Series:You know what's hard about writing reviews? Trying to write a review for a book that didn't elicit in either direction. Valkyrie Rising wasn't a bad book; I found the story to be a bit interesting at times. But I also can't say that it is a great book, either. I just found myself simply not caring about the story or the characters. So basically, I feel as if I'm grasping for something to say.
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: Oct. 9, 2012
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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 certain part of the problem is that I'm discovering that I'm just not into Valkyries. And to this you're probably thinking "Well, Andrea, why did you pick up a book titled 'Valkyrie Rising'?" I decided to read Valkyrie Rising because it was sent to me by a publicist (Thanks to Harper Teen!) and I gave it a shot to see if maybe I do like Valkyries, but hadn't found the right book yet.
Another reason I didn't connect to the book was that I felt the author used a lot of telling instead of showing. For example, at one point Ellie gains the ability to hear voices. But instead of "showing" the effect it had on her brain by making me feel as if I were experiencing it with her, the ability is simply told:
"Just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder, a strange voice sounded in my head, one that was me and wasn't me. Like it came from a new part of my consciousness I hadn't had the chance to meet yet."
Those lines didn't make me feel anything. I just know that "Oh, I new ability popped up at an awfully handy time." Which leads me to my next gripe. I am not a fan of stories in which the characters just magically develop abilities whenever it's convenient. Ellie randomly develops the ability to understand the language, she suddenly can hear thoughts, can fight when she's never been trained. I get that this helps keep the pace moving quickly, but I like for my characters to work for a payoff.
So what did I like about Valkyrie Rising? I liked the setting. The author painted a lovely picture of Norway, a location I've not experienced in books. Also, Tuck. If not for Tuck, I don't know that I would have enjoyed the story at all. He was funny, charming, adventurous, and charismatic. I loved the effect he had on Ellie. He made every scene he was in better, and I missed him when he was off scene.
Valkyrie Rising was an "okay" book for me. I didn't love it; I didn't hate it. I'm sure that there are a lot of readers who will love the characters, the mythology, the story and will have a fantastic time reading it.
" 'We should call the police,' Tuck said.
'And tell them what, exactly?' I asked. 'That we think Valkyries kidnapped my brother? And attacked my grandmother? Maybe we should interrogate all the other fictional creatures, starting with the Easter Bunny?' I knew I wasn't being helpful, but my frustration was screaming for an out.
'Leave the Easter Bunny out of it,' Tuck murmured. 'I know that dude has an alibi.' " (eARC, pg 168)
You can pre-order Valkyrie Rising at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository