Based on Norse mythology, the children’s book Freyja and the Brisingamen Necklace (self-published by J. C. Enno) is an enchanting and engaging tale of adventure, destiny and courage. When her twin brother succumbs to a mysterious disease that threatens all the children of the village, shy and innocent Freyja must overcome her fears and travel to distant lands to seek a cure.
Her quest is stymied by confronting challenges and assisted by a magical animal. Together with her friend Torsten, they travel through mystical forests and into the secret tunnels and caves of the mountains inhabited by dwarves. J.C. Enno has built a fantastical world full of double moons, hidden powers, gypsy traders, powerful magic and dangerous curses. As Freyja traverses this country to save her brother, the book explores the themes of love and friendship, sacrifice and bravery, risk-taking and self-esteem. Freyja is a courageous and feisty heroine who overcomes her reticence and dares to be different in order to save the ones she loves. This would make a great Christmas gift for children who have a great imagination and who enjoy the thrill of adventure. The puzzles Freyja must solve and the tasks she must complete to fulfil her quest are classic and epic storylines, and the writing is complete with a lovely sense of humour. (The three dwarves! The incisors! Trust me, you will laugh out loud at that bit.) While there were a couple of places that I felt needed an editor’s eye, overall I think this is an amazing debut for a self-published author. The illustrations are by American artist Liz McKenzie, and they are very cute, detailed and unusual. This is the first book in the Freyja series, and J.C. Enno has left plenty of clues and markers throughout the story to hint at the adventures that are to come in subsequent books. (Age range: while Freyja and her brother are 14, the story is for younger readers, perhaps 8 to 12, or it could also be read to younger children 6 to 8.)