This sequel to The Sea of Trolls (Atheneum/S & S, 2004/VOYA October 2004) lives up to the expectations set by the first novel. This Newbery Honor author delivers an exciting blend of Norse and Celtic mythology and early Christianity to create a fascinating world in which thirteen-year-old Jack must learn to control his magical powers. Jack is a bard's apprentice who is slowly improving his skills. His younger and bratty sister is stolen by otherworldly creatures (again), but this time she does not want to come home. Lucy is part elf, which explains her selfishness, but Jack's search for her develops into a quest. Thorgil returns in this novel, and her Northwoman fighting skills help the traveling assemblage. Pega, an ugly servant girl, has a beautiful singing voice that awakens the ancient yarthkins and causes the hobgoblin king to fall in love with her. Jack's friends travel from world to world, meeting all kinds of goblins, kelpies, elves, Picts, and more. In this middle book of a trilogy, the ending is slightly disappointing because readers must wait two years to discover what happens to Jack and his friends. But this fantasy is truly remarkable with the blending of the myths and ancient Christian tales. Farmer has an eight-page appendix describing the religion of the time period and Pictish symbols, along with a three page bibliography. The third book in the Islands of the Blessed trilogy should be published in 2009.
In this entrancing if lengthy sequel, Jack, now 13 and a bard-in-training, is forced to head out to rescue his little sister Lucy once more when she is kidnapped by the Lady of the Lake. The setting is Britain in 790 AD, and the old gods uneasily co-exist with newer Christian beliefs. Elves are really fallen angels, we learn, and Lucy is happy living in their glamorous world of illusions. Accompanying Jack on his quest to find Lucy and restore water to the fortress of Din Guardi are Pega, a village slave girl whom he frees; the Norse warrior maiden Thorgil, whom he rescues from a burial in moss; and a silver-tongued slave named Brutus, who turns out to be a descendent of Lancelot. They are trapped in the Land of the Silver Apples, where time doesn't pass. Their Tolkienesque adventures, filled with magic, danger, and humor, will appeal to all fantasy fans who enjoyed the acclaimed first book. An appendix gives background on religion at that time, and on St. Filian's Well, Din Guardi, and Pictish symbols, which decorate each chapter heading. The conclusion to Jack's tale, The Islands of the Blessed, will be published in 2009.
In this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (2004), Jack discovers his sister Lucy is a changeling, and he is off on a quest to find his real sister and bring her home. With the help of the Bard and Pega, the slave girl he has freed, Jack goes to St. Filian's Well, accidentally causes an earthquake and ends up in the Land of the Silver Apples, where elves rule and time stands still. As the middle volume of a planned trilogy set in eighth-century Britain, this takes its shape from the whole: It can stand on its own, but it mostly enlarges the world of the first volume. It's not the quest itself that's memorable, but the majestic sweep of Farmer's storytelling, from the story of Lucifer and the battle of the angels to the Man in the Moon, the goddess Hel and any number of hobgoblins, yarthkins, knuckers and kelpies. Jack, Pega and Thorgil prove strong and capable in ways they themselves never suspected, and readers will look forward to the final installment. (appendix, sources) (Fiction. 10-14)
"Jack, Pega, and Thorgil prove strong and capable in ways they themselves never suspected, and readers will look forward to the final installment." Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review