The Legends of Orkney by Alane Adams
The Red Sun (book 1) and Kalifus Rising (Book 2)
Alane Adams has created something special here. She has done for Norse Mythology what Rick Riordan did for the Greek myths. Her work is solidly based in the myths but has that great modern twist of bringing kids from the modern world into the story. Her characters are strong, but with their doubts especially in the second book. Sam Baron makes a great reluctant hero, who is just trying to come to grips with who he is and all of the expectations others have of him.
Summary for The Red Sun from the Authors website:
Sam Baron is about to get the shock of his life. His substitute English teacher claims to have turned his old teacher into a lizard. But that’s not the weirdest thing to happen: Sam’s life turns upside down when a strange dwarf named Rego arrives and claims Sam is from a magical realm called Orkney.
When his friends are taken prisoner, Sam embarks on a journey to Orkney through a stonefire to rescue them. But when he arrives, he discovers an ancient curse has turned the sun a poisonous red and threatens to destroy the land. With only a young witch girl to guide him, Sam must choose between saving his friends or stopping the red sun from consuming the land.
In this book we meet some of the great Norse gods, such as Odin, but most of the characters are the authors own creation. There is some humor, great adventures and of course the hero must save the day. I also liked the fact that most of the action in this book takes place in the Realm of Orkney away from our modern world. It made the story more interesting as it was happening elsewhere but the choices Sam made would ultimately effect earth to.
Summary for Kalifus Rising from authors website:
Sam Baron just freed Orkney from the ravages of the Red Sun―but now, imprisoned by Catriona, leader of the Volgrim Witches, Sam finds the darker side of his half-god, half-witch heritage released, and he fears he might destroy what he saved. Unable to resist the witches’ enchantments, Sam has become their most potent weapon, and is leading an army of monstrous men against Skara Brae.
Sam’s only hope for salvation lies with his three best friends and a mystical artifact known as the Moon Pearl. Keely travels north in search of the pearl, while Howie prepares for the gathering onslaught. Leo seeks a powerful artifact in the underworld, and faces an ancient evil that could be an even greater threat than Catriona and her cronies.
Usually second books are missing a little something that made us enjoy the first book so much, but I have to say that is not the case this time. I almost like the second more than the first. Sam’s dilemma in this book is much more intriguing and you are not really sure which side he will choose until the end. Having all four friends going off on their own did make the story line a little disjointed, but at the same time more suspenseful. Their adult accomplices were also hard to figure out if they were for or against Sam and his friends. I must also add that the witch Catriona is a far more evil adversary than Endera was in the first book. She is a nasty piece of work.
Hopefully there will be more books in this series. Please check out the Legends of Orkneys website. It is a well thought out sight aimed at the kids who are fans of the books. It has a game as well as art work of the characters in case they need visuals for some of the monsters Sam and his friends encounter. Enjoy the video for the first book!