Runelight by Joanne Harris

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Runelight by Joanne Harris

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Super follow-up to Runemarks - a fast-paced fantasy using the Old Norse pantheon. Fantastic world-building and a heroine to rival Pratchett's Tiffany Aching. Highly recommended to all fans of fantasy.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 592 Date: November 2011
Publisher: Doubleday
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 085753081X

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Runelight continues several years after Runemarks left off. The rescue of the gods has left a rift between the Worlds which allows demons and assorted ephemera to escape from Chaos into Malbry and spread towards World's End, a lawless city now it has no Order to maintain it. With Odin dead and the surviving gods power-stripped and forced to inhabit bodies of Folk, there is little chance of re-establishing Order. And with the End of the Worlds prophesied in just twelve days, the task of rebuilding Asgard and preventing it is Herculean.

And if all that weren't enough, the gods are faced with an old adversary determined on retribution, a new foe bearing the mark of destiny, and a traitor in the ranks...

... can they rebuild the Sky Citadel? Or will Chaos reign?

It's been a long time coming, this sequel. I'd almost given up hope! But it was worth the wait for some more of this world using rune magic and the Old Norse pantheon. Harris's Maddy Smith is a marvellous heroine, one to rival even Pratchett's Tiffany Aching, but in Runelight she is almost eclipsed by the tragic figure of her twin, Maggie, whose inexorable destiny is so hard for her - and the reader - to bear. The plot has more twists and turns than you could shake a stick at and the regular reveals came as equally regular surprises.

Runelight is a massive book, almost six hundred pages long. It is filled with detail and mythos and all the worldbuilding fantasy devotees will devour with huge satisfaction. Think Tolkein in scope. And the plot progression doesn't suffer from it at all. But do be aware this is a book for fans of the genre - it might be just a little too much for those new to it. Otherwise, I loved this sequel. It's funny and fast but also sad and timeless. It comes to a satisfying climax but there is an opening for more. I truly hope we'll see a third book about this energetic, vital world. And that Maggie has a nicer time in it.


If the Old Norse pantheon attracts you, you might also enjoy Ice Land by Betsy Tobin, a modern day fairy story, straight out of Angela Carter. Or how about Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge?

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Buy Runelight by Joanne Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Runelight by Joanne Harris at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Runelight by Joanne Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Runelight by Joanne Harris at


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