Tuesday, December 16, 2008

sea of trolls

I should probably be posting something Christmasy but I'm simply not in the mood right now. Don't worry, I'll get my Christmas spirit back. I just need to think of something else this afternoon.

Lidia and I are listening to The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer during our school commute. We are almost finished--this is a long one that's taken us several weeks. But so, so good. You know how I said Eva Ibottson was my new favorite after reading The Star of Kazan? Well, move over, Eva. Just kidding--two very different authors and they'll have to exist for awhile as my dual favorites.

I'd already read one of Farmer's prize-winning books, The House of Scorpion, loved it, and posted about it. The Sea of Trolls is entirely different. It's a blend of real and mythical historical fiction. It's what I think of as a "grounded fantasy." I think that may become my favorite genre. The story takes place in Anglo-Saxon England and Viking Europe in 793, where Christianity and pagan beliefs exist side-by-side, often within the same person. I've learned a lot about the time period and especially about Vikings. The characters are complex and the mythical elements captivating. As I've listened to this audiobook (excellent narrator in Gerard Doyle--perhaps the best I've heard!) I've repeatedly thought, this book must have been written by someone of tremendous depth and intelligence. Well, a couple days ago I discovered Nancy Famer's bio on her website. It turns out that I was right. She is both intelligent and profound, and on top of that, had a very bizarre childhood. If you have any interest in writing or children's literature I highly recommend you read this bio! (Mama Ava, I first thought of you and was going to email you about it but didn't get the chance. Now you know. ;-)) There are many of you who read this blog who would find Farmer's childhood experiences and thoughts on writing fascinating.


Gabriela said...

You always find the most interesting books! This one sounds really cool. Luckily I'll be in the States soon and can stock up on new books!

Anonymous said...

I listened to the second book in that Sea of Trolls series, and really enjoyed it. Nancy Farmer is an awesome YA writer. The only thing that kind of bugged me about the second book, and maybe this was in the first one too, was that I felt like the writer was kind of knocking on Christianity. The Christian point of view seemed very silly as portrayed by the characters. Read it!

Calandria said...

Hmm--that's too bad that the second book gets that way. I didn't feel that the first knocked Christianity. It just portrays it as one of the set of beliefs of the time.