You’re the chosen one – a child of Gods. It’s a curse.
Magni never wanted to be like his father, a murderous, absent, cheating alcoholic: Thor – the feared and beloved God of thunder. When Thor destroys everything and everyone his son knows and loves, Magni vows to stop the violence. His dream is to bring peace and prosperity to the Nine Worlds, then settle down with the man he loves. But is it possible to remain good in a place this bad? How do you escape cruelty in a universe built on it, or the shadow of your father when everyone calls you by his name?
Maya knows she’s a failure and a disappointment to her foster-parents. How could a child raised by Freya and Freyr – Goddess of love and God of sex – have no interest in the greatest of pleasures? Obviously, it couldn’t be the torture they subjected her to, or treating her as a tool that might someday be useful. Maya, her rage at their games more powerful than she knows, wants freedom to pursue her own destiny. But how do you forge your own life away from your God-parents when you’re nothing more than human?
A retelling of the Norse myths unlike any other, Children will answer all the questions you never knew you had about the heathen Nine Worlds… before leading you into the Tenth.
“A haunting, brutal, and emotional coming of age story, steeped in Norse mythology and written in spare but lyrical prose, Children is a book that demands to be felt rather than read. Its hard-hitting story and dark humor combine to make this a grim book with lots of heart, a book that will stick with me for a long time.” – Angela Boord, author of Fortune’s Fool
“Faced with gods who are interested only in their own goals, happy to use their own children to further their ambition in the face of a foretold end, Children can be read as allegory or fantasy. Drawing on established Norse myths but adding a unique interpretation, Larssen’s tale made me wince with witnessed pain, and cry, and, once or twice, snort with laughter. His evocative prose will linger in my mind for a long time. Not a book easily forgotten.” – Marian L Thorpe, author of Empire’s Daughter
British English conventions, spelling, and grammar were used in this book.
The book includes strong language, depictions of sexual, physical, and emotional violence, and is only suitable for adult audiences. For full list of triggers, which may contain spoilers, see: https://www.bjornlarssen.com/children-tw
I read a Kindle version of this book
Children is a dark Norse inspired fantasy told from the points of view of two very different children of the Norse Gods, Maya, sharp-witted sorceress, shape-shifting daughter of the goddess Freya; and Magni, slower-witted son of Thor, who looks just like his father but wishes people would stop confusing him with his Dad. They may be different but their damaged personalities share much in terms of the torture and abuse they suffer at the hands of their family and friends and they are both emotionally and psychologically damaged as a result.
Their stories are not for the faint hearted and there are instances of difficult subject matter which could be triggering for certain readers. There is no gratuitous detail, however, which I appreciated, not being a fan of horror stories – which, if written by another author, these stories could easily have become. Larssen’s absorbing description of Magni’s fruit addiction reminded me of certain sequences in the movie Trainspotting and I kept hearing the soundtrack playing in my head as I read those parts. https://youtu.be/4MAzQcEdK2k
As with his previous book, ‘Storytellers’, in ‘Children’ this author tells a story in which the parts he doesn’t explicitly describe are equally as important as those he does. Time should therefore be taken to read his books carefully and concentrate on what is only being hinted at by the characters, as well as the things they do say, or you will definitely miss something. This is not a lightweight beach read by any means, but well worth the investment of time it takes to give it justice.
It can be difficult for authors to come across as believable when writing from another gender’s perspective and there are often some cringeworthy moments when female characters written by men come over too feminine or flowery and I am sure the equivalent is also true for men reading male characters written by women. This is not the case with Larssen, however. His characters are gritty and full of flaws and insecurities, yet with many positive attributes as well. Magni and Maya are completely different in personality and both totally believable. Larssen has managed to include humour in what could otherwise have been a very dark story. Sometimes this humour is at the expense of slow-witted Magni, for example his imaginative naming of the horse which Maya shifts into:
“Horse…y,” I said, feeling a bit faint again. “That’s right. My horse, Horsey…”
I would recommend “Children” to anyone who enjoys in depth character development, without skating over psychological trauma and of course mythology and the familiar stories about the Norse Gods. I am looking forward to reading the next episodes in this series.
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About the author
Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself. His writing is described as ‘dark’ and ‘literary’, but he remains incapable of taking anything seriously for more than 60 seconds.
Bjørn has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland. He owns one (1) husband and is owned by one (1) neighbourhood cat.