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.
Published October 9th 2012.
I walked into this book having not the slightest inkling of what a Valkyrie was. And I walked out knowing not much better. But, strangely enough, I was contented because Ingrid Paulson sure can write novels that blow your mind away.
When Ellie heads to Norway to visit her grandmother, the town that greets her is filled with hostility. There are rumours in the air about Ellie's grandmother and a gradually permeating fear about a group of mesmerizing but powerful girls-- the Valkyrie. So on a journey to rescue her brother amongst the other boys that get kidnapped by these girls, Ellie discovers that there's more to her grandmother than she can ever imagine. To trace back her heritage, she must pit herself against the Valkyrie. But, ultimately, they are all just pawns in the game of wits and war between two ancient Norse gods-- Odin and Loki.
And indeed, Norse mythology was what that set this novel apart from the others. Artfully weaved into our modern times, Ingrid Paulson gives a whole new meaning to the word, 'Valkyrie', by adapting old legends and mythical creatures into our everyday lives, with the skill of Rick Riordan.
PAST. "Back in the time of the Vikings, soldiers were encouraged to embrace death without fear and according to their religion, according to what is now considered myth, Valkyries were beautiful women who hovered around battlefields, and when brave fighters were killed, they took their souls to Valhalla-- a fortress ruled by Odin, god of death and war and knowledge... These soldiers... They became part of Odin's army."
PRESENT. The Valkyries are flawlessly beautiful, that's a given, but their ways have changed with time. Handling guns, wearing leather boots and strutting into night clubs are now their routine. Yet, at the same time, the old ways have remained the same. They still retain their heightened senses and strength, and as Ellie begins to uncover her true identity, her journey into the new world of Norse mythology in current-day Norway is thrilling. Personally, for me, it is the realistic way that the Valkyries are portrayed in this tale that makes me fall for it. The whole story seems so raw and genuine that I could honestly believe that it can happen to me in the next heartbeat. (Not that I have any relatives from Norway, but still.) The old magic still lives on, but Ingrid Paulson gives it a whole new dimension, completely integrating it into our world today.
Frankly speaking, pulling off a successful modern-day myth is no easy feat. In ancient legends, there are always unexpected twists which take us by surprise. Similarly, in Valkyrie Rising, there are stunning plot twists that keep me constantly on my toes. They will make you race through the whole book, dealing out new secrets every once in a while, and nothing ever remains quite the same.
Fortunately for us, there is still a romance that is worth gushing about. Tucker, I swear, is one of the wittiest guys I have every met. He becomes a highlight of this novel, standing out even amongst fantastic action sequences and ominous scenes. You will love him, I promise.
This is just the book for the hordes of mythology-romance fans to sink their teeth into. And I promise you again, it will dazzle your taste buds.
Source: ARC for review purposes as part of blog tour.
Ingrid Paulson lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter and enjoys long-distance running, eavesdropping, and watching science documentaries. She has always loved books and writing short stories, but was surprised one day to discover the story she was working on wasn't so short any more. VALKYRIE RISING is Ingrid's first novel.
Ingrid's grandmother might actually be a Valkyrie; she's still waiting for her to come clean.
Ingrid has gladly offered a prequel to VALKYRIE RISING, titled VALKYRIE SYMPTOMS. This story is told by the amazing Tucker, one day prior to the events that take place in the novel. Get a taste of what I fell in love with ;)
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Hi I'm Sel - connoisseur of love stories, romantic and lover of green tea, weird music and words that can make me cry.
I'm 16 and dreaming big.
Life can be stunning when you choose to live it that way :-)
I am in no way monetarily compensated or bribed for any word on this site. All books reviewed were either bought with money (from my own pocket) or provided as a review copy from publishers. Consequentially, all criticisms or praises were written in accordance to the material's perceived merit. Each review has a source which states where I obtained it from.