Review By: Cynthia A.
Published: October 9, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
Genre: Mythology, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
16-year old Ellie had planned for a simple vacation. Visit her grandmother in Norway and get a head start on her summer reading in a small town where the days were long and slow. And hopefully get out from under her far to perfect brother Graham. But Norway is not how she remembered it. Young men have been kidnapped, taken by beautiful women the villagers call Valkyries, warriors Ellie always assumed were myth. Except Ellie finds herself connected with them in ways she could never explain, and when her brother is kidnapped and her grandmother goes missing, Ellie, with the help of her comrade Tuck, must put the puzzle together before Graham is lost to her forever.
Valkyrie Rising is a twist on the traditional coming of age story. Ellie is the character who is stuck in her brothers shadow. Although many people like her, girls and boys alike befriend her in order to get close to her brother who excels at all he tries. What’s worse is that for Ellie, he takes his big brother role far too seriously, preventing her from speaking up and living her own life by her own decisions. But then Norway happens and her life is thrown threw a loop, forcing Ellie to grow up and come into her own skin in more ways than one. Ellie discovers that not all myths are just myths forcing her to fight not only for her own survival but also for that of her family and friends, new and old. Her character development was remarkable. In the beginning she is this mousy girl who lives under her brothers shadow, but as the book progresses, she becomes strong willed and vibrant. She turns into a tough girl with mounds of confidence, something she lacked in the beginning. It’s an amazing transformation for her and the reader sees it page after page. What’s even better is the fact that she gets her tushie kicked again and again, yet she still rises to the occasion and learns along the way. She is in no way that Mary Sue character who is perfect at everything on the first go.
Other than Ellie all the characters were written well. Character description was wonderful, capturing who they were and showing the readers just how different the Valkyries were from the normal townsfolk. And the dialogue contributed to that. It highlighted the rich personalities in the characters have making them fun to read. Especially Tuck due to his charm and sarcastic nature. His dialogue was exceptionally done.
The outside plot was a little hazy versus the inside plot which was crystal clear. The overall theme was she had to defeat Odin and save her brother, but other than that, it needed a little more scene specifics and description to make it a little more grounded on the central plot. That being said, the plot twists were well written and created so much tension that made the underlining romantic sub plot not cheesy but actually something worthwhile. They were each unsuspecting and added a lot to the already rich story. ★★★★☆ (B)