Author: Napoli, Donna Jo
When a marauding slave ship captures her sister, Melkorka, eight-year-old Brigid is lost at sea but survives, disguised as a boy, and sets out to rescue Melkorka, and as the years pass she becomes a woman, reputed to be fierce enough to conquer a man, but desirous only of reuniting with her family.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 171874
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 64460
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/14)
School Library Journal (+) (11/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/15)
The Hornbook (00/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2014 Gr 7 Up—Readers who enjoyed Donna Jo Napoli's Hush (S. & S., 2007) and wondered about the fate of eight-year-old Brigid finally have their answers. The author uses her amazing ability to find the bare bones of an old story and flesh them out into a rich, living tale. This time, it is the story of Alfhild, feared female pirate of 10th-century Norse lore. Brigid survives her plunge into icy waters when escaping the slave ship she and her sister Melkorka were aboard. Upon realizing that Mel did not escape with her, she is determined to find her sister, no matter the long odds. But how to find one beautiful slave girl possibly traded anywhere in Europe? Brigid, or Alfhild as she comes to be called, ponders this question as she learns, grows, and thrives. Over several years, her circumstances change, allowing her to gain new skills as she travels from town to town, family to family, and between social classes. Her sister, her blood family, is the reason Alfhild continues her search, but the many adoptive families she becomes part of strengthen her to continue her quest. Brigid is a fictional character but Alfhild is an actual historical figure—this blending to fit a historical framework produces continued good fortune, which lends the work a folktale feel at times. Napoli seamlessly weaves cultural, mythological, and historical information together, immersing the readers in Norse life.—Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/15/2014 This companion to Napoli’s Hush (2007) features Irish princess Brigid and her quest to find her older sister, Melkorka, so that they might “immalle,” stay together as their mother instructed when she sent them to hide from the Vikings. From eight-year-old Brigid’s daring escape from a Viking slave ship—without Mel—and her assumption of the name Alfhild (elf warrior) to her courage to leave two “adopted” Norse families and make her final journey in search of her sister, Brigid dares to challenge the early tenth-century roles of women, refusing to accept the Norse culture of violence and male entitlement. Napoli has embellished the legend of Alfhild, the first Norse woman pirate, and the novel takes on a life of its own once the now 15-year-old Brigid assumes this role. The author’s spare, straightforward narrative blunts the overall horror of a girl’s life as Brigid matter-of-factly describes her small victories and survival against all odds. Not for the faint of heart or the casual reader, but for those fascinated with well-researched historical fiction and women’s issues, it’s well worth the time and effort. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 In this companion novel to the poetic and haunting Hush: An Irish Princess Tale (BCCB 3/08), the younger sister of Melkorka, that book’s protagonist, gets full focus. Brigid is fiery and outspoken, even at eight, when she escapes from slavers, loses her sister and her comfy royal life in Ireland, and finds herself truly alone in a region far from home. She wanders, always with the goal that she will find her beloved sister and reunite her family, but she’s also trying to pick up skills, comfort, and knowledge along the way. Brigid quickly determines that pretending to be of Norse origin is much smarter than being her Irish self, so she adapts and prevaricates, remaking herself as Alfhild, the perhaps elf, perhaps slave, perhaps orphan child who fits herself where she can in various Nordic communities. The pace is languid on occasion, particularly in the middle chapters as Alfhild grows from child to teen, but it picks up considerably toward the end, as chapters involving bold rescues and female pirates are wont to. There is a dramatic spareness to the first-person narration: Alfhild remains in many ways a child despite her advancing age, and her understanding of the world is authentically rather limited, given her life circumstances. The reader will likely spot places where Alfhild’s perspective on a situation is incorrect or too harsh, and she must figure out the more accurate reality. Extensive end matter explains the bits of truth, myth, legend, and fiction that all went into making these characters, particularly the memorable Brigid/Alfhild, whose unwavering determination propels her through joy and tragedy with equal steel, almost costing her moments of beauty because she is so focused on whatever comes next. A glossary, an author’s note explaining the history, and a bibliography are appended. AS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.