Review of Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
Overview from www.bn.com: 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 that something powerful and ancient will awaken in her and that strange whispers will urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, suddenly there’s 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.
This week’s review is a paranormal Young Adult story. It is called Valkyrie Rising and recounts the story of our main character Ellie.
At the start of the story, Ellie is just another average teenager who feels like she is living in the shadow of her older brother, Graham. He is popular yet overprotective and because of his popularity very few boys her age are willing to cross him by asking Ellie out. The only one who is really even allowed to talk to her much is Tuck, her older brother’s best friend who she has a massive crush on. Tuck is also a major flirt so Ellie never takes anything he says seriously anyway.
Every summer, she and her brother take a trip to Norway to visit their grandmother while their mother is leading some university trip to Italy. (Their father has been dead for some time.) Although Ellie usually finds it somewhat boring she is relieved to be going this year because she senses that it is the only time she will be allowed to get out from underneath her older brother’s shadow since he is not as well-known there as he is at home in Los Angeles.
So off she goes, to be followed later by her brother. But on her first day there she already sees a difference in Skavopoll. The residents are hostile toward her. They tell her that she should never have come there and they seem to believe that her grandmother is somehow at the center of some plot to kidnap the boys of the town. A few of them have already disappeared and when she confronts her grandmother about this with questions, she receives very few answers and most of them are misleading.
Setting out on her own she vows to find the answers for herself before her brother and Tuck are kidnapped as well. (Tuck has decided to tag along on the trip with them this year.) But when no one will tell her anything, she will have to use her own intuition and sleuthing skills to find out what is happening both to the town and to her as she seems to suddenly have hypnotized the people of the town unintentionally. Where is she getting these strange powers? How can she convince people that she is not involved in the kidnappings? And how can she protect those who are left from becoming the next victims?
I liked this one quite a bit though I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I loved it. I learned a lot about Norway and Viking Mythology while feeling highly engrossed in the story. The story threw a few surprises my way both in some things that I expected to happen but didn’t (thank God there was no love triangle) and some twists that did happen yet I never saw them coming. In short, I was not bored. Also the book was not overly long.
The only downside was I thought the swearing was a bit much for a Young Adult novel though I have seen worse. I think perhaps it is best that the readers of this book be older teens and not younger but other than that, I give it an enthusiastic recommendation.
Contains: some swearing, fantasy violence