By: Ingrid Paulson
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Source: ARC via Tour
Release date: Oct. 9th, 2012 from HarperTeen
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.
-Summary from Goodreads
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Quick, quick! Grab your reins and your deer--we've got an original mythological creature in La Ville de YA!
Okay--seriously though. Even as I didn't fully enjoy Valkyrie Rising, I have to admit that it's got some fantastic mythology and setting that we very rarely see in a market as crowded as YA. I can go on and on about why I think that is, but then this would not be a review but rather a rant of utter pointlessness, so let's just skip right to the good stuff, yeah?
The two biggest points Valkyrie Rising has going for it is its mythology and setting. But let's save the praises for last, because unfortunately, this book did not claim me an infatuated fangirl overall.
1) THE CHARACTERS--This is one of the biggest reasons why, though I thought the book was good, I didn't really like it. There's nothing wrong with these characters--in fact, they're very badass and easy to relate to.
Except I didn't relate to them.
Now this is probably just something personal, or maybe I'm really delusional, but I couldn't help but feel as if these characters felt a bit too... overused. Whenever they spoke or acted, even as I enjoyed their strategies and clear heads, they never spoke to me. The reason why is that they're kind of--at least, to me they are--your average YA characters. Nice girl with a oh-so-mysterious past. Boy-who-flirts-all-the-time-but-is-really-secretly-in-love-with-the-heroine. Brother-who-is-the-"better"-one-of-the-family-and-needs-to-learn-some-respect-for-personal-bubbles. Theses characters are perfectly fine. But they're not so brilliantly captivating when, say, you've read about their story quite the number of times. Also, I felt like there wasn't much substance beyond these perfectly acceptable facades. Though the characters are good, they are not three-dimensional.
2) THE PLOT--Though it was with valkyries instead of some other paranormal/mythological creature, I must say that the plot, too, felt to me very predictable. There aren't many plots under the sky, and I get that. But I really would have liked to see a *teeny tiny* bit more of unique twists to truly make Valkyrie Rising stand out among its many, many peers/competitors/fellas.
3) THE PRAISES--Finally! Even though the book was a mere okay to me due to the aforementioned points, please please please don't take that as a point to say that I didn't like it. I actually did. It just never captivated my attention the way I would have loved it to. (Sorry for all the italics. I don't know why, but I feel very italic-y today.) BUT! Like I said before: the new mythological interactions and setting really enhanced this book's quality to me. If you like YA and mythology, I think you'll enjoy this one.
Overall: Despite its overt plot and often-flat characters, Valkyrie Rising is, at the very least, a fresh take on something we see too much in the market, and, at the very best, quite the entertaining read.
Give this book a try! Who knows--you just might fancy it quite the bit more.
*P.S. FTC notice: I'm part of the affiliate program for Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop, but the commission money I earn goes toward YOU for future giveaways.