Nancy Farmer is a master storyteller. She has won three Newbery Honor awards for books such as The Eye, the Ear, and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster and The House of the Scorpion, which also garnered the National Book Award.
Farmer's fans probably each have a personal favorite. Mine is Farmer's lyrical, astounding adventure, The Sea of Trolls, which introduced readers to 11-year-old Jack and his little sister, Lucy, who live in eighth-century Britain. After the children are captured by Northmen, Jack finds himself on a dangerous quest, battling dragons and giant spiders to save his sister. Farmer, who mined Viking history and Norse legends for The Sea of Trolls, explores the worlds of elves and hobgoblins in its sequel, The Land of the Silver Apples. The story is set two years later, and opens on the longest, darkest day of the year. As events unfold, Jack is thrust into a different kind of quest: one that brings him not to the ice-clad lands of the North, but into dark, dangerous caves and the enchanted, shimmering world of the elves.
Based on Farmer's usual meticulous research, The Land of the Silver Apples brings to life a time when belief in magic and the old gods conflicts with Christianity. Jack is an engaging heroóbrave and compassionate, but not without a temper and his share of human faults. Fans of the first book will be especially delighted with the reappearance of several old friends, including the wise Bard and Thorgill, the feisty shield maiden who became Jack's unlikely ally in his first quest.
The third book in the Sea of Trolls trilogy, The Islands of the Blessed, is due out in 2009. If you and your family have finished the last Harry Potter book and are eager for new worlds to explore, you won't be disappointed by Nancy Farmer's masterful and imaginative storytelling.
Deborah Hopkinson's latest book for young readers is Sweet Land of Liberty (Peachtree). Copyright 2007 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #4
In this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (rev. 11/04), Farmer keeps her hero Jack a bit closer to his Saxon home -- in fact, below it, as Jack's quest takes him underground to the realms of hobgoblins and elves. The object of the quest is something of a moving target; one suspects that Farmer is less interested here in plot development than she is in throwing all manner of challenges at Jack and his companions (who at various points include his bratty little sister Lucy and the bloodthirsty shield-maiden Thorgil, as entertainingly characterized here as in the first book) as they journey through enchanted lands and among astounding peoples. The mix of deep myth and high humor is handled with assurance, and if the story seems unfocused, readers will probably forgive it for the abundant display of Farmer's invention. A third book is promised. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2007 July #1
In this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (2004), Jack discovers his sister Lucy is a changeling, and he is off on a quest to find his real sister and bring her home. With the help of the Bard and Pega, the slave girl he has freed, Jack goes to St. Filian's Well, accidentally causes an earthquake and ends up in the Land of the Silver Apples, where elves rule and time stands still. As the middle volume of a planned trilogy set in eighth-century Britain, this takes its shape from the whole: It can stand on its own, but it mostly enlarges the world of the first volume. It's not the quest itself that's memorable, but the majestic sweep of Farmer's storytelling, from the story of Lucifer and the battle of the angels to the Man in the Moon, the goddess Hel and any number of hobgoblins, yarthkins, knuckers and kelpies. Jack, Pega and Thorgil prove strong and capable in ways they themselves never suspected, and readers will look forward to the final installment. (appendix, sources) (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection - November/December 2007
Jack embarks on another adventure in this sequel to Nancy Farmer's The Sea of Trolls (Atheneum (Simon & Schuster), 2004). He is only a bard-in-training, but his sister Lucy has been stolen by the Lady of the Lake and he and his companions must travel the underworlds of hobgoblins, kelpies, yarthkins, and elves in their enchanted lands facing their worst nightmares to find Lucy and discover the story of Jack's real sister. Jack uses his ash wood staff to fight off many dangers and relies on his emerging mystical powers as well as the talents of Pega, a slave girl, who travels with him. This is the second book in a trilogy series and can be read alone, but will leave the reader anxious to see what happens next with Jack and the other characters in this book and anxious to read The Sea of Trolls to find out what happened before. This fast moving title will be a favorite with fantasy fans. Recommended. Susan Black, Librarian, Arlee (Montana) Elementary School ¬© 2007 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 July #4
Favorite characters make a triumphant return in these summer sequels. The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer, second in a trilogy that began with The Sea of Trolls, revisits siblings Jack and Lucy. (In a starred review of the first book, PW wrote, "Fans of Viking and adventure tales will be up late nights to discover Jack's fate.") Having survived the wrath of Ivar the Boneless and his evil wife, this installment finds the pair back home in their Saxon village. But when Lucy goes mad after a botched magic ceremony and is kidnapped again, Jack musters up all of his power to save his sister and his village. (Atheneum/Jackson, $18.99 512p ages 10-14 ISBN 9781-4169-0735-0; Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2007 August
Gr 5-9-- Jack, apprentice bard and hero of The Sea of Trolls (S & S, 2004), returns in the middle volume in the trilogy. After a flawed midwinter ritual leads to strange behavior from Jack's sister, Lucy, the siblings travel with a group of old and new friends to the monastery at St. Filian's Well to find treatment. However, the monks prove treacherous and Lucy is kidnapped again, this time by the Lady of the Lake. Jack travels to the Land of the Silver Apples, the home of elves and other magical creatures, in search of her, joined by the freed slave girl Pega; his old friend the shield maiden Thorgil; and Brutus, a slave to the monks at St. Filian's. Jack comes to accept the truth about Lucy and learns more about himself through his adventures in the timeless magical land, and then returns to the human world, where he confronts an evil king with help from his new magical allies. Jack's character continues to deepen and develop, both in his magical skills and as a person. Farmer draws on mythology, including legends and runes of the Picts, to add depth to her story, and her author's note and sources add authenticity to the narrative. She builds on Jack's adventures in The Sea of Trolls and at the same time creates a stand-alone novel, drawing readers into this complex world and leaving them looking forward to more.--Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI[Page 114]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.