunately, Astrid has a central role in the that plan. Thidrek abducts her while she and Dane are taking a walk, and steals the village talisman to boot because Dane was showing it off to Astrid at the time. So begins Dane's quest to rescue Astrid, retrieve the talisman and do it all with the assistance of the local boys and his hated rival Jarl.
I think boys would like this book a lot: it has plenty of opportunities for bathroom breaks in the woods, a lot of belching, even more Norse cursing, and the heroes have colorful nicknames and disgusting habits. The characters are adolescent boys in all their awkward, sometimes painfully aware of their inadequacies, sometimes incessantly boorish in their bravado. They face all kinds of monsters and dangers and use all kinds of weapons. There's plenty of modern phrasing that would help a modern boy relate (i.e. "weapon of mass destruction").
If you think you can manage some etiquette lessons before and after your son reads this, you may smooth over the novel ways to relieve one's bladder. Just don't be surprised when he says something like, "By stinkers!"
Oh and there's a website too.