Published: October 9, 2012 (HarperTeen)
Source: ARC from the publisher
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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 not familiar with Norse mythology so when Valkyrie Rising arrived in my mailbox, I dug into it eagerly. As I read further, I discovered a heart-pounding, pulse-tripping story about whispered dangers that are in fact very, very real - led by a fantastic cast of well-written characters. No one in Ingrid Paulson's debut novel is what they seem; each character is made up of several layers, and wrapped in their own shadowed enigma.
The characters stuck with me after finishing Valkyrie Rising - from Ellie, who has spent her entire life in her brother's shadow, to Graham, mindlessly bent on protecting Ellie without realizing the damage he's doing to their relationship, to Tucker, whose flirtatious ways mask a caring and devoted guy and friend. Throughout Paulson's novel, each character is tested as rumors of disappearances in the small Norway town where Ellie's grandmother lives give ways to real-life menacing Valkyries, and an age old battle, all of which spirals around Ellie, calling to her and waking up part of her she never dreamed existed.
I found myself cheering for the characters as often as I wanted to hug or shake them. I wanted Ellie and Graham to work out their issues, and I NEEDED Ellie and Tucker to take a leap together. I fell hard for Tucker and continued to fall for him in every scene he appeared in; it was so clear there was more to him than met the eye. I enjoyed the tinges of romance to Valkyrie Rising, but I loved the sense of camaraderie, devotion, and friendship even more.
At a very few avenues, Paulson's novel felt a bit too predictable, but the fresh, awesome characters kept the story alive, and moved the action forward. And there were certainly a LOT of action, with Ellie realizing who and what she was! I loved that no one was safe and no one was who they seemed, and I enjoyed the addition of a few interesting foils to Ellie. Valkyrie Rising is a fierce story that introduced me to a talented new author!
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