Title: The Ragnarok Chronicles
Author: Nicki J. Markus
Length: novel (678 pages)
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Suitable: 16 years and above
SynopsisFor Ragnarok will be completed….
Nothing marks Cassandra out—except her visions. She’s only ever seen small, insignificant things. That is until the strange frost arrives.
With her normal life turned upside down, Cassandra is plunged into an extraordinary and terrifying world of Norse gods and rampaging giants, ancient feuds and broken prophecies.
A handsome stranger offers aid. But can Cassandra really trust him? More importantly, can she trust her own judgment when his slightest touch sets her heart and her body aflame?
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When the frost came, clinging murderously to every leaf and blade of grass, Cassandra was not surprised. Others viewed the carnage and bewailed the death of their summer gardens, muttering about climate change, but she knew better. For days now she had felt it coming. Her joints ached and she saw ice in her mind’s eye; glittering stalactites dripped into her field of vision, growing more persistent as the days passed. Ignoring the scoffing glances of her neighbours, she had carried the few potted plants she had not already killed off indoors where they would be protected from the coming chill.
Cassandra gazed out of the window at the frost-bitten world beyond her ground-floor flat. The summer sun had reached its peak, its rays warm even through the glass, yet strangely it was not enough. The frost gripped its victims still, refusing to budge, refusing to surrender. It stayed within her mind too, bringing a vague, pulsing chill to her bones. She crossed her arms and retreated to her reading chair, flopping down onto the cushions and hugging one tightly to her chest. It will pass, she told herself over and over.
For as long as she could remember she had had an uncanny ability to sense things before they happened. As a child, she would announce suddenly at dinner that it would rain in the morning, even though the weather report had just predicted a fine day. Or she would inform her frantic mother that the missing mobile phone was in the glove box and not in the house at all. It had freaked out her parents when she was small, but her grandmother had always winked at her and called it a gift, before launching into another of her famous tales of fairies and magic, gods and giants. Usually the message Cassandra received was fleeting—a flash of an image or a vague sensation in her mind, gone as quickly as it had arrived—but not this time. No, this time it lingered, icy tentacles wrapping around her, passing back and forth before her eyes. Tomorrow I’ll be fine again. Tomorrow when the frost clears.
Of Gods and Giants: Writing the ‘Other’ in Fantasy Fiction
Nicki J Markus
One of the great challenges in fantasy writing is to find a way to represent non-human figures so they maintain their alien qualities while also being recognisable and believable to readers. There are a number of ways writers can approach this. It can be accomplished through the character’s appearance, mannerisms, mode of speech, beliefs and values, and in the way they dress. I have tried to employ all these techniques in my new book The Ragnarök Chronicles in the hope of creating characters that are realistic to readers but retain their quality of being ‘other’.
All my mythological characters speak differently from the modern day humans. They never contract words and their language and sentence structure is more archaic to give an impression of their age and the fact English is not their native language. The different races of the nine realms have different styles of dress, reflecting their respective cultures and ways of life. Their appearances too are diverse. The two groups of giants have visages that relate to the realms in which they dwell, while all the gods are handsome beyond compare.
All these elements set them apart from the humans, and yet their motivations remain deeply familiar—love, hate, jealousy, lust, a desire for power, and the will to survive—because fantasy fiction is not just about strange new worlds and beings, it is, at its heart, a reflection of our own world, and the characters need to show that in order to engage the reader.
So let me invite you all to my world of gods, giants, and ancient prophecies. I hope you will enjoy the journey.
GiveawayPrizes: 3 x eCopy of The Ragnarok Chronicles and Swag signed by Nicki J. Markus
About the authorNicki J Markus was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist.
Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her works.
Nicki also writes M/M fiction under the alternate pen name of Asta Idonea and has had several short stories published by Wayward Ink Publishing.
Nicki works as a freelance editor and proofreader and in her spare time enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.
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