Monday, July 16, 2012

Review ~ DEAD RADIANCE (Valkyrie #1) by T.G. Ayer

Dead Radiance (Valkyrie, #1)That day I knew for sure. I'd lost control of my tears then. They fell in huge, mocking drops. I stared at Joshua through those bitter tears, my heart missing beats as I tried to remember to breathe.

I finally knew what the glow meant.

I was a freak and Joshua was going to die.

Bryn Halbrook had always seen the glow. But it is only when her best friend dies that she discovers the meaning of those beautiful golden auras — Death. Alone, lost in the foster system, she struggles to understand who she is and why she was cursed with the ability to see the soon-to-be-dead.
The new foster kid, Aidan, isn’t helping any. Mr. Perfect seems to fit in no matter what, making her feel even more pathetic. But when his affections turn to her, Bryn finds him hard to resist. Impossible actually. A mystery himself, Aidan disappears, leaving behind a broken heart and a mysterious book that suggests Bryn might not be entirely human.
Bryn stands at the threshold of a journey of discovery. Will destiny help her find herself, find her purpose and her place in a world in which she’d never belonged? ~From GoodReads

DEAD RADIANCE is the story of Bryn, foster child, outsider. For most her life, Bryn has seen strange auras around people, right before they die. Believing the deaths may be her fault, Bryn is withdrawn. But when a new foster child, the handsome and mysterious Aidan, moves in, Bryn starts to uncover strange bits of myth, leading her to wonder about her own identity. An abduction leads Bryn on a magical, baffling journey to discover her true self.

Fair warning: This review is a study in contradictions. Weird, right? But here's why, I am going to be contradicting myself the entire time because what I liked about DEAD RADIANCE is also often what didn't work for me. Confused? Let's see if I can make sense of my own ramblings. There are two areas I'm going to discuss, the plot and the love story.

The Plot

What worked for me: DEAD RADIANCE was something different! A Valkyrie is a "beautiful maiden who rides to Midgard to collect the bodies of Warriors fit to serve in Valhalla, brave and courageous Warriors who would fight for Odin in the Great War of Ragnarok". (ebook, 13%) Sounds pretty cool, right? I mean, all I know about Norse myths is what I learned about Thor, in the movie Adventures in Babysitting. And believe me, I'm always down for learning cool stuff like that. Once Bryn becomes immersed in the world, the action is pretty great. I never knew what was going to happen until the very end. 

What didn't work for me: Here comes the first contradiction. That description of the Valkyrie I just quoted, it kind of lost me. On one hand, how cool! On the other, say what now? The Valkyrie is a maiden who collects warriors to go where to fight whom? I was so on board with DEAD RADIANCE at the beginning. Bryn was a character I felt for and liked. I loved seeing the interactions between Aidan and her. But then, Bryn is taken away, to become a Valkyrie and to be honest, I felt lost most of the time. I just didn't catch so many of the details of the inner workings of that society. And I will stress, that is simply my perspective. And that's why I stated above that I did think the plot was cool, it's just not for me.

The Love Story

What worked for me: From the moment Aidan popped into the story, I was hooked. He was mysterious, handsome, and he drove a motorcycle (a fact that doesn't appeal to me in real life, but hooks me every time in books). The attraction between Aidan and Bryn is instantaneous (I know, I know) and smoking hot. Every time the two were in close quarters, I was fanning myself. The author did a fantastic job of making Bryn, and me, swoon. Brilliant.

