Series: Thrones & Bones #3 (#1, #2)
Written by Lou Anders
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on September 6, 2016
Synopsis from Publisher- “The chase continues for the legendary Horns of Osius. Thianna and Karn’s quest to retrieve the horns from those who wish to abuse their power takes them to Thica, an ancient land where two tyrant queens reign supreme and where years earlier Thianna’s mother was labeled a traitor. Soon the two heroes are caught up in an epic battle for control of the kingdom, one that puts their very lives at stake. The only way to overthrow the queens is to beat them at their own game. But with an entire empire against them, how can Karn and Thianna hope to compete—or better yet, survive?”
What I Thought- This was a thrilling conclusion to the Thrones & Bones series, leaving things off in a way where the imagination wonders what happens next, but also gives a satisfying resolution to the story-line. Mr. Anders has a way of writing the story that keeps you reading. The characters are engaging, and the readers really root for them as they go through their struggles. The readers will also like that they can see Thianna and Carn growing up and learning from their past experiences. The setting is perfect, and draws the imagination into the story. It is a cool blend of mythology from different cultures, particularly Greek/Roman and Scandinavian. I really enjoyed reading this book, and think it has the same great feel as the other two books. I cannot wait for another book by Mr. Anders!
I give this book five out of five bookworms!
Here is my interview with author Lou Anders:
While reading the books, the reader can pick up on the Norse culture and mythos, and the island-continent of Thica also has similarities to Greek and Roman mythos. Why did you think to include this “clash of culture” in your books?
One of my big pet peeves is when fantasy countries and lands appear to exist in isolation to themselves. In the real world, no country develops without the influence of its neighbors and even cultures that are actually very far away. I started out with the Norse-inspired people of my land of Norrøngard, but the more I researched the actual Scandinavian peoples and particularly the Vikings, the more I learned of their influence on so much of European history. They traveled all over Europe and beyond, raiding and trading with lots of different countries. There is even strong evidence that the Vikings visited North America and met (and fought) Inuits and Native American peoples. When I wrote the books, I was very careful to make sure the story always had hints of a larger world. Not only is Thianna’s mother from another country, but so is the dwarf Gindri, and there are mentions of other lands and their influence on the people of Norrøngard. In fact, as you read along you learn that even Orm himself is actually an immigrant to Norrøngard! The wyverns are European monsters that have somehow made their way to the Greece-inspired land of Thica (much to their disappointment). And Karn’s sword Whitestorm is actually an artifact of the long vanished Gordion empire. It was forged a thousand miles from his home, and although it’s not mentioned in the book, I know that the sword was actually very important to the adventures of a young queen of the neighboring country of Araland hundreds of years before Frostborn takes place! (Maybe I’ll get to tell her story one day.) So in order to make my fantasy world “real” it had to mirror the back-and-forth exchange that cultures and countries in our own world experience.
Your books are able to immerse the readers in a sense of adventure, while they learn about the importance of key practices, such as strategy and trust, through the characters. Did you plan an overall message in your books or does that develop as you create the story and characters?
I believe that theme is something that grows out of the interaction of your characters. All stories start with characters, and no matter how important a book’s message, it’s the characters that make people care. So Frostborn was born very much out of who Karn and Thianna were as people, their strengths and their faults, and how they would bounce off of each other when they met. That being said, there are some themes, or perhaps “concerns” is a better word, that I very much wanted to address. I grew up reading a lot of fantasy fiction, the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, and Michael Moorcock in particular. I love (LOVE!) those stories. But they are sort of lacking when it comes to strong female characters. I wanted to write a story that encapsulated all of the excitement and “sense of wonder” of the fantasy books I grew up with, but which was more reflective of today’s world and had something for everyone, not just one half of everyone! Also, my own children are biracial, and I wanted to write a character for them, someone who was struggling with being a “child of two worlds.” And I had a lot I wanted to explore about friendship and family. There’s another theme, which I don’t want to admit to but only hint at, that runs through all three books. If you are curious about what that is, I’ll just say to look at the villains in the books, both the people and the monsters. Who do you think the worst villains are?
The Thrones & Bones series has awesome main characters – Karn and Thianna – but your stories also have fearsome monsters and tough enemies. Do you spend as much time developing your “bad guys” as you do your MCs?
Oh yes. No “bad guy” is a bad guy in their own mind. I think a really good story has another story in it, one in which the “bad guy” is actually the star. Sydia is fiercely loyal to her country and is fighting to save her way of life. Tanthal is the product of a city that has taught him since the day he was born that embracing his own power at the cost of others is the best thing for his people overall. Helltoppr was out to become king of Norrøngard when he was alive, and if he had succeeded, he would have been no different than hundreds of other kings of that land, a lot of whom came to power through violence. And Sirena has a real (legitimate?) complaint with the way Thianna has messed up her life. And even Ori, who is pretty self-centered and nasty, is actually a lot of fun to hang out with. At the start of Frostborn, Karn likes his uncle a lot and, I would go so far as to say, Ori likes Karn too. They play games together and they share a sense of humor. And they probably have more in common than Karn has with his own father (or thinks he has). It’s just an unfortunate accident of birth that Ori’s nephew is in the way of his ambition… Sad, but what can you do?
I am a fan of your Thrones & Bones series and as much as I liked how Skyborn finished off the trilogy, I didn’t want it to end. Is it hard for you to walk away from your characters?
Yes. But there was also a real feeling that they had grown and come into their own and found their place in the world across their adventures, and so they were “okay without me,” if that makes sense. Karn and Thianna are at peace with themselves by the end of the Thrones & Bones series. They’re also quite powerful as individuals (and the more powerful characters are, the harder they are to write. It’s called “the Superman problem”). As I was writing Skyborn, part of me was sad because I was saying goodbye, but another part of me started itching for new characters, people who hadn’t yet found their place in the world or come to grips with who they were or figured out their talents. So I was sort of letting go and getting ready to move on. I will say though that I have a very clear idea of where Karn and Thianna’s life goes from here and their adventures are not over by any means, so it’s possible you’ll see more stories about them in the future. And as for Desstra, although she has grown too, she’s still a little lost and sad and still isn’t sure where she fits in, and that means her story isn’t finished.
I am sad to say Skyborn marks the end of the Throne & Bones series! Do you have anything you are working on that you would like to share with us?
Yes I do! I recently delivered The Dragon Squire to my wonderful editor, Phoebe Yeh. It’s currently scheduled to come out Summer 2018, and it’s the story of a young squire named Tuggle who works for a knight who is supposed to fight a dragon named Brinstax. But Tuggle tries to hedge his bets with a witch’s potion and the result is that he and Brinstax accidentally switch bodies! It’s a lot of fun and maybe a little bit lighter and sillier than the Thrones & Bones series. I wrote it to be something that new readers could jump in on without having to know anything about the world of Thrones & Bones, but I did hide easter eggs for T&B fans in the book. Meanwhile, I’m working on something else now, a young adult novel featuring an older version of one of the characters in Thrones & Bones having a solo adventure. I won’t say which one but maybe you can guess!
WHO IS THIS LOU ANDERS?!?
Lou Anders drew on his adventures traveling to Greece in his twenties to write Skyborn, combining these experiences with his love of pulp adventure fiction and games (both tabletop and role playing). However, he has yet to ride a hippalektryon. Anders hopes that his third book in the Thrones and Bones series will continue to appeal to boy and girl readers equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction, and was named a Thurber House Writer-in-Residence. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com, on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, and on Twitter at @Louanders.