Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

 Review: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
 Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

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 that something powerful and ancient will awaken in her and that strange whispers will urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, suddenly there's 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.

Valkyrie Rising was so totally enjoyable, I’m glad it swallowed my weekend whole. I wanted to travel to gorgeous Norway, which is so fully realized in the book, and dive into a world full of salty sea villages, sod roofs, and epic mythology. I happen to be a mythology fiend, though I don’t know much about Norse myths. But because of Valkyrie Rising, I’ll definitely take a more active interest in them.

It was refreshing to read a book set in Norway, a place not often visited by YA protagonists. Ellie’s a city girl totally dominated by her perfect, overly-protective, but ultimately well-meaning older brother Graham. She has a love/hate relationship with the utterly wonderful Tuck Halloway, Graham’s best friend, that looks like it could turn into something more. She’s already got problems. The last thing she needs is a whole bunch of Valkyries stirring sh*t up.

Ellie is a great protagonist. She’s strong and fierce and it was wonderful to read about her coming into her Valkyrie own. I figured things out way before she did, but that didn’t ruin the read for me. The plot doesn’t invent the wheel, but it’s got enough twists and turns and fun action scenes to keep the reader speeding right along. The mythology is awesome, and not too complex, which is great. But the best part is the Valkyries themselves.

This is such a girl power book. The Vals are tall, icily beautiful, and totally willing to crush you beneath their awesome fur-covered boots. You want to be one of them. They’re bad, but they’re so good, and it’s awesome.

Valkyries. Even their horses are awesome.

"No one has power over me unless I surrender it."

The girl power extends to Ellie and the human girl Margit. I adored their female-driven friendship, plus the ultra-fierce bond between Ellie and her tough as nails Grandmother.

But of course, the central relationships are between Ellie and her boys- Tuck and Graham. Ellie and Graham have some problems to work out. In some ways they’re the most important people in the world to each other, and it’s really lovely. I loved the path of their relationship.

And then there’s Tuck. Ah, Tuck. He could be my favorite love interest this year. That’s a tall order, but he’s delightful. His bickering with Ellie is fantastic, and I loved the way you never quite knew what he was thinking. He was magnetic and oh-so-hot. I didn’t particularly love the twist surrounding him– it felt awfully convenient, and I didn’t like the way it was uncovered– but it led to a kickass hero moment for kickass Ellie, so I didn’t mind so much.

If you love sexy, sarcastic, heart-of-gold guys, read this book. If you love girl power, or mythology, or sibling relationships, or foreign countries, read Valkyrie Rising. You won’t regret it.


  1. I read this book and I also loved it. Tuck is... mmm. So hot. And I am not a mythology love so much, but that's only beause it's always Greek and Roman! Loved the change to Norse. And the girl power is great. Loved reading that.

    1. I was in love with the female power, and you're right. It's a nice change from the ubiquitous Greek and Roman mythology.

      And yes. Tuck. Mmm. What a great love interest.

  2. I have not read this book but I think I will now. It sounds fun!

    1. Yes! Another one converted! I love exercising my power over readers of the world... not to be creepy about it or anything. But yes, do read it. Clearly, I recommend it.

  3. "If you love sexy, sarcastic, heart-of-gold guys, read this book. If you love girl power, or mythology, or sibling relationships, or foreign countries, read Valkyrie Rising."
    I love these things!!!

    But seriously, I was so glad to read all the positives you mentioned about this one! I've been thinking about reading it and I believe I am now on board! :)

  4. Ahhh! I love books like this! :)
    The best friend of the brother, or the brother of the best friend.
    I just can't get enough!
    Thanks for the review. :D

  5. I've been interested in this one for a while, as I'm a huge fan of mythology.Can't wait to read it. I'm especially excited for the girl power :D Thanks for the review!


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