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Valkyrie Rising

Valkyrie Rising

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Valkyrie Rising

4/5 (47 évaluations)
334 pages
5 heures
Oct 9, 2012


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.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl's unexpectedly epic coming-of-age.

Oct 9, 2012

À propos de l'auteur

lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter and enjoys long-distance running, eavesdropping, and watching science docu-mentaries. She has always loved books and writing short stories but was surprised one day to discover the story she was working on wasn't so short anymore. Valkyrie Rising is Ingrid's first novel. Ingrid's grandmother might actually be a Valkyrie; Ingrid is still waiting for her to come clean.

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Valkyrie Rising - Ingrid Paulson



Half the school came to Graham’s eighteenth birthday party. People were everywhere—crowded around the pool, crawling all over the patio, and crammed onto the sofa in the family room. Even though they were within plain sight of my mother, almost everyone had added a little something to their Coke—or replaced the contents of the can altogether.

That afternoon I was watching from a safe distance at the kitchen window, a whole story above the fray. I told myself I was up there to help keep the refreshments flowing, but truth be told, no one would note my absence. Even my friends were so focused on blending into Graham’s crowd, they’d probably forgotten I existed. After all, I wasn’t memorable in my own right. I was just Graham Overholt’s little sister—no different from his many other accessories. Something halfway between a lacrosse stick and a football helmet.

I opened the sliding glass door and leaned on the deck railing outside the kitchen—one of the few places where I could watch my brother holding court without being seen. His height and shock of messy gold hair made him easy to spot. The group around him was laughing hard at something he’d said.

At moments like that, it blew my mind that we were related. But maybe he’d have felt the same way if he had looked up just then, to see me peering out at the party from behind Mom’s potted geraniums like some senile old hermit. It was ironic that I got nervous at parties, given that I shared a gene pool with the most popular person on the planet. Then again, trying to live up to Graham’s legacy was what usually triggered the diamond-crushing pressure behind my eyes.

It was pretty much impossible to say or do anything that wasn’t somehow eclipsed by or attributed to Graham. By the time I’d hit high school, I had gotten tired of trying.

While I stood there playing Peeping Tom, Graham’s best friend, Tucker Halloway, snuck up behind me and pinched my arm. Hard. Then he took a long step forward and leaned on the railing right at my side. I turned my head, just enough that I could smell his breath.

What if my mom catches you? I wrinkled my nose and glanced down at the silver flask dangling loosely in his grasp. You’re screwed. She’ll absolutely call Colette.

Can’t. Tuck gave me a smug smile. Colette has a migraine. She’s at the spa.

I raised an eyebrow at that. Again? What’s this—her third time this week?

Fifth, Tuck said.

Colette, Tucker’s mom, was from another planet. France, specifically. She was exotic, glamorous, and the only person I knew whose parties required cocktail attire. Or were catered, for that matter.

Tuck never had food in the fridge, but he always had designer clothes on his back—his appearance was the one thing about him that held Colette’s interest. But that was no surprise. Tuck made pretty much every female pause and smooth down her hair.

I had to resist the urge to do it myself as I turned to look him straight in those impassive gray eyes. I never could tell what he was thinking, even after knowing him my entire life. Still, though, my mom will totally tell Colette, I repeated lamely.

Tuck grinned. That famous wicked smile. Is that really supposed to scare me? He put his arm around my shoulders and leaned in. I staggered a step to keep my balance. Where do you think we got this in the first place? Colette sent me over here with a bottle of thirty-year-old scotch for Graham with, I quote, her compliments.

I had to admit that was a bit shocking, even for Colette. Her compliments on what, exactly? Your ability to talk your way out of anything? My mom won’t let it slide this time. And don’t pretend her opinion doesn’t matter to you.

True, he conceded, sliding the flask into his back pocket. But your opinion matters to me even more. His tone was as silky smooth as his words, but I wasn’t taken in for a second. Well, maybe for a second—the exact second he turned to meet my gaze, a mere six inches from my face. When I looked at him that closely, at those white teeth framed by that deceptively innocent smile, I knew why Tucker Halloway excelled at getting whatever he wanted—especially from girls.

And I couldn’t fathom why he was wasting that particular talent on me when bullying and mockery had always been the accepted currency between the two of us.

What do you want? I asked, instantly wary. Shouldn’t you be enjoying the party?

His smile curled up at one corner, proof positive he was up to no good.

But then he did something weird. He just shrugged and stood there, looking back down at the party without saying anything at all. After a minute like that, his silence was more unnerving than his usual fast talk. Anyone who looked up at us then could definitely get the wrong idea.

