Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday Favourite - WEST OF THE MOON by Katherine Langrish

The Muse has had his horn stuck into this book ever since Katherine Langrish’s Nis post.

If you’ve been following the official “West of the Moon” blog tour, you’ll probably realize by now that it brings together her three previous Troll novels: Troll Fell, Troll Mill and Troll Blood. But even if you have already read all of these, it’s worth getting your hands on this book because:
* it has a beautiful cover
* it has a lovely romantic title
* the original books have been reworked by the author to make an epic story in three parts, rather than simply binding up the three novels and slapping on a new cover, as sometimes happens.

The story follows young Peer, who is orphaned at the start of the book and dragged off by his wicked uncles to help them work the mill on Troll Fell. It’s a miserable, haunted place. His only friends are his dog Loki and the red-hatted Nis, who does the housework (sometimes) in return for a bowl of ‘groute’. Fortunately, Peer also finds a human friend in Hilde, the adventurous daughter of a Viking seafarer, and dreams of a time when they can sail away together to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. But unknown to Peer, his uncles have darker plans for him and Hilde: they are to be the gifts at a troll wedding, destined to a life of slavery underground in the dark. When Peer calls on the help of his magical friends, this plan backfires on the millers, enabling Peer (and the Nis) to escape the mill and move in with Hilde’s family.

Their adventures really begin when they board one of the dragonships Peer’s father helped build and set sail for the legendary land Hilde told him about. But it is no sightseeing trip. With them is the captain’s son, Harald Silkenhair, who owns a sword and has killed with it. When Peer discovers the terrible truth about their shipmates, he must decide where his loyalties lie. Can he find the courage to stand up to Harald and win the heart of his childhood sweetheart Hilde?

"West of the Moon" is an epic fantasy adventure and coming-of-age story with the kind of atmosphere that makes your spine tingle. There are no unicorns (Muse: they might be invisible?) but it’s full of Norse myth so its pages are bursting with other magical creatures:
The Nis – you’ve already met him!
lubbers – creepy creatures who live in the dark and crawl out of toilets, yeuch!
Granny Greenteeth – a witch with green hair who lives in the mill pond.
trolls – ugly beasts with horns and long tails who live under the hill.
seal maidens – who become human when their skin is stolen.
jenu – giants who roam Vinland with souls of ice
wiklatmu’jk – tiny people who live under the rocks and like pegging humans down
Skraelings – fierce natives of Vinland who paint their skin red and black.

Muse: Vampires and werewolves are SO last year… get your hands/hooves on West of the Moon now!

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