Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie, #1) by Amanda Hocking
Published by Wednesday Books
Published on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, New Adult, Paranormal, Young Adult
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Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.
Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.
I was pretty excited to get into a new book based on Norse mythology, which I have (confusingly) seen listed as New Adult and YA. I haven’t read many books based in Norse mythology, and due to my recent obsession over American Gods (both the book and the show), I couldn’t wait to see what Amanda Hocking would do with it.
There is quite a bit of mythology built up, which is good, of course, that the author went so deep. We have the Gods, the immortals, and the mortals. Monsters, demons, angels… they all live among man in day-to-day life. It’s the norm. However, at times it can also seem like a lot to try to remember. I am not going to try to give you the breakdown – I will fail miserably at it. There is also a lot of world building, which actually caught me off guard, because I was not expecting it to be so…. futuristic? (I wonder if this is where they are pulling that weird Blade Runner comparison from.) It seems to be an overpopulated, crowded, dirty mess of a place, with hover cars and the like. It does not sound appealing at all. This book also continually brought up the concept of predestiny, which I found interesting, and I would like to see where the author goes with that theory.
So we can check the boxes for mythology and world building (however dismal it may seem). So the characters… hmm. Well, let me get my biggest frustration off my chest – UNNECESSARY LOVE TRIANGLE.
This literally makes no difference to the story, at all. It is a useless plot device, I assume only to add drama, and seems like a last ditch effort to make the main character, Malin, seems diverse. Not to mention, the relationships seem either superficial or insta-love-ish. I would have ditched the annoying ex and spent more time building up the character of Asher. Or not made Asher a thing and let it be a second chance love story. Either way, romance is involved and not in a great way.
Malin is also really wishy-washy and tends to make super irrational decisions. Part of me likes her, the other part of me is annoyed by her. I like Asher. And Malin’s best friend, Oona. She is a reasonable, adorable, person.
The story moved along at a quick pace, and seems pretty interesting now that we are getting down to the nitty, gritty underworld. I will say I feel like this leans towards YA… it wasn’t quite mature enough to be NA, and I feel like it had the potential to feel like a darker, more serious story if it had been given the opportunity to actually be NA and written for a slightly more mature audience. While this book didn’t completely thrill me and blow my mind, I still think I would continue with the series, if I can manage to get past the love triangle and also remember all the details by the time the next book releases!
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