I glanced down toward the pool, half expecting to see an army of girls watching me, planning their revenge.

Are you leaning on me because you’re drunk? I choked out, once the silence had stretched itself so far and thin it was fine dust coating my throat. Then I grasped for the only logical explanation. If you’re trying to make some girl down there jealous, you should cozy up to someone else. No one would ever see me as a threat.

Why do you say that? His grin reappeared, settling in and preparing to stay for a while. And marking the return to familiar footing. The muscles in my shoulder started to uncoil.

Because of who I am. Freshman year, Graham had thrown a boy out of a party for ignoring my polite hints. And he had interpreted my one-time plea for help as an open-door invitation into my love life. Or lack thereof, thanks to his constant interference. I wasn’t supposed to know that my touch carried a social stigma second only to leprosy, but word gets back to you eventually.

I meant, why play games? I get by just fine on looks alone. His smile was blinding, driving his point home.

Don’t forget your charming personality, I said, and my stomach flipped when his grin widened at my words. Making Tucker laugh was the best kind of rush. I hear modesty is quite the aphrodisiac, I added.

Listen to you. He lifted those gray eyes to meet mine. Graham would die if he heard sweet little Ellie use a word like that. And die all over again if he thought you knew what it meant.

Lucky he’s not here, I said.

Lucky indeed, he said slowly. For more than one reason.

His smile was so pretty, I almost sighed out loud. Fortunately, that was all it took to remind me of the manifold dangers of dropping my guard around Tuck. Because he was softening me up. It was a dance I knew all too well, even if he usually preferred a more direct assault with me.

What do you want? I repeated.

Time with you, he said sweetly. Your undivided attention.

Cut the crap, Tuck.

Isn’t that the right answer? he asked, all false innocence. Tipped with sarcasm. Seems to me that’s what most girls want to hear.

For the record, insincere compliments work better when you don’t point them out, I said. And I’m not most girls.

Duly noted, Tuck muttered before rallying and changing tactics. I came to the right place, since you’re such a wise woman, seeing through all my subterfuge. I know you’ll be my savior.

Apparently his plan was to exasperate me into submission. For the third and final time, what do you want, Tucker Halloway?

Last name too? Bad sign. But here goes. He leaned closer, knowing full well how destabilizing his proximity could be. Before I could help it, I was batting my eyelashes right back at him. A reflex as involuntary as the knee-jerk test at the doctor’s office.

Hypothetically speaking, if a person urgently needed the key to the cabinet in the china hutch, what would that person need to do to acquire it?

Mug my mother, I told him. Hypothetically speaking, of course. I held up one hand when he started to object. You have a flask. That should keep you busy for the afternoon. I’m not helping you steal more alcohol.

Not everyone drinks scotch, he said with a wink. And Graham put me in charge of fun. Plus, I’ve already taken care of the hard part. We only need to put this back before anyone notices. He held up a small glass bottle of gin that he pulled right out from the tangled green leaves of the geraniums. So that’s why he was really here, loitering around with me. He’d come to retrieve the bottle and was fortunate enough to find me standing here, a potential minion to do his dirty work. You’ll be righting a wrong, so to speak, he added. Very noble of you, by the way.

Impressive, I said, and I meant it. It’s not easy to get around my mother’s radar.

Thank you, Ells, he said. It’s nice to be appreciated. Graham would have flipped. You, on the other hand, always understand.

Graham doesn’t know? As far as I knew, Tuck never kept secrets from Graham. I’d assumed Graham had sent him to me for damage control.

We don’t want to ruin his birthday with unnecessary stress, Tuck said. We owe it to him to handle this ourselves.

I wasn’t sure how Tuck’s problem had suddenly turned into a we situation. But no one was more persuasive than Tuck when he was in the zone like this. His smile. The sweet, beseeching look in his eyes. Like I really was the only girl on the planet who could give him what he needed. I couldn’t believe I was falling for it.

Too many other girls had shown me where this particular road dead-ended.

Fine. I’ll make sure it’s unlocked tonight, I heard myself say. Just put it all back by morning, or we’ll both be screwed. Then I wiggled free of his arm, ashamed when I immediately missed it. But it was pointless to let myself pretend he was there for any reason other than covering up his typically Tuckish crime.

I expected him to leave now that his mission was a fait accompli. But he stood there a second longer, elbows propped on the railing, like he too needed a moment to catch his breath before plunging back downstairs.

