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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
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.
*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by publisher and Julie Cross for members of the Perfect Ten*

Norse mythology is one that I've started to really like. Everyone knows the Greek myths, so it was a nice switch up from the commonplace mythology that has been wading in the YA genre. 

Ingrid Paulson stars out with a nice moderate pace, giving some foreshadowing in the first chapter to know that things aren't really as they should seem. Here we're introduced to Ellie, our main protagonist, at her brother's Graham party and meet his best friend, and irksome hottie, Tucker. The cliched factor starts in with Graham being the hot, good at everything he does, protective brother. Tucker is the badass, Mr. Cool, and flirtatious friend. Ellie is the pretty sister that wants to be seen as an equal and not a child in her brother's eyes. Besides the common character descriptions portrayed in many YA books, the banter does provide comic relief and keeps my mind away for the most part on the aspects behind the characters.

The farther into the book the more it feels like a regular contemporary novel rather than one based off mythology. I get past 100 pages and I'm wondering when something is going to start up or where the Valkyries, displayed in the title, are going to pop into the storyline. Not only that, but the moderate pacing winds down and takes a turn on the slow side while Ellie is in Norway. Half way through the book there seems to be some relevant details stirring but slow pace still keeps drawing me away from wanting to continue, but I do. The reader within me wants to see how things are going to play out. Not only that, but I enjoy the writing style that Paulson has.

The action and mythology doesn't really come into play until you near the three quarter mark of the novel. Things are slowly hinted upon in the beginning and middle but nothing is really explained fully. But once the myths start to play out shit gets real and I'm instantly captivated. 

Final Summation: The pace in Valkyrie Rising changes constantly within the novel and I find myself dreading the read during the first half, the final segments of the book is where the story really comes alive. Ingrid Paulson's novel did take me a while to really get into, but once that switch flipped, I found myself really enjoying what was left. Though it wasn't much to make me fall in love with the novel, it was enough to make me want to read more from the author and if there is a second installment for this book, then that as well.

First Line: Half the school came to Graham's eighteenth birthday party.
Story: A
Cover: S