Runemarks by Joanne Harris
As soon as I found out that this book existed I wanted to read it, but I didn't have any idea of what to expect. If you are familiar with Joanne Harris' more famous Chocolat then this is completely different.
Because it contains magic and the Norse gods you might expect to find it on the children's or young adult shelves but at the same time it is a complex, bloody, and treacherous tale. Joanne Harris herself says that it is a book for whoever wants to read it, and I agree.
Divided into nine 'books' to match the nine worlds it begins in a world very much like our's with one important difference. Whilst our world has been directed by the might and beliefs of the Roman empire, this one has been affected by the Vikings and the Norse religion. Particularly in the earlier stages of the book I was reminded strongly of Alan Garner's books early in his career, before he went weird.
It's a complex book with lots of ideas and a sprawling cast of characters that range from the Folk – people like you and I – to the Order, and of course the gods. Now I just want to go on and devour up it's sequel, Runelight.