Valkryie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
Rating: 4.5 stars
Valkyrie Rising was one of my most anticipated novels of the year, definitely the October release I most looked forward to. If I remembered correctly, I have been waiting for it for almost a year! I was extremely giddy when I got a copy of the book (yea, I know, me and books I’m waiting for, that’s what happens). You have no idea how happy I was to find that not only it did not disappoint, it lived up to my expectations and drew me right in.
As soon as I got the book, I started reading and I finished the book in one sitting. It was really a book I couldn’t put down. I liked how the plot started and when the characters were introduced, I could see and connect with each of them, perhaps even perceive what they might evolve (or grow) into. The plot was innovative: I had no idea what was going to happen next which spurred me into frantically flipping the pages to find out. I liked the setting of the story perhaps because I’m really big on travelling. Norway is said to be one of the most beautiful places in the world and I would love to travel there. There are three things which I absolutely enjoyed about Valkryie Rising: the characters, the mythology and the writing (especially the descriptions about the environment/view in Norway!).
The characters were a big part of the likeability of this book. All of the characters were three-dimensional; they had their flaws and their strengths, but I could see them grow as the story progresses. Coupled with the expressive writing (definitely above average), I could vividly imagine all the characters and their emotions. I could experience the fear, pain, determination and love etc. as the characters experience them. They felt real. My favourite character was of course, Tucker Halloway, or commonly known as Tuck. Tuck was an adorable main guy character and officially one of my favourite characters from books. He was understanding, kind and funny. He didn’t push Ellie and he didn’t act like he doesn’t care. He was honest and loyal. He’s the kind of guy I would love to have as a friend (not a boyfriend because I don’t want to fight with Ellie). He took chances when he needed to and most of all, he believed in Ellie and treasured her (a bit of insight about him can be found in Valkyrie Symptoms, a short story before Valkyrie Rising in Tuck’s POV).
I often dislike the main female character because she is whinny or annoying, but I actually really enjoyed Ellie as the central character. She was strong and intelligent, not headstrong or too stubborn. I admired her relationship with her older brother Graham (I couldn’t stop laughing at Graham towards the end!) and her friendship with Tuck. I loved reading the hilarious verbal matches Ellie and Tuck had. She was one of those characters that really grew over the course of the book. Her changes were clearly seen and I liked how much she has learnt and experiences gained. She became an even stronger and independent character by the end of the story.
Mythologies are very interesting to read about. People say that all myths came from at least a grain of truth. I love to see how that little seed of truth can evolve into unbelievable yet entertaining stories. Ingrid Paulson used Norwegian mythology as the base of her story. It was something I’d never came in touch with, so through the story, I learnt something new about Norwegian tales involving the gods Odin and Loki. It was well-weaved into the plot and not one bit forced. Sometimes the myths were used as clues to things that Ellie needed to find out about and I found it fun to try figuring things out myself first.
Last but not least, the writing was quite amazing in this book. I loved the descriptions of Norway. Being the travel-junkie I am, Norway is a place that I would love to visit soon. Ingrid Paulson’s vivid descriptions of the environment and beautiful view of Norway countryside made me even more eager to travel there. Ingrid also had detailed descriptions of the character’s movements, emotions and surroundings which made me being able to imagine the scene more surreally, as if I was there with the characters myself.
And if you are interested, please check out Ingrid Paulson's guest post and enter to win a signed copy of Valkyrie Rising at my blog!
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.