Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Fenris and Mott

VanEekhout, Greg. Fenris and Mott
August 2nd 2022 by HarperCollins
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Mott (short for Martha) is trying to settle in to Culver City, California after her mother has moved her there from Pennsylvania. She misses her best friend Amanda, with whom she hosted a root beer review internet show. Outside her new apartment, she puts a bottle into the recycling bin and hears a "mweep". This turns out to be an absolutely adorable dog, and Mott is incensed that someone would dump an animal. She's also sad that she had to give up her newly adopted dog when her mom lost her job and they had to move to a smaller apartment, so wants to take care of the dog. When she takes him to a shelter and finds out that the animal is actually a wolf, she realizes that he will have to go back to the wild. When the animal makes a break for it, things start to get weird. A guy in a costume claiming to be Gorm the Vicious informs her that  the wolf is actually Fenris, "The moon-eater. The Odin-slayer. The world-ender." Gorm, of course, wants to destroy Fenris, and Mott becomes defensive. Mott makes some notes about Ragnarok. It's rather alarming, but since she promised to take care of him, she takes him home, since she is not going to break her promises the way her dad breaks his. While walking in the park, the two meet Thrudi, who is dressed oddly and carrying a sword, and get more information about Fenriss. She claims to be Fenris' guard. Since Fenris has eaten the Rune of Annihilation, it's just a matter of time before all of the prophecies surrounding Ragnarok come true and the world hurtles towards its end. Many of these are evident; humans have just been attributing them to climate change and other causes. Together with Trudi, Mott travels to a nursery to meet Fenris' mother; thanks to the way the World Tree works, most locations to which they need to travel are very close. The mother, Angrboda, isn't a lot of help, but does give Mott some mistletoe, which could be used to kill Fenris, who has been leaving a path of destruction in his wake. There are a lot of other beings from Norse mythology whom the group meets, and Mott wants more than anything to be able to save Fenris. Will she be able to?
Strengths: Puppies. It's hard to go wrong when you start right in with a puppy. There was no time lost in getting right into this story, but we still found out everything we needed to know. This is not easy to do. The world building also is introduced briskly and is free of info dumps. Thrudi is a great sidekick, and Mott navigates her new California world with a world-ending puppy very well. The different Norse characters they meet are funny and interesting, and Mott works hard to try to save the world. I enjoyed the environmental undercurrents in the book as well. The ending left room for a sequel, but this could also be a stand alone story. Very enjoyable!
Weaknesses: I'm not well versed in Norse mythology, so it would have helped to have notes in the back of the book, or D'Aulaire's Norse Myths or Napoli's Treasury of Norse Mythology by my side as I read this. 
What I really think: This was a short, fast-paced, action-packed fantasy book, and perfect for fans who want Norse mythology but don't necessarily want to read all three books of Armstrong's Loki's Wolves, Harris' Runemarks series, or Riordan's Magnus Chase chronicles. It's more dog focused than Subity's The Last Shadow Warrior, and I think I can convince one of my readers who ONLY wants to read dog books to pick this one up! Certainly fans of Van Eekhout's Kid vs. Squid, Cog Voyage of the Dogs, and Weird Kid will be glad to see another book by this author. 
 Ms. Yingling

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