The Sea of Trolls By: Nancy Farmer
Jack, a young farm boy knew that things weren’t always what they seem, but even so, when the Druid Bard of their village chooses him to be his apprentice, even Jack was surprised! Learning under the Bard was difficult, and there was a lot about life that Jack never understood. But half-way through his training, the Bard loses his mind and then he and his little sister, Lucy, are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken far, far way to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen. When Lucy offends the Viking Queen, Firth, and causes the enchantment on her hair to fail she threatens to sacrifice Lucy unless Jack can restore the enchantment for her hair. With Thorgil, a Viking maiden, Jack undertakes a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls; to fetch water from Mimir’s well that will re-grow the Queen’s hair. Facing their deepest fears, the two battle troll bears and dragons, escape giant spiders, and hopefully stay on the good side of the fearsome Trolls who live near the well. Absolutely terrified and not sure what he is to do, Jack gets thrown into adventure after adventure as he rushes to rescue his sister from the horrible half-troll queen.This book has everything I could love in a story. Charm, witty banter, trolls, other creatures of unknown scariness, adventure, Vikings, Norse Mythology and of course likeable characters you can actually connect with. Though it is considered a children’s book, it’s honestly a children’s book that is also for adults, young and old. I love how the background of the story ties into the Nordic and Scandinavian stories of old, Beowulf and mythologies.
One other thing about this book to be aware of is the mixing of religions. Jack was raised Christian, but it is the extreme version of Christianity where the monks teach that everyone is sinful all the time and that there is little comfort from God. The Bard believes in something called the “Life Force”, and the Vikings, of course, believe in all the Norse gods and Yggdrasil (which is the same thing as the Life Force only in the form of a tree). In this story, the religions are all mixed together to the point where Jack finds himself believing in all three or a version of all three. I was not bothered by this at all and I am Christian as well. The negative view of Christianity was not as bad and in everything it was all historically accurate to my knowledge but I did feel like mentioning it should the material not be suitable to some. I personally think it is a great topic of discussion for children and adults alike. Overall I recommend this book to anyone in search of an adventure!
Quote from The Sea of Trolls:
“This [knife] is for your protection. You’re not to join the fight,” Olaf said.
“Don’t worry,” said Jack.
“I know how exciting pillaging is,” the giant said fondly, ruffling Jack’s hair. It felt like a blow. “No matter how much you’re tempted, just say no.”
“Just say no to pillaging. You got it.”
Oh Vikings… How could you not read a book with a “Just say no to pillaging.” Slogan?
Have you read the Sea of Trolls? What did you think of it?