Book Review: The Blue Salt Road – Joanne Harris

Book Review: The Blue Salt Road – Joanne Harris

BOOK REVIEW (28)Release Date: 15th November 2018
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. Waterstones.
Source: I won an ARC of this at YALC.

Synopsis

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, “Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn’s father,
Far less the land that he staps in.
(Child Ballad, no. 113)

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there – without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

Review

This is the second of book by Joanne Harris based on The Child Ballads. The first being A Pocketful of Crows which I read last year and adored. This time around the story focuses on selkies and Harris weaves a beautiful fairytale of adventure, love and loss.

Untitled design (94)The story follows a young woman named Flora who tricks a Selkie into becoming her mate. Once pregnant she steals his seal skin meaning he can never return to the water. According to myth when the Selkie is separated from his skin he cannot remember who he truly is. The story follows the Selkie as he seeks to reclaim what is his, as well as protect his newborn child.

Joanne Harris really is the Queen of beautiful, lyrical writing and her style fits so well with this kind of story. It allows you to really sink into the story, enveloping you in this world of wild seas, full of danger and violence.

Like A Pocketful of Crows I found this book fascinating. I loved the bold story with memorable characters and the gorgeous illustrations really helped to bring the story to life. Although it’s a short little book (in fact I read in a single sitting on the train from London to Edinburgh), it certainly packs a punch and I still think about it even though I read it a while ago.

With gorgeous artwork both inside and out, this really is a stunning book. The story is a beautifully woven tale of magic, adventure and love. Fans of Joanne Harris will definitely not be disappointed and if you enjoy fairy tales and retellings, this should absolutely be on your wish list.
4 stars

Book Review: The Testament of Loki – Joanne M. Harris

Book Review: The Testament of Loki – Joanne M. Harris

BOOK REVIEW (49)
Series:
Loki #2
Release Date: 17th May 2018
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy to review.

Synopsis

Ragnarok was the End of Worlds.

Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . .

But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.

The first, but not the only one to. Other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks . . .

Review

This is the second of Joanne Harris’s books featuring the trickster God Loki. I absolutely loved The Gospel of Loki so I was really excited to return to this series. In this instalment Ragnarok has occurred, Asgard has fallen and Loki has very few options. By chance he escapes eternal torment only to end up sharing the body of a young teenage girl.

book cover (24)One of the things I really adored about this book is the way that Joanne Harris writes this series. Loki is of course a trickster, he’s mischievous and scheming and that really comes across in the narrative. It’s very much like you’re sitting down with Loki and he’s regaling you with his greatest feats. I loved seeing things from his perspective and watching as he managed to worm his way out of every situation.

The Testament of Loki really was an emotional read. There were bits I was laughing (Loki attempting to understand the modern world of mobile phones and pizza) to the sadder moments as Loki grows as a person and learns to care about people other than himself. I really liked Jumps, (Loki’s host) she was a fascinating character and she had a terrific amount of character development as she dealt with her problems and became who she wanted to be.

The story is fun and fast paced, with plenty of Loki’s schemes leaving you wondering what on Earth he’s going to do next. These books are such a fun and accessible way to learn about Norse mythology and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
4 stars