I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Children by Bjørn Larssen
Published by Josephtailor on 3 October 2020
Genres: Norse Fiction, Nordic Myth, Norse & Viking
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
Magni never wanted to be like his father, a murderous, absent, cheating alcoholic: Thor – the feared and beloved God of thunder. When Thor destroys everything and everyone his son knows and loves, Magni vows to stop the violence. His dream is to bring peace and prosperity to the Nine Worlds, then settle down with the man he loves. But is it possible to remain good in a place this bad? How do you escape cruelty in a universe built on it, or the shadow of your father when everyone calls you by his name?
Maya knows she’s a failure and a disappointment to her foster-parents. How could a child raised by Freya and Freyr – Goddess of love and God of sex – have no interest in the greatest of pleasures? Obviously, it couldn’t be the torture they subjected her to, or treating her as a tool that might someday be useful. Maya, her rage at their games more powerful than she knows, wants freedom to pursue her own destiny. But how do you forge your own life away from your God-parents when you’re nothing more than human?
A retelling of the Norse myths unlike any other, Children will answer all the questions you never knew you had about the heathen Nine Worlds… before leading you into the Tenth.
Children by Bjørn Larssen is one of those truly once in a lifetime reads. Whilst reading it felt like all the stars had aligned, every wish I ever had come true, it was the jackpot lottery win. It has everything. The striking colour and magic that it promises within, decadent characterisation and prose that is as majestic as a sunset. This was a blog tour that I couldn’t pass up on matter how snowed under I was writing reviews (you’d think I’d learn). This is what Norse fiction should be all about and Bjørn Larssen is a master craftsman in it’s art.
The word Children instantly brings images into the mind. Carefree, giggling and a version of their parents. The word carries significant weight and every parent around the world recognises just what that means. They come into our lives and change it. This beautiful novel gives the reader a snapshot of just how they affect relationships and lives.
Bjørn Larssen has the insurmountable task of making his readers care. He stripped back the layers of skin and I was dazzled by the brutality and raw power that his story held. Norse Mythology isn’t a sweet fairy-tale that we tell our children to aid sleep, it is a murderous, brutal world that will gut you open if you aren’t paying attention.
Children is told through two vastly different pairs of eyes, Magni and Maya. Forget everything you thought you may have known about Norse Mythology and its powerful gods at the door because you literally know nothing. Bjørn Larssen has taken the bones of the well-known tales and turned them on it’s fucking head. It is the best retelling that I have had the pleasure of reading. I’m not ashamed to admit that Larssen managed to strip me open emotionally and a tear or two did escape. Forget Thor and Odin, Bjørn Larssen is the real god here!
Anyway, back to the story. Both Magni and Maya are living in the shadows of their respective parents. How can you live up to the figure of Thor? This is no happy tale – both the protagonists are extremely worse for wear having been abused and being exposed to horrific instances of neglect, it’s enough to bring a tear to a glass eye. The author really doesn’t sugar-coat the extremes of good and bad. The characterisation and development are second to none.
The author tackled hard hitting themes in Children and the result is a painfully raw but a testament to the will of the human condition. This is a book that you won’t stop turning the pages to. At it’s core it’s a story about the brutality of love, abuse, and survival. If you read one book this year it must be Children, this is most definitely in my top five favourite books read this year. This is one book that is most definitely worth the cerebral investment.
Massive thanks to Storytellers on tour for my spot on the blog tour and a copy of this amazing book to review. It’s a pleasure as always.
ABOUT BJORN LARSSEN
Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself. His writing is described as ‘dark’ and ‘literary’, but he remains incapable of taking anything seriously for more than 60 seconds.
Bjørn has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland. He owns one (1) husband and is owned by one (1) neighbourhood cat.