Odin's Ravens (Blackwell Pages Series #2)

Odin's Ravens (Blackwell Pages Series #2)

by K. L. Armstrong, M. A. Marr

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316204996
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Series: Blackwell Pages Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 73,934
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr had been friends for several years and found themselves spending hours talking about mythology and monsters. With that shared interest, in addition to K.L.'s love for tackling creatures in video games when not writing (and sometimes when she's supposed to be writing), their monster and myth fixation, and the books they read with their 11- to 13-year-old sons, they knew they had to write the Blackwell Pages.

Read an Excerpt

Odin's Ravens


By K. L. Armstrong, M. A. Marr

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2014 K. L. Armstrong M. A. Marr
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-316-20498-9



CHAPTER 1

MATT

"WELCOME TO HEL"


If there was one thing worse than seeing a giant's head rise from the ground, it was seeing two giant heads. Belching fire. Still, if they killed Matt, his soul wouldn't have far to travel ... considering he was already in the afterlife.

"At least it's only one giant," Matt said as they crouched behind a rock.

Fen gave him a look.

"What? It's true. A single two-headed giant is better than two one-headed giants."

And this, Matt realized, was what their world had come to. A week ago, his biggest worry was failing his science fair project. Now he was taking comfort in the thought that he faced only one fifty-foot-tall, fire-breathing giant.

It was a Jotunn from Norse mythology. The most famous were the frost giants, but they lived in a world of ice, and there was no ice in this smoke- shrouded wasteland, just rock and more rock, as far as the eye could see.

The Jotunn looked like a two-headed WWE wrestler on nuclear-powered steroids, insanely muscle-bound, with reddish-orange skin that gleamed as if it were on fire. The giant stood in a crevasse up to its thighs, but even so, Matt still had to crane his neck to look up at the heads.

Matt touched the amulet on his chest. It was vibrating, warning him that something dangerous was near, just in case he couldn't, you know, see a fifty- foot flaming giant. The amulet was Thor's Hammer, worn by all the Thorsens of Blackwell, South Dakota, because they really were "Thor's sons"—distant descendants of the Norse god ... which is what got Matt into this predicament in the first place.

Matt dimly heard Laurie say that they would have to pass the Jotunn—answering something Fen had said. He looked over at Fen and Laurie—the Brekke cousins, also from Blackwell, descendants of the trickster god Loki. Matt was about to speak when a distant roar made him jump.

"It's okay," Laurie whispered. "The giant is still talking to itself. That was something else."

Of course it was. He laughed a little at how calmly she had said it. She was right, though. The Jotunn hadn't noticed them yet.

"It's distracted," he murmured. "Good." Matt pointed at a line of jagged rocks to their left. "Get over there. Behind the rocks. Fast!"

"Shouldn't we—?" Fen began, but Matt waved him forward, and Laurie nudged him along.

As they raced for the rocks, Matt kept his gaze fixed on the giant. He herded the cousins behind the biggest boulders and motioned for them to hunker down. He did the same. Then he took another look.

"Shouldn't we have run that way?" Fen pointed in the other direction. "We could have ducked behind those rocks."

Matt shook his head. "That would lead us right to the giant."

"Um, yeah. Kinda the idea, Thorsen. How are we going to get the jump on it from over here? These rocks lead away from the freaking fire monster."

"Yes, because that's where we're going. Away from it."

"But Baldwin is that way," Laurie said, pointing past the giant.

They'd discovered that one of Laurie's powers was the ability to locate other descendants of the gods of the North. In this case, she was homing in on their friend Baldwin, who was stuck in the afterlife.

"Laurie's right," Fen said. "This is no short detour, and we don't know what we'll find along it. Maybe more giants. We should just fight this one."

"Do you see how big that thing is?" Matt said. "It could swallow a troll."

"But we fought three trolls."

"And barely escaped with our lives," Laurie said. "Matt's right. We should try to avoid this guy."

"Great. Side with Thorsen again," Fen muttered.

Matt could tell Fen thought he was wimping out. A few days ago, that would have stung enough to make Matt reconsider. But he'd learned a few things since then. Sometimes being a leader meant wimping out of a fight. They weren't playing around here. They could die. Their friend Baldwin had died, and that's why they were trekking through the underworld, to bring him back to the land of the living. Even then, there was no guarantee they could.