What are you two doing up here? Graham asked. We both jumped and turned in unison, a little too fast.

Somehow Graham had extracted himself from his entourage and made his way up the deck stairs without either of us noticing. He looked at me, then at Tuck, and his eyes narrowed in mock suspicion.

I squirmed, uncomfortable he’d found us like that—locked in private conversation when the whole world was downstairs. Especially since Tuck and I now shared a secret.

I could smell you five feet away, Graham said, glancing at me, but then dismissing the thought as he zeroed in on Tuck. Is that why you’re hiding up here? Seriously—lay off the scotch. He made a grab for the flask, but Tuck was slippery as an eel. If you’re hung over during practice, I’m not covering for you again—I don’t care if you throw up. But his smile told a different story.

Oh, I would never do anything to compromise my athletic career, Tuck said, parroting the serious, grown-up voice Graham saved for teachers and college interviews. Graham made a valiant effort to stay annoyed, but it was too late. He grinned and ran one hand through his hair. Only Tuck could manage him like that.

I’m being serious, Graham said, carefully avoiding the responsible voice. I’m outta here at the end of the summer. And I’m telling you, senior year is harder—with college applications. You’ve gotta pull yourself together.

There’s gratitude for you, Tuck said, catching my eye. Without people like me for contrast, no one would recognize how perfect you are.

Graham shifted impatiently on his feet, but Tuck kept right on talking, paving over his transgressions with a solid foot of bullshit. I tuned out until something caught my ear. I already talked to Colette, Tuck was saying. She got me a ticket to visit for two weeks.

That was hardly a surprise. Visit Graham at Stanford? I confirmed. Graham would be leaving for college at the end of the summer, but Tuck was a year younger than Graham and a year older than me. Which meant Tuck and I would be left behind together. Or, more accurately, Tuck would be left with the half of his friends who were also his age. It wasn’t like Tucker Halloway would hang out in our house every night once Graham was gone.

Nope. Tuck grinned first at me, then at Graham. Norway. Tuck was aglow with the good news, whereas I felt a bit queasy.

You’re coming to Norway? I asked in a very small voice.

He nodded.

That summer our mother was ushering a group of rowdy college students through a summer art history program in Italy, as part of her ongoing battle for tenure at UCLA. And we were being shipped off to Grandmother Hilda’s house in the country—eight full hours from Oslo.

I thought I was getting away from you. At least for the summer. It came out louder than I’d planned, like someone had turned on a hidden microphone. When did this happen? As much as I wouldn’t admit it, especially not to Tuck, it wasn’t actually unwelcome news. The tiny town we’d be trapped in could get slow after a week, much less two months.

A couple of weeks ago, Graham replied, shrugging.

Fantastic. I frowned, even though the addition of Tuck would probably be a good thing—no one was more fun than Tuck when he wanted to be. Still, I was annoyed to be finding out like this. It was another example of Graham not telling me things. Like I wasn’t a person who deserved common courtesy, but just one more planet that should slip obediently into orbit around him.

Tell me what you really think, Tuck said drily. Really, don’t spare my feelings. You’re far too sweet.

Play nice, Graham said to us both. Next year I won’t be around to mediate.

But the momentary lull in the universal battle for Graham’s attention was over.

A football whizzed through the air toward the side of Graham’s head. Without taking his eyes off me, he caught it in one hand and threw a perfect spiral back in the general direction of his friends, somehow still hitting one of them squarely in the chest. It’ll be fun, Graham told me. You two can use this summer to practice world peace. You know. Get along.

A deep voice called Graham’s name, and a girl shrieked with laughter so loud it could be heard above the music.

Graham’s attention snapped back to the party. My ten seconds were over. Duty called.

C’mon. Tuck, Graham said. Everyone’s asking for you. And I’m not leaving you alone with Ellie and a flask of mystery liquid.

Mystery liquid? Tuck waved his flask in the air. This is thirty-year-old scotch!

Shh, Graham and I hissed in unison.

You realize the scotch is old enough to legally drink? I’m pretty sure that gives me some kind of immunity to local statutes. He nudged my shoulder. C’mon, Ells, you’ve got to start somewhere, and I promise it doesn’t get any better than this.

Graham’s smile faded as Tuck slipped the flask between my fingers.

She doesn’t want to, Graham said. You know she’s too young.

It didn’t matter that he was right about the first part. It only mattered that once again he was speaking for me. And being a huge hypocrite. Everyone knew that he and Tuck had been up to far worse when they were my age—Tuck was barely eleven months older than me. Plus, it wasn’t like he was legally old enough to drink either.

