Saturday, October 13, 2012

ARC Review: Valkyrie Rising

Title:  Valkyrie Rising
Author:  Ingrid Paulson
Pages:  352
Genre:  Young Adult Mythology
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Obtained:  Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tour
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Summary:  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.

The Dish:  I was thrilled when I found out I was getting the chance to read Ingrid Paulson's debut, Valkyrie Rising, and Ms. Paulson did not fail to reel me into the story.  With Norse mythology not being used as much in contemporary literature, it was refreshing and exciting to see just what was in store.  While the figures of Odin and Loki do play a role in the book, it is the strength and bond of the warrior women known as Valkyries that is the main focus, especially regarding Ellie's journey.

Ellie took a bit of warming up to in the beginning of the story, mostly because I did feel sorry for her having to stand in the massive shadow of Graham, her older brother.  I don't have siblings, so I can't really relate to that idea, but it was good to see that Ellie was indeed wanting to get out of that overbearing shadow.  When she gets the chance to go out with an older boy while visiting her grandmother, Hilda, in Norway, I wasn't surprised when she just went for it.  Then again, that might have also been the rebellious part of her rearing itself that she is strong enough to take care of herself without the need of Graham.

Following the incidents of young men being taken by the Valkyries, Ellie showed remarkable growth and strength, especially after Hilda revealed the truth behind her background.  While Ellie also showed the rashness of youth, she also was able to overcome that with the help of both trust in her grandmother and from her brother's best friend, Tuck.  I have to admit, Tucker was a bit of an enigma for me, and I could totally understand why Ellie would be confused by his erratic behavior.  When one is teased and on the bring of being bullied and then shown gentle attention, it's easy to get mixed signals.  Luckily, Ellie could handle herself in any given situation.

I really enjoyed reading Valkyrie Rising though the pace was a bit on the slow side within the first few chapters.  It did pick up once Ellie was in Norway and definitely following the kidnappings.  I think readers who enjoy mythology or just kick-butt heroines would enjoy Ms. Paulson's take on the Valkyrie myth.  This is one I'll definitely want to get for my library.


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