Tag Archive: Lou Anderson


Not a ton to say here. Thanks to the nice folks at Crown Books, I’ve got a review of the final book in the Thrones and Bones trilogy for you. Enjoy!

thrones-and-bones-skyborn-cover

Thianna and Karn have lost the Horn of Osius, key to controlling the wyvern and all dragon kind. To keep its power from being misused they’ll have to journey to Thica, the country Thianna’s mother fled years ago, and face down an entire empire. They won’t be alone though. A battle is brewing that will determine the very fate of the empire and, possibly, our heroes as well.

Thrones and Bones: Skyborn by Lou Anders is definitely an interesting read, and a fun one as well. It builds on the previous books well. It has higher stakes, as benefits the last book in the series. It still keeps its balance between Thianna and Karn really well while expanding the cast as well.

So, with the first two books in the trilogy I had a lot of the problems I tend to with most kids or young readers’ books I review. The first one was very black and white in its morality, the heroes were good because they were the heroes and the villains were evil because they were the villains. The second book did better, but still projected its eleventh hour new hero pretty hard. That’s standard in kids’ fantasy, but it does get old, which is something this one does a fairly mixed job on. We have an empire that’s crushing other city-states and forcing them to do its bidding, that’s how it’s done and how it has been for as long as anyone can remember. We have the city-states not wanting to work together because of old grudges. Both are kind of a wash early because it is a ton of new stuff all at once, but then we get into it more and it works.

We also have some party friction from the last book that gets worked though, I really appreciate that bit. As well as I feel Karn and Thianna work as a team, seeing them having to work with new characters and deal with new situations is one of the strong points of the book. The expanded cast did take some getting used to, mostly just because it split the story more than the first books did, but that helps give the story a greater feeling of scope.

The added cast does have one big downside that I can think of. While it’s great for adding scope to the story, it also has the effect of leaving what should have been important character moments out for more minor characters. A little more focus on what was going on with the big villains would have been great. It also has the effect of introducing and then completely leaving out representative characters for the city-states that didn’t get involved in the plot. That feels like a missed opportunity more than anything.

So, where do I sit on Thrones and Bones: Skyborn? It solved a lot of the standard kids’ book problems the first two had, though it still has a few. Those are mostly pacing related, and nothing really big at that. I would have liked to have seen more build to the final confrontation; it was pretty standard for the series on that front. As evidenced by the rest of the review though, I enjoyed the read. This is one of the few series that I not only enjoyed myself, I’m also getting the first one for my younger cousin. So, again, where do I sit on this one? I think it earned a four out of five.

Karn is a champion at the game Thrones and Bones, but not much of a farmer or trader. He wants to see the world and all it has to offer rather than be tied to his family farm for the rest of his life. Thianna is a frost giant, as able in the snow and ice as any, but an outcast because of her human mother. When they are introduced at the yearly trade meeting at the Dragon’s Dance, a friendship is born. A friendship they will soon have to rely on for their very survival.
Lou Anderson’s Thrones and Bones: Frostborn is a middle-grade fantasy novel set in a world based on, essentially, Viking lore. The main characters are fairly easy to get into, and I appreciate that Thianna is the physically more active of the two. It’s a nice turn-around from what is usually done and fits with her being half-giant. Karn’s being the smart one seems a bit more tied into the Thrones and Bones game than I would have liked, but when that’s the title of the series you kind of have to expect it to be important. The side characters weren’t as well done, but served their purpose.
The only real issues I can think of are fairly minor. There was a lot of toilet humor, while it’s not totally unexpected it might have been more effective to tone it back. Also one of the villains was meant to be tricky about their villainy but for all their behavior might as well have been named Antagonist MacEvildude. Again though, middle-grade novel it probably isn’t as obvious to the intended audience.
So what’s the verdict? While the humor was a little hit or miss and the bad guys could have been better, I really dig that cleverness won the day as often as fighting did and that the protagonists were as well rounded as they were. Thrones and Bones: Frostborn earns a four out of five.