What didn't work for me: Insta-love. Here I go with another contradiction. I know that I said I loved the Bryn/Aidan chemistry from the start, and I did. Chemistry is one thing, love is another. Speaking for myself, I have felt instant chemistry with a guy, but I didn't love the guy. I'm pretty sure most of the time I didn't even like him. I just felt, in this story, that the leap to love was too fast. And later in the story, which I can't talk about in-depth because of spoilers, Bryn is talking to someone else about Aidan and how they had been in love. I didn't recall them ever having talked about being in love before the were separated. But maybe this is me being a cynic. *shrugs*

So I know that for a lot of this review, I sound like a big grump. And I honestly don't mean to. I liked DEAD RADIANCE sometimes, then other times felt it was okay. And these types of feelings make it so hard to write a review. I want to be completely honest in my feelings, and nice about it. And to be perfectly honest, I'm almost apologetic when I shouldn't be. But I also don't want to discourage those who might enjoy DEAD RADIANCE from reading it. Those details that left me feeling lost may be exactly what another reader is looking for! And I will say that I did enjoy the author's style and tone. DEAD RADIANCE may not have been my cup of tea, but it was still a good book.

For another point of view, check out this review I found on GoodReads.

Favorite Quote:

"I was cold, like the roses on Joshua's casket, like the muddy-brown soil waiting to embrace the lifeless remains of the boy who was my friend." (ebook, 2%)

"My eyes shifted from his mesmerizing gaze, heat filling my face. I tried to leave the haven of his arms. But he wouldn't allow me to escape. My move to leave bared my neck and he took the opportunity to place his lips at the base of my throat just above the collarbone.
Was it even possible to sigh and moan at the same time?" (ebook, 12%)

Published February 25th 2012 by Evolved Publishing

You can purchase DEAD RADIANCE (Valkyrie #1) at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I find insta-love a huge turnoff but I'm glad that you were still able to enjoy this one with it. I heard and saw the word "Valkyrie" and my ears instantly perked up! That's one supe that doesn't find it's way into books much. I sorta knew about the whole Norse Myth thing with the dead, warriors, Valhalla etc. because of an episode of Charmed where the sisters travel to Valhalla. LOL. Thanks for the great review! I had already added this to my tbr list after I read your TT but now I'm even more sure that I want to read this book sometime down the road.

  2. Aww hon, you don't sound like a grump at all. You were honest in telling what you like and don't like in the book. I totally get a lot of that. I like Norse myth so this does sound interesting. I am glad that you were able to enjoy it even with the things that you didn't like so much. Fantastic review. (Oh, and for the record I love the movie Adventures in Babysitting. I watched it over and over until I broke the VHS!!)

  3. I don't think your thing about chemistry vs. insta-love is being grumpy. I feel the same way a lot when I read YA books (and adult books as well). There is a huuuuge difference between being attracted to someone and having chemistry with them/getting along really well and truly being in love with them. This distinction is overlooked way too often, imo. Or maybe I'm an old grump too, who knows?

    I just signed up for an ARC tour for a book about Valkyries. I wonder if Valkyries are the new mermaids?

  4. I'm not so much into insta-love myself. I totally agree with you about chemistry and I wish sometimes the author took a little more time with the couple before love comes into it. As for your review, I appreciate your honesty. You're not going to love every book and I like knowing what worked and what didn't for you :-)

    I loved Adventures in Babysitting too!

  5. I totally get what you're saying here. Um...does that make me strange? Maybe. I think I'll wait on this book.


  6. I was totally excited to read your review when I saw this cover in your "Currently Reading" slot. A YA Valkyerie novel, how cool! I am totally intrigued. I've never seen anything like it. Insta-love bothers the cynical part of me, but the romantic part of me loves it when the author can pull it off. I'll probably check this one out. Thanks for sharing your review!

  7. Alrighty I might be avoiding this one. I know my co-blogger read it and did like the story so I'm not really sure about this one. Seems like there were some really great things going for the story but at the same exact time there were a lot of annoying plot points like instant love.

    Thanks for the great review though, it really helped me to think about if this book is for me.

  8. Writing reviews for books that were not good and not bad is hard. But you did a good job. I really liked the teasers you shared it made me want to check the novel out. I am interested in the Norse mythology behind it all.

    Thanks for the review Andrea,

    Sara @ Just Another Story

  9. The instant love was a turn off for me as well. I couldn't embrace the idea of Bryn and Aidan as a couple. It happened too fast. I just wasn't feeling it. I did end up like the book though.


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