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Hidden af Donna Jo Napoli
Indlæser...

Hidden (original 2014; udgave 2014)

af Donna Jo Napoli

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
481434,105 (3.25)Ingen
When a marauding slave ship captures her sister, Melkorka, eight-year-old Brigid is lost at sea but survives, disguised as a boy, and sets out to rescue Melkorka, and as the years pass she becomes a woman, reputed to be fierce enough to conquer a man, but desirous only of reuniting with her family.
Medlem:Veradaine
Titel:Hidden
Forfattere:Donna Jo Napoli
Info:Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Hidden af Donna Jo Napoli (2014)

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Hidden tells of life in early 10th century Jutland through the story of Alfhild (née Brigid), kidnapped from her native Ireland at 8-years-old. Her story is based on the famous Old Norse folktales of the pirate Alfhild and merged with the Icelandic tale of Melkorka, which Napoli previously novelized as Hush.

The story begins when Brigid jumps overboard from the ship carrying her and her sister Melkorka to slave markets, and finds herself on the coast of Jutland (Denmark). It is a completely foreign land, and not very welcoming to outsiders, but she is lucky to stumble upon a friendly farm. The family takes her in and over the next nine months, Brigid learns to speak Norse and grows familiar with their customs. She is given a new name based on the family's perception of her - Alfhid, or Elf-Warrior.

Always desperate to find Mel again, Alfhild leaves the remote farm on the north of the peninsula and travels south. She has a new family of people met while at the farm, and they live near a town on the west coast for three years. But when she's 12 years old, Alfhild fears she can't stay with Beorn and adopted-sister Astrid any longer or she will forget her sister Mel and their Irish heritage, so she runs away to the biggest city on the Jutland peninsula, Heithaby. She is lucky again and is adopted as the daughter of the local king, and lives as a Norse princess for three more years.

Alfhild can't be content with her life, though. She is always thinking of finding her sister again, and when a potential suitor forces her father the king to allow marriage to Alfhild or risk a war between the tribes, she runs away instead and uses it as an opportunity to seriously search for Melkorka. (And meanwhile develops a reputation as a red-headed terror of the seas, aligning with the folktales.)

I really liked how as Brigid/Alfhild grows up, the first-person narrative reflects her changing awareness of the world and familiarity of Norse culture. On the one hand, it's a common trope to have the POV character be an outsider in order to easily introduce "foreign" concepts for the reader, but by the end of the novel, Alfhild is Norse. The two ways of viewing the world - the two ways her identity changes, from Irish to Norse and from childhood to adulthood - are neatly tied together in the narrative.

I also liked how as Alfhild grew up, she moved to consecutively larger settlements in Jutland and interacted with different types of people. It makes for a good introduction to what life was like in Medieval Norway/Denmark, though it's frustrating to feel attachment to the characters or Alfhild's situation, only for her to leave. I suppose it's some consolation that Alfhild feels the same regret and longing for her different families, even as she moves on in search of her first family.

Where the book stumbles most is in the pacing. Much of Hidden is spent on the first two homes Alfhild has, through the age of 12. But her time in Heithaby doesn't seem to be nearly as established, and the final portion of the book races through, despite so many more characters and events happening. The last two plot elements incorporate a romantic entanglement, based on the original folktales/myths, but it seemed barely any time was spent with him compared to the care that went into developing Alfhild's relationship with Astrid or Beorn earlier - an adopted sister and brother-in-law that we never see again.

The other problem I found is that Alfhild herself was a bit peculiar. She seemed to have very 21st century preferences for someone from the Medieval era. They're often explained away by her having a soft heart or having originally been a wealthy king's daughter in Ireland. I don't expect everyone to have been blasé towards animal slaughter or racism/tribalism even in the Middle Ages, but when it was such an ingrained part of both cultures Alfhild knew, it seemed odd for her to resist. It makes more sense for her to be upset with the practice of slavery, since that was the motive for her kidnapping, at least.

On the whole, I did enjoy reading Hidden and actually sped through it faster than most other books I've read recently. While there are parts I feel could be improved, they aren't so bad that I don't recommend this book to others. It's a decidedly soft-filter view of Medieval Norway, with a heroine who might be a little too 21st century, but it is after all YA historical fiction, and you generally have to go out of YA to get the ugly, more cynical reality. And, well, sometimes the rosier view is what you're in the mood to read. ( )
  keristars | Jun 12, 2015 |
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When a marauding slave ship captures her sister, Melkorka, eight-year-old Brigid is lost at sea but survives, disguised as a boy, and sets out to rescue Melkorka, and as the years pass she becomes a woman, reputed to be fierce enough to conquer a man, but desirous only of reuniting with her family.

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