Odin’s Child (The Raven Rings #1)
Blood magic, blackmail, and battle rock a rich world of fading magic to its core in this internationally bestselling Norwegian epic fantasy. Fifteen-year-old Hirka believes she’s normal until her adoptive father reveals that she’s a child of Odin; actually a tailless otherworldly creature whose kiss rots living flesh, she was rescued from sacrifice as an infant by an itinerant herb-seller. In the corrupt theocratic empire of Mannfalla, it’s her inability to bind the Earth’s magical life force that endangers her life, a difference that’s bound to be discovered at an annual rite to protect children against vampiric creatures called the blind. When she flees to rebel state Ravnhov, Hirka unleashes a cascade of events that sweep up Ravnhov; Urd, a vengeful, megalomaniac Mannfalla councillor; and Rime, Hirka’s white-haired, aristocratic childhood rival—who guards secrets of his own around a hatred for his familial and political destiny. Translated into clear, appealingly poetic prose, Pettersen’s slow-unfolding Nordic fantasy fills wide landscapes with danger, dry humor, and sacrifice. While teen readers may balk at the circular storytelling, this series opener will captivate lovers of Bardugo’s gritty situations and Pullman’s wide mythic worlds. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lena Stjernström, the Grand Agency (Sweden). (Mar.)
Correction: A previous version of this review misstated the book's language of origin.