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Friday 12 October 2012

Blog Tour: Valkyrie Rising - Ingrid Paulson (Review)

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Author: Ingrid Paulson
Release Date: October 9th 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Norse Mythology
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 353
Source: For review and blog tour

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.

I'm sure you're all sick at me saying how much I'm obsessed with all types of mythology. Well, I am. But I have to admit that I don't really know much about the Norse mythology and this was the first YA book that I read with it. I thought I would have some trouble understanding anything, but everything was explained and shown beautifully and she gives us information along the book. Not just dumping them at us. Which was nice, obvs. 

I want to hug the author right now. Ya know why? Because this book is set in Norway. NORWAY. How many YA books is set in Norway, anyway? That's right - none. (Well, not that I know of). I am soooo tired of 90% that I read is set in US. Seriously, we want more of these places. More Norway, England, Spain, Italy, please. 

I loved Ellie. She's such a great main character. Probably one of my favourites ever. And YOU all know how picky I am of female heroines. But Ellie's just clever, caring, not afraid to stand up for herself and she's hilarious. She's the kind of girl I want to be best friends with. She's very relatable and acts like her age. WHICH IS GREAT.

Tuck. Tuck. Tuck. Sigh. How did you manage to make me fall in love with you, Tuck?? From the very first page, I was a goner. And so was Ellie. Oh Tuck is so confident, a little bit cocky, swoonworthy. Basically, every girl's dream bad boy. SWOOONNNNNNNNN. But that's not everything about him. We learn something that added so much depth to his character and I loved loved loved it. 

All the other characters were also very layered and vivid. I liked Ellie's older perfect brother, Graham. Their relationship is one that most siblings can relate to. But I admit that I kinda wanted to kick him in the balls at some point. I also had some mixed feelings about their grandmother. I get why she's telling them anything, but come on woman. Don't keep secrets from your family. (This is a note for ALL families, actually.) 

The writing was also very strong and the pace was quick. I don't really have any flaws or problems with this. I certainly didn't expect it to be that good or that I enjoyed it that much. It's one of those books where you just can't put it down; you have to know what happens otherwise you'd die from thinking about it. The plot was very engaging and had a few twists and turns along the way.

I love that this is just a standalone and not a part of the series. Makes such a change from the other gazillion series out there right now. And the ending felt complete and not rushed at all. It was a really satisfying ending to a magnificent debut. On the other hand, I was actually quite bummed when I found out that this is just a standalone. I love the characters (and the romance!) and the mythology so much that I didn't want to say goodbye to them.

So, if you're a fan of any mythology, a strong narrative voice and vivid character (not to mention one of the best YA romance ever), then be sure to pick up Valkyrie Rising!


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