But before I could object, Graham had already charged forward, disappearing down the stairs. His golden head was a periscope marking his progress as he submerged into the sea of people below.

Tuck slipped the flask into his back pocket and started to follow, but hesitated on the second step.

You coming? he asked.

I shook my head.

Maybe that’s for the best, he said. If he was actually paying attention, Graham would realize how much he hates that dress.

What’s wrong with my dress? I demanded, flushing pink at the thought that maybe I’d looked ridiculous all day, especially during the two hours I’d greeted pretty much everyone at the door.

Nothing, he said, flashing me a grin that I felt ten feet below my toes. Let’s just say I won’t be the only guy who finds himself stopping to chat longer than he’d expected.

I had no idea what to say to that.

Fortunately, Tucker never gave anyone the chance to sneak in the last word. He was in motion before the words had even left his lips, slipping down the stairs and into Graham’s wake.

I retreated back through the sliding glass doors and into the cool shadows of the kitchen. From the windows overlooking the pool, I could watch Tuck weave his way through the party. Sure enough, a senior girl latched onto him like a tick. I was disappointed when he leaned in close and whispered something in her ear. Whatever he said made her laugh so hard that her face pinched up until she almost looked less pretty. Almost.

A full ten minutes elapsed, and I was still watching Tuck. I swear he talked to every girl there. Which was no small feat.

Clearly, flirting with me, or whatever it had been, was about as noteworthy in his day as breathing and walking upright. Not that I expected anything otherwise. It really should have been a relief. Especially since we’d be in close quarters if he was coming with us to Norway. The last thing we needed was my ridiculous imagination tagging along and making me feel awkward around him.

After loitering in the kitchen long enough that the same person had walked through twice to use the bathroom, I decided to make an attempt to be social. Plus, I knew there was no way Graham was paying attention to the dwindling food situation. I grabbed a tray of sandwiches and made my way down the stairs and into the melee.

Hold up. A guy I’d never seen before shifted in front of me. Assuming he was hungry, I extended the tray.

Want to sit with us? He motioned toward a group of unfamiliar faces clustered around a table.

There’s only one chair, I pointed out, because it was the first thing that popped into my head.

He nodded. Apparently he thought we’d be sharing it.

He had to be from a different school—someone Graham knew from one of the dozen or more after-school activities that had dazzled college admissions officers across the country. From the way that boy smiled at me, he had no idea who I was. Or what Graham would do to him if he tried to sleaze all over me. Not that it necessarily would have stopped someone who had so clearly drowned each and every one of his inhibitions.

Tempting, I said. But I’m busy.

What’s the hurry?

I hesitated. There was no hurry. There was no reason I couldn’t sit and talk to him and his friends. Graham would never know. Except when I turned and finally looked the boy squarely in the face, something in me sagged with disappointment. His eyes were glassy from a day of drinking in the sun, comparing unfavorably to the way Tuck was always sharp, even when you knew he shouldn’t be.

Want some help with that? The boy reached for the tray, misreading my hesitation.

No, thank you, I said, turning away. I’ve got it.

No, really, let me take it. He grabbed for the tray again.

Even though he was annoying and harmless, I started to get mad. At myself, for stopping to talk to him. At Graham, for making me second-guess and worry about every little thing I did. And at Tuck, for lighting my nerves on fire in the first place. I could feel my temper snapping, threatening to break free, when the boy’s other hand materialized on my hip.

Don’t touch me. My voice was unnecessarily harsh, even to my own ears. I turned to face him, startled by the vehemence of my reaction, by the force of my own anger. But at my words, an odd shadow settled across his face. His eyes were distant and cloudy, like a fog had drifted across his pupils. They weren’t just unfocused like they’d been earlier; instead, they were utterly empty. As I watched, his jaw fell slack and he bobbed on his feet, putting his full weight on my outstretched arm. The same arm that was supporting the tray.

For one terrible moment, I thought he would knock me and all the sandwiches right into the pool. But a steadying hand caught my elbow. The tray was lifted from my grasp. Can’t take you anywhere, Tuck said. Although I guess you had an equally incompetent assistant. Looks like I’m not the only one who appreciated that scotch.

I shifted my eyes toward the boy, hoping Tuck would catch my plea for help. And of course he did.

Tuck looked at him, a smirk on his face. Do me a favor and get a water from the cooler over there.

