Review: The Serpent’s Ring by H.B. Bolton

“Evan, an enormous flying fish swooped down and stole the Serpent’s Ring from your arm. We are in a Model T with an imp, and the sky is tangerine with rainbow-colored clouds. Humor me, and try to move this blasted car with your mind!” said Claire, grabbing Evan’s shirt collar. “If you don’t, I will make your life miserable. Got it?”


Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum…that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, Land of the Ancient Gods.

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by and enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse God of the Sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood  all the lands on Earth.

Let me start by mentioning this is a middle grade (ages 8 to 12) book. That being noted, even though I happen to have a middle grade reader running around my house, I don’t read any of his books. With the exception of the Harry Potter series (which ends being more YA) I don’t think I’ve read a middle grade book in thirty years. And even then, I didn’t read fantasy (yes, I was the freaky book lover who hated A Wrinkle in Time—you may hurl virtual books at me now).

All that said, I enjoyed reading
The Serpent’s Ring. It was a quick and easy read (obviously, as I’m not the target market) full of action, adventure, and some cool mythology.

The story moves quickly. Once fourteen-year-old Evan stumbles upon a strange critter hiding under the eves of Dr. Irvings residence in the historic Greenfield Village, things are never the same. He found the Serpent’s Ring, a key that can be used to unlock Jormundang, the sea serpent who holds the world in his balance. He and his older sister, Claire, fly in a Model T with an imp to the magical world of Sagaas on a quest to save the world.

The story mostly follows the classic hero’s tale format:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

While many stories deal with Greek and Roman mythology, Bolton takes us to a world where Norse gods and goddesses rule. Honestly, most of my Norse knowledge comes from  the Avengers and Thor movies. It was intriguing to learn about the sea goddesses Ran, who rips sailors from the sea with her magic net, and watch Claire develop crush on Sigurd, the legendary hero.

Both teens discover they have magical powers: Evan can make things fly with his power of telekinesis and Claire learns to shape ordinary objects into whatever she desires via transfiguration. Every kid wants to create glass ships and fly, right?  The relationship between the siblings was fun to read and reminded me of
The Magic Treehouse‘s Jack and Annie—only a couple of years older.

The Serpent’s Ring should be a fun read for 8 to 12-year-olds. While many girls may enjoy the tales of dragons, mermaids, trolls, and angry sea gods, I think those characters will attract boys more. I can’t wait to pass this along to my little reader. He’s been dying to get his hands on it since he spied the gorgeous cover.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the Relics of Mysticus series, The Trixter’s Totem.

The Serpent’s Ring (Relics of Mysticus, #1)
by H.B. Bolton
{ebook currently on sale for $2.99 or FREE to Amazon Prime members}

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H.B. Bolton also writes women’s fiction under the name Barbara Brook. (Read my review of her novel Glimmers here.)

**I received a copy of this book from the author, whom I am pleased to say I know IRL. 



One thought on “Review: The Serpent’s Ring by H.B. Bolton

  1. H.B. Bolton

    Love the review. Thanks so much for not only reading The Serpent's Ring, but for writing about it on your fabulous blog. I'll make sure to send you a copy of The Trickster's Totem as soon as it's finished 🙂


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