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|Secrets of Valhalla|
Author: Richards, Jasmine
Volume 1--Buzz and his new friend, Mary, try to save the world from the vengeful Norse god, Loki.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 188565
Kirkus Reviews (10/01/15)
School Library Journal (11/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2015 Gr 4–7—Friday the 13th has always been an unlucky day for Buzz, and this year it promises to be even stranger, with talking squirrels, supernatural trees, and murderous dragons appearing from invisible caverns beneath the earth. With a cast of characters inspired by Norse mythology, Richards takes her reluctant hero on a quest to find and rescue a handful of adults who have mysteriously disappeared from Buzz's town of Crowmarsh. Buzz enlists the help of the unpopular Mary, and together they manage to persuade the Norse gods and goddesses to release the mortals they've possessed in order to fight Tyr and prevent Ragnarok (the final battle). In the meantime, the doomed citizens of Crowmarsh are trapped in an endless repetition of the same Saturday, and Buzz's mother, who, in a confusing and inconsequential subplot, disappeared from her research expedition in the Amazon a year ago, reappears. By the end, Buzz achieves a happy ending and his family drama resolves all too perfectly. His friend Mary, on the other hand, has less success with her rigid and authoritarian grandmother. Richards's story is yet another venture into the genre that Rick Riordan has so successfully made his own, and she doesn't quite pull it off. In an effort to explain the lesser-known details of Norse mythology, Richards periodically takes time out from the story to provide context, and the result is a little jerky. Nevertheless, kids will love meeting the lachrymose Kraken, who is also, apparently, the Loch Ness Monster and cheeky Ratatosk, the talking squirrel. Richards's vivid animal characters are the stars of this narrative. VERDICT A fine purchase to supplement middle grade collections where myth-inspired fantasy/adventure is popular.—Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/15/2015 Buzz has the worst luck, and trying to turn it around just gets him into even more trouble. He gets detention, won’t be able to play in the championship soccer game, and loses his cell phone to a bully who pranks him in front of the whole school. To top it off, he’s failing English, too. Then he meets the new American girl, Mary, clad in cobweb-patterned stockings and sporting dreadlocks, who astounds him with a cornucopia of weird facts. Things take a turn for the supernatural when the unlikely pals are given a mission from the Norse god Sunna: they must find sleeping gods and hidden rune stones that will save the world from Ragnarok. Along the way, they’ll find gods from many cultures in the most unbelievable places. Richards excels at weaving stories that mesh the real, modern world and classic mythologies. Readers will clamor for more, especially those who loved Rick Riordan’s Norse-themed The Sword of Summer (2015). - Copyright 2015 Booklist.