Frostborn, the first of the Thrones & Bones series by Lou Anders, is a middle-grade fantasy adventure. Trolls! Dragons! Wyverns! Frost Giants! Undead Draug! Board Games! The best!
Karn is a boy who is far more interested in playing the board game Thrones and Bones than learning how to barter… or learning how to run a farm. Destined to inherit the family farm in Norrøngard, he isn’t sure if he’ll ever be ready to fill his father’s boots.
Thianna is a half-human, half-frost giantess who, at 7 feet tall, finds herself at odds with the human part of her heritage. Too short to be considered seriously as a giant, Thianna is constantly trying to prove herself.
Forced to flee from their respective homes, Karn and Thianna team up to survive the wilderness of the mountains – and the various opponents who seem intent to chase them down. Among these are trolls, a giant and ancient dragon, several wyverns saddled with shady humans, and the undead minions (draug) of an ancient undead warrior. Not to mention an evil uncle and some bullies of giants.
What I loved:
- This was fast-paced and full of humour.
- You can totally understand Karl’s position. Running a farm vs. playing a game – I can totally get that the game would win. Yes, Karl is dodging responsibility. But he’s still a young guy (only 12 years old, after all) – and clearly learns a lot throughout the book. I love that he matures during the book, and also realizes that he does have some skills after all. Also, given that my husband is a HUGE board game fan, I loved the references to the game throughout the book – and the use of game strategy to help Karl out with his real-life problems. Board game strategy for the win!
- Thianna is a strong gal, which I love and support. She’s obviously very conflicted, and you can’t blame her. Being bullied for her half-human nature means that she’s always trying to prove that she IS a giant. But she’s got some pretty neat traits being half-human and half-frost giantess and I loved seeing her start to accept both parts of herself. And also fight against bullying! She’s got a bit of a hot temper, but is a true friend.
- Themes of loyalty, self-discovery, adventure, friendship, and dealing with bullying make this a rich narrative.
- This is fully the type of book that would work very well as a read-aloud story.
- Norse mythology – such a neat glimpse into a fantasy world that I know very little about. (And honestly much of what I do know is related to Skyrim… heh).
- I love that the story has a solid conclusion, but leaves things open for a sequel! Yay sequels!
For it’s genre (middle-grade fantasy), I thought this was a fantastic book! 5/5!