Publisher's Note:  

Jack was eleven when the berserkers loomed out of the fog and nabbed him. "It seems that things are stirring across the water," the Bard had warned. "Ships are being built, swords are being forged." 

"Is that bad?" Jack had asked, for his Saxon village had never before seen berserkers. 

"Of course. People don't make ships and swords unless they intend to use them." 

The year is A.D. 793. In the next months, Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are enslaved by Olaf One-Brow and his fierce young shipmate, Thorgil. With a crow named Bold Heart for mysterious company, they are swept up into an adventure-quest in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings. 

Award-winner Nancy Farmer has never told a richer, funnier tale, nor offered more timeless encouragement to young seekers than "Just say no to pillaging."

The Sea of Trolls

by Nancy Farmer

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Overall Review:  

The Sea of Trolls is the first in a trilogy by Nancy Farmer.  The characters are rough and tumble in true Viking manner, but they are also engaging and witty.  This book reminds me a bit of John Flanagan's Brotherband Chronicles.  Even though there is violence, (we can't have Vikings without a few dozen skirmishes with swords and weapons), the characters learn many life lessons along the way--and being honest and dependable are among the most important.  The author did an excellent job of conveying the Viking spirit in a brief and age appropriate manner for the targeted readership.  Magic is used throughout the book but not in an overwhelming way and the characters are expected to use it responsibly and for the good of others.  This book is suspenseful and fun to read.  The pacing is good and kept me eager to read every page.  There are even a few fun and unexpected surprises along the way.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  1 mild obscenity.  Note: References to the afterlife location of "Hel" were not tallied.

Violence/Gore:  One characters origin story was scary; frightening characters from Odin's 9 worlds; creepy characters in stories that bite off legs, heads and devour people; adult and pre-teen Vikings thoroughly enjoy buying and selling slaves, maiming, killing (including women & children), pillaging and razing villages; a few brief scenes of wild animals killing people; ritualistic murder similar to the Egyptians; multiple threats from one pre-teen to another pre-teen to do physical violence; the blood of a beast that causes pain and blisters; non-detailed scene of a creature eating its prey.

Sex/Nudity:  A character takes off her clothes (non-sexual), no detailed descriptions of the body other than skin color.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Many terrifying characters, mass violence and death, human trafficking, ferocious predatory animals, drug use, alcohol consumption.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Drug use by characters to obtain radical and violent behavior; wine is consumed occasionally.

Reviewed By Beth
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