From School Library Journal
Grade 7–10—Sixteen-year-old Haley has traveled to Iceland with her geologist father to see where her mother disappeared a year before. Hoping to retrace her mother's steps in order to find her, she is drawn into the magical legend and life of her Nordic ancestors, beginning with Hallgerd, a young woman skilled in sorcery who was determined not to be forced into a loveless marriage. The repercussions of Hallgerd's actions affect all of her female descendants from her own daughter to Haley. Simner has done her homework. This appealing novel centers around and embellishes Icelandic legend—specifically Njal's Saga
. Simner takes the old stories and brings them into the 21st century in this cyclical novel about the powerful relationship between mothers and daughters. It would be great to pair it with Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley
(Hyperion, 2009) for an examination of Norse mythology.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
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About the Author
Janni Lee Simner first became fascinated with the Icelandic sagas—and with the woman whose uncle said she had the eyes of a thief—during a visit to Iceland. Standing in the rift valley of Thingvellir with a battered copy of Njal's Saga
in her backpack, she realized the characters she was reading about had walked the same ground. As the wind blew around her, she sat down and wrote the opening scene of Thief Eyes.
Janni lives more than four thousand miles from Iceland in Tucson, Arizona, where the hot, dry desert weather is about as unlike Iceland as one can get and still be on the same planet. She's also the author of four books for younger readers and more than thirty short stories. Janni is currently working on the sequel to her first young adult novel, Bones of Faerie.
To learn more about Janni, visit her Web site at www.simner.com.