I liked that Valkyrie Rising is a mixture of Norse mythology, some really interesting action, and adventure, as well as a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. I appreciated the fact that you have a very likable female protagonist in 16 year old Ellie Overholt who isn’t shy about voicing her objections and opinions and pushes back against those who want to treat her differently or put her in the corner for her own safety. I also liked the fact that Paulson chose Norway, a land that is filled with Norse mythology, to tell her story.
Ellie’s journey to the realization that there is something unusual about her starts in Stavropol, Norway where she will spend 8 weeks with her grandmother Hilda while her mother is off on a sojourn to Italy. When she starts to be treated differently by the residents, and boys of a certain age begin to disappear without a trace, Ellie is not only blamed for the disappearances, but starts to wonder if her grandmother really is whom she says she is.
After her brother Graham is taken right in front of her and taken to Valhalla, Ellie has to learn how to fight, and shrug off out of control Valkyries lead by Astrid. She also has to deal with Norse gods Odin and Loki who know that there is something unusually different about her. I appreciated the fact that Ellie refused to give up even when she was beaten to an inch of her life several times over. She overcame several obstacles and learned more about her new abilities as well as the fact that one boy has her heart in his hands.
Another positive aspect of this book was the fact that Paulson avoided the clichéd and dreaded 3-way love triangle which is prevalent throughout YA land. Ellie is pretty much set on one main character, and Tucker Halloway has been in her life for a very long time. I enjoyed the fact that the romance wasn't insta-fall-in-love. The interaction and subsequent revelation that Tucker is more than he has let on, was well worth reading the book until the end.
I was actually impressed with the writing, world building, and the story at whole. I really want to see where Paulson takes her characters from here and how Ellie deals with Odin and Loki's misadventures. I'm definitely intrigued by the Norse mythology as well as Ellie's new role as a Valkyrie. I even liked her grandmother Hilda even though she kept a lot of secrets from Ellie. The only person I really had any problems at all with was Ellie's older brother Graham who was just a little overprotective for his own good.
VALKYRIE RISING is Ingrid's first novel, and I will be looking forward to the sequel when it releases, hopefully, in 2013! If you want more from Tucker’s POV, there is a short story called Valkyrie Symptoms that is available February 5th 2013 from HarperTeen.
Title - Valkyrie Rising (Valkyrie # 1)
Author - Ingrid Paulson
Publisher - Harper Teen
Released - October 9, 2012