Oct 22, 2012

Review: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Title: Valkyrie Rising
Author: Ingrid Paulson
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Publication Date: 10.9.2012
Pages: 352
Genre: Mythology; Romance
Series: Yes?
Source: ARC from friend

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

I’ve always been a fan of mythology, but I will admit that I generally gravitated more towards Greek mythology. I knew little to nothing about Norse mythology before I read Valkyrie Rising, and now I am desperate to learn more. Ingrid Paulson knocks it out of the park with her debut.

I don’t think I’ve ever connected to a main character from the jump like I did with Ellie. There’s something (maybe her Valkyrie awesomeness?) that just grabbed me. She started out this mild, somewhat meek, girl with a wicked sarcastic streak who was trying to get out of her god-like older brother’s shadow, and then became this powerful woman who leads an army. And never once did I feel like her transformation was forced or clich√©.

If I enjoyed Ellie, I loved Tuck. I feel like my praise of him will be eerily similar to what Jenny @ Supernatural Snark said, but it is so refreshing to read a male lead who isn’t sullen, brooding, and/or tortured. Tuck is fun. He has this energy that lights up a room and jumps off the page. He simultaneously torments and protects Ellie. I think the reason I was so fully on board with their romance was because it wasn’t this instant connection—this had been building for year before the story began since Tuck is her brother’s best friend.

Paulson deftly weaves in few of the bigger names in Nordic myths (and fans of the movie Thor will undoubtedly recognize these names) like Loki and Odin. I’m hoping future books will bring about more characters. Like, Thor, for example.

I haven’t seen whether or not this is a series. I really, really hope so. Paulson definitely leaves it open-ended enough to continue the story, but she wraps up the main plot nicely. This works great as a stand-alone or the launching pad for a new YA series. Regardless, this book is a must-read for anyone who loves mythology and general epic-ness.


  1. I've slogged half-way through this book so far. I keep thinking I should like it. I mean, Valkyries! How cool is that? But I just can't care about any of the characters.
    I hope I can make myself finish it.

  2. YEAH HANNAH!!!! So glad you loved Tuck as much as I did! He just made me laugh the whole way through, and I can't remember the last YA boy that made me laugh and kept things light instead of blowing hot and cold. Have you read the little snippet from his POV yet? SO GOOD! Do it now:)

  3. I am so happy to read you loved this one. I'll definitely need to grab a copy tomorrow at the bookstore. I love characters I can connect with. Thanks for the great review!

  4. I have been seeing lots of buzz on this one! I also have always loved mythology, but more Greek. I love what you said about Tuck. I am really looking forward to meeting him. Great review! :)

  5. That review sounds GREAT! I really wanna try the book :)

  6. Thanks for the great review I am loving Tuck as well from what your review says!

  7. I wanted to read this book already, and your review makes me want to read it more! I actually had no idea that this had anything to do with mythology!
    I like what you said about the main character...I absolutely HATE when I can't connect to them, or if their personality annoys me.
    Great review! :)

  8. Great review. I love the sound of this but was hesitant to pick it up. Ive seen a lot of positive reviews so Ill read it soon.

  9. I've heard good things about this book, so definetly want to put in on my Goodreads TBR list. Great review and glad to know it involves some greek mythology!

  10. This looks like a good read. Thanks for the review.

  11. Sounds interesting! I'm quite interested in Norwegian history. Very cool!

  12. Tuck was definitely my favorite character. And that would be awesome if Thor or something makes an appearance in future books.

  13. Thanks for the review! I haven't heard much about this book before, but it sounds like a good mix of paranormal, mystery, and romance. I like that the romance is slow-build too. I'll have to check this one out.


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