The summary inside seemed promising. As did the [insert small number here] positive reviews to be found on Amazon. Norse gods. The Good Folk. Glimmering Runes. Unfortunately they were promises like those of a big brother. "If you will do my chores for the day I won't invade your bookshelf and de-alphabetize them for at least a week." Now we all know that is a lie. And so was the summary of Runemarks by Joanne Harris. A "romp" it may have been. But your feet barely lift from the mire of bore as you attempt to frolic.
Maddy thrives on magic, a forbidden thing for her time. It is 500 years after the apocalypse-like rise of Chaos and anything unknown is simply ignored. Goblins there may be, but the good folk of Maddy's orderly town refuse to acknowledge the fact. Blame it on the rats. But when Maddy meets a traveler, a mysterious man (?) named One-Eye, her isolated world changes. He teaches her the way of the ancient runes and the legends of the Old People. And when he asks her aide in seeking out the mysterious Whisperer, there can only be trouble awaiting should she even survive the World Beneath to seek her prize.
Maddy's adventures are disjointed and her motives unclear. Is she out for adventure? to seek this Whisperer out for a reason other than One-Eye's cynical ramblings? or simply to get out? Characters appear and disappear in a frustrating display of meaningless and thread-thin connections . Even the protagonists aren't especially interesting and sacrifice depth for half-hearted attempts at wit. Plus (worse and worse), the gods are petulant and weak. I would be personally offended if Loki had been included in the facade, but impact was minimal. This flaw is forgiven. The only interesting part of this 544 page endeavor into the plot-less and vague was the quaint speech of the goblins and their trademark malicious behavior, wreaking havoc and supporting Chaos everywhere they go.
It is quite unlike me to be so very abusive to any novel. But this deserves it. Trust me. It does. 1.5 lightnings and no sound effects to boot.
With the Rare Expression of Disgust,
7 months ago