Monday, October 08, 2012

EARLY REVIEW: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Title: Valkyrie Rising
Author: Ingrid Paulson
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology
Series: N/A

Hardcover, 352 pages 
Publication: October 9th 2012 by HarperTeen
Buy the book

Source: Publisher

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.

To be honest, when I started this book I didn’t have high expectations. The summary sounded decent enough but I thought it was going to be the same cookie cutter stuff that makes up most YA these days. I am happy to say that I was WRONG! Paulson’s debut novel is a breath of fresh air, and the story was fun, exciting, and original to make it shine above other YAs in the genre. There’s no vampires, werewolves, faeries, or zombies…instead the book is all about the Valkyries .A Valkyrie is a female warrior who decides who dies and lives in battle. The people chosen by the Valkyries are taken to Valhalla to become Odin’s (god who rules Valhalla) warriors. 

The world building was simple and easy to understand. The author did a great job by incorporating the Norse/Celtic mythology into the story/dialogue which made everything flow. Readers weren’t overloaded with information nor did it bog down the amazing story. Ellie was an extremely likeable heroine. She’s strong not in the physical aspect but strong willed. Ellie has always been cast in the shadow of her brother Graham, the all-star athlete and most popular guy in school. Graham is always watching over Ellie like she’s some fragile little girl, but in reality she’s far from it at sixteen-years-old. Guys are afraid of talking to her because she’s ‘Graham’s little sister’ and when someone does, Graham scares them off. When arriving in Norway, Ellie hears rumors of smart/athletic/strong local boys over the age of 18 disappearing and all signs points to Graham.  Ellie discovers that she descended from a long line of Valkyries. Ellie of course doesn’t conform to the idea of what it means to be a Valkyrie, instead she uses her new abilities to find the missing boys and protects her brother at all cost. 

As I said before she isn’t a strong fighter, but that never stopped her from trying. As the other Valkyrie knocks Ellie down, she gets back up and fights. What I love about Ellie is that when her grandmother tried to keep secrets from her, she never whines about it instead she goes out and finds the information herself. Also when she first discovered that she was a Valkyrie with crazy abilities, she didn’t question why her…instead she embraced it. Then we have Graham, the over-bearing but caring brother. From the dialogue exchange you know Ellie is really close to her brother. Man, I wish I had a brother like that. And finally, we have Tuck, Graham best friend. Tuck, he pretty much steals the scene every time he in it. I never smiled, laugh or grin so much in my life! LOL. Tuck may seem like a little smart-ass but there’s also a sweet side to him. Tuck and Ellie has this flirty-bantering relationship going on but as the book progress you definitely see that’s there more to their relationship than beings friends. And to complicate their ‘relationship’, Tuck has a few secrets of his own. 

There are also secondary characters like the trickster god Loki, and the Valkyries that but I’ll let you guys read more about them yourselves (don’t want to spoil anything ;)). Paulson’s debut novel is not to be missed! This is one of the best young adult novels I read so far in the second half of 2012. Valkyrie Rising’s original plot will have you flipping the pages till you reach the very end. If you’re looking for a great mythology infused book full of mystery, action and romance (no love triangles!!) look no further.  I highly recommend this to everyone, definitely a shelf keeper! I hope Paulson writing the sequel because I can’t get enough of these awesome characters. 


FTC disclaimer: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Valkyrie Rising, and in return I provide an honest review.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this! The world building was easily followed but I found it a bit slow. Something just didn't fully click with me. I loved Tuck. I just hated that Ellie and her grandmother kept trying to hide things.

  2. I haven't read any reviews about this book but it sounds awesome! I always love it when there is world building!

    great review

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  3. @Jennifer: Yeah Ellie and her grandmother were hiding secrets but thankfully readers didn't have to wait long to know the truth. I had a problem with 'secrets' in Death and the Girl next Door but it took FOREVER for them to spill.

    @Maji: Yes, I love the mythology. I'm sure you'll enjoy it too! :)