Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.
What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.
Valkyrie Rising has been on my radar since it was first released over a year ago. Because of my love for mythology retellings – or books involving mythology – I knew I had to read it. However, Norse mythology isn’t something I’m very familiar with, aside from some general basics, so I didn’t have a lot of background to go on or preconceived notions the book had to live up to. This probably was a good thing, because I very much enjoyed watching the mythology unfold, and not having any ideas going in really helped me have a lot of fun with the story.
It was a grave tactical error that Astrid had been so focused on collecting boys, when the girls in this town were more than twice as worthy.
One thing this book has in abundance is awesome, amazing, kick-ass girls. So if you’re a fan of strong female characters, I would definitely recommend picking this one up. Ellie, our main character, finds out she’s descended from the mythical Valkyries, and has all kinds of amazing powers, prowess and abilities that make her physically strong. But she also has a strength of character that’s equally as commendable, particularly her determination to save her brother and rescue the other boys who have been taken by Astrid and her crew. I also loved her grandmother, who lives apart from the rest of her town because of their superstitions and unwillingness to trust her because she’s different. Both Hilda and Ellie are wonderfully drawn characters, and I loved the way the mythology was weaved into their stories to fully flesh them out and make them relatable to the reader.
I also loved the look at Loki, even if I didn’t love him himself. Talk about a conflicting character! As the god of tricksters, he certainly had a hand in a lot of what went down and attempted to manipulate anyone and everyone to suit his purposes. I also found it interesting that he could alter his appearance – I suppose it wasn’t something that was “surprising” necessarily, since it makes sense that gods and goddesses would change their appearance to mesh with their surroundings – but he was very sneaky in whose face he took on, aiming for the biggest emotional manipulation. I definitely didn’t like him, although I would most certainly call him intriguing.
The only thing I wasn’t completely enamored with was the constant tension and back and forth between Ellie and Tuck. While I like a little build up and tension in my stories, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I really felt like their “relationship” really drug on too long, and while I’m thankful this wasn’t a typical case of instalove, I seriously just wanted them to get over themselves and admit their feelings. They don’t even kiss until 73% of the book has gone by! Also, Tuck’s smirk and arrogance was at times a little off-putting, especially when it was coupled with what Ellie knows about his past history with other girls. Don’t get me wrong – Tuck is certainly swoon worthy – but again, the whole too much of a good thing came into play with him as well. I was just really happy when they finally brought their feelings out into the open.
All in all, Valkyrie Rising is a fun, entertaining read that incorporates a unique mythology in an interesting way. Featuring a cast of strong female characters, fun banter between love interests, and tons and tons of action, I think this book definitely has a little bit of something for everyone. For an extra dose of fun, make sure you check out Valkyrie Symptoms, a prequel of sorts that’s told from Tuck’s point of view and nicely lays out his feelings for Ellie and why he takes so long to make a move on her. While it didn’t solve all my issues with the buildup, it at least helped me appreciate the whys and hows a little bit more.