Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Publication Date: October 9th, 2012
Harper Teen
Format: Hardcover, 345 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
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.

There is a Norse legend about a god who made soldiers out of the dead. Odin and his minion – the brave and the strong Valkyries aided the god in guiding the dead to his kingdom. This novel, however, tells the story of a power hungry god who collects living soldiers instead of the dead.

Ellie’s looking forward to a summer holiday in Norway; away from the hustle of L.A. and away from Tuck – her brother’s best friend who stirs a gamut of emotions that she’s sometimes too afraid to entertain. But luck and fate are definitely not on her side when she finds out that he’s to stay with them for a couple of weeks.

Norway used to be so friendly. What ever happened to the nice people who used to drill her about the celebrities in Hollywood? What ever happened to the nice, warm reception that she used to get from everyone? There’s something amiss in the little town as she dodges insults, whispers and threats lest she leaves the country. She soon finds out the cause of their contempt by witnessing a kidnapping in plain sight. Her grandmother disappears without a trace and Ellie’s brother, Graham was taken right under her nose. Kickassery ensues. She needs to embrace her true nature if she wants to save the people she loves and those who’d been kidnapped. This is the stuff legends are made of and it’s up to Ellie to answer to the call.

Loooooove. That is all.

How could I not? Kick ass, Xena-like women, mythology and romance. Ingrid Paulson hit all the right notes in this novel, creating her version by simplifying a Norse myth that an uneducated reader like me could appreciate. The romance was torture in the most pleasurable way possible: slightly forbidden, ocassionally awkward and plenty sweet. You only need to read the prequel to this book (Valkyrie Symptoms) to love all the ways that Tuck could reduce you into a puddle of goo.

There were plenty of actions and frustrating secrets, leading to a suspenseful, wholesome read. While there wasn’t anything cliff-hangerish (that’s not a word, I know) about the ending, the wait for the next one will be just as tortorous. Ellie’s just come into her power and abilities and the sisterhood of the Valkyries was barely glanced over. I’m not only looking forward to Tuck and Ellie’s budding romance, I’m also looking forward to how these warriors would defeat a god. There is also an ominous mystery surrounding Loki that definitely sets the tone for the next book.

Overall, this book has become one of my favorite Mythology retelling so far, regardless of whether or not I’m abreast of the original one. Action packed, sweet romance, kick ass character, what else could you possibly want? Valkyrie Rising is a lovely introduction to a series that’s original in the cacophony of YA paranormals we read nowadays. Do yourself a favor, don’t miss out on this one.

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