Lars-Henrik Olsen's Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla was published by Aurora Metro Books in July 2017.
Information about Lars-Henrik Olsen:
Lars-Henrik Olsen is a Danish author. His oeuvre spans both children's and youth and adult books. He has written books about animals and nature, Nordic mythology and several historical novels. Among his more notable books are the Erik series. His books have been translated into a total of 13 different languages. In 1976 he published several nature books including Life in the sea: a food chain and Life in the forest: a circuit. His debut fiction novel was Wolves and then followed a series of books with animals and nature as a theme. In 1986 he was awarded The Danish Bookstores Auxiliary Society of Children's Book Prize for Erik Menneskeson. In 1988 this was followed by The dwarf from Normandy which won Denmark's school librarian Society of Children's Book Prize. Since then he has written a wealth of children’s and youth books, many of which are inspired by the Vikings, Norse mythology and medieval times.
A film is now being made of the Erik and the Gods in Denmark.
Information about Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla:
The Gods have been fighting an endless war with the Giants and they’re slowly losing their powers.
During a terrible storm, Thor appears to Erik, an ordinary 13-year-old boy.
He sends Erik and his daughter on a mission to the Land of the Giants where they must find a Goddess with magic apples.
But time is running out.
Can Erik rescue the Goddess from the Giants and prevent the End of the World?
A REVIEW OF LARS-HENRIK OLSEN'S ERIK AND THE GODS: JOURNEY TO VALHALLA
Lars-Henrik Olsen's Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla is an English translation of the Danish fantasy novel "Erik Menneskesøn", which was published in 1986. This novel has been translated by Paul Russell Garrett.
Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla is an exciting retelling of Norse myths and legends that many of us have most likely heard of at some point in our lives. The author brings old myths and legends vividly to life with his story and whisks readers off on a magical adventure into the epic world of Norse mythology where adventure abounds.
I was positively surprised by this novel, because it has the feel of an epic adventure due to the author's way of writing about the various Gods and their deeds in a marvellous way. The author effortlessly evokes a sense of an adventure and makes sure that his readers are having a good time.
Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla follows the exploits and adventures of 13-year-old Erik as he journeys to Valhalla, the Land of the Gods, and prepares himself to embark on an epic quest. During his adventures, Erik sees many kinds of amazing and wondrous sights and experiences new things. He learns things about the Gods and gets to know them, and he also grows as a person.
The story begins with Erik witnessing an approaching thunderstorm, which doesn't seem to be entirely natural, because the bolts of lightning are heading straight towards him. Soon he sees an enormous man, Thor, standing outside the garden gate. Thor tells Erik that he may be the only one who can save everybody from Ragnarok and takes Erik to Asgard. Soon Erik learns that he must embark on a perilous quest to the land of giants, Jotunheim, so that he can find Idun and bring her back...
This is the beginning of an action-packed fantasy story that offers readers an intriguing glimpse into Asgard, Valhalla, Jotunheim and the Kingdom of the Dead.
The characterisation is swift and fits the fast-moving story well. The protagonist, Erik, is a thirteen year old boy who, to his amazement, finds himself on a grand quest for finding a Goddess with golden apples. He befriends Thor's daughter, Trud, and is accompanied by her on his quest. The other characters range all the way from the Gods and Jotuns to the three Norns and the oracle of the Gods. The Gods are are fascinatingly colourful characters who have fallen on hard times.
The relationship between Erik and Trud is handled well. It was enjoyable to read about how they felt about each other, because their feelings were natural and realistic.
Despite having a light and adventurous tone, this novel features good worldbuilding. The author has created a believable and vibrant vision of the world of the Gods. The world and its wonders and terrors are revelead to readers during the story as Erik learns new things, faces dangers and explores various places.
The author explores mythology in an engaging and incredibly fresh way that makes readers want to know more about the ancient legends. I find his enthusiasm to tell about the Gods and their deeds charming, because he knows how to awaken the reader's interest in them. Each of the stories that Erik hears adds more fascination to the fantasy world, because they reveal what has happened to the Gods and explain why things are the way they are.
I have to admit that I found myself surprised by the amount of stories and legends found in this novel. The author has somehow managed to spice the story with them in a way that allows readers to absorb new information as the story unfolds. Among other things, the readers get to read about such fascinating things as Vikings who have fallen in battle, Odin's deeds and Heimdal's journeys. I found these stories entertaining and fresh.
This novel has a satisfying amount of details. For example, the author writes about The Yggdrasil, The World Tree, which is a magnificent tree, the branches of which stretch across the world. He also pays attention to such things as Viking warriors and Valkyries. What's perhaps most noticeable of the story is that it encompasses a wide range of information about the Gods and their lives.
The prose is easy to read and younger readers will enjoy reading the clear and well-constructed sentences. This kind of prose fits the story well.
This novel has several illustrations, which add a lot of atmosphere to it. These illustrations represent scenes from the story.
In my honest opinion, Lars-Henrik Olsen's Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla is a charmingly old-fashioned fantasy adventure novel that is worth reading. It's one of the best examples of children's fantasy fiction that can wholeheartedly be recommended to readers of all ages, because its contents will appeal to many readers regardless of their age or gender (although the primary target audience of this novel is children and young adults, it will also be of interest to adult readers).
If you're interested in Norse mythology and legends, you're in for a treat when you begin to read this novel, because it offers a real smorgasboard of gods, giants, monsters, wolves, serpents, dragons, heroism, treachery, adventure and action to fantasy readers. If you're new to Norse mythology and are not familiar with the Norse Gods, you'll find yourself mesmerised by the story, because it's a fantastic and wonderfully original introduction to Norse mythology.
I think it's possible that there may be readers out there who have come to know Norse mythology via modern superhero films. If you're such a reader and find Norse mythology intriguing, I strongly urge you to take a look at this novel, because it offers you a far more detailed and comprehensive look at what Norse mythology is and what it entails than any films.
I give this novel strong four stars on the scale from one to five stars, because I enjoyed the story and found it intriguing.
Lars-Henrik Olsen's Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla is a delightfully entertaining novel filled with plenty of action and adventure. When you allow yourself to be charmed by it, you'll find yourself having a wonderful time. It's a first-rate fantasy adventure for readers who want to read something fresh and original.
My final words are:
This novel is good fantasy entertainment for readers of all ages!