Secrets of Valhalla
By Jasmine Richards
Published January 19, 2016 by HarperCollins
Reviewed from e-ARC
Buzz really wishes his mom would come home. Nothing has been the same since she's been gone. His dad's obsession with mythology has distanced him from both Buzz and his sister and things only get stranger when Saturday begins repeating itself. Along with his new friend, Mary, Buzz discovers that the Runes of Valhalla are missing and it's up to them to find them and reunite them with their deities before the world descends into total chaos.
So, this was the second Norse-mythology inspired book I read in the span of about a month and I enjoyed this one much more than the other (I know, I was surprised, too). Now, I'm not saying this is the upper echelon of literature, but this was fun and incorporated the mythology well. I enjoyed all the characters (though sometimes Buzz and Mary's dialogue felt stilted and unrealistic for kids of their age - though I suppose there could be an explanation for at least Mary's part of that). I felt like I learned a lot more about Norse mythology in this book than in my other recent read, though it still doesn't go as in-depth as other mythology-based books I've read. That being said, I thought it explained things clearly and interestingly - it doesn't FEEL like the book is trying to teach you (well, at least most of the time) and it's all easy to understand. I thought the journey the characters underwent was fun and I liked visiting the different gods and realms. The ending is a bit overly sweet and tidy, but I was glad that things worked out. Overall, a cute story and bonus points for characters of color as the protagonists.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.