Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Red Sun by Alane Adams

The Red Sun by Alane Adams (Book 1 of Legends of Orkney). August 4, 2015. Spark Press. 346 pages. Fantasy. Ages 10 & up.

Sam Baron's normal life starts to take a strange turn when he has a substitute English teacher show up, dressed all in black, telling the students that their regular teacher has been turned into a lizard. At first they all think it's just a joke, but as strange things begin to happen and the sub seems to take special interest in Sam, he begins to suspect that it was not just a joke.  

Then Sam comes home to find a dwarf named Rego in his house, who tells him that he is in danger. Rego proceeds to completely blow Sam's mind by telling him that his mother is a witch, his missing father is a descendant of the Norse god Odin, and they are all from magical realm called Orkney, to which Sam must return. In the meantime, the witch Endera has kidnapped Sam's friends Howie and Keely and taken then to Orkney, leaving Sam no choice but to follow to save them.

Once in Orkney, Sam finds that things are even more dire than he knew, with a curse causing the sun to gradually turn red, poisoning first the crops, then animals, and ultimately the people. He begins a quest to save his friends and save Orkney, joined by a young witch named Mavery. The journey proves dangerous, and Sam discovers he has a deeper connection to the Red Sun.

My Thoughts 
This is a fast-paced fantasy-adventure rooted in Norse mythology with a fairly likable protagonist and a cast of interesting characters. It will inevitably be compared to the works of  J. K. Rowling and Rick Riordan, particular his new series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. The Red Sun is similar; however, the pace is much faster than in the Harry Potter series. While the pace is similar to Riordan's, there are some differences. Riordan's The Sword of Summer is longer, has more action, and has an older protagonist (16 verses 12). Also, Riordan's style is more humorous, and has the characters spending more time in the earthly realm. The Red Sun is a bit darker, and rather than simply a battle between two sides, it is a struggle between good and evil, as was Rowling's Harry Potter series.

I would recommend this book to a tween who likes fantasy and adventure, and fans of Rick Riordan's works would most likely enjoy this is well. Harry Potter fans would probably like it also, though the pacing is different and I don't think the character development is nearly as deep. Another series that might interest fans of mythology-based fantasy is The Blackwell Pages series by K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr, also inspired by Norse mythology.

Personally, I enjoyed Riordan's The Sword of Summer a little more. I think partly because it was longer and just had a more detailed story and more action. Plus I really enjoyed all the humor, and the Norse gods being aware of our pop culture and technology. The Red Sun was okay, but even though it's darker, it stills reads younger to me. But, my 13-year old son, who was a big fan of Riordan's Percy Jackson series, actually liked The Red Sun much better than Riordan's take on Norse mythology.

Thoughts of an Actual 13-Year Old 
"The book, The Red Sun, was very good. It had tons of adventure, and the word choice made it feel like you were there. Within the plot, there were miniature twists that ended up connecting in the end. I would recommend this book to fans of Percy Jackson, and other series by Rick Riordan."

Other Books by this Author
This is Alane Adams' first novel, the first in a triology. The second book, originally titled The Moon Pearl, has been re-titled Kalifus Rising and is due out in September of 2016. She has also written a picture book called The Coal Thief, with a second one titled The Egg Thief due out in early April of 2016. In contrast to her middle-grade books, her picture books are historical fiction rather than fantasy.


  1. We really liked The Sword of Summer too. Is there any references to mythology in The Red Sun? Or aliens? That might draw my son in. Thanks for sharing this at the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

    1. Yes, it is based on Norse mythology and has several references to Norse gods and other elements of Norse myths. The main character is a descendant of the god Odin.