ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.
In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.
It’s been five hundred years since the end of the world and society has rebuilt itself anew. The old Norse gods are no longer revered. Their tales have been banned. Magic is outlawed, and a new religion – the Order – has taken its place.
In a remote valley in the north, fourteen-year-old Maddy Smith is shunned for the ruinmark on her hand – a sign associated with the Bad Old Days. But what the villagers don’t know is that Maddy has skills. According to One-Eye, the secretive Outlander who is Maddy’s only real friend, her ruinmark – or runemark, as he calls it – is a sign of Chaos blood, magical powers and gods know what else…
Now, as the Order moves further north, threatening all the Worlds with conquest and Cleansing, Maddy must finally learn the truth to some unanswered questions about herself, her parentage, and her powers.
Joanne Harris… well, it was a love at first word with her and has been so ever since. I have NEVER read a book by her and felt disappointment, regret or mixed feelings. She is a unique human being that has been blessed with the magic of writing and brings joy to the world with ther storytelling.
This is Joanne Harris’s first novel for young adults. Its the story of maddy Smith a fourteen year old girl who lives in the distant future in a world entirely different to ours. Maddie is born with a mysterious rune mark on her hand which in her world is considered a very bad omen.
The novel which is quite long for a childrens novel relates Maddie’s adventures as she crosses over into the different worlds. On her journey she encounters many colourful characters including norse gods. No-one is quite who they appear to be and who actually can Maddie really trust! There are lots of twists along the way. Joanne Harris in this book demonstates her ability as a storyteller. Although I did feel that she did not explore the character of Maddy strongly enough that said a very readable story. I also would have wished for Loki’s character to be a bit more… Well, Nordic… Ever since I read Lachlan’s Wolfsangel I have been spoiled by the way he portrays Loki, and so far every other portrayal falls flat for me. I just cannot live with the idea of another Loki, who is to be different to that, which is of course absolute non-sense, for Loki is a shapeshifter above all. But alas, I am a humble human.
On the bright side Joanne Harris’ writing style is as strong as ever and it is easy to get involved in the magical world she creates. It is all very tongue-in-cheek with humour that owes a lot to the influence of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. It is easy to read and enjoyable as ever. But I find it a bit less influencial than her other works. Nothing can beat the Five Quaters of the Orange or Chocolate for me. It is still very good, although a tiny bit inferior the rest of her novels.
It is again a crossover book that any age group with a penchant for fantasy and magic will thoroughly enjoy. This is a re-release of the original book which was published in 2007 but this version has an epic, artistic and mythology based landscape on the cover which is absolutely stunning (it is also hardback which is a bonus). I am a huge fan of Joanne Harris so thank you to Gollancz for providing me a copy of the book to devour almost immediately.