Guest Review: Valkyrie Rising (Valkyrie #1)

Blurb: 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.
Purchase: AmazonGoodReads

Book: Valkyrie Rising (Valkyrie #1) by Ingrid Paulson
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literature, Historical Fiction
Rating: HeartHeartHeart, a flick of the wrist and a meh!
Source + Date Read: ARC from Publisher + March 2013
Book Pro’s: Premise of Valkyries as mythical creatures, a couple interesting characters.
Book Con’s: Dull plot, language & style of writing; predictable storyline; clichéd writing & romance; little to no word-building; action: blah; characters: eh; very little use of the Norse mythology backdrop-disappointing! Blah.
On The Back: “Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s astonishingly epic coming-of-age”

Let me just say it wasn’t a bad book. You’re probably looking at my cons list with narrowed eyes and my 3 page turns and wondering if there is hope for this one. Perhaps.

As a mythology buff, I was very excited to take on the quest to read Valkyrie Rising. I got an ARC maybe a year and a half ago and it’s just been sitting on my shelf patiently waiting for me to give it the time of day. One morning before work, I just grabbed it up and proceeded to start reading.

Elsa and her brother visit their grandmother in Norway every summer and this year, things are a little weird and curious in the little fishing village her grandmother lives in. Boys are going missing, there are rumours of kidnappings and the townspeople are blaming it on legend and folklore.

Unabashedly, I will say I didn’t know a lot about Norse mythology before reading this book. Apart from Odin, Thor and Loki and some vague facts about the Nine Words, I realized that this realm is very unexplored in much of contemporary Young Adult fiction.

Valkyrie Rising stands out in that aspect. Very few YA books deviate from the ongoing triad of witches, vampires and werewolves. I was excited to see where the story would go. And honestly, it didn’t go as far as I would have liked.

This book was ‘okay’. It earns those 3 page turns for the engaging subject matter and a lot of untapped potential. The storyline was disappointing, mediocre and just overall very dull. How could anyone make Valkyries anything else but entertaining?!

Apart from Tuck, none of the characters seemed to hold some sway for me in connectivity. I like to get emotionally attached to my characters, root for them, crave them more and more as I turn the page and neither Tuck, Elsa nor Graham did that for me.

Ingrid Paulson has some great backdrop to work with for the 2nd book if she so chooses to play around with it.  If anything, a great story arc could evolve from this lackluster first book, but for now, this book was ‘meh’, ‘okay’ and all the other mediocre ‘isms’ one can think of.

I would recommend this for teen girls who like to read fantasy novels around Elsa’s age; they would be able to easily relate to her feelings of being an outsider and her insecurities about her place in the world.

Have you read any books with Valkyries or Norse mythology as the backdrop? Recommend some if you have ‘cause I’m craving some more!

Total Score:HeartHeartHeart



Sasha is a 20-something uni student living in Kingston, Jamaica. When she’s not finding books for people at the local bookstore where she works at, she’s usually indulging in a plethora of nerdy activities; one of her favourites is reading. She’s obsessed with owls, cats, jasmine tea, Cultural Studies, Latin American literature and Anthropology, just to name a few. 

After she finishes her first degree in Spanish and Cultural Studies, she intends on pursuing a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology. Adding to her numerous obsessions, she’s greatly interested in Japan, its people, the language and its culture and would love to live there one day.
Her favourite artist is Frida Kahlo.

About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, SFF. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Guest Review: Valkyrie Rising (Valkyrie #1)

  1. Kelley says:

    Darnit! I’m a lover of various mythologies, and Norse has long been one of my favorites. I was hoping this one would deliver, but it sounds like it didn’t. Do you think I should still read it, though?

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      Sorry, I’m just seeing this for some reason!! I think you should + Sasha says hells yes. I love Norse stuff and as one of the few resources out there, I think it’s handy.

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