But the boy just stared at me blankly for a full count of five. There was something unnatural about his lingering, vacant stare; it sent a glacier of ice-cold fear sliding down my spine. Had my rebuff been so harsh that I’d made him catatonic? Or maybe he was slipping into some sort of alcohol-related coma? But just as my panic reached a fever pitch, he snapped back to life, blinking furiously as if waking from a deep sleep.

Sure, he said. That boy might not have known who I was, but everyone knew Tucker Halloway. Be right back, he added.

You came down, Tuck said to me. Are you staying, or are you catering? He grabbed a sandwich off the tray. Thanks, by the way. Famished.

Neither, I said, stepping away and deciding right then to just leave Tuck to deal with the tray of sandwiches if he was gonna be snide.

Don’t let that jerk chase you away, Tuck said, following me through the crowd. I’ll get rid of him.

Isn’t that what you just did? I stopped and turned to face him.

I mean for good. The alcohol on his breath was surprisingly sweet, as was the look in his gray eyes. But I wasn’t going to be tricked a second time.

I don’t want murder on my conscience, if that’s what you mean.

It’s not, Tuck said. Even I have my limits.

Good to know. Tucker Halloway’s limit is just shy of manslaughter, I said. Maybe we tie him up and stash him in the pantry instead?

Tuck laughed. Usually that would make me feel ten thousand feet tall. But even his smile wasn’t enough to shake off what had happened. The memory of the boy’s vacant face had triggered an ominous, jittery feeling in my limbs, and it was building by the second. I wanted more than anything to be alone, away from the party.

How about we tell him who you are? Tuck said. Unless you want an afternoon to be someone else. Graham’s too busy to play dad.

Ordinarily I might have considered his offer. Or at least paused to ponder what Tuck would exact from me in return. Tuck never sided against Graham.

But I was too confused and distracted to navigate whatever maze Tuck was coaxing me into. I shook my head, looking up to find Tuck watching me closely. Testing and quite possibly trapping me.

Did you notice anything weird about that guy a minute ago—about his eyes? I asked.

No, but I wasn’t the one gazing into them, Tuck replied. It was my prompt to smile, to play along. And when I missed it, he surveyed me like a surgeon deciding where to cut. You okay? Concern creased his forehead. You look weird right now. Did that guy do something to you? The edge in his voice was a reminder that as reckless as he sometimes appeared to be, Tuck was every bit as intense as Graham. Protective vibe and all.

Yes … I mean, no … I’m fine, I stammered, wanting to get away. For so many reasons. I—I left the oven on. I have to go.

Odd, given that none of the food I’ve seen requires heat. He arched one eyebrow but let me go without another word. Still, I knew he was following my every move as I wove through the party.

My feet felt far away as they carried me up the deck stairs and into the house. The boy’s white pupils filled my mind. As did the way his face had fallen slack, empty, as he tipped right into me.

Once in the safety of my room, with two inches of solid oak protecting me from the world outside, what had just happened was easier to rationalize. It wasn’t like I’d wanted to join the party in the first place, and while there, all I could do was worry about Graham and whether I’d embarrass him. Or if he’d humiliate me by acting like my parent. Last Friday night, he had dragged me to a party, only to kick me out a half hour before my curfew. In front of everyone.

Either way, it was starting to seem like a good thing that I was leaving for the summer. If I was hiding in my room during the party of the year, and quite possibly hallucinating, it was a sign I needed a break from all the chaos and pressure of Graham’s world. Eight weeks in Skavøpoll, Norway, would give me just that. Graham’s shadow couldn’t possibly reach all the way across the Atlantic—at least not until he arrived and took over that town, too. But I would have a week to myself before he’d join me, while he stayed home to complete the circuit of graduation parties. And even when he did get there, there was only so much excitement he could stir up.

After all, there was no quieter place in the world than Norway. Nothing ever happened there.


The trip to Norway was thirteen hours in the air, with a layover in Newark. After a cramped eight hours sandwiched between the tallest person I’d ever seen and the fattest, I arrived in Oslo. There I switched to yet another plane for the short flight to Bergen, where my grandmother would pick me up at the airport. By the time the

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47 évaluations / 17 Avis
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  • (4/5)
    I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love mythology based books and up until now that’s mostly been Greek mythology. With Valkyrie Rising I can now say expand that to include all sorts of mythology because I loved reading about the Valkyries, Odin and the stories of how everyone is tied together.I loved the characters though Ellie does have her moments where I was thinking “I can’t believe you just did something that dumb” but for the most part she was a fun heroine. Tuck was by far my favorite character. He was the popular, outgoing and yet sweet kind of guy that I would be head over heels over and we learn that he just may have a secret or two of his own that he’s hiding...Full review is posted at Debbie's World of Books.
  • (4/5)
    I'll admit that I chose Valkyrie Rising because I was looking for something a little bit different than what I had been reading. I was intrigued by the setting and definitely by the idea of the plot. The rich setting of Norway sounded like a perfect place to weave a tale. Plus I mean, Valkyries? Kick-ass female warriors? Yes please. I was ready to be wowed.

