Thursday, September 26, 2013

Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Valkyrie Rising

Goodreads Summary: 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.
My thoughts:
Style: Although at the beginning of the novel I must admit that I was a little worried about the writing level of Ingrid Paulson, as the story progressed my worries left, and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the story. I was interested from the start in this novel because it incorporated Norse mythology into the modern day world and I was curious as to how Paulson would carry this out. Although she may have played with the roles of some of the gods to further her plot, she did very well overall and I was impressed.
           Although there were a few times when the first person narrative was a little off, overall Paulson did a very good job of sticking to her chosen point of view and writing with out too many coma errors or run on sentences.
Content: The novel begins at a rather raucous teenage party with little supervision. Most of the teens are drunk, and Ellie is the only one above the influence of alcohol. The point of this scene is to illustrate a day in the normal life of Ellie Overholt and show the overpowering influence that her brother and Tuck have in her life. However, once the teens get to Norway things simmer down a little in the teen alcohol area. But, there is still a little bit of swearing and one questionable scene between Tuck and Ellie.
                   Elsa (Ellie Ells) Overholt - Ellie is sixteen, tall, blond and staying the summer at her Grandmother's home in Norway with her older brother Graham and his best friend Tucker. Ellie is strong willed but never acts on it, instead she lets her brother dictate her life as much as she hates him doing it. While in Norway Ellie discovers who she truly is and her courage, bravery, love, and compassion come out. She becomes a seriously kick-butt character, while still keeping her wits and compassion about her.
                   Graham Overholt - Graham is Ellie's big brother and although only a few years older has adopted the role of father towards her, since their dad died when she was little. He is the most popular boy in their school, smart, quick thinking, brave, athletic and good looking. As such he often overshadows his younger sister. He is also overly protective of her, as well as down right fierce. When upset he is a force to be reckoned with.
                   Tucker Halloway - Tucker is Graham's best friend, as well as a perpetual teaser of Ellie. He is brave and loving as well as a player, flirt, good looking, sarcastic and strong. He is every bit the athlete and just as protective of Ellie as Graham is. When Graham disappears however, his playfulness leaves, and the real Tucker Halloway comes out, ready to do anything to save Graham and protect Ellie.
                   Hilda Overholt - The grandmother of Ellie and Graham, Hilda is a strong, tall and confident woman whom the town fears. She has unearthly power about her and when she gives a command it must be obeyed. She will do anything to protect Ellie and Graham.
                   Astrid - Astrid is the leader of the Valkyrie, she is fast, strong and cunning. She knows her job and does it well, almost too well. On the outside she is cold, fierce and cruel, it is not until Ellie questions her that we as the readers learn what really is going on inside her head.
                   Loki - Loki is the god of mischief, pranks, and misdemeanors. Although he may appear to be on the side of Ellie, he always has his own intentions at heart and will stop at nothing to achieve them. His ultimate goal is to humiliate Odin.
What did I think?
I really enjoyed Valkyrie Rising and hope that there are more books to come in the future. I think that it is one book that lovers of Norse mythology should definitely read, because of the interesting light that it sheds upon Odin and his Valkyrie and halls of Valhalla. My favorite characters were Ellie and Tuck. I loved how they came through their conflict stronger than how they went in. I also loved the mythology surrounding the character of Tuck and how that played into the story. Everything about Tuck drew me to him, at first he seemed to be one way and then another until his character was a complete contradiction it was not until we learned the real truth about him that his whole character made sense. I liked the tender moments between him and Ellie and the loyalty which he willingly gives to her and Graham. Ellie was awesome. I really loved the intense loyalty and love she felt for her family and Tuck. I sometimes feel that the element of family is often missing in YA books today, but it was clearly present in Valkyrie Rising.

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