Series: Legends of Orkney #1
Published by SparkPress on June 11th 2014
Genres: Children's Fiction, Fantasy
Amazon • Amazon UK
After meeting a strange dwarf in his garage and finding out his substitute English teacher is a witch, twelve-year-old Sam Baron travels through a stonefire to the magical realm of Orkney where he finally learns the truth about his past: his mother is a witch and his father is a descendant of the Norse god, Odin.
"The Red Sun" is the first book in The Legends of Orkney, the spellbinding series of adventure fantasy novels by Alane Adams. It follows Sam to the realm of Orkney where witches, wraiths, and other menacing creatures cause serious peril to the unsuspecting Sam. Now, it's up to him to save his friends and all of Orkney from a cursed red sun. Can a young witch girl named Mavery help him?
Drawing on Norse mythology, this fantastical story will enthrall middle grade and tween readers with a taste for adventure. As Sam grapples with dark and dangerous elements from his past and confronts his own simmering anger over long ago events, "The Red Sun" sears with wild imagination and breathtaking moments. Follow "The Red Sun" for the high-flying magical ride of your life.
I’ve been struggling a little bit with middle grade reads of late and this one was no exception. While it took me quite awhile to get into the story after getting through a hefty chunk of the book I was quite intrigued to see how this one went and finished it off quite quickly.
After a quick prologue in Orkney to set the scene of what is to come, you are introduced to our main character Sam;- a typical 12 year old boy battling some anger issues, or so he thinks. The first quarter of the book introduces the reader to Sam’s current life and friends and then very quickly turns things upside down as he soon realises that things aren’t quite what they seem. Sam along with his two best friends are soon embroiled in the battles of another realm – Orkney where Sam holds the key to breaking a age old curse and saving not only Orkney, but Earth and the other Norse realms as well.
If you are a fan of fantasy this book is a bit like a comfy and familiar pair of pyjamas. While the story and world is new many of the ideas and the novel outline is quite comparable to other well known middle grade favourites such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. While I wouldn’t put this book quite in the same league – it definitely felt a bit clunky and it didn’t grab me in quite the same way, I think it will still be a hit with the tween and teen readers looking for a good fantasy/adventure series.
The journey Sam takes is an interesting one and while he doesn’t really change or grow in the novel he does learn some important things about himself and is put into some interesting predicaments. Torn between his two bloodlines – his mother was a witch while is father is a son of Odin, you expect him to make some pretty life changing choices. These sadly seem to be glossed over or not quite so anguish driven as they possibly could be which is this books biggest let down. I also felt that the story was very black and white with the witches being “bad” and the people of Orkney and Odin being “good” however I really feel in these children’s and young adult novels that its the shades of grey and the realisation that life isn’t quite so simple that makes things interesting.
I was incredibly frustrated with how little people trusted Sam in the novels. They had vast expectations of him dropping everything about his life and fixing the curse however I didn’t feel that he was treated well in the slightest. It made it very hard to cheer him on in his journey because part of me simply couldn’t care if everyone on the planet dropped dead the rudeness and lack of understanding was inexcusable. His band of friends were great and I also would have liked to see them developed as individual characters in a bit more detail, you go a couple of chapters from their perspectives but not enough to really bring them to life.
The ending of the novel was incredibly well done and the battle scene was very descriptive but not overstated making it enjoyable. I also liked the way the story played out with how to break the curse and the inclusion of the Norse Gods in assisting at the final battle. A fun read and I think a real winner for the fantasy fans here!