    It didn't take me long to totally adore Ellie, the main character. Constantly in the shadow of her older brother, Ellie is overprotected and unsure of herself. All she really wants is for something exciting to happen. Something new. She gets her wish! When the action picks up, and the Valkyries come into play, it's hard to stop reading. I loved watching Ellie discover her true self and couldn't help but root for her to embrace it.

    Oh, and the romance of course! I can't forget to share that. I won't spoil, but I will say that this was such a sweet build up. Slow, steady, and downright adorable. This is the type of love that grows and begs to be fulfilled. I found myself wanting to shake Ellie and let her know that the perfect guy was right in front of her if only she looked! I won't delve too far, since I want you to discover it for yourself, but it's so worth it.

    The setting was perfection, the plot was evenly paced, and to be honest I read through Valkyrie Rising so quickly that I was left wishing I had another book in my hands to follow it up with. It looks like this is shaping up to be a series, and I sincerely hope so! I found a lot to love in Ingrid Paulson's writing. This was a breath of fresh Norse air, and I can't wait for more.
  • (4/5)
    Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

    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.
  • (5/5)
    booknook — Young Adult book reviewsBefore Valkyrie Rising, I had never read a book about Norse mythology. This was the perfect book to introduce me!Valkyrie Rising is an action-packed, snarky romance that tell the story of Ellie—a girl who kicks some serious ass! Ellie is a fantastic main character. She's very easy to relate to and develops beautifully throughout the book. She starts out as a girl longing for her independence, but she doesn't really have the strength to do anything about it. But by the end of the book, she's fiercely independent, kicking serious ass, and really takes matters into her own hands. I LOVE HER!The romance in this book is phenomenal. Ellie and Tuck have terrific chemistry! They have some excellent sarcastic, playful banter that had me giggling with excitement! Their romance develops really slowly, which is awesome! No insta-love here! Tuck is made out to be a bit of a "grazer" when it comes to relationships, but we really see him change throughout the book. He's definitely a guy that will make you drool and swoon and all those other lovey-dovey verbs.Graham is the one really annoying character in the book, but he is the kind of guy you love to hate. I don't mind hating characters in books as long as it's intended and as long as the main character hates that person too. It only drives me crazy if the main character tolerates someone else's annoying horrible behaviour and doesn't do anything about it. Graham is a really overbearing and overprotective brother who drove me completely bonkers. But Ellie really despised his behaviour and one of the purposes of the book is Ellie striving to break free of Graham and start leading her own life and making her own decisions.Ingrid Paulson kept me engaged and loving the story from start to finish! The end of Valkyrie Rising in particular is packed with action, intensity, and super epic ass-kicking! I loved learning about the Norse mythology; it was such an easy world to fall into! Ultimately this is the story about a girl looking for independence and how one summer sets the stage for her to finally grasp it. It's definitely a coming of age story that a lot of people can relate to (despite the fantasy elements ;)).I highly recommend this book if you want a fun, heart-warming romance, a bit of sibling rivalry, and a strong heroine who really rocks the story!
  • (5/5)
    This is the best book I've ever read!!! If this author wrote another book i would definitely read it. It gives you a brief explanation of what Valkyries are and it also keeps you interested so you don't feel like your going to fall asleep. No doubt in my mind that it should be major selling book.
  • (4/5)
    Loved this book! Can't wait for the next book (hope there is one)! Would be nice if the goddess freyja appeared
  • (5/5)
    This book was simply a delight. The sweet romance that unraveled between Tuck and Elsa was adorable and funny. Best of all no love triangle...you have to love that. I recommend this book to all with flying vibrant colors!
  • (4/5)
    great read.
  • (5/5)
    Great book! Kept me interested the whole time. Finished it in 3 days. Would def. read another book by this author.
  • (4/5)
    Oooh, I really enjoyed this book! And after that synopsis how could you not expect to love it? Valkyrie Rising is an action packed novel that sucked me in and kept me in Norway until I finished the book... amazing! I am so excited to tell everyone about this book...

