Reviews for Runemarks : Library Edition

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

Gr 7-10-- Young Maddy Smith lives for the yearly visits from One-Eye, a traveler who has taught her to accept the mysterious runemark (or "ruinmark" as the townsfolk call it) on her palm and to use the magic powers it brings her. This year, through One Eye--who turns out to be the Norse god Odin--she embarks on a daunting adventure into the Earth, taking her all the way down to Hel's domain, where Order and Chaos are pitted against one another and the Whisperer or Nameless One threatens the future of all things. Through Loki, the trickster god, Maddy discovers her own heritage and her true name, and must confront the Whisperer. Joanne Harris's long and rich saga (Random, 2008) is a difficult text to translate into an audiobook. Points of view change from Maddy to other characters. The many characters change "aspects," bodies, and names, and keeping their interactions straight is difficult (the book has a key to the characters). Actress Sile Bermingham uses voices and different accents to differentiate the characters, but listeners may wonder why Loki and Hel (Norse gods) sound Irish; Sugar, a goblin, sounds Cockney; and other gods and people have no obvious accent. Overall, the sound quality is very good and Bermingham does a very good job of narrating with generally excellent diction and expression, though occasionally it is unclear which character is speaking. The audiobook may be more successful as a read-along. Though rich in mystical folkloric references and language as well as quite a bit of humor, it will confuse some listeners and make them wish they had a Norse mythology reference book nearby.--Louise L. Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ

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