Author: Ingrid Paulson
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, YA
See it at Goodreads
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.
Visit Ingrid Paulson at her site.
I’ve always been big into mythology stories. Just adore them. There’s something special about how you can take these amazing legends and stories that have been passed down through the centuries and twist them around in so many different ways. Valkyrie Rising isn’t any different there, and it’s refreshing and beautiful.
Now, I do admit that I’ve never been real into the Norse mythology area. Normally, I like Celtic and Egyptian mythology. I’ve also enjoyed some of the typical Greek mythology--but to be honest, I see so much of that in literature, that I’ve been waiting to pick up something that’s just seemingly new. I immediately felt that with this book and I was smiling like a kid in a candy shop (or maybe just feeling that high you get when you pick up a book you know will be good) from the first page. Paulson has made a fan out of me. I want more Norse mythology now. And after the amazingly gorgeous descriptions, I want to go to Norway SOON.
Ellie and Graham’s sibling bond strikes me to the core. I love, love, love seeing strong sibling relationships in books. I relate to them. I have a brother myself. I felt for Ellie when she was fighting for Graham. I would go to great lengths like that as well, and I’m glad that her reactions to events and emotions around her were realistic. He was always protecting her, but when it came to her turn to protect him, she didn’t hesitate. Ellie was a fighter, confident, and a good leader. Though had her small flaws as well. There were times she wanted to give up. She was scared. She continued to push herself. I also liked that she was hesitant and thought things through first, rather than just constantly jump ahead recklessly. She wasn't a stereotypical female character for sure.
Oh Tuck. Tuck. Tuck. Tuck. Well…what to say about him? He is exactly the idea of a girl’s swoon-worthy crush. The brother’s best friend. And it just so happens that he travels to Norway with Ellie and Graham, and ends up on the adventure with Ellie. Lovely. Of course, this makes things a bit predictable, but I really enjoyed seeing the relationship slowly build between him and Ellie while they were on the rescue mission for her brother. It’s quite obvious from the very beginning he cares for her, and will protect her, just as much as he cares for his best friend. I liked this development. It wasn’t insta-love because they’d all grown up together. They were starting to see each other in a new light. And in reality, this happens. Paulson did an excellent job developing all of the characters, their traits, and growing relationships. I also really liked Ellie’s grandmother--who was protective and fierce, though gentle and caring.
You guys, I sat down to read this book and I finished within a matter of a few hours because I could not stop reading. I could just talk and talk about this book. I really could. There’s so much I could continue saying.
Like for example: There were these kick-ass beings called Valkyries. Not being too familiar with Norse mythology, I found them extremely fascinating. I think I could compare them to sirens or succubi in a weird sort of way. They attracted young males with their otherworldly beauty and would steal them away. Now I just want more. More, more, more.
There are surprising twists throughout. It’s unique. It’s fantastical.
I think it’s a stand-alone? Which is awesome. I love stand-alones just as much as I do series books. But here's the thing: for once, I really wish there was a sequel in the works for this one. The ending was left a bit open-ended, though well resolved, and could easily turn into a fun and much loved series. I think I just wanted more Tuck and Ellie. Le sigh. Either way, I'll keep my eye out on future work of Ms. Paulson. I'm sure to love anything else. ^^
It wasn’t long enough!! That’s the only thing where I felt like it hurt me. I wanted it to be longer. I know...repeat..but I just can't get over it. I've waited a while now to share my thoughts on it, and since finishing the book, I can't stop thinking about it. It really struck me. I don't find many in this genre that can stick out like that. I remember texting a friend halfway through reading with these exact words: "Holy hell, you HAVE to read this book the first chance you get!"
I loved the romance and the tension and the suspense.
Valkyrie Rising is a definite must-read.
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