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Thor's Wedding Day
Bruce Coville
Harcourt, 144 pages

Thor's Wedding Day
Bruce Coville
Bruce Coville was born in 1950 in Syracuse, New York, and grew up in a rural area north of the city. Though he has been a teacher, a toymaker, and a gravedigger, he prefers writing. He is best known for his books for young readers, including the bestselling My Teacher is an Alien series, Goblins in the Castle, Aliens Ate My Homework, Sarah's Unicorn, and Armageddon Summer (co-authored with Jane Yolen). Coville's Young Adult book series I Was a Sixth Grade Alien was adapted for television in 2000 as a weekly series for the Fox Family Channel. He lives in Syracuse with his wife Kathy, four cats, and a Norwegian Elk Hound named Thor.

Bruce Coville Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Monsters of Morley Manor
SF Site Review: Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon
SF Site Review: Armageddon Summer

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

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Bruce Coville draws from several stories of Norse mythology for his juvenile novel Thor's Wedding Day. The basic tale is taken from the legend of the giant Thrym, who, despite his reputation as a dullard, manages to figure out a way to steal Thor's hammer, Mjollner. Realizing that this one myth wasn't enough to fill out an entire novel, Coville also brought in the legend of Mjollner's creation and the story of Thialfi, the goat boy.

In fact, Thialfi is Coville's narrator. Although Coville doesn't provide the full story of how Thialfi came to care for Thor's goats, it is clear from the beginning of the story that Thialfi is a human in the service to the god. Thialfi is not only the narrator, but one of Coville's three main characters, and the only one to which the reader really has a chance to relate. The other members of the trio are the dim-witted Thor and the trickster god, Loki.

While Loki is a major character in the work, he actually doesn't have an enormous role. Loki is mostly seen as egging Thor on and helping to ensure that Thor goes on his quest. Thor, on the other hand, is depicted as a dundering fool who can't do anything right and must rely on the despised human boy who tends the goats and the other, more capable gods, in order to do anything right.

Coville's story is reasonably straight forward, from the discovery of the missing hammer through its eventual recovery. Along the way, he shows Thor's inability to understand exactly what is happening, the gods' councils, and the realm of the giants. Thialfi is provided as a tour guide, but is also the means for a successful conclusion to the quest.

Although Coville claims that the story of Thrym is the only truly funny myth he knows, the humor Coville sees in the story doesn't entirely translate to his novel. Coville refrains from including jokes, instead allowing the humor of the situation speak for itself. Since the humor is mostly seeing the mighty Thor in drag (or at least reading about the mighty Thor in drag), the humor of the novel consists of the one joke.

Thor's Wedding Day is written in a light style which will appeal to many of the young readers to whom the book is targeted. Thialfi's character is accessible and likable enough that he brings a sense of joy to the book, even in its few darker moments. Thialfi's humanness in the face of the gods' more distant and strange natures.

There may be little depth to Thor's Wedding Day, but it is a wonderful book for young adults who are just looking for an entertaining tale to pass some time. The story is fun, if not funny, and gripping enough to keep the reader hooked through the end.

Copyright © 2006 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a five-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.


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