Author: Ingrid Paulson
Series: n/a or unknown at this time (which means I anticipate a sequel, but nothing's official yet :D)
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Source: galley from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
I am so unbelievably ashamed of myself for putting this book off for so long. I daresay I had the galley in my possession for a few months before I even cracked it open. And then I remembered the allure of that cover, and the pull of Norse mythology reminded me why I wanted to read the book in the first place. I love mythology, any kind and of any origin, in all of its various permutations over the years and through various retellings. Can't get enough of the stuff. And the fact that I knew next to nothing about Norse mythology intrigued me beyond belief. Again, why didn't I read this novel sooner???
I've heard the term valkyrie before, but in case you weren't aware, a valkyrie is "each of Odin's twelve handmaidens who conducted the slain warriors of their choice from the battlefield to Valhalla". You don't need to know that going into this story because the author does such a splendid job of explaining the mythology in the book -- without going overboard with the details, I might add -- that you'll pick it up fairly quickly. But it always helps to be prepared...just ask Elsa. ;0)
I don't normally say this, but I would totally like to see this book made into a movie. Norway as the backdrop for all of the action would be gorgeous. And I've already got the head Valkyrie cast....as well as many of the other characters. But Astrid was the first one I had pegged down. I'm serious people...I'm never able to cast a book, but these characters are so clearly defined, even as they waver in their beliefs, that I knew exactly who should play the parts. Scary.
That synopsis might make it sound like the romance is first and foremost in this book, but let me tell you, Valkyrie Rising is equal parts action, danger, romance and myth. No one aspect stands out more to me than the others. And I loved every bit of it...from Elsa finding out who (and what) she was to her taking on her nemesis even when she was likely to be defeated to the swoonage between Elsa and Tuck, the ever-persuasive boy-next-door. Yes, it's safe to say that this story far exceeded my expectations.
I laughed out loud, I whooped in celebration, and I stared in open-mouth shock at times. This novel brings it. There's family drama. There's boy drama. There's really-beautiful-girls-who-want-to-destroy-the-world-on-Odin's-behalf drama. And it gets intense at times. If I had to compare it to any of my recent reads, I'd have to go with Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races, due to the mystical mythology, the will-they-or-won't-they aspect, and just the way that the setting is like another character in the story. There's also a touch of humor in both stories that just feels so authentic, so true to the characters. You don't have to enjoy mythological tales to appreciate this story...it's simply the kind of book that will speak to your sense of adventure and make you wish that your grandmother had passed down some extraordinary genes to you.
"Last name too? Bad sign. But here goes." He leaned closer, knowing full well how destabilizing his proximity could be. Before I could help it, I was batting my eyelashes right back at him. A reflex as involuntary as the knee-jerk test at the doctor's office.
"He laughed. It was a noteworthy event--his teeth were so straight it wouldn't have surprised me if he said he'd had braces twice. But his smile was crooked. It was the best possible combination."
"We should call the police," Tuck said.
"And tell them what, exactly," I said. "That we think Valkyries kidnapped my brother? And attacked my grandmother? Maybe we should interrogate all the other fictional creatures, starting with the Easter Bunny?" I knew I wasn't being helpful, but my frustration was screaming for an out.
"Leave the Easter Bunny out of it," Tuck murmured. "I know that dude has an alibi."
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