Hmmm...I've been in a mixed feelings mood (Just saying, I schedule these posts so even if I LOVED the a book in a review yesterday, that doesn't mean I wasn't in a mixed feeling mood while writing this!), and Valkyrie Rising definitely left me with mixed feelings! While I pretty much LOVED everything, the pacing in the beginning...well, it was pretty slow. And Ellie? Sigh. Girl, (wo)man up already...
So the first half of the book was pretty slow--we spend a few pages for the introduction where we learn about the characters and their personalities, we're moved to Norway, and creepy things start happening. LOVED that, and I expected the plot to progress quickly after that. But...well, it didn't. Ellie spends about a hundred or so pages learning about being a Valkyrie, trying to defeat Astrid (a fellow Valkyrie) and failing. Ever. Damn. Time.
And when the book did start to pick up, I was surprised to see about 200 pages had passed and I was still looking for that rising action/climax. Of course, the last hundred pages were definitely amazing and filled with action! If the entire book was like that ending, trust me, this would've been one of my rare 10 stars!
Characters? We only really got to see two fully developed characters--Tuck and Ellie. Me? Loved the former, not so much the latter. Tuck was basically the one thing that made this book absolutely hilarious! He was just so...Tuck. He was always making fun of things, which was more endearing than annoying, trust me! He was just so fun to read about and I loved his banter with Ellie! I loved their interactions and wanted to strangle Ellie sometimes with err...what's-his-name. Kjell?
Ellie was definitely another story. Like I said, I wanted to strangle her when she was with Kjell, just for her brother's disapproval then breaking plans with Tuck for him. URGH. And then Tuck would be all...all...I don't want to talk about it. But she was also sort of naive at some parts, believing she could beat Astrid...then trusting Loki...then not believing her grandmother about the sudden disappearances, even when she'd witnessed something abnormal (and she KNOWS it) just the night before. I just...just...ugh, ugh!
But the rest? Loved. Ingrid Paulson cleverly delivers the legends of North mythology, and I loved the worldbuilding, even if we didn't get to see that much of it (although I'm betting my bookcase we'll see more in book 2!) and I loved the Valkyries, even (especially), Astrid! They were described wonderfully and they were written perfectly as how I've always imagined Valkyries to be (hey, I've loved Norse mythology since I was little!). So loved that!
The romance? Well, I've always been a fan of those older-brother's-best-friend-is-a-jerk-turns-out-he's-super-sweet type of romances! They're just so cute and adorable to me and I want to squish them all up! It's just adorable how the guy tries to hide his feelings for the sake of the older brother--and because the main character wouldn't exactly believe the guy. ;D (LOOK. My first emoticon in a review...) SO I definitely adored this romance! And it was developed nicely, I think. There's no real surprise that he chooses now to reveal his feelings--before Kjell, no one really went after Ellie because of Graham...but now, the boy's got competition!
So all in all, I liked Valkyrie Rising pretty well, although it was pretty slow, and Ellie did get on my nerves at times! Everything else was wonderful; Romance, TUCK, World building, writing, anything but Ellie and plot...yep. DEFINITELY pick this up if you get the chance! Valkyries and Norse mythology? What's not to love?