Valkyrie Rising by: Ingrid Paulson
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 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.
I’ve never read about Valkyries of course, so I had no idea what to expect from this book. I absolutely adored everything about it, from the Norse mythology to the kick-ass fight scenes and to the fun romance!
Ellie goes to visit her grandmother in Norway for one summer, but she expects that she will be super bored the whole time. But when she gets there, she finds out that young boys have suddenly vanished out of thin air. Her smothering but loving brother, Graham, disappears without a trace, and it is up to Ellie and Tuck, Graham’s frustrating but alluring best friend, to find him.
Ellie is a pretty shy girl at first because her brother is kinda overprotective, especially when it comes to her social life. Going to Norway and having to deal with really hard things without her brother was a blessing for her. She really grew up and discovered herself, something that might not have been possible with Graham watching her. After learning the truth about her heritage, she was not scared by anything, and it was really refreshing to watch her stand up to people I’d be frankly scared to death of. I really loved her as a heroine!
Tuck…oh my Tuck! He is hilarious and all girls pretty much swoon over him….me included. He may be super sarcastic most of the time, but he definitely has his sweet and adorable moments that made me fall in love with him. When faced with overwhelming adversity, he does not give up and will do anything to protect Ellie. I really love how involved he was in finding Graham; he really does play a pivotal role. All in all, I adore Tuck.
Graham is very good-looking and very popular, which leads Ellie to wonder if they are even related. Graham always has Ellie’s best intentions in his mind, although he can be a bit overprotective. It was weird to see how the tables turned once he disappeared. Instead of him taking care of Ellie, she had to take care of him. They really do have a wonderful sibling relationship, and he cares for her deeply. Ellie’s grandma is a total badass. That’s pretty much the only way I can describe her. She’s loving and funny, and she is a pretty normal grandma, of course with a lot of secret abilities.
I loved the very original premise of Valkyries and Norse mythology, with gods like Loki (I just always think of Tom Hiddleston…swoon) and Odin. The plot was exciting, with a couple of unexpected twists thrown in there. The romance is amazing of course. I just love how it has developed over many years. They are very sarcastic with each other, but they trust each other totally, which is especially important in their relationship…I don’t wanna give away why.
This was a wonderful read, and I hope very much it will eventually become a sequel! You will too, don’t worry. As you can see, there are many reasons that this book made my top 10 favorite books of 2012 (see list here)! I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and read this incredible book!
Favorite Swoon-worthy Quote: When Tuck kissed me, it was a question - a question I’d known the answer to for so long. And I had my response at the ready. My fingers traced along the muscles in his arms as they tightened around me, to where they joined his shoulders, and finally came to rest around his neck. So that he could never get away. It was impossible to imagine ever letting him go, and from the way his body wrapped around mine, I knew he was thinking the same thing.