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.
My thoughts on the book:
Valkyrie Rising is a sweet and fun romance with a mythological twist. Paulson expands on Norse mythology, which is a refreshing change from the typical Greek mythology fare. The characters are well-developed, the plot is intriguing, and the romance is sweet. This is a terrific light read, and I can't wait for the sequel.
Paulson is one of few YA authors who experiments with Norse mythology. I know that Estep plays around with all mythologies, Norse included, but Paulson focuses only on the Norse stories. The result is a group of valkyries who are in the middle of a war between gods. In this novel, I got to know Loki differently (I only knew of him as the ultimate bad guy in the Mythos Academy series), and Odin, who is in charge of the valkyries, was also a prevalent force throughout the book. Paulson didn't explain enough about the mythology, in my opinion, but I still understood what was going on. I would have liked more world-building, though.
More than anything, Valkyrie Rising is a bildungsroman (coming of age story), and Ellie embodies this. Yes, she is a bit bratty at times, and she also struggles to assert herself, but to me that just made the story more realistic. Everyone grapples with these issues. No one knows how to be strong without being bratty at first. It's something that we learn as we go, and I think that Paulson did an excellent job of showing that. Ellie really grows into her own, but she's not finished yet. I can't wait to see how she changes in the next book.
The secondary characters were all realistic and likable, though I would have liked to have gotten to know more about them. I really loved Tuck, and I'm glad I got to see so much of him. I would have liked more interaction with Graham, Grandmother, and Kjell, though. Maybe in the next novel. Tuck is an interesting character, and I hope to learn even more about him in the sequel.
The plot was intriguing and unique. Most of the book took place in Norway, and since I have always wanted to visit Norway, I loved that. The story was a bit mysterious, though I figured out what was going on pretty quickly. The plot was suspenseful, though. I really didn't know what would happen next for most of the book. Also, Tuck spiced things up. Not only was there no insta-love because Tuck and Ellie had known each other forever, but he was also a shifty guy. He seemed sort of like a trickster figure, and I liked that. He really kept me on my toes throughout the whole book. The ending tied up all of the problems in this story nicely, but left room for a sequel. No cliffhangers, thankfully.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes light paranormal romance stories. It's a fun book, and I love Paulson's take on Norse mythology.
Order Valkyrie Rising!