[review] Siri Pettersen: Odin’s child

Pettersen, Siri9789518875157
Odin’s child [The Raven Rings #1]
original title: Odinsbarn [Ravnesringene #1]
Title in Finnish: Odininlapsi [Korpinkehät #1]
Finnish translation: Eeva-Liisa Nyqvist
Jalava 2015
ISBN 978-951-887-515-7

Odin’s child is the first book in the series, “The Raven Rings”. The series follows the story of Hirka, a girl who does not feel like she belongs anywhere. She has grown with a nickname, Hirka the Tailless, because unlike other members of the Ym-folk, she does not have a tail. Her father has told her that wolves snatched her tail when she was just a baby and that is why she has gruesome scars on her lower back. Although the explanation sounds reasonable, Hirka is starting to have doubts about her true identity.

Hirka learns the truth about herself before her father, or actually her stepfather, takes his own life. Without his protection, Hirka will be in real danger if the others also learn the truth about her. She starts a brave journey to save herself and during this journey she also reveals the secrets the council has protected for centuries. This puts her into much bigger danger, but luckily she does not have to survive alone. Rime, her childhood friend and a member of Kolkagga, a secret society of assassins, knows the truth about her but is also convinced that she is not the reason why the Ym-folk will be destroyed. The real reason is the council and the rotten core of their actions.

Pettersen has created a fantasy realm that criticizes some traditions and taboos of our world. Hirka, who is actually a human instead of a member of the Ym-folk, is considered as the carrier of rot. Whoever kisses her or has sex with her will rot painfully after the act. Also, the centring of power to the hands of the few and fear-based rule are things that have also occured in our history. The story is exciting, unpredictable and very well written. Odin’s child may at first appear as a straightforward fantasy book, but after a while it starts to reveal different layers: anarchy, critique of patriarchy and the way people react to difference, whether it manifests as the colour of someone’s skin, religion or the lack of a tail.

Suvi Oksanen, 11/2016

Also by Siri Pettersen:
Råta (Gyldendal 2014)
Evna (Gyldendal 2015)

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