Book Reviews

Review: Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima

Norse mythology fans here? If you’ve been searching for an expansive YA fantasy with heavy Norse inspirations, look no further. Children of Ragnarok is also the start of a series and while it can be a bit slow at times, for fans of Norse mythology in a YA setting, this is a good bet. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Ever since Ragnarok—the great war between the gods and the forces of chaos–the human realm of the Midlands has become a dangerous place, bereft of magic, where most lead lives of desperation.

Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones. Between fishing, going vikingr, and working his modir’s farm, the family has remained prosperous. But Eiric stands to lose everything when he’s convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is his half-systir, Liv, whose interest in seidr, or magic, has made her a figure of suspicion. Then a powerful jarl steps in: he will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reggin Eiklund has spent her life traveling from town to town, performing at alehouses all for the benefit of her master, Asger, the fire demon she is desperate to escape. Then after one performance that amazes even Reggin herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make her an irresistible offer: return with them to the temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.

Eiric, Liv, and Reggin’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, the site of the Temple at the Grove, a paradise fueled by magic. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface, and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: child abuse, domestic abuse

I’m not going to lie, all you had to tell me about Children of Ragnarok was Norse mythology. I am always going to be intrigued in Norse mythology and I feel like Children of Ragnarok celebrates and showcases different pieces than you might be expecting. What I mean is it isn’t always about Loki and the BIG Norse figures. I love a good Loki story, I just know that there’s so much more to Norse mythology and I appreciated the ways in which it explores both this and prophecy.

Can we truly subvert what is fated for us? With prophecy there are always different interpretations and ways to see our own future. So how much of a stake can we put into a vision of what could be? Eiric and Reggin are both intriguing POVs and I surprisingly enjoyed Eiric’s more. Normally it goes the other way – I can always dig forbidden magic – but I connected more with Eiric’s family drama and the corruption of people.


Slowly the pieces come together, but I found that it came together a bit too late for me if I was just a reader not a reviewer. Sometimes I imagine my role if I was just a reader who didn’t feel like I had to push to a certain point. Because of that, I felt like while once the pieces started to fall and the threads of history came together it was more intriguing, it took a bit of time for me to get invested. Especially in Reggin’s POV. Plus I wasn’t exactly sure where the book was going, and while this is normally a plus, I do like when I have a sense of momentum.

I don’t need something to be predictable. I just mean that we have ideas about a conflict of running towards something of having a purpose and it helps create a sense of pacing. Maybe it’s also that Children of Ragnarok is over 550 pages which is more than I’m used to for YA fantasy, but without that drive or loose direction I found myself drifting away sometimes.

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Does that make any sense? Overall, I’d still recommend Children of Ragnarok for those looking for more Norse mythology vibes, just know that it’s a bit more meandering before going into it. I’d say it doesn’t have that same fast paced hook you might be expecting and is something you have to sink more into. Find Children of Ragnarok on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite Norse mythology book?

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