Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 1730
Can a kind heart save the world from annihilation?
(Updated: January 01, 2023)
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
The book opens with Mott finding a cute, cuddly puppy in a recycling dumpster. The conflict is introduced when she discovers it’s actually a wolf and that it’s a supernatural monster prophesized to destroy the world. She promises to protect Fenris and keeping her word becomes a big deal, and it may offer a valuable lesson to young readers. The vow becomes more difficult to keep when she realizes the potential destructive powers contained within this adorable puppy. Her attachment is accentuated since she has no friends after moving across the country to California. Her father has remarried and has new kids, so Mott has trouble handling his lies and a feeling of abandonment.
The story is based on Norse mythology and the foretelling of Ragnarök, a final battle that kills everything on Earth. A couple of major characters are included that aren’t often found in these tales. The antagonist is Tew, god of war, who wants to use Fenris as his weapon. The story that Tew causes Fenris to become the destroyer of Earth is new to me but it presents a potential solution to the problem. The Valkyrie are Odin’s female warriors, but this story describes Thrudi as being the protector of Fenris. Her interactions in Midgard, or Earth, add humor to the plot, as she doesn’t understand the customs of humans. She wonders why it’s inappropriate to threaten someone with her shining sword, and her idea of fun might include human sacrifice. Root beer is an unexpected pleasure!
Fenris is the highlight of the story due to the contradictions in his character. He’s playful and delightful, but he’s going to destroy the planet. His “comments” vary from sweet, soft mweeps to ferocious growls and roars. If he’s not cuddled in Mott’s arms he might be eating a car or a water tower. The urgency of his inevitable destruction is the fact that his appetite is growing, his level of devastation is amplified, and the signs of a looming Ragnarök are checked off Mott’s list. Ragnarök is a prophecy of what will happen, not what might happen, so how can Mott stop an inescapable future? How can she stop Mott while still upholding her oath to protect him?
What didn’t work as well:
The plot and conflict are simple to follow, so readers shouldn’t expect a seriously developed story. However, the simplicity, humor, and action make this an easy adventure to enjoy. It includes battles, emotions, and an insurmountable problem, so the story creates nice momentum and energy.
The Final Verdict:
Can a kind heart save the world from annihilation? The author creates a fast-paced, action-filled adventure that’s sure to entertain lovers of mythology and dogs. Mott, Fenris, and Thrudi are compelling characters, and it appears there’s an opening for them to reappear in a sequel. I highly recommend you give this book a shot. This book is a finalist for the 2022 Cybils Award in Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction.
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