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The Blackwell Pages 01. Loki's Wolves - K. L. Armstrong;M. A. Marr Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

People in Blackwell are different, because they are descendants of Germanic gods. Not everybody knows about it, but Matt Thorsen is aware of the fact that one of his ancestors is Thor. Fen Brekke knows it as well, only that in his case he’s one of the sons of Loki – and how couldn’t he when he can change into a wolf? It’s those two and Fen’s cousin Laurie who try to find other chosen descendants of the gods. Ragnarök is coming and it’s Matt’s task to kill the Midgard Serpent to prevent the end of the world. He can’t come that far alone, though, especially since some seem to be looking forward to the cleansing of the world ...

The main characters are all about 13 years old, so I don’t exactly belong to the target group – but how could I say no to Germanic mythology and Kelley Armstrong? I didn’t regret my decision, though the book is far from perfect.

There’s not much I could say against the main characters, despite their flaws. Matt’s a nice guy (and he has red hair – yes, that IS an argument), but at some point him constantly babbling about how he had to “protect the girl”, even though said girls already showed they can take care of themselves, was getting on my nerves. Fortunately, there is something called character development – though that didn’t go too smoothly all the time – so even mini-Thor realizes that 1) girls are capable (plus, boxing gets you only so far), 2) it’s okay to be afraid when you’re 13, and 3) nobody expects him to be the perfect leader all the time. Same could be said about Fen Brekke, who usually mistrusts everybody except Laurie and would rather get into trouble than look for help, and for Laurie Brekke, a sensible and clever girl who lets Fen get away with too many things. It was fun to accompany them on their journey (and to see Matt and Fen banter), though sometimes characteristic changes came too abrupt. However, they never seemed to be illogical.
It’s a little bit different with the characters appearing later. I instantly liked Owen and Baldwin, but you barely get to know them, which can be said about others as well. It’s not surprising: some of them rarely appear, others appear more or less in a group, so there isn’t much time left to get to know more about them before the novel ends.

When it comes to the plot ... well, I get why not everybody is happy with it. Something is happening, it just isn’t that much. We learn of Ragnarök and everything that follows is the protagonists’ – usually aimless – attempt to find other descendants of the gods, so the world will not end. If the current pace is continued (and the following book titles suggest that much), then we can expect the big battle at the end of the third book. “Loki’s Wolves” is a mere prelude. I’m also not sure what to think of the ending; the authors might make up for that in the next book, but for now it didn’t only come abruptly, but also seemed rather baseless, sort of. Maybe that’s because it was actually hinted at so obviously that I thought it wouldn’t happen because that would be way too ... well, obvious. As a result, I wasn’t surprised but looked more like this:
Fortunately, I have been trapped in a tram while reading this, so I couldn’t do a desk flip.

Besides that, the book contains some inconsistencies, partly only relating to the text-picture-correspondence. Every now and then there are images depicting a scene of the book – at least supposedly so, sometimes they don’t really fit. For example: the text tells us that Laurie is hugging Fen when Matt enters, in the picture they’re still talking to each other. Or: a policeman is described as young, but depicted as middle-aged. Mere details, I give you that, but still. It’s very confusing when Matt loses something but still owns it in the next picture, followed by the text stating that the kids simply bought a new one earlier. Never mind the unlikely behaviour of some minor characters or the illogical assumptions of more important ones. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s still enough to make the book look arbitrary in some instances.

That leaves the mythology and I really liked this aspect – I wouldn’t have minded even more of it. As an inhabitant of Blackwell and descendant of Thor, Matt knows much about the stories and whenever he can/has to, he shares them. For us that means: trolls and other mythical beings (I instantly fell in love with the Valkyries), some stories, usually less funny ones, about the gods, though some of that is nothing new, even if you don’t know that much about Germanic mythology (I don’t).

All in all, “Loki’s Wolves” is okay. The time the characters spend together tends to be funny and the mythological part definitely is interesting and entertaining. On the other hand, there some things that don’t make much sense, as well as the plot without much tension and characters we barely get to know. Still, I could enjoy the book, just not as much as I hoped I would. I’m probably going to continue reading the series, but I’m relieved I chose the paperback edition – I wouldn’t want to buy a hardcover in this case, to be honest.