    The characters were nothing short of amazing. Ellie was a great and relatable (and sarcastic) character. I enjoyed reading the story from her perspective. Also, her brother, Graham was a vivid character who learns the some valuable lessons about being a big brother. Tuck, Graham's friend, was also pretty great. Astrid, an evil valkyrie in the beginning, was also fun to read about because her personality and traits were unique and vivid. I hope we see more of all these characters in the second book.

    Okay, Norse mythology. Kidnappings. Valkyries. What could be cooler? This novel definitely had a plot to die for. The audience will never be bored, or at least I never was, with all the end-of-your-seat action. I think I read this in half the airplane ride. (P.S This is fun to read on a plane because then you can pretend to be going to Norway!)

    There were several "plots" (I may be using this term loosely.) One was about the kidnapping of young men in the Norwedgian fishing village. Another one was the war including the gods. There was the part where Ellie tries to figure out some family secrets, and what she is. And finally, there was the romance between Ellie and Tuck, plus the relationship between Ellie and Graham. All these "plots" joined together to make an awesome story!

    The conclusion solves most everything and there was no cliff-hanger, which I liked. However, there is definitely room for more books in the series. And I hope the second one comes out soon! I want more gods, goddesses, valkyries, and action! What will happen next in the war of the gods?

    Overall, Valkyrie Rising was an epic read. Fans of mythology, action, and romance will love whipping through the novel like I did.