Fen agreed to the long route. There wasn't much else he could do, being outnumbered, but he kept grumbling that they'd probably run into two fire giants now. Finally, Matt had to ask him, nicely, to pipe down before the giant overheard. Fen didn't like that, either.

Matt adjusted his shield over his shoulder and led the way along the row of jagged rocks. Sometimes they could walk upright. Sometimes they had to creep along bent over. Now and then they needed to dart between rocks. The closer they got to the Jotunn, the worse the smell got. Sulfur. Matt recognized it now, from chemistry. Soon, he couldn't just smell the fire—he could hear it crackling, deep in the canyon, and he could feel it, waves that made sweat roll down his face. The air shimmered with the heat, and he had to keep blinking to focus.

Laurie glanced over, but Matt waved for her to keep going. They were alongside the Jotunn now, the stink and the heat unbearable. Still, the giant was busy talking to ... well, talking to itself apparently, its two heads deep in conversation. Matt could hear the voices, crackling and snapping and roaring, the words indecipherable, the sound like fire itself.

It doesn't matter what they're saying. They're too busy to notice—

One of the heads stopped talking. And turned their way ... just as Matt was stepping from behind a rock. He stumbled back, arms shooting out to keep the others from doing the same.

"One's looking," he whispered.

Behind him, Laurie crept to the other side of the rock to peek out that way. Matt resisted the urge to pull her back. He could barely see from his direction—the angle was wrong. It seemed as if the heads were both turned toward them. One said something to the other, and the giant shrugged. As the heads talked, Laurie snuck back to him.

"I think they're trying to figure out what to do," she whispered. "If we want to make a run for it, now's the time."

Matt nodded. The heads did seem to be debating their next move. The left one obviously wanted to check out whatever it had seen. The right head wasn't interested. Then the massive left arm grabbed the edge of the canyon as if to pull the giant out. The right head shook and sputtered something, but the left half started pulling itself out of the canyon in a weird, lopsided climb. Finally, the right head gave in, hissing smoke, and the other huge, muscled arm reached up ....

"Now can we run?" Laurie said.

Matt hunched over and ushered them to the next rock and then the next. When the ground shook, Matt thought it was just his amulet quivering. Then Fen swore under his breath, and Matt knew he felt it, too. He prairie-dogged up and saw—

A fire giant. Which was, of course, what he knew he'd see, but there was a difference between watching it from a couple hundred feet away and seeing it right there. Okay, maybe not "right there," but close enough. More than close enough. It was no more than twenty feet away, so near that Matt could smell fire.

When one head spoke to the other, wisps of smoke wafted out. Sparks flew as the other head replied. Matt could see flames inside their mouths. Did they spit fire? That wasn't anything he'd read in the myths, but they were learning not everything was the way it was in the old stories.

"A sword?" Fen whispered. "Seriously? It needs a sword, too?"

Matt's gaze dropped to the monster's belt. "No, it needs two swords, apparently. Flaming swords."

"Of course," Fen muttered.

"You still want to fight it?" Matt said. " 'Cause now's your chance."

Fen scowled.

"Hey, you might distract it," Matt said, grinning. "Take one for the team."

"I thought that was your job, Thorsen."

"Stop it," Laurie whispered. When they did, she said, "Do you think we should run?"

Matt peeked over the rock again and then shook his head. "It doesn't know where we are. It's still just looking around. Follow me."

He set out, hunched over behind the rocks. When he dared peer out, the Jotunn was still moving, but slowly, looking from side to side. They reached a spot where the rocks were little more than boulders, and they had to almost crawl then, creeping along as they tried not to inhale dust and sand from the rocky ground. That wasn't easy, especially for Matt, with an ancient Viking shield on his back. He had to stay far enough from the rocks to keep from scraping the shield against them. His amulet wasn't helping, either. Now it was vibrating so hard that Matt swore he could hear it.

When they saw a row of taller rocks, Matt let out a sigh of relief ... until he drew close enough to notice the ten-foot gap between their row and that one.

"It's not too bad," Laurie whispered. "We just need to time it."

Matt nodded. "I'll watch the giant. You get in front of me. When I tap your back, run. Fen—"

"Follow. Yeah, I get it." Did he look annoyed? Matt couldn't tell, and this wasn't the time to worry about it.

