Runemarks (Spoiler Free!) Review

“Anything that can be dreamed is true.”
-Joane Harris, Runemarks

Hey guys! Not too long ago I was sent a copy of Runemarks by Joanne Harris by the lovely people at Orion books to read and review. I loved Chocolat and I love fantasy, so I was interested to see what Runemarks would be like!

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In Runemarks, magic and mystery are outlawed, and the main character, Maddy, has a strange marking on one hand that no-one can explain… That, together with her unusual abilities has led to the rest of her village fearing her and treating her like an outsider. But she’s about to embark on a journey to the world Below, learn the outlawed ways of the old gods and meet several infamous characters in different guises. As war is brewing between the powers of Chaos and Order, could it be Maddy that holds the key to the survival of the worlds?

This book was a high fantasy with an epic quest at the heart of it, reminding me of Tolkein in more ways than one. Set after the fall of the Nordic gods, I really enjoyed the world building in Runemarks and seeing Harris’ interpretation of Norse mythology, along with a motley collection of creatures, including goblins, gods and spectres. It’s a brilliant addition to the genre and the writing is great, but I found it a little difficult to get into at first and confusing at times, which slowed my reading down a little, and at 500 pages, it did take me a while to read through it all!

That said, I was enchanted by Maddy-she’s a brave, spunky 14 year old girl and was the perfect guide to show the reader around the worlds Below. As she encounters many gods, no-one is quite who they appear to be, and that leads to some good twists along the way! I won’t go into all the different characters introduced in the book, as I don’t want to give anything away, but I feel like Harris did a great job at conjuring them all to life with distinct personalities, witty dialogue and different roles along the way of Maddy’s epic adventure.

The pacing was good and the novel had a nice balance between being packed with adventure and exploring the characters well, which I liked. I also haven’t read too many books with a basis on Norse mythology, so that was really interesting as well Overall, I enjoyed Runemarks and the world that it immersed me in and I’m giving it 3.5/5 stars. I’d recommend this book to all fans of high fantasy and mythology!

Has anyone else read this one? What did you think of it?

 

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