________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 36. . . .May 16, 2014


Odin’s Ravens. (The Blackwell Pages, Bk. 2).

K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr. Illustrated by Vivienne To.
New York, NY: Little Brown (Distributed in Canada by Hachette Canada), 2014.
342 pp., hardcover & ebook, $19.00 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-316-20498-9 (hc.), ISBN 978-0-316-25508-0 (ebook).

Subject Headings:
Adventure and adventurers-Fiction.
Mythology, Norse-Fiction.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Laura Dunford.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Another knock at the door, this time at the front door. Matt tried to blurt out the truth, that someone else killed Baldwin, a girl working for the Raiders, a girl named Astrid, that they'd brought Baldwin back and he was alive again. He only got the first part out, and his grandfather didn't even seem to hear that. He was already heading out of the room to answer the knock, pulling the door shut behind him, and Rusty was pushing Matt back into the room, keeping him from running after his grandfather, telling him to relax, it was okay, it would all be okay.

He heard the door open. He heard a man's voice, one he didn't recognize.

"You have the boy here, sir?" the man asked.

"I do. Thank you for coming, Officer. This is a terrible situation, I know. One boy dead at the hands of another. A horrible thing. Justice will be served, though. The killer is here, in the next room. A boy from my own town. Fen Brekke."

"No!" Matt said, wrenching wildly against Rusty. But the big man held him easily, one huge hand slapping over Matt's mouth as his grandfather led the police into the next room to arrest Fen for Baldwin's murder.


Odin's Ravens, the second installment in “The Blackwell Pages” series, picks up where Loki's Wolves ended and follows the three protagonists, Matt, Laurie, and Fen as they descend into Hel to retrieve the soul of their friend Baldwin. Each of the 13-year-olds is the embodiment of a Norse god destined to fight in the apocalypse. Matt, the group's leader, is a descendent of Thor. The previous novel focussed heavily on Matt's struggle to live up to his family's expectations and his feelings of betrayal after he learns his grandfather expects him to fail in his quest to prevent the end of the world. This conflict enables Matt to create a family amongst the other descendants as they join forces to fight all sorts of mythical creatures and find the magical objects that will help them in the final battle to save the world.

     Odin's Ravens takes Matt's feelings of betrayal one step further as it is revealed that his grandfather is actually working to incite the end of the world and the two find themselves on opposite side of the battle. The young hero's bonds with the other descendants grow stronger, and a few peripheral characters from the first book enter the spotlight as they bond with Matt. However, the novel ends with another cliffhanger, and this time Matt will face betrayal from within his group of friends.

      Odin's Ravens is a great followup to Loki's Wolves. Armstrong and Marr keep the suspense and adventure going with their transition straight into Hel. They allow the reader a few breaks between the action as the Norse descendants enter into one battle after another, and each time they come the reader is just as exhausted as the young heroes. The characters remain consistent in their development, and the action, though filled with physical violence, continues to be toned down enough to suit a younger audience.

Highly Recommended.

Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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