Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Valkyrie Rising (Valkyrie, #1)

Valkyrie Rising (Valkyrie, #1)Author: Ingrid Paulson
Series: Valkyrie, #1
Published: October 9th 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Hardcover, 352 pages
Buy: The Book Depository

I am ashamed to admit how little I know of Norse mythology, but really, what measly knowledge I have comes mostly from Kevin Hearne and his Iron Druid Chronicles. I used to resent Hearne for that teacher mode he tends to slip into in the middle of an action scene, but his never-ending lectures proved to be useful after all. And people say reading urban fantasy is a waste of time. But I digress…

I really didn’t think I’d enjoy Valkyrie Rising as much as I did. It took me completely by surprise. I only realized how much fun I was having when I looked up and saw that five hours had passed since I started reading. The plot is admittedly pretty formulaic, but there were a few things that made Valkyrie Rising stand out. First among them is the quality of Paulson’s writing. While I wouldn’t exactly call it beautiful, it’s pretty clear that Paulson writes with great ease. Her prose flows smoothly and the story itself is relatively fast-paced. Believe me, the Valkyries will barely give you time to breathe.

The romance was incredibly sweet and it certainly kept me on my toes, but I was a bit unhappy with the love interest. Tucker – Graham and Ellie’s best friend and Ellie’s secret crush – was undeniably charming, and yet, sometimes a boy, even a fictional one, can be a bit too perfect. Everything about him was in its place: he was adorable when he needed to be, unflinchingly loyal, sweet, patient, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, smart and extremely brave. But although I enjoy reading about a swoon-worthy boy as much as the next girl, I need him to have at least one defining characteristic, something that sets him apart and makes him unforgettable. I’m pretty sure I’ll forget all about Tucker the second I stop writing this review.

Ellie, on the other hand, won’t be so easy to forget. Her character is built on a clich√© or ten, sure, but Paulson did with her what she absolutely failed to do with Tuck – she gave her just enough quirks to make her memorable. Aside from that, we get to witness some serious personal growth, and a few moments of weakness I found very endearing. The most interesting part for me was Ellie’s relationship with her brother Graham. Even though Graham’s overprotectiveness was just a tiny bit exaggerated, it served as a motivator for
Ellie’s growth and her fight for independence. A Valkyrie shouldn’t be bossed around by her older brother, should she?

I glanced down at the image of my grandmother in all her Valkyrie glory. I wished with all my might that she’d appear right then and save the day. But she didn’t. For the first time in my life, there was no one there to fix things but me.

Should you read Valkyrie Rising? Definitely! It’s well-written, fun and very romantic. Plus, there are Norse gods, angry Norwegian people, Valkyrie, Valkyrie hunters and swords. What’s not to like?!


  1. Oh this sounds utterly fantastic Maja, I've been scoping out of my vanilla reads a lot lately and really enjoying it, so I definitely think I should try this book out too! The romance sounds super sweet, but I agree the guy does need to have defining characteristic to make him stand out more, despite this issue you had I'm so happy that you enjoyed this book, it's sounds like this book has a lot of wonderful things to offer. I haven't been on a book splurge recently so think I will have to add this to my amazon basket! :)

  2. I really like the summary of this book, very different from other mythologies. I'm also glad that the lead character is unforgettable. I want to read this book after reading your review. Despite the 3 1/2 rating, i'll give this book a shot. Thanks for the cool review, Maja.


  3. I love it when a book can make you forget about the time :) The flowing writing-style sounds good. I like mythology, but I don't know a lot about Norse mythology either. Perhaps that's why I want to read this book. I don't like the whole too-perfect-boy, but Ellie sounds much better. Thanks, I will check it out.


  4. I don't know anything about Norse mythology either, so I guess if I read this it would be an education, mixed in with some fun. I'm all about that. Too bad the characters were not that memorable for you, Maja, but is sounds like the whole package sort of made up for it. Another brilliant and completely helpful review, my dear! :)

  5. I have to admit, I did not see much about this one other than the reviews that either gushed or said it fell flat. But I think your review is pushing me in the direction of actually picking up a copy and giving it a try. I LOVE Norse mythology and this seems so up my alley. Thanks for the great review!

    --Megan @ Book Brats

  6. All the mythology books I've read thus far have been...well, less than enjoyable experiences for me. However, those were all books based on Greek mythology, so hopefully I'd find Valkyrie Rising more to my taste. Plus, Urban fantasy is a much more likable context to put mythology into, I find, as opposed to some kind of swoony PNR type deal. (It is nice to hear that the romance was good, though, as well.)

  7. This sounds so good. I hadn't heard of this book before but the story is quite interesting!

  8. I've been really hesitant to read this....but maybe like you it will surprise me! I love romances too but I really like the boy to be just a little unforgettable and....bad, yet sweet! Nice review!


  9. I'm so torn about picking this one up! I was initially very excited for it, but I can't see myself being stunned by anything, especially since I'm so well-versed in Norse mythology (wrote a paper about it two years ago - SO interesting!) and perfect characters are always a major let-down. I feel like most of the reviews have either loved this one or hated it, so your balanced review has definitely helped. I'll wait to see what you have to say about the sequel before I pick this one up, I think. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

  10. I've heard of this book quite a few times now but never actually got the chance to read it. I'm really interested in the Norse mythology aspect of the book so hopefully I can read it soon. AND YAY to Urban Fantasy!

    Awesome review, Maja ♥ Glad you enjoyed it!

  11. This one sounds really fabulous! At least you know what Norse Mythology is, I hadn't even heard of it until I heard about Valkyrie Rising, LOL! I'm glad that Paulson's writing is smooth and flowy, at least that makes it really easy to get through the book! Too bad Tucker wasn't too memorable, but I'm happy to hear that the main character was! I'll definitely be checking this one out, thanks for the lovely review, Maja!

  12. The way you describe Tucker is something I'm all too familiar with when it comes to love interests. I'd much rather have a flawed, but likeable character than a too-perfect-to-be-real character. The latter type rarely stands out. Like yourself, my knowledge on Norse mythology is limited but I am eager to find out more. This sounds like a fun read despite the few setbacks. Brilliant review as always, Maja! :)

  13. I gave it 3 stars too! I actually liked Tucker because he wasn't annoying (yes I KNOW it's pathetic!)

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  14. Yay! I'm glad to see this one has your stamp of approval, even will the all too perfect Tucker (yes, that'll bother me as well--or at least be forgettable). I'm a huge lover of Norse mythology (my family is Norwegian), so I was half excited half quite nervous about this one. I've been so happy to read nothing but good reviews! I will certainly be checking this one out, because, as you said, what's not to like?

  15. I loved Tucker and thought he was really sweet but he is forgettable. Not my favorite love interest ever. I actually thought it was annoying that he wouldn't stand up to Ellie's brother and admit he had feelings for Ellie. The Norse mythology was interesting but I didn't find the plot to have enough action. Enjoyable but not memorable was the entire book for me.

  16. Another book I'd never heard of until you. I don't know much about Norse mythology either and you definitely know more than me, considering I've only read half of the first Hearne book and can only name Thor as someone from Norse mythology. Failure. This does sound like lots of fun, despite being a bit formulaic.

  17. I don't know about Norse mythology at all, except for the major gods and what not that I learned from Hearne's series so that's what first drew me in. Though it sounds formulaic, I'm curious to read it and hopefully, it'll help me get out of my reading slump. I can't seem to get into any book lately. :(


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