Last year my kids were introduced to Alva – a feisty Viking girl who was brave but kind, not one to conform to the traditional views of girls and she even had a pet wolf. (Yes a pet wolf and if I am honest I think both my kids were very jealous of the fact that she got to have a pet wolf and they did not. But then I guess even I was a bit a jealous of that fact.) All of us adored Alva and loved going on her adventure to solve the Riddle of the Runes our only complaint was that when it was over then second book had not yet been published and we all wanted to know if she would find her father.
But now the second one is here and we have dived straight in with Alva, her Uncle Magnus and of course Fen (her wolf). They go on another great adventure, this time they join some of the local men who are going aViking (they sneak onto a boat), get to experience the life at sea and they end up travelling to Jorvik and then Tamworth. The adventure was fun to follow although at the end they had still had not found her missing father (there is a third adventure coming soon which we will definitely read).
Alva is as charming as the first time, still adventurous and a wonderful example of girls not being restricted by traditional views (something which my daughter really likes about these books). As fun as the adventure is we really liked the fact that the adventure is set in Viking /Anglo-Saxon times. Both my kids loved reading about Jorvik and they got really excited at the first mention of Tamworth – because they knew it was the capital of the Mercians which meant Aethelflaed. The loved those references and they loved it when Alva meet Athealflaed and her brother King Edward (although again I think my daughter was a bit jealous as she is in awe of Aethelflaed and thinks she is THE most fascinating Anglo-Saxon character – my daughter loves reading about strong female Queens/leaders).
For me the beauty of this book and its previous one (Riddle of the Runes) is the way the author effortlessly brings in historically accurate references about their way of life. By weaving them so expertly into the story the kids get a real feeling of what it would have been like living in those times – how simple activities like having to ride a horse far for many days would have meant your body would have been bruised and sore all over. Eating food using your hands would have left them sticky so yes you probably would have wanted to clean your fingers in a bowl of water before talking with the Queen.
The names of the characters are all typical names of those times, the mentions of food and drink are all what they would have consumed, the clothes, the homes they stay in, even when they talk about having to send messages and how the monks would be the ones to write the messages because the local people did not know how to write. All of the references, are what brings the story to life and the kids can start imagining what it would have been like living in that period. And for me this is the true beauty – the fact that both of these stories have transported my kids back into those times where they can imagine life then and really get a good understanding of everyday events.
It is a Viking mystery so there is death (death was very much a way of life then) but there are no gruesome details, nothing that is nightmare potential.
If your kids have been learning about the Viking times/ Anglo-Saxon England then this is the perfect story for them to read. But even if your kids know nothing about those times I would still recommend this story as it just might be a way of introducing them to a fascinating period of English History.
You can buy Way of the Waves directy from Amazon – Way of the Waves
Admin – we were given this copy of Way of the Waves after I told the publishers that we loved the first book and would really like to review the next one.
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