REVIEW SUMMARY: Lou Anders’s debut novel for young readers is an engaging and fun fantasy adventure. Younger readers will enjoy the novel and find identifiable characters while older readers will enjoy the rich world.
PROS: Fluid storytelling, engaging characters and spectacular worldbuilding.
CONS: Some dialogue felt forced, some characters a little telegraphed (though that may be because of my age).
BOTTOM LINE: Were I the target age for Frostborn, I would have gobbled up this book. At my current age I enjoyed and want more Thrones and Bones.
Thrones and Bones is not just the series title for Lou Anders’s debut novel Frostborn, it is also the game with which Karn, one of the novel’s young protagonists, is obsessed. Our other protagonist, the young half-giant Thianna, is an outsider in her land because of her dual heritage. Of course their paths intertwine in Anders’ Norse-inspired fantasy, set in the land of Norrøngard, with undead kings, Afterwalkers (undead warriors), magic horns, wyverns, dragons and dead cities.
Lou Anders‘ research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. Frostborn, which Publishers Weekly described as “thoroughly enjoyable” (starred review), is his first middle grade novel. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones.
Lou was kind enough to chat with me about Frostborn!
Kristin Centorcelli: Lou, let’s talk Frostborn. Will you tell us a bit about the book, the world that it’s set in, and why you decided to write it?
Lou Anders: Frostborn is the story of Karn Korlundsson, a boy growing up knowing he will one day inherit the responsibility of running a large farm but who would much rather play the board game Thrones and Bones, and Thianna, a half-human, half-frost giant girl, who at seven feet tall, is picked on horribly by her peers in the frost giant village for being so short—they don’t let her play any reindeer games, you could say—and wishes she could expunge her human half. The two of them are driven out of their individual homes by unforeseen circumstances and meet in the icebound wilderness, where they help each other survive, learn about themselves, and overcome monsters and two separate sets of bad guys. Frostborn is the first book in the Thrones and Bones series, and it is a middle-grade fantasy series written for boys and girls ages eight and up. It was just recently released by Random House Children’s Books new imprint, Crown Books for Young Readers (headed by the brilliant and famous Phoebe Yeh), and I have been blown away by the reaction to it thus far.