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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Review: West of the Moon + UK Giveaway

Author: Katherine Langrish


Release date: 3rd March 2011
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Target audience: 10+
UK Publisher: HarperCollins


Summary from Amazon:


An epic and action-packed fantasy adventure that weaves together Norse legends, shadowy creatures and an unforgettable hero.


When Peer is orphaned he is taken by his wicked uncles to live at their foreboding mill in the shadow of Troll Fell. Here he meets beautiful and spirited Hilde and after a terrifying encounter with the sinister creatures who live below the fell the pair form an inseparable bond. They are thirsty for adventure, so when a Viking longship docks at their village, they decide to set sail for Vinland – a mysterious place across the perilous sea. But are the ship's captain and his sword wielding son really honest sailors? What creatures lurk in the shadows and forests of the new land? And will Peer and Hilde ever return?


Spanning years and continents and filled with brilliantly imagined characters and creatures, this is gripping, atmospheric fantasy at its best.


Review:


West of the Moon is a great, sweeping story of an orphaned boy coming-of-age and experiencing the most important lessons in life.


West of the Moon is told in three parts. The first part sees Peer grieving for his father after he dies of an untreated wound. Peer is wrenched from everything he knows and taken by his Uncle Baldur to live in the mill at Trollsvik. The second part sees Peer in a kind of limbo. No longer a boy but not quite a man, he struggles to find his place in the world. And the third part sees Peer go off on a great adventure and visit a mysterious land. The third part was my favourite as it was all about the final discovery of Peer’s identity.


Peer is a courageous character without ever realising that he is so. His twin uncles are huge brutes and bullies of men and they treat him cruelly. They also mistreat the poor Nis that lives in the mill and don’t reward it for its help around the place. The first part of the story is centred upon the trolls that live under the hill in Trollsvik. They are a source of constant mischief and are meddlesome. While living with his uncles, Peer makes a friend in Hilde who lives up on the hill. Her father has a long history with the trolls which goes back to the time when he took a piece of their treasure. Peer and Hilde have to journey into the lair of the trolls and face the Troll King.


Hilde is an independent and strong-willed girl who is loved by all who meet her. In the fantasy world of West of the Moon, there is a traditional division of labour and Hilde does a great job of breaking through the domestic expectations that the men have of her. She fights off trolls, isn’t afraid to speak her mind and believes she should have the chance to see more of the world than the fells and hills around Trollsvik.


The connection between Peer and Hilde really captured my heart. There is a sort of romance between them born of a long and trusting friendship. It is just enough to be heart-warming without putting off younger readers who will revel in their daring adventures.


One of my favourite things about this epic story is the characterisation of the villains. Langrish goes beyond the convention to have a defined simplistic “evil” as opposition in her fantasy. We set out thinking that the trolls are cruel, self-interested and vile beings but in the course of the story we see beyond the folktales and the myths and recognise the family values that the people share with them.


As I have already mentioned, my favourite part of the story was Part Three. I loved the introduction of the Skraelings and the chapters that showed the world through their eyes. Langrish portrayed a wonderfully descriptive view of Vinland through the character of Kwimu.


West of the Moon is a charming and vibrant fantasy story. Peer’s journey of discovery teaches us to see the world from another person’s standpoint and find the heart of our true self. A delight!


Thanks to HarperCollins for sending the book to review.
 
And  a huge thanks to Katherine for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.
 
Check out Katherine's website HERE and her blog HERE
 
The next stop on the tour is at Girls Without a Bookshelf be sure to check it out on March 21st.
 
Giveaway:
 
I have one copy of West of the Moon to giveaway.
 
To Enter:

  • Complete the form below.
  • Open to UK entrants only.
  • You do not have to be a follower of The Bookette to enter.
  • Please note: Under 16s must get parent / guardian permission before entering and provide their email address rather than their own. Check my Contest Policy for further information.
  • Closing date: Wednesday 30th March 2011

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. WINNER announced HERE

3 comments:

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Wonderful review! It is clear you really enjoyed this book. I love the sort of ancient, Viking setting, and there is also something saga-like about the story. Very nice!

Fiona said...

I've entered your giveaway as I'd love to read this. Have just finished Sherry Ashworth's Close Up and need something new to read.

The Slowest Bookworm said...

Great review. This sounds really good. Thanks for a brill giveaway!