Review + Giveaway: Valkyrie Rising Blog Tour

I received this book for free from Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review + Giveaway: Valkyrie Rising Blog TourValkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
Published by HarperTeen on October 9, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour

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.

First Sentence: “Half the school came to Graham’s eighteenth birthday party.”

Sometimes, it kind of seems like authors have purchased dictionaries of mythological and paranormal creatures, flipping through and arbitrarily choosing one to write about, because they know it will make them money. Actually, that’s what my friend suggested when I tried to explain the plot of Valkyrie Rising to her. I’ll admit that she does have a point, but, hey, I prefer some well-done variation to consistent repetition of vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.

NGL, I hardly know anything about Norse mythology. My childhood mythology obsession only stretched as far as Greek and Roman, so do not expect this review to critique the accuracy of Paulson’s take on Odin and Valkyries. I can’t tell you that. What I can tell you is that this book was just so fun, and that I loved the Valkyries. I mean, who doesn’t love a group of hot girls who can destroy anyone with their physical prowess and mind powers? Sure, some of them are a little bit evil, but they’re still really interesting, which is clearly the most important thing.

I completely loved the first half of this novel, before the paranormal elements really entered the scene, not that I didn’t like those but they weren’t my favorite part. What I loved was the dynamic between Ellie and Tuck. They have this snarky back-and-forth banter, a mutual loathing/attraction, that I find incredibly compelling. Basically, they remind me a whole lot of Benedick and Beatrice (couple name: Beatrick) from Much Ado About Nothing. Given that they are perhaps my OTP, that’s seriously high praise from me. The best moments are when Ellie and Tuck really get the insults flying thick and fast.

Ellie comes across as a real teenage girl to me, awkward and rebellious and lonely and without an accurate sense of herself. Graham, Ellie’s perfect older brother, basically runs her life, keeping guys from dating her, because of an uncomfortable instance one time, and making sure she sticks to curfew. Ellie resents this, but cannot find the will to act out, because she basically hero-worships Graham. Their relationship reminded me a lot of Lugh and Saba in Blood Red Road, especially in the later discovery that the younger sister turns out to be much stronger.

I bonded with Ellie almost immediately, alone at a party, unsure whether to join or to hide. She feels uncomfortable in her own skin and no longer knows if she’s a social pariah because of herself or her brother. When she goes to stay with her grandmother in Norway, she arrives before her brother and Tuck. She meets a really hot guy, cuter even than Tuck and older too, Kjell, and he asks her out. She agrees to go in a fit of rebellion. Though he’s gorgeous, she does not trust him one bit, and has little to no interest in him. This made me want to fistbump Ingrid Paulson for letting a heroine care more about personality than looks.

I will say, though, that aside from Tuck and Ellie who I loved, the rest of the characters did not seem particularly well-developed. I really don’t have a sense of any of them as people, even Graham, which might be part of why I dislike him so much. This dovetails with my other complaint: this should be a series. The story does wrap up, but it’s open-ended. So far as I know, a sequel isn’t in the works, but it should be, and then we could see the other characters grow more.

Valkyrie Rising is just a heck of a lot of fun, with the added bonus of a unique setting in small town Norway. I loved reading it and will be keeping an eye on Paulson’s career from here on out.

Favorite Quote:

“‘I didn’t pick this fight, gentlemen. The first move is yours,’ Grandmother growled. ‘And the final one, I assure you, will be mine.'”

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21 responses to “Review + Giveaway: Valkyrie Rising Blog Tour”

  1. Katie says:

    Great review! I have heard some pretty good things about this one and I think I’m going to have to check it out. I love the sounds of Ellie and Tuck’s banter and you aren’t the first to mention that it’s the best part of the book. =)

  2. Christina K. says:

    I’d love to go to Austria!

    Thank you:)

  3. Lisa Cox says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Spain.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Had to include the European country I’d visit 🙂

    I’d actually go to a few if I could. Spain and Germany for sure. France maybe. A European tour!

    I actually did look through an encyclopedia of mythology and wondered why valkyries hadn’t been done (before this one was announced)! I’ve been curious about this one since coming across early mentions of it, though. Valkyries are definitely a cool topic. I love that it’s set in Norway as well.

  6. Shane says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for participating!

  7. Lacey T says:

    I’d love to go to France or Italy!

  8. Shelver506 says:

    Either Italy (I’ve never been) or Germany (I loved it there).

  9. Kayla Beck says:

    I want to go to Belgium! I will eat chocolate and drink beer until I puke. 😀

    I was supposed to go for my milestone birthday next year (25 again!), but I think Mister and I are taking Bug to Disney. *pouts*

  10. KM says:

    It’s not a series?! How lame! I’ve had this one for months but still haven’t read it. I really need to! I’m glad to hear its so good, I love Norse mythology!!! 🙂

  11. TayteH says:

    I’d love to go to Italy. 😀

  12. I’d go everywhere! But if I had to pick one, I’d pick Ireland.

  13. Shizzzz, I totally love the sound of this, and OMG a girl who wants more than just a hot body? I LOVE THAT IN A MAIN CHARACTER.

    Plus Valkyries sound utterly bad ass.

    I am psyched you liked this one a lot. PSYCHED.

    • Christina says:

      I was so glad she could see a pretty boy and not become ensnarled in a love triangle of OMG I CAN’T CHOOSE.

      They are SO bad ass.

      I think you will probably enjoy too! I hope so!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Spain or France deffinetly! There or I’d go any other place great like that.

  15. Angie says:

    I would visit London because I like boring stuff.

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