Five hundred years after the end of the world, and goblins had been at the cellar again...
Maddy Smith has always been an outsider. Born with a rusty-coloured rune on her hand - what the villagers call a ruin
mark - she is scarred by this symbol of the old gods, a sign of magic
And everyone knows that magic is dangerous. Except for Maddy, who actually thinks it's rather fun. Until now. For suddenly her friend One-Eye, a rascally Outlander, wants her to open Red Horse Hill and descend into World Below - a world filled with goblins and far worse - to retrieve a relic of the old gods...
A novel by Joanne Harris, Runemarks
is the story of Maddy Smith, a fourteen year old girl who is sent on a quest to retrieve an artifact of the old gods called the Whisperer.
A sequel, Runelights
has been released, set three years after the original book.
- And Man Grew Proud: With bonus Norse gods.
- Apocalypse Wow: As soon as Jormungand starts tearing apart the neverworld, there's splashes of this. It never quite takes out the whole universe, but it came pretty close and was more impressive than most portrayals of Armageddon.
- The Chessmaster: The Whisperer.
- Deadpan Snarker: Loki.
- Elemental Shapeshifting: Loki's wildfire Aspect.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Jormungand seems a little irritated when Loki calls him "Jorgi" for short.
- Exact Words: How Loki got out of having his head cut off when he offered it in a bet with the dwarfs and lost. He claimed that he had never mentioned his neck in the bet and, since they couldn't get his head without harming his neck, he kept his head on the technicality. However, he got his lips sewn together for his trouble.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Much like Norse mythology itself, with numerous mythologies referenced and indicated to be coexisting.
- Fate Worse than Death: The MO of imprisonment in Netherworld, complete with a gaoler appointed from the prisoner's worst fears. Ominously, it's revealed that the Gaolers themselves are trapped as a result of those that fear them being there, and get pretty bitter about it
- Fiery Redhead: Thor. Played with for Loki who, although having a Wildfire aspect and the fire rune Kaen on his arm, keeps his temper almost completely in check.
- God Was My Copilot: Many times. A large number of people, including Maddy, turn out to be fallen Norse gods. And by the final, many more have seemingly inherited the titles. or something. It's kinda ambiguous exactly who is who after the River Dream bursts it's banks.
- He Who Must Not Be Named: The Nameless.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Balder, who gives up his second chance at life in order to save the world.
- Human Popsicle: The Seven Sleepers are seven Vanir gods frozen in blocks of ice.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Balder.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: It is revealed that Maddy is Thor's daughter.
- Norse Mythology
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Whisperer seeks to start the End of Everything so that it can create a new world where it is in supreme control of everything, a desire stemming from being used as, essentially, a Magic 8-Ball by the Norse gods.
- Pals with Jesus- Maddy encounters, and in some cases befriends the entire Norse pantheon. And she's trained in magic by Odin One-Eye himself.
- Primal Fear: The coin of the realm in Netherworld.
- Prophecy Twist: Everyone except the Whisperer assumes that the "traitor" is Loki (instead of Mimir), and everyone assumes that the "sacrifice" is Maddy (instead of Balder).
- Scars Are Forever: Both Odin and Tyr suffer under this, inkeeping with the Norse myths. Loki's scarred lips also seem to be this.
- The World Tree: Yggdrasil.
- The Chosen One: Maddy turns out to be Modi, the one destined to rebuild Asgard.
- Trickster Archetype: Loki, obviously.
- Unwitting Pawn: Pretty much everyone is one for the Whisperer.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Loki's biggest fear is snakes; rather ironic considering that the World Serpent is his son.