Imagine a world where Christianity didn’t take off and the predominant religion in Britain was based on the Norse Gods. I must admit I’ve always enjoyed these parallel universe type of stories, and Francesca Simon cleverly works in the Norse concepts with UK religious governance. Freya is in the British Museum one evening, being looked after by her Dad who works there. By meddling in something she shouldn’t she is whisked off to the home of the Gods, to find she has nine days to solve their problem or be turned into a piece of an ivory chess set – the Sleeping Army.
This army was supposed to have woken with her, but only three turned up, so they accompany her on her quest. A modern girl, she’s pretty clueless about self-sufficiency and as squeamish about what she eats as me (ok, maybe a little less than me). Her companions don’t think much of her either, but she proves she’s got more resources than she thinks she has and does a mean trick of using kindness and consideration to people that have never known it to get through some sticky situations.
I read this in one sitting and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I didn’t think I was going to when I started it! It’s a well constructed tale with lovely illustrations (made me feel mine were worthless, but then I told myself to buck up a bit) and delightful imagery. It’s writing that brings things to life in one’s imagination and I’d love to write like that.
An excellent book for older children and teenagers who like adventure and fantastical beings or legends.
The Sleeping Army – Francesca Simon [this links to the cover I had, but I read the kindle edition]