Published October 11, 2016 by Tantrum Books (Month9Books, LLC.)
ISBN: 1942664524 (ISBN13: 9781942664529)
This winter, siblings Ruairi and Dani Miller visit their ancestral homeland: the legendary Viking island of Yondersaay. Even with Granny Miller’s storytelling to pass the time, the pair manage to find trouble. In less than twenty-four hours of their arrival, Ruairi is mistaken for the lost Boy King of Denmark, kidnapped by Vikings, and scheduled to be sacrificed at sundown. Granny isn’t very pleased.
But when everyone except them goes Viking, the three turn to Granny’s epic tales of the legends of Yondersaay, The Gifts of Odin, and King Dudo the Mightily Impressive for clues. But not all stories end happily, and Ruari, Dani, and Granny will have to write their own happy ending.
The Princess Bride meets Vikings in this enchanted tale of high adventure, buried treasure, villainous treachery, violent ends, and – of course – true love. Aoife Lennon-Ritchie’s debut middle-grade novel, THE EXTREMELY EPIC VIKING TALE OF YONDERSAAY, is a humorous and heartwarming story for readers ages 9+.
I enjoy Middle-Grade books. I think they’re fun, exciting, and I really like it when I find an author who writes well for the age group.
As for THE EXTREMELY EPIC VIKING TALE OF YONDERSAAY, I really, really wanted to get into this one. I mean, who doesn’t love a great Viking tale, but try as I might, this one fell short to me.
The beginning of the book was cute, with a funny scene involving our two main characters and a teacher and a few birds. I got a good laugh and was prepared for an entertaining adventure. Unfortunately, it didn’t come. What could have been wildly entertaining with larger than life imagery turned into a narrative, with Granny telling this epic Viking tale to two children as they make their very long journey to Yondersaay. I had to start the story several times as the writing felt jarring to me. It seemed Granny’s story went on for hours and hours and hours, and there was no action. It was simply a narrator telling a story. I think it would have been much better if this book had been divided into 3 parts. Part one could have been the actual story that Granny narrates. I think that would have been much more exciting and interesting way to learn about how these characters would fit into the rest of the book. I would have grown to know them and love/hate them first hand. Part 2 could have picked up with the present day and the kids and Granny and mom and dad and their trip to Yondersaay. The 3rd part would have been the ending with everyone on Christmas day. As it is, I never really gravitated to any character and the plot moved incredibly slow to me.
There were moments of brilliance and clarity, and at times I saw greatness in the writing. But the kids’ names were difficult to pronounce and I found myself wondering if young children would stumble over them. As for the plot, it took a long time to develop one, at least five chapters, maybe more. Things started to move along once the family arrived on Yondersaay, but that urge, that desire that I HAD to keep turning the page never came.
I loved the weaving of the tales of Odin. Some of the imagery was spectacular. The story itself wasn’t bad; it just didn’t pull me in and engage me like I’d hoped. I also found the ending a bit sudden and anti-climatic, though the last paragraph of the book was written beautifully and I loved the image. It actually gave me goosebumps.
I’m sure there will be kids out there who will love this story, so don’t let this review deter you from getting a copy and reading for yourself. It really was an okay tale. It simply wasn’t what I’d hoped for or expected.
I’m giving the book 3 dragons out of 5.