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Title: The Aesir Kids | Authors: James Grant Goldin & Charlotte Goldin | Publication Date: May, 2013 | Publisher: Basilisk Books | Pages: 384 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
They’re the children of the Norse gods, with incredible strength, magical weapons and monsters for pets. They’ve got problems with school, bullies, family issues and attacks by giants.
And when Asgard, the home of the gods, is threatened with utter destruction, it’s up to the children of Thor, Sif, Loki, Freya, Balder…along with some very extraordinary friends…to save it.
THE AESIR KIDS tells the story of…
THRUD, the pre-teen daughter of Thor, who has to balance fighting trolls and giants with her after-school job waiting tables at Valhalla…
FIRE, young master of flame, the son of the three mysterious Norns and perhaps the key to saving the Nine Worlds…
MAGNI AND MODI, Thrud’s younger brothers, whose strength is matched only by their knack for getting into trouble…
ULL, the greatest skier of the gods…except for, maybe,
SKADE, the four-year-old goddess of skiing…
TJALFI, the human boy who can run like the wind…
ROSKVA, Tjalfi’s sister, who can hear something happening many miles away…
FORSETI, the level-headed son of Balder, who’s as good with a bow as he is with a written test…
NOSS, the beloved daughter of the Goddess of Love…
HELA, the sensitive little girl who hates her destiny of growing up to be the Goddess of Death…
Along with other gods, godlings, light-elves, trolls, dwarfs and creatures, these young heroes must find a way to save the universe…and find the core of courage within themselves. THE AESIR KIDS is a fantasy novel based on many actual characters from Norse mythology. It’s the first published collaboration between author James Grant Goldin and his ten-year-old daughter, Charlotte Goldin.
My Thoughts: The Aesir Kids by the father-daughter writing team of James Grant Goldin and (then) 10 year-old Charlotte Goldin contains all of the ingredients of a terrifically entertaining middle grade adventure. This delightful book features a diverse mix of characters based on Norse mythology each with their own strengths and weaknesses; a fantastical setting taking the reader from the kingdom of the mythical Asgard and across the Bifrost bridge to Midgard, the land of the humans; a great battle between the forces of good and evil; an intricate plot filled with many unexpected twists and turns; and a number of important underlying messages regarding the power of kindness, courage, and loyalty.
The Aesir Kids introduces us to the children of the major Gods and Goddesses from Norse mythology. While most of us have heard of Odin, Thor, Sif, and Loki (as well as many others), this story introduces Norse characters such as Thrud, Magni, and Modi (children of Thor and Sif); re-conceptualizes others such as Skade (who, in this book, is a young daughter of Thor and is the Goddess of Skiing); and creates new characters such as Fire (the son of the mystical Norns). The book features a large and diverse cast and both boys and girls of varying ages will be able to identify with one or more of the characters. One of the downfalls having so many characters with uncommon names, is that it does take a while to keep each one straight. While the authors do provide a list of characters (including how to pronounce the names) at the end of the book, I believe it would have been more helpful to have it at the beginning of the book instead.
The writing in The Aesir Kids is absolutely stellar. I love the opening of the book where an old man is telling a group of children stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses in a long-hall. It is a wonderful way to introduce the characters and the setting. The book also ends in the long-hall with a wonderful surprise. The reader is already hooked by the time the old man regales the children with the first part of the story, “The Frost Giant’s Treasure”. The rest of the plot continues to unfurl as we learn more about the children of the Aesir (i.e., Norse Gods/Goddesses), as “Fire” is created by the Norns, and as Loki the trickster God hatches a devious plan to rule Asgard. As the reader gets immersed into this fantastical world, all the details provided by the authors play a role in the overall story leading to many “a-ha moments” within the final 50 pages. I love to be surprised and this book offers many delicious plot turns and twists.
On the surface, The Aesir Kids provides plenty of entertainment ranging from many humorous moments, to pre-teen angst and budding feelings of romance, to thrilling moments as the Aesir do battle against Loki and his armies of trolls, jotun, and more. As we dig deeper, the story also contains many important underlying messages about family and friendship as well as courage, loyalty, and working together to achieve a common goal. But perhaps the most poignant message which recurs numerous times is the notion of kindness as an agent of change. For example, in Norse mythology, Fenris is a large and fierce wolf (some say he is the son of Loki) who is also the enemy of the Aesir. In The Aesir Kids, Fenris is befriended and treated with kindness by the children of the Aesir and therefore remains loyal to the “good” side (despite being “planted” by Loki for evil purposes). What I appreciated even more, was when Mimir, the teacher, bottom lines the key underlying messages for the reader:
“A good teacher learns from his or her students. I have learned lessons from all of you about kindness … and working together … and courage.”
My Bottom Line: There is so much to love about The Aesir Kids: exceptional writing, great character development, fast and furious action, and important life lessons about kindness, family, friendship, and courage. I highly recommend this fantastic book, based on Norse mythology, to children and adults 8 years and older, especially those who are fans of the Percy Jackson series.
* This book was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own. The author is participating in our book promotion services.*
More Buzz About the Book
“This is a great novel for boys and girls aged 9-14. It is a fantasy story based on Norse mythology. It has a unique plot that sets it apart from other similar books. Kids who like the Percy Jackson and/or the Lord of the Rings series will enjoy this book. Highly recommended by my 11 year-old son who is a voracious reader.” ~ Hilary C., Amazon
“Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings with a Norse twist, highly recommended.” ~ Shirley, Goodreads
“I like my fiction to be fast paced, educational, humorous and free of immune system stimulators. Check x 4! A ripping good read.” ~ John B., Amazon
“What a fun read. I’d recommend it to any tween or adult.“ ~ Autumn D., Goodreads
“I really loved this book! It had plenty of adventure and action, and there were all sorts of characters. Anyone who likes Percy Jackson, Greek Mythology, or of course Thor/Avengers will like this book. I recommend it highly!” ~ Correne K., Amazon
About The Authors: James Grant Goldin & Charlotte Goldin
James Grant Goldin is a TV writer whose work has appeared on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel and elsewhere. He first became interested in Norse mythology as a child, and was lucky enough to eventually pass that interest on to his daughter Charlotte. They would make up games based on Norse myths, and those games were the basis of their first full-length collaboration, “The Aesir Kids.”
* GIVEAWAY *
Prize: One winner who will receive an autographed, personalized print copy of The Aesir Kids + a $10 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash prize
Contest ends: January 26, 11:59 pm, 2015
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, James Goldin and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.