Laurie inched forward and got into position, crouched as low as she could get, ready to run on his signal. Matt peeked over the rocks. The Jotunn had stopped. Each head looked a different way—neither their way. Matt tapped Laurie. She sprinted, with Fen right behind her.

Matt let them get halfway across the gap, then took one step out, his gaze fixed on the fire giant. A second step. A third ...

Blue light flashed. That's all he saw, a flash so bright it was like a stun grenade. He staggered back. Laurie let out half a yelp before stifling it.

Both Laurie and Fen were staring at him. At his chest. He looked down to see his amulet sparking a brilliant blue. His hands flew to cover it. A roar boomed through the air—a crackling, unearthly roar. Matt swung around and saw the Jotunn coming straight for them. No, coming straight for him.

He glanced at the cousins. "Run!"

As Matt turned to the Jotunn and raced toward it, Fen shouted, "Wrong direction! I really wish you'd stop running toward danger, Thorsen!"

As Matt ran, the amulet vibrated, but there was none of the usual heat. It was almost cold. The burn of ice. The amulet glowed so bright now that it cut through the swirling smoke and lit the dim wastelands like the midday sun.

The Jotunn had stopped running. It stood there, both heads tilted, looking at him in confusion. Matt pulled the shield from his shoulder and slung it over his arm. All four eyes of the Jotunn widened.

"Vingthor," one of the heads rumbled.

Vingthor. Battle Thor.

Not exactly ... but Matt still smiled. Adrenaline tore through him, sparking and sizzling like the amulet, and when his hand shot out, it wasn't even a conscious action. He just did it, as naturally as breathing. There was a deafening crack as ice shot from his fingertips. Yes, ice. A blast of white that froze into a shard of solid ice as it flew. It hit the Jotunn in the stomach and sent the giant crashing to the ground so hard the vibration nearly knocked Matt onto his butt.

Matt stood there, grinning.

I can do this. I can really do ...

The Jotunn sprang up. It didn't struggle up, dazed, like the trolls had—it leaped to its feet like a gymnast and barreled toward Matt. His hand shot out to launch another ice bolt. And it worked—the ice flew from his fingers and whipped straight at the Jotunn. But the giant's massive fist swung, hit the ice bolt, and shattered it into a thousand harmless slivers.

"Matt! Come on!" Laurie shouted.

Matt turned and ran. Ran as fast as he could, the ground shaking under his feet. The Jotunn roared, and the heat of its roar scorched Matt's back.

"Run!" he yelled to Fen and Laurie. "Go!"

They took off behind the row of rocks. Matt veered to the left before he reached them. He was heading for another row of rocks, farther down, to keep the Jotunn away from the cousins. Then he saw the fissure—a crack in the rocks, maybe three feet across. If he could get down in there, the Jotunn couldn't reach him. He ran over and raced alongside the crack, getting a look down. It tapered off past the opening. The lowest point he could see was maybe ten feet down. Too far to jump. He should—

The Jotunn roared with a gust of heat that made Matt gasp. Sparks blasted him, burning his skin, singeing holes in his shirt. He spun, and the giant was right there, a flaming sword in each hand. One blade headed straight for him. Matt swung his shield up, but even as he did, he realized his mistake. Flaming sword. Wooden shield.

His amulet flared again, and cold ice shot down his arm and into his hand. There was a blast of white as snow whipped up and swirled around his shield arm. The flaming sword struck the wood with a thunderous clang. The blow knocked Matt clear off his feet. He fell backward, and as he did, he remembered where he'd been standing. On the edge of a chasm.

There was no time to grab anything. No time to even right himself. He fell backward into the fissure, his head hitting the rock side with an explosion of pain so intense he blacked out. He came to and found himself wedged as far down as he could get in the crevasse. He lay there, looking up, not daring to move, certain he'd broken something, probably broken everything. Then the Jotunn's two heads appeared over the edge of the chasm. One mouth opened. Fire blasted. Matt got his shield up just in time. A layer of ice snapped over the wood, and the fire bounced off.

The other mouth opened. Smoke billowed, and Matt thought, That's it? Really? Then the smoke hit him, so thick he choked and sputtered, eyes watering as he gasped for breath.

Matt yanked his shirt up over his nose and mouth. Then he flipped over and began to awkwardly crawl with his shield slung over his shoulder, protecting his back. Not easy to do when there wasn't a flat bottom. His feet kept sliding farther down into the fissure, and he almost got his shoe stuck more than once.

