CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 35. . . .May 9, 2014
“The Blackwell Pages” series follows a group of teenagers who are the descendants and representatives of old Norse gods. In Loki's Wolves, readers are introduced to the protagonists: Matt Thorsen, and the Brekke cousins, Laurie and Fen. The three 13-year-olds have grown up in Blackwell together but have never gotten along. Matt, descendent of Thor, is the son of the sheriff and grandson of the mayor. Laurie and Fen, descendants of the trickster god Loki, are both from broken homes. Fen, in particular, has been singled out in the community as a delinquent because of his father's criminal past and his quick temper. When Mayor Thorsen announces the apocalypse is approaching and that Matt will be representing Thor in the battle against the Midgard Serpent to save humanity, the three teenagers are thrown together in the struggle to relive the lives of their gods and attempt to work together to help Matt defeat the serpent and save the world.
While much of the story is based on Norse mythology, Armstrong and Marr are able to integrate contemporary adolescent themes into the narrative. In this first installment in the series, a lot of focus is placed on Matt's struggle to live up to his family's expectations and on his evolving relationship with Fen following the revelation of the Thorsens' betrayal. The former adversaries are able to relate to each other and build trust based on their feelings of isolation, and together the three characters form a substitute family in which they work together and support each other. The context allows them to enact this development by fighting trolls and fighting wolves and then hunkering down in a fellow god's house and eating pizza!
Loki's Wolves is a great start to this new series. It is filled with both fantastic and realistic adventures and obstacles that work to build excitement for the final conflict and develop the reader's feelings toward protagonists and antagonists. This would be a terrific read for a young reader interested in mythology who likes lots of action but could do without a lot of gore. While there is plenty of physical conflict in Loki's Wolves, it is not graphic and, while the book ends with the death of a character, this death, as in mythology, is by no means permanent.
Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia.
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