By: Ingrid Paulson
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy, Paranormal, Norse Mythology
I discovered how much I loved novels using Norse mythology when I fell in love with Wendy Delsol's Stork trilogy. I was so excited to see this title pop up on Goodreads awhile back and I knew I had to give it a try. This book is absolutely fabulous and one of my 2012 favorites. I loved every single moment.
Ingrid Paulson's debut novel delivers a powerful punch of action, romance, and Norse goodness. Readers are transported to a small scenic fishing village in gorgeous Norway. The descriptions of the setting seemed to leap off the page and swirl about in my mind, creating vivid images. For example, Ellie, the main character says, "White-capped mountain peaks in the distance dwarfed the nearby hills - it still amazed me that there was so much snow in the summer. But Norway is home to glaciers and everlasting winter" (pg. 91). I love books that are so descriptive that reading them feels like taking a vacation. Visiting Norway is certainly on my bucket list. This novel taught me a few things about the country as well as filled my brain with plenty of Norse myths.
The plot of this one is deliciously dark and addicting. I had trouble putting this one down. It only takes a few chapters for the action to kick in and it doesn't let up until the final chapter. I also found Paulson's take on Valkyries to be intriguing. I was most compelled by watching them struggle between the lightness and darkness that battles for their souls. Odin and Loki also make appearances throughout this one. While this could certainly function as a stand-alone, I'm hoping it's going to be a series. I want more of Ellie, Tuck, and Graham.
Another element I really enjoyed is the romance. I found it to be sweet and realistic. It also was nice to not have a love triangle for once. Furthermore, I appreciated that it didn't detract from the flow of the plot.
The characters in Valkyrie Rising are one of the strongest elements of this book. I love that the female characters are all portrayed as the strong ones. There are no damsels in distress littering this text. The male characters in this one also appealed to me because how can you not like giant, attractive Norwegians? In all seriousness, the male characters were fascinating - looks aside. I was most intrigued by Tuck and Graham. I loved watching their relationships with Ellie evolve throughout the course of the novel. There is also some delicious tension and drama between Ellie and Tuck. I loved their banter. The sibling relationship between Ellie and Graham was also a highlight for me. As the oldest of three, I related to Graham's decisions more than Ellie's at times, but I have always been fascinated by watching that type of relationship unfold.
This novel ended far too soon for my liking. This is a world I loved living in for a few days and I would be all too eager to spend more time there. This is one of those "stay up until the wee hours reading because you don't want to put the book down" novels. It's that good. Paulson's debut novel has me captivated and craving more. If you're a fan of Norse Mythology, paranormal romance, or just enjoy a good adventure - come October - you'll want this one in your hands.
One Last Gripe: I honestly can't think of one. I loved it that much.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The Norse Mythology
First Sentence: Half the school came to Graham's eighteenth birthday party.
Favorite Character: Ellie
Least Favorite Character: Loki
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.