Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson | Book Review

Pages: 352

Genre: young adult fantasy, norse mythology

Synopsis

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.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: three stars

I picked this book up because it was set in Norway (my country) and, most importantly, it dealt with norse mythology, as the Valkyrie is female creatures that choose which warriors die or live in battle.

The way I found some of the plot-structure lacking reminded me of fairytale retellings that bases themselves too much about pointing out characters the reader knows and letting what you know or don’t know about these write most of their character, instead of actually setting the feeling and motives themself. Which meant that I thought a lot of the norse mythology parts were missing in this book, strange for a book that’s supposedly all about the valkyrie. None of the gods have motives, or a personality that fit with their norse mythology stories. They don’t act the way they do in the ‘historical’ stories. Which is okay if that’s an obvious choice made in the book, but it didn’t seem to be. The main character even pointed to history when trying to learn about them. It was more about trying to fit these gods into the ‘bad guy’, ‘helper’ and ‘savior’ roles already made, which hurt my head a bit.

It’s a good coming-of-age story, but pretty basic except for the god-stuff. Falling in love with your brother’s friend is a well-used, great plotline. But trying to write something epic and a YA story in 350 pages, without using any space in the beginning to flesh out the characters, it was bound to have faults.

The ending was impressive in comparison to the rest, but overall it didn’t pull itself together enough for me. The norwegian setting parts of this book were more on-point, which I appreciated, it’s obvious the author has some familiarity.

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