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.
Valkyrie Rising starts out with a bang. Right off the back, within the first chapters, you are swept into the the magic of the world of Valkyrie Rising and right into the action. It was an intense ride right from the start and I just loved it. Valkyries are just so badass.
Norse mythology is just so cool! I loved Ingrid Paulson's take on it and how addicting she made the story. I loved exploring how she would portray the mythology and really makes it her own. I loved seeing how everything would play out.
I loved Ingrid Paulson's writing and storytelling abilities. She is an author I will be anxiously awaiting more from! Her prose had a lyrical quality to it and was just a joy to read. There was a perfect balance of intense scenes, humor, and absolutely adorable moments.
Ellie was just awesome. She was such a great main character. I loved Kjell and Tucker and all the guys. Ellie's grandma is clearly the coolest grandma ever.
Seriously, what is not to love? Badass girl heroine? Hot boys? Awesome action! I just loved Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson. It was refreshing and new and just all around wonderful. I cannot wait to read more from Ingrid Paulson in the future!
Sometimes, it kind of seems like authors have purchased dictionaries of mythological and paranormal creatures, flipping through and arbitrarily choosing one to write about, because they know it will make them money. Actually, that's what my friend suggested when I tried to explain the plot of Valkyrie Rising to her. I'll admit that she does have a point, but, hey, I prefer some well-done variation to consistent repetition of vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.
NGL, I hardly know anything about Norse mythology. My childhood mythology obsession only stretched as far as Greek and Roman, so do not expect this review to critique the accuracy of Paulson's take on Odin and Valkyries. I can't tell you that. What I can tell you is that this book was just so fun, and that I loved the Valkyries. I mean, who doesn't love a group of hot girls who can destroy anyone with their physical prowess and mind powers? Sure, some of them are a little bit evil, but they're still really interesting, which is clearly the most important thing.
I completely loved the first half of this novel, before the paranormal elements really entered the scene, not that I didn't like those but they weren't my favorite part. What I loved was the dynamic between Ellie and Tuck. They have this snarky back-and-forth banter, a mutual loathing/attraction, that I find incredibly compelling. Basically, they remind me a whole lot of Benedick and Beatrice (couple name: Beatrick) from Much Ado About Nothing. Given that they are perhaps my OTP, that's seriously high praise from me. The best moments are when Ellie and Tuck really get the insults flying thick and fast.
Ellie comes across as a real teenage girl to me, awkward and rebellious and lonely and without an accurate sense of herself. Graham, Ellie's perfect older brother, basically runs her life, keeping guys from dating her, because of an uncomfortable instance one time, and making sure she sticks to curfew. Ellie resents this, but cannot find the will to act out, because she basically hero-worships Graham. Their relationship reminded me a lot of Lugh and Saba in Blood Red Road, especially in the later discovery that the younger sister turns out to be much stronger.
I bonded with Ellie almost immediately, alone at a party, unsure whether to join or to hide. She feels uncomfortable in her own skin and no longer knows if she's a social pariah because of herself or her brother. When she goes to stay with her grandmother in Norway, she arrives before her brother and Tuck. She meets a really hot guy, cuter even than Tuck and older too, Kjell, and he asks her out. She agrees to go in a fit of rebellion. Though he's gorgeous, she does not trust him one bit, and has little to no interest in him. This made me want to fistbump Ingrid Paulson for letting a heroine care more about personality than looks.
I will say, though, that aside from Tuck and Ellie who I loved, the rest of the characters did not seem particularly well-developed. I really don't have a sense of any of them as people, even Graham, which might be part of why I dislike him so much. This dovetails with my other complaint: this should be a series. The story does wrap up, but it's open-ended. So far as I know, a sequel isn't in the works, but it should be, and then we could see the other characters grow more.
Valkyrie Rising is just a heck of a lot of fun, with the added bonus of a unique setting in small town Norway. I loved reading it and will be keeping an eye on Paulson's career from here on out.
When her older brother, Graham, and his infuriating yet irresistible friend Tuck join her, she grows closer to Tuck and finds herself caught between her attraction towards him and the impossibility that they will ever be together. After all, she is constantly being overshadowed by her seemingly perfect brother, and he is fiercely protective of her.
When her brother is kidnapped, Ellie must go on a quest of self-discovery and bravery. With the help of Tuck and Norway's Valkyrie-hunting citizens, she journeys to save the kidnapped boys before it is too late.
