Title: The Sea of Trolls
Author: Nancy Farmer
Age Group: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Series: The Sea of Trolls, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Nancy Farmer was one of the first authors I'd ever encountered, way back in middle school. In the dusty library in eighth grade, I was drawn to one of her first novels, taking place in Africa, called The Girl Named Disaster. (I loved it and plan to reread it as soon as possible!)
But this book, The Sea of Trolls, takes place in what now would be considered Scandinavia. It really reminded me of Lord of the Rings, but to sum it up there would be to do this book a terrible injustice, because this book was a masterpiece, a triumph in fantasy literature. It reminded me of why I grew to love reading in the first place. Nancy Farmer is a fantastic writer, but what really sold this novel was the meticulous research put into the time period--even the fantasy elements! I love when an author goes all out like that. (Don't be daunted by the many pages in this novel; it goes by quickly!)
But really; this book was just wonderful. It tells the story of a young farm boy, Jack, and his little sister, Lucy. Jack becomes the apprentice to the village's bard, and how both their lives get turned upside down when they get stolen from home by berserkers, or, as we would call them today, Vikings. The two children are drawn into an epic quest that leads them all over the world, complete with dragons, magic, trolls, and hilarious characters.
There was really nothing about this book I didn't like: The world-building was solid and believable, and didn't feel too heavy as the information was doled out. The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I couldn't put it down once things began to roll. The characters, too, were wonderful: from Jack, to his sister Lucy, to the wild pack of raiders that become their family, including the feral, frightening Thorgil, and Olaf One Brow, the oddly noble and likable Viking leader, each, whether they were human or some otherworldly being, was wholly three-dimensional, seeming to jump off of the page.
This book was a fun, dark adventure that completely swept me away, in a way that few other books have done. It was so atmospheric and huge, and highly enjoyable and fulfilling. Anyone looking for a fantastic, consuming adventure will surely fall in love with The Sea of Trolls! The bottom line: A deeply fun and fulfilling adventure, The Sea of Trolls is a true treat for anyone looking for an epic quest! Next on deck: Consent by Nancy Ohlin!