It felt like he had indeed broken everything, but he kept moving as fast as he could. The fissure dipped, getting deeper, and soon he couldn't feel the heat against his back. He glanced over his shoulder to see the Jotunn reaching into the chasm, but he was too far down.

"Hey!" a voice shouted. "Hey, you! Fire creep!"

Fen's voice echoed through the wasteland. When Matt looked up, he saw the Jotunn's two heads looking every which way, as if they couldn't find the source of the voice. Matt crawled faster. Fen kept shouting. Finally, with a grunt, the giant took off, ground shaking as it ran.

Matt grabbed the side of the fissure and began crawling up. When he popped his head out, the Jotunn was a few hundred feet away, looking around wildly.

"Matt!" It was Laurie, whispering loudly.

A hand appeared from behind a rock. Matt took one last look at the Jotunn, then heaved himself out of the fissure and ran for the cover of the rocks, where Laurie waited. When he reached her, he checked for Fen, to be sure he was safe. He seemed to be. He was keeping his distance from the giant and had gone silent now that Matt had escaped.

The Jotunn kept looking around, heads muttering to each other after each scan of the rocky plain. It checked the crevasse a few times, as if Matt might suddenly appear there. Finally, the giant lumbered back toward the chasm where it had first appeared. As it climbed down into it, Fen came along, jogging silently behind the rocks. Matt waited until he caught up, then the three of them set out again.


"You need to rest," Laurie whispered as they made their way across the rocky plain. The landscape had flattened out and the smoke had dispersed, but the ruined city was still a distant smudge against the endless twilight. The home of Helen, ruler of the afterlife. That's where they'd been headed, presuming that's where they'd find Baldwin.

"You can barely walk," she continued. "We've been up all night and hiking all day."

Matt shook his head. "We have a long way—"

"Fine." She raised her voice so Fen could hear. "I'm sorry, guys, but I really need a break."