I usually don't enjoy books based around mythology such as Norse, Celtic, etc, but I decided to pick this one up on the bargain table at the bookstore. I am so glad I did! This book made me re-evaluate my attitude toward books about mythology and it completely surpassed my expectations. My main problem with books about such kinds of mythology is that some authors will assume you understand the basics of whatever mythology they are working with, and thus do not explain certain details of the story, resulting in readers such as myself being completely lost. Ingrid Paulson did the opposite of that; she explained everything in detail and I was able to keep up with the story despite my lack of familiarity with Norse mythology. If anything, this book expanded my knowledge!
Ellie is an admirable character. She is strong-willed and intelligent, yet the reader learns that she has an insecure side and has issues just like everybody else. She pushes past the barriers that the issues create and as a result, this book is sort of a coming-of-age story. She stands up to affirm her position in the world, in her case as a Valkyrie, and she OWNS it!
The romance was sweet and touching. Yes, the author worked with some of the "mischievous boy" clichés but she did it well. Tuck was realistic and had flaws, unlike other YA male love interests, which made this book stand out for me. They had a history together because they had known each other for a long time, which eliminated any sort of "insta-love" concerns I may have had.
I am definitely looking forward to the sequel! I am hooked on Ellie and her story and I feel like I'm living out my "badass" side through her! Not to mention that I am insanely interested in Norse mythology now!
I recommend this book to those seeking a YA novel with a strong female character, sweet romance, and themes such as mythology, self-discovery and loyalty.
Ellie was a very admirable character.
Okay, so the plot is a bit predictable. But the pace is fast enough to keep you on your toes, and the writing style just keeps you hooked the whole way through the book.
The romance was sweet and also kept me on my toes, but I think the love interest is TOO perfect (hard to believe, right?). Everything about Tucker is amazing. Good looks, charm, wit, patience, loyalty, and very brave. But I felt like he just needed something to define him a bit more. I mean, couldn't he have one teensy little imperfection??
Now, a little summary. Ellie Overholt, a shy girl with a super popular (and overprotective) brother. She goes to Norway to stay with her grandmother for the summer. But from her first day there, she notices that the townspeople are acting strangely around her, and especially her grandmother. Then she discovers that boys are disappearing, and the reason that the townspeople don't like her is that they think the boys were captured by mythical creatures, Valkyries, and that Ellie and her grandmother, is one of them. And one day, when Graham becomes one of those missing boys (due to an act of his own stupidity, might I add), it's up to Ellie and Tucker, Graham's best friend, to stop the Valkyries.
Okay, so Valkyries are pretty much drop dead gorgeous females (no males in this race) who have the ability to control people, and they use that power to kidnap boys to be soldiers for Odin (yes, Odin, THE Odin) and take them to Valhalla (which is like the Underworld). I really liked the mythology, but I really hope that it'll be expanded on later.
This was a different kind of YA fiction and if you like mythology themed novels, this is definitely one to try.
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson is an awesome debut full of awesome Norse mythology, kickass females, and swoon-worthy guys.
While a few parts of Valkyrie Rising did seem to drag a bit, for the most part I read Valkyrie Rising in one sitting. It was action-packed and I was sucked in to the story. The stakes just kept getting higher and higher in Valkyrie Rising and I was definitely rooting for Ellie to kick everyone’s ass.
I know next to nothing about Norse mythology and I loved what information Ingrid Paulson gave us in Valkyrie Rising. She worked a lot of the mythology into the story without it seeing like sort of an info dump and more just a natural part of Ellie’s tale. Even though I’d never heard of Valkyries, I was still able to follow everything.
And, okay, I am SUCH a sucker for the brother’s best friend romance. It makes me giddy and I absolutely loved the way it was done in Valkyrie Rising. There was quite a bit of swooning.
There were several twists throughout Valkyrie Rising – some I expected and some I definitely didn’t.
Basically, if you’re looking for an action-packed book featuring a kickass protagonist, a swoony romance, and mythology you probably don’t know too much about, check out Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson for sure!
ARC received from Harper Teen at ALA
Release Date: 10-9-2012
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: A thrill ride from start to finish—full of haunting secrets and forbidden desire
I loved Valkyrie Rising. LOVED IT! It was the perfect escape from reality—one where I could become more than a mere mortal, kiss the forbidden guy, and fight the ancient gods.
I know I’ve mentioned before that I love Norse mythology, but I think its worth mentioning again—especially with the recent flux of ya books focusing on Norse these days. But Valkyrie Rising rose to the top for me. I like that the mythology can be twisted—who are the good guys? Valkyries? Odin? Loki? It depends entirely on the book you read. In Paulson’s case, Odin is the bad guy—along with his crew of blond bombshell Valkyries. When Ellie finds out that she’s a Valkyrie, she must decide whether to join the misfit group, or stand up and lead the charge against them.
