Yes, the eagle eyed among you will think I’ve got the wrong book here. I know that Joanne Harris has just published her second Norse gods novel, Runelight. But a witch has to catch up first, hence the reading of book one. My usual Norse rash is nowhere near as bad as I’d been afraid.
I had never read any of Joanne’s books. Until now. I am reasonably pleased with what she’s done to those old gods. (Except for the word ‘Gødfolk’, which makes me think of broilers.) I have always had some difficulty keeping track of who’s who in Norse society, and I now feel I know them a little better. Unless Joanne has been lying through her teeth and none of it was ‘true.’
Runemarks is about Maddy who has never fitted in with her family or her village. Well, there was a reason for that. Accidentally running into Odin – as you do – she has learned all sorts of new things, like magic. And inevitably there is a war between the gods and normal people and ‘the church’ coming. Maddy has to learn who to trust, which is hard among so many tricky characters.
The best bits are the dialogue, which is clever and funny, and the action. I did find some of the back story a little slow. But as I said, the dialogue is witty and satisfying. Of the characters I grew fond of Ethelberta. And Sugar-and-Sack (who I renamed Sugar-and-Snack) is a nice goblin who will go far, if only literally.
For all Joanne Harris fans in the northwest, there is an event tonight arranged by Formby Books at Crosby Civic Hall. Well worth going to for anyone not yet succumbed to travel fatigue.