Matt knew she didn't. He also knew that if he dared say so, Fen would snap and snarl at him for pushing his cousin too hard.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Odin's Ravens by K. L. Armstrong, M. A. Marr. Copyright © 2014 K. L. Armstrong M. A. Marr. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Odin's Ravens 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
After reading the first novel in the book series The Blackwell Pages, Loki’s Wolves by authors K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr—I couldn’t wait to read the next installment in the series. Odin’s Ravens was intense, awesome and tons of Norse mythology as main characters Fen, Laurie and Matt try to stop the ensuing end of the world, Ragnarok. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the novel, especially since Loki’s Wolves held a lot of surprise twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. In Odin’s Ravens takes place right after where Loki’s Wolves left off. Fen, Laurie and Matt have all headed straight to Helen’s realm, the land of the dead, to get their friend Baldwin back in hopes of re-writing the sequence of myths and stop Ragnarok from coming. Heading into Helen’s realm, the trio faces threats they’ve never faced before, like two-headed jotuns, zombies and evil zombie kings who will stop at nothing to thwart Matt’s plans. However as their adventure continues, Matt and the cousins find new allies, old friends and Valkyries all ready for the end of days to arrive. What the trio doesn’t expect are for old faces to make reappearances, secrets to be revealed and a choice to be made for when Ragnarok arrives. Odin’s Ravens has messed me up. And I mean that in a really good way. The entire time I spent reading can be broken up like this: I was either a) On the edge of my seat, hoping that nothing went wrong b) freaking out because the possibility of something going wrong was very real or c) something wrong would happen and I had no idea how Matt, Laurie and Fen would go about fixing it. Odin’s’ Ravens is written in a way that will leave readers not only intrigued but also unsure of what will come next, with twists and turns just waiting to reveal themselves. Readers who have read Loki’s Wolves know that Matt, Fen and Laurie are left on a quest to find mjolnir and avert the end of the world. Yeah, totally cool man. Except that Odin’s Ravens takes that and shows that there may not get to be such a hopeful, simple outcome with Ragnarok fast approaching. As I said before things just get bad, bad, bad for the characters or make it look  like things are about to go pretty bad. It made for an exciting story and the novel’s conclusion—readers will be left begging for more. To know what will happen next (because seriously it ends on such a high note). A big thing in Odin’s Ravens is character development. In Loki’s Wolves there’s still a lot of feuding between Fen and Matt, neither of them really consider each other friends at first, Fen starts off as a cutthroat little crap—but that all changes in Odin’s Ravens. Fen’s character changes so much in the novel and it’s not hard to notice, he grows loyal to the group that he’s with, fesses up to things he wouldn’t in the novel prior. Plus characters with smaller roles in the last novel return and are expanded on a little bit more. There are still a lot of questions that have been left wandering through my mind ever since Odin’s Ravens has reached its end. What happens next is the first that comes to mind, the next being do things resolve? Does anybody die in Ragnarok? Will I be left weeping over fictional characters? Only the authors know, but I have a pretty good feeling that the next novel will leave readers on emotional rollercoasters as Odin’s Ravens did. I would have to recommend this series to readers who are big fans of Norse mythology. Don’t let the fact that this is a middle-grade novel deter you, the writing is still pretty amazing and the plot is great. If you want a novel that is non-stop action and adventure with no romance involved you’ve gotta give The Blackwell Pages a read. Like, right now.
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
Too much going on in one book I felt like there is too much going on in one book. The tweens go through adventure after adventure without pause. There's barely any time for a break before something new comes up. While this can sometimes make for a fast-paced, thrilling story, it didn't work for this story. Rather, it felt like too much is trying to be crammed in too much in one book, resulting in a lack of focus to the story. On top of that, the tweens don't really know what they're doing and often rely on other people to tell them what to do; instead of solving things themselves, they stumble around until divine intervention turns them in a different direction. The multiple POV didn't work for me either. While I like multiple POVs when the different narrators contribute an important perspective to the story, it doesn't do more than give us insight into different characters' thoughts here. It wasn't like they got separated, or one person knew something that another person didn't and it was important for us to know. Here, I feel like it's unncessary for the most part and actually detracted from the story because it jumps around from narrator to narrator so much and even made small skips in time that created awkward gaps in the storyline. I do like the team. They're a group of likable characters in their own ways. Matt is expected to be the leader and champion despite the lack of experiences to draw from. Laurie wants to fight, but the others keep telling her to stay back. Baldwin is easy going and amiable. Owen wants to help but has to stay back because of his powers. And I have a soft spot for Fen especially because he keeps trying to do the right thing and being awkward going about it. The group dynamics are fun and filled with good humor. However, the dialogue often seems forced and tends to drag, as if it's placed there for the sake of conversation. With one more book to go, it doesn't feel like the tweens have matured enough to take on Ragnarok. The biggest thing going on plotwise here is that they have achieved some important items and goals that may help them in their final battle. There is also the discovery of the brains behind the Raiders and the nasty cliffhanger the story left us on. While I wouldn't recommend this book to MG-fantasy readers as there are better ones out there, chances are high that I'll pick up Thor's Serpents because I've grown attached to some characters, and I'm interested in seeing how this all goes down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like it, but the story plot gets really confusing at some spots. They need to organize it more. Otherwise its a great book and I would reccomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goob but could be better #BACON LOVE BACON LIFE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DON'T LISTON TO THE CRIDICTS THERR D*'S Forgive my tone if your under 9 dont read the first line just remember amazing book you must read it . It is fantastic!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"""""""""""""""! A MUST READ•
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stop
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WISH I WERE THERE IN THE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM IN LOVE WITH MATTHEW THORSEN THROUGHT THE WHOLE SERIES!!!!!!!! MATT IS THE BEST SUPER-POWERED MAN IN THE BOOK!!!!!!!! (Spoiler alert! Poor Owen I wish he wasn't so sad, and Fen, well he is just doing his job: protecting Laurie! Stupid Skull!!!!! {You will find about that later! :-) } I hate him sooooooooooooooooo very much I just want to kill him! He is on the bad team if you read the first book: Loki' Wolves.) ALL YOU FEN BREKKE AND LAURIE BREKKE AND OWEN/ODIN AND BALDWIN AND ASTRID AMD SKULL AND HATTIE AND ALL THE REST OF THE CHARACTER (eccept Matt of course) LOVERS STOP AND LOVE MATT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 ;-D Keep calm and LOVE Matt Thorsen!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I highly recomend this book if you like/love norse mythology.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand post this on 3 other books and wake up with a iphone5 under your pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I <3 THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book fsst paced but unlike percy jakson with lots of fightiing they finally have an all out batrle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great for mytholigy lovers I personly think it was great other books like it are the pery jackson seiries and the red pirimid seiries
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
H