I’ve never been to Norway, so I loved how Ingrid painted her setting—tiny villages where the majority of people are fishermen, beautiful jutting cliffs over the fjords where cascading waterfalls are a natural setting, rough waves out on the waters where the men spend their lives. It was brilliant and made me want to jump on a plane and go straight to Oslo!
I enjoyed watching Ellie discover herself. At the beginning of the book, she’s Graham’s little sister. The girl no one notices, the girl who needs protecting, the girl who stands in the shadow. However, once Ellie goes to Norway, her old persona is thrown straight into the fjords to never be seen again. Here, she discovers her truth, and as a result, her power. Paulson writes Ellie with an internal monologue that really shows you how she struggles to contain the violence of her Valkyrie side. This gives us a more personal side of Ellie and it shows us that she is still all too human. I liked this vulnerability because it didn’t feel like it was “Bam! Now I’m a superhero,” a mistake I think too many ya books make.
Adding Tuck to my book boyfriends right away because WOW! Tuck is charming, in that, I’m undressing you with my eyes sort of way. He is popular, smart, witty, and every girl is putty in his hands. He talks in innuendo, and when you add his words to those gorgeous eyes and that stop-you-in-your-tracks smile, and Tuck becomes the perfect ya guy. I fell hard for this guy! He was so cocky and arrogant, but at the same time, you could really see how much he cares for and desires Ellie. The problem? He’s Graham’s best friend, and Graham is super over-protective, so Tuck says nothing can happen. Tear. But, that doesn’t stop the sexual tension and desire from leaking onto every page! This romance was sweet and intoxicating—if only there was more of it!
Ingrid did such a great job with the minor characters, too. I loved Graham. I don’t have a brother and I always wanted on to watch out for me. Graham was the epitome of what I used to wish I had—he’s popular and smart, athletic, and protective to a fault. While I can see why his protectiveness would be a huge problem, I couldn’t help but want to wrap him in a bear hug!
I LOVED Loki! He is such a trickster, but he does it with such arrogance and raw sexuality that I half found myself wishing he would kiss Ellie! I know, don’t judge me—but he was striking and addicting—everything you would expect a god to be. He rides the line between good and evil, which, in my opinion, makes the perfect dark hero (or villain)…whichever he turns out to be!
This is a stand-alone novel, which, while refreshing because we don’t have to wait a year for the next book, was still slightly upsetting because the characters were so good I wanted more! Plus, there’s the fact that the bad guys are immortal—so a portion of the ending felt undone to me. But I guess that’s the price you pay when you write with mythology where the bad guys can never really be defeated. While Ingrid says this is a stand-alone, it was definitely left where another book could be written in the future—if she chooses to grant our wishes and give us more Tuck!
Final judgment: Full of great romance (wait till you read the rooftop scene), conniving yet unforgettable tricksters, and suspense that will keep the pages turning, Valkyrie Rising is a MUST READ!
Valkyrie Rising starts off with a party. Here we meet Ellie, the main character, along with her brother Graham and his best friend Tucker. Ellie lives her life in the shadow of her brother. She’s coddled and protected from the world and she hates it. When she is sent to Norway to visit her grandmother, she takes it as a chance to have a few days away from Graham and his ways. Little does she know, you should be careful what you wish for. Graham arrives, and he brings Tucker with him. Then, the real adventure begins.
I loved the premise of this book the moment I read it. Girl power all the way, right? Ellie is the main character here, she’s the girl who is desperate to be her own person only to discover she is actually a Valkyrie (as far as being your own person as you can be). To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about Ellie. As a main character, she wasn’t my favorite. Especially in the fact that she was supposed to be this kick butt of a character. The times I loved her the most? When she was with Tucker. He seemed to bring out the best in her, versus the little girl whiny that she put off in the beginning.
Ah, Tucker! Seriously, for me, the whole book is on this character. He was my absolute favorite. Sure, parts of him and his relationship with Ellie were predictable, but still. He’s definitely swoon worthy! I mean, who doesn’t want a guy who will push you to be the best part of yourself and risk his life to save yours. Did I mention he was gorgeous? And his sarcastic banter with Ellie was hilarious. Right? The deal people. My point exactly.
The secondary characters introduces to the story were interesting enough, but didn’t shout excitement like I wanted them to. It was a bit fun seeing grandma kick butt tho. I did enjoy the different aspects of the mythology brought out, even though I wish there were more of it throughout the story. I’m interested to see where Ingrid takes the characters next, because the ending wasn’t your typical ending. Overall, I enjoyed the book and look forward to see what happens next.