Reviews for Land of the Silver Apples

Booklist Reviews 2007 August #1
*Starred Review* Safely returned from his perilous stint among Northmen, 12-year-old Jack reflects, "That's the nature of adventures. . . . They're nasty while they're happening and only fun later." For readers, though, there's satisfaction in both the nasty and the fun, and this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (2004) offers full measures of both. After Jack learns that his often-bratty little sis is a changeling (and that his real sister likely dwells with hobgoblins), a misguided exorcism results in Lucy's disappearance. Then the young bard must descend into the out-of-time Land of the Silver Apples to retrieve both of his lost siblings. In that richly imagined realm, surprises include a reunion with shield-maiden Thorgil as well as creatures whose appearances deceive--shape-shifting knuckers; hideous yet likable hobgoblins; and lovely, soulless elves, whose inability to grow or age tinges their existence with tragedy. Occasionally, one wishes for a greater range of emotional tone to the predicaments, which plunge Jack into deep despair perhaps too consistently, but Farmer beautifully balances pell-mell action and quieter thematic points, especially the drawbacks of immortality and the wild tangle of Christian and pagan traditions in eighth-century Britain. Like the druidic life force Jack taps, this hearty adventure, as personal as it is epic, will cradle readers in the "hollow of its hand." Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #4
In this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (rev. 11/04), Farmer keeps her hero Jack a bit closer to his Saxon home -- in fact, below it, as Jack's quest takes him underground to the realms of hobgoblins and elves. The object of the quest is something of a moving target; one suspects that Farmer is less interested here in plot development than she is in throwing all manner of challenges at Jack and his companions (who at various points include his bratty little sister Lucy and the bloodthirsty shield-maiden Thorgil, as entertainingly characterized here as in the first book) as they journey through enchanted lands and among astounding peoples. The mix of deep myth and high humor is handled with assurance, and if the story seems unfocused, readers will probably forgive it for the abundant display of Farmer's invention. A third book is promised. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2007 July #1
In this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (2004), Jack discovers his sister Lucy is a changeling, and he is off on a quest to find his real sister and bring her home. With the help of the Bard and Pega, the slave girl he has freed, Jack goes to St. Filian's Well, accidentally causes an earthquake and ends up in the Land of the Silver Apples, where elves rule and time stands still. As the middle volume of a planned trilogy set in eighth-century Britain, this takes its shape from the whole: It can stand on its own, but it mostly enlarges the world of the first volume. It's not the quest itself that's memorable, but the majestic sweep of Farmer's storytelling, from the story of Lucifer and the battle of the angels to the Man in the Moon, the goddess Hel and any number of hobgoblins, yarthkins, knuckers and kelpies. Jack, Pega and Thorgil prove strong and capable in ways they themselves never suspected, and readers will look forward to the final installment. (appendix, sources) (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 July #4
Favorite characters make a triumphant return in these summer sequels. The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer, second in a trilogy that began with The Sea of Trolls, revisits siblings Jack and Lucy. (In a starred review of the first book, PW wrote, "Fans of Viking and adventure tales will be up late nights to discover Jack's fate.") Having survived the wrath of Ivar the Boneless and his evil wife, this installment finds the pair back home in their Saxon village. But when Lucy goes mad after a botched magic ceremony and is kidnapped again, Jack musters up all of his power to save his sister and his village. (Atheneum/Jackson, $18.99 512p ages 10-14 ISBN 9781-4169-0735-0; Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2007 August

Gr 5-9-- Jack, apprentice bard and hero of The Sea of Trolls (S & S, 2004), returns in the middle volume in the trilogy. After a flawed midwinter ritual leads to strange behavior from Jack's sister, Lucy, the siblings travel with a group of old and new friends to the monastery at St. Filian's Well to find treatment. However, the monks prove treacherous and Lucy is kidnapped again, this time by the Lady of the Lake. Jack travels to the Land of the Silver Apples, the home of elves and other magical creatures, in search of her, joined by the freed slave girl Pega; his old friend the shield maiden Thorgil; and Brutus, a slave to the monks at St. Filian's. Jack comes to accept the truth about Lucy and learns more about himself through his adventures in the timeless magical land, and then returns to the human world, where he confronts an evil king with help from his new magical allies. Jack's character continues to deepen and develop, both in his magical skills and as a person. Farmer draws on mythology, including legends and runes of the Picts, to add depth to her story, and her author's note and sources add authenticity to the narrative. She builds on Jack's adventures in The Sea of Trolls and at the same time creates a stand-alone novel, drawing readers into this complex world and leaving them looking forward to more.--Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI

[Page 114]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2007 August
This sequel to The Sea of Trolls (Atheneum/S & S, 2004/VOYA October 2004) lives up to the expectations set by the first novel. This Newbery Honor author delivers an exciting blend of Norse and Celtic mythology and early Christianity to create a fascinating world in which thirteen-year-old Jack must learn to control his magical powers. Jack is a bard's apprentice who is slowly improving his skills. His younger and bratty sister is stolen by otherworldly creatures (again), but this time she does not want to come home. Lucy is part elf, which explains her selfishness, but Jack's search for her develops into a quest. Thorgil returns in this novel, and her Northwoman fighting skills help the traveling assemblage. Pega, an ugly servant girl, has a beautiful singing voice that awakens the ancient yarthkins and causes the hobgoblin king to fall in love with her. Jack's friends travel from world to world, meeting all kinds of goblins, kelpies, elves, Picts, and more In this middle book of a trilogy, the ending is slightly disappointing because readers must wait two years to discover what happens to Jack and his friends. But this fantasy is truly remarkable with the blending of the myths and ancient Christian tales. Farmer has an eight-page appendix describing the religion of the time period and Pictish symbols, along with a three page bibliography. The third book in the Islands of the Blessed trilogy should be published in 2009.-Sarah Hill Biblio. Appendix. 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.