Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie known as Mist one of the only survivors.
Or so she thought.
The trickster god Loki has reappeared in San Francisco, and he has big plans for modern-day Earth. With few allies and fewer resources—but the eyes of the gods and goddesses of an old world upon her—it’s up to Mist to stop him before history repeats itself.
Black Ice is the follow-up to Mist and continues Krinard's Midgard series. The series is set in modern day San Francisco centuries after the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war in an effort to stop Ragnarok. The series main protagonist is Norse Warrior/Valkyrie Mist who is more that she appears.
Mist has faced many challenges and sometimes feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. Mist and her sister Valkyries were given the responsibility of guarding and keeping the most valuable treasures like Odin's spear, Thor's Hammer, and Freya's Cloak hidden away from Loki and his allies. Mist herself is responsible for probably the most powerful treasure in Odin's Spear called Gungnir.
Since we left Mist the story, Mist the character has found herself involved in an all out chess match with Loki for control of the Treasures and Midgard. She has managed to survive thanks to new powers that she didn't realize she controlled and is slowly learning her limitations. She's started gathering a small group of allies, including Bryn and her Eingerjar Bike Club, while hoping that those hidden will finally show up before it is too late to stop Loki. She's also discovered a handful of sister Valkyries she hopes will fight alongside of her once again along with their valuable treasures.
Mist has become the reluctant commander of the so called resistance against Loki for the protection of Midgard. At times, said resistance is wholly unprepared, while other times, they show surprising loyalty, and eagerness to follow Mist to their just rewards or deaths. At this point, Loki has managed to befuddle her every move. While Mist searches for her remaining sisters (12 in total), and the Norse Gods treasures they protect, so is Loki which makes things rather difficult to know who is actually winning. You really do not know who is actually helping Mist, or hindering her since one minute a character might be helping her, and the next, you find out that this person has been also helping Loki.
At times, Black Ice is very hard to understand what is happening because the author loves to blind side you with twists, betrayal, surprises, and a boat load of characters who may or may not be important to the coming war. But, you really DO have to pay attention to these secondary characters otherwise you will find yourself literally walking blind into a dark alley. Hint: this is why I take notes while reading.
One of the more interesting characters introduced this time out, is Anna Strangeland and her parrot Orn who you meet right out of the gate. I won't spoil what part she plays, or what abilities she may have, or why Orn is absolutely important to this story. I will say that Anna is courageous, when she should run away. She volunteers, while others would bury their heads in the sand and wait until the Apocalypse is over.
You also have two mortal kids in Ryan and Gabriella that have their own stories to tell. I am not exactly sure what part either of them play in this series even after reading the first two books. Obviously, Krinard believes they are important to what happens between Mist and Loki, otherwise I truly do not believe they would be in this story.
Loki is the presumptive villain and he is cunning as a fox, and slippery as a ducks back. He has confused, and stayed one step ahead of Mist and her supposed allies. He and Mist would make fantastic allies were they to have the same agendas and goals in mind. One of the things they both have in common is Freya, and what she is actually doing behind the scenes. There is another wrinkle with Loki's obsession with Diann that complicates things, but I won't dwell on, or spoil what happens.
There is a character that appears in this book that has implications towards what happens next. I guess it is all a matter of having patience, and allowing the author to show you she has a firm grasp on where she is going with the plot. I think I can say that I do trust Mist's sister Valkyrie's Bryn, Eir, Rota, and Hild, but that is subject to change at the whims of the author.
I can't say that Freya is exactly on the up and up knowing things about her that not even Mist knows because of secrets Dainn's failure to tell her. After reading Black Ice, I have more questions than answers about Dainn's relationship with Mist, and Freya. I also want to know more about Freya's plans towards the remaining Gods that are presumably alive and waiting to pounce.
Author - Susan Krinard
Title - Black Ice (Midgard # 2)
Published by Tor Books
Releases - August 12, 2014
Genre - Urban Fantasy
Format - E-Book 384 pages