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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2020
  • B08F7HX46L
  • 245 pages
  • $3.99
Dean Yurke
Author
Lassa the Viking and the Dragon's Inferno
Dean Yurke, author

Children/Young Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Publish)

LASSA ERIKSON likes 'normal' teenage things like reading ancient texts on chemical analysis and studying books on advanced alchemy. He's never read anything frivolous like "The Joy of Axe Wielding" or "Uthbert's Guide to Decapitation." So when he is conscripted into the 11th century Viking army and finds himself surrounded by an ocean of the fiercest, toughest, ugliest warriors the world has ever seen, he accepts his hapless brother Sven's brilliant idea of hiding at the back of his first battle while everyone else does all the fighting. But when Lassa trips over a tree root and accidentally impales the enemy Saxon leader, he’s hailed as a hero. His epic decision of cowardice thrusts him on a terrifying mission deep into enemy territory where he battles hordes of saber clawed witches, rescues a princess, marries a leper and discovers the true enemy of the Vikings: a half man, half demon Dragon King intent on wiping out the human race with his army of dragons. Lassa must overcome his cowardice, buckle up his breastplate and rise up as a hero before his world is burned to a crisp.
Reviews
Yurke’s fast-paced adventure captures the swashbuckling atmosphere of Northern Europe in the 11th century CE, though at times it struggles with a lack of historical accuracy. At age 13, Lassa Erikson knows he only wants to be a healer, but he’s conned by his twin brother, Sven, into joining the Viking army. When Lassa accidentally kills the Saxon military commander Modred, he is hailed as a hero. Meanwhile, 14-year-old Saxon princess Ann is determined to pick up a sword and fight alongside the men, but she ends up as Lassa’s prisoner, and he claims her as his wife to save her from his rough fellow Vikings. When Viking king Magnus is kidnapped, Ann and Lassa are thrust into a desperate battle while a mysterious dragon cult tries to eradicate all of Norse and Saxon culture. Lassa must prove himself as a confident warrior to win Ann’s heart and save the Vikings from the Dragon King.

A plethora of anachronisms pull readers out of the time period and interrupt the story’s flow. There are a number of glaring factual errors: Lassa describes a Viking tune as resembling the Christian hymn “Good King Wenceslas,” a 19th-century song with a 13th-century melody; Lassa’s mentor, Chinese alchemist Choy Yang, predates the documented arrival of Chinese immigrants to England and Norway by hundreds of years. Likewise, language choices for the characters, such as Lassa repeatedly saying things are “cool,” make it difficult to fully immerse oneself in the time period, though the creative liberties may appeal to an uncritical younger audience.

Lassa’s struggle to fit in with the older, tougher Vikings is peppered with boyish humour and palpable nervous tension. Both Lassa and Ann have engaging, distinctive voices, and as they both try to break free from the gender restrictions of their time, they make a very sympathetic couple. Young readers who care more about fun adventure than historical accuracy will enjoy Yurke’s rip-roaring storytelling.

Takeaway: Sweeping atmosphere and a zippy pace will draw adventure-minded middle grade readers to this tale of Viking and Saxon warfare and romance.

Great for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants, Terry Jones’s The Saga of Erik the Viking.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: -
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2020
  • B08F7HX46L
  • 245 pages
  • $3.99

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