Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Series: Valkyrie
Author: Ingrid Paulson
Page Count: 352
Published: October 9th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
  5 Stars ★★★★★

Ellie goes to Norway to visit her grandmother for a part of the summer. There she learns about the rumors surrounding her grandmother and the locals' superstition. Young men have been going missing and some people believe that her grandmother may have something to do with it. 

When her older brother, Graham, and his infuriating yet irresistible friend Tuck join her, she grows closer to Tuck and finds herself caught between her attraction towards him and the impossibility that they will ever be together. After all, she is constantly being overshadowed by her seemingly perfect brother, and he is fiercely protective of her.

When her brother is kidnapped, Ellie must go on a quest of self-discovery and bravery. With the help of Tuck and Norway's Valkyrie-hunting citizens, she journeys to save the kidnapped boys before it is too late. 

I usually don't enjoy books based around mythology such as Norse, Celtic, etc, but I decided to pick this one up on the bargain table at the bookstore. I am so glad I did!  This book made me re-evaluate my attitude toward books about mythology and it completely surpassed my expectations. My main problem with books about such kinds of mythology is that some authors will assume you understand the basics of whatever mythology they are working with, and thus do not explain certain details of the story, resulting in readers such as myself being completely lost. Ingrid Paulson did the opposite of that; she explained everything in detail and I was able to keep up with the story despite my lack of familiarity with Norse mythology. If anything, this book expanded my knowledge!

Ellie is an admirable character. She is strong-willed and intelligent, yet the reader learns that she has an insecure side and has issues just like everybody else. She pushes past the barriers that the issues create and as a result, this book is sort of a coming-of-age story. She stands up to affirm her position in the world, in her case as a Valkyrie, and she OWNS it! 

The romance was sweet and touching. Yes, the author worked with some of the "mischievous boy" clich├ęs but she did it well. Tuck was realistic and had flaws, unlike other YA male love interests, which made this book stand out for me. They had a history together because they had known each other for a long time, which eliminated any sort of "insta-love" concerns I may have had.

I am definetly looking forward to the sequel! I am hooked on Ellie and her story and I feel like I'm living out my "badass" side through her! Not to mention that I am insanely interested in Norse mythology now! 

I recommend this book to those seeking a YA novel with a strong female character, sweet romance, and themes such as mythology, self-discovery and loyalty.