    4.5/5 bookcases
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed this book, but I would have liked more character development.
  • (4/5)
    Recommended The story starts at Graham’s 18th birthday party, with most of the school being at Graham and Ellie’s house. Ellie (Else) is watching everything from her balcony, not really feeling like part of the group. As the school year comes to an end, Ellie, Graham and Tucker (Graham’s best friend) go to Norway for the summer. Ellie has been to Norway many times to visit her grandmother, but this time things are different. Ellie is scorned by the townspeople and pursued by a cute Norwegian boy named Kjell. Young men are disappearing from town and the townspeople blame Ellie and her Grandmother. Soon, a centuries old war between Loki, Odin and the Valkyries surface in modern day Norway. Ellie discovers her true self and eventually falls in love.One of the first things to catch the readers’ attention in this book are the references to Norse mythology. I think that was a unique aspect to this paranormal romance. Many of the references to Loki, Odin, Valhalla and the Valkyries stay true to the original stories, but are set in today’s society. I like the name of the town the story was set in, Skavøpoll. The description of the country, the fjords and the night sky brought Norway to life for the reader. Some of the professional reviews seem to be lukewarm, but I really enjoyed the story. The female characters were strong and independent; the mythology was nicely woven into a contemporary setting. The dialogue was fast paced, with just enough mystery to make the reader want to finish the book.I think this book is appropriate for a school library. It has some underage drinking, but it’s very tame and I don’t see anything objectionable about it. I think the book could be used as supplemental reading for a mythology course. A school librarian could make a display of contemporary mythology stories to go along with a literature unit on mythology, if they don’t have time to do it in the classroom. It would also be a great contemporary YA novel to go along with a Norway book display mixing fiction and non-fiction. I would also recommend it to high school and public library teen book clubs.
  • (4/5)
    This book saved me from a month and a half of being able to find something worth reading! It was quick to start and quickly paced so I was always anticipating what was next rather than struggling through. At the same time, I was looking for a bit more filler and detail! I absolutely adore Tuck and I am sure that is the reason why so many will enjoy this book. The relationship between Elsa and Tuck is FUN! I enjoy the approach of the big bro's best friend/ lil sister attraction. It certainly more refreshing than the insta-love many YA novels produce. I also thought the outside-the-box but still paranormal/fantasy storyline of this book was awesome. It was great to find something refreshing and new inside the genre that I love so much. I hope for sequels but I am ok without as well. A good book all around and definitely enjoyable!
  • (4/5)
    Valkyrie Rising is a sweet and fun romance with a mythological twist. Paulson expands on Norse mythology, which is a refreshing change from the typical Greek mythology fare. The characters are well-developed, the plot is intriguing, and the romance is sweet. This is a terrific light read, and I can't wait for the sequel. Paulson is one of few YA authors who experiments with Norse mythology. I know that Estep plays around with all mythologies, Norse included, but Paulson focuses only on the Norse stories. The result is a group of valkyries who are in the middle of a war between gods. In this novel, I got to know Loki differently (I only knew of him as the ultimate bad guy in the Mythos Academy series), and Odin, who is in charge of the valkyries, was also a prevalent force throughout the book. Paulson didn't explain enough about the mythology, in my opinion, but I still understood what was going on. I would have liked more world-building, though. More than anything, Valkyrie Rising is a bildungsroman (coming of age story), and Ellie embodies this. Yes, she is a bit bratty at times, and she also struggles to assert herself, but to me that just made the story more realistic. Everyone grapples with these issues. No one knows how to be strong without being bratty at first. It's something that we learn as we go, and I think that Paulson did an excellent job of showing that. Ellie really grows into her own, but she's not finished yet. I can't wait to see how she changes in the next book. The secondary characters were all realistic and likable, though I would have liked to have gotten to know more about them. I really loved Tuck, and I'm glad I got to see so much of him. I would have liked more interaction with Graham, Grandmother, and Kjell, though. Maybe in the next novel. Tuck is an interesting character, and I hope to learn even more about him in the sequel. The plot was intriguing and unique. Most of the book took place in Norway, and since I have always wanted to visit Norway, I loved that. The story was a bit mysterious, though I figured out what was going on pretty quickly. The plot was suspenseful, though. I really didn't know what would happen next for most of the book. Also, Tuck spiced things up. Not only was there no insta-love because Tuck and Ellie had known each other forever, but he was also a shifty guy. He seemed sort of like a trickster figure, and I liked that. He really kept me on my toes throughout the whole book. The ending tied up all of the problems in this story nicely, but left room for a sequel. No cliffhangers, thankfully. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes light paranormal romance stories. It's a fun book, and I love Paulson's take on Norse mythology.
  • (3/5)
    Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyNorse Mythology, beautiful and deadly Valkyries, and teen romance blend together in Ingrid Paulson’s VALKYRIE RISING. There’s a slow building mystery involving the abduction of teenage guys, a sweet if not especially exciting love interest, and an action packed showdown between members of the Norse Pantheon.Ellie was a really level headed protagonist. Between her older brother’s constant overprotectivenes and Tuck’s teasing flirting, Ellie is quick to loose her temper, but just as quick to cool back down and apologize when needed. She’s also not afraid to confront people in her life when they have information she needs. These characteristics helped make her Valkyrie nature all the more believable as she began discovering who she was.As the best friend of her brother, Tuck was the guy Ellie could never let herself fall for. I didn’t exactly see what made him so desirable apart from his ‘killer smiles.’ He seemed to toy with Ellie’s emotions, and lacked enough backbone to tell her brother he was interested. I was hoping for something more in a love interest. I did like that Ellie didn’t get all hot and bothered by the other gorgeous guy who was interested in her. He came on way too strong and totally freaked her out.All in all, I loved the Norse mythology involved in VALKYRIE RISING, especially the trickster god Loki, and Ellie’s transformation from semi-invisible teen girl to save the town warrior Valkyrie was a lot of fun. But the romance was never that exciting or surprising and the mystery didn’t end up being as thrilling as it could have been given the source material. The ending does tie up most of the loose threads while still leaving room for a sequel. Given the growth of Ellie and the challenges that await her as a budding Valkyrie, I’d be interested in reading more.Sexual Content:Kissing
  • (5/5)
    Why aren't there more books like this out there? Amazing, fantastic, off the grid, blow your mama's mind story!!!! After reading this, I am thoroughly impressed :)The best part about this story is the plot. I love the idea of a teenage girl, over-protected, secretly loved, and totally clueless as to who she really is. Within the first few paragraphs, I found myself easing into Ellie shoes like butter. Her personality is one that the reader just wants to help change. She has been so overlooked you can't help but look right at her and know that there is something special.The characters in the story play some important roles in her life. Some big while others small. I enjoyed watching each characters spark life in Ellie one by one. They made her strong and confident. While she was down, they picked her up and gave her something to fight for. There were a few surprises that left me quite shocked. Half-way through the book, I was certain that I had it all figured it out, but the towards the end the author played me good. Nicely done!Of course with a powerful leading lady there is a love interest of a life time. It never ceases to amaze me that the love of your life in right in front of you the whole time. All you have to do it see it. And yes she does. It's take some time, which I like cause it gives the reader the feel of passion and love that they have for each other. It's not rushed nor childish, instead it's a yearning love that is begging to be quenched.Valkyrie Rising is an amazing book! Well told from the first line of the story to the ending, once I step in I was consumed. Valkyrie Rising brings back everything that is good in the book. Awesome plot, well-developed characters, with a powerful history, it rises to top. Well crafted, Valkyrie Rising is a story worth re-visiting.
  • (3/5)
    I have always loved the classic myths surrounding the Valkyries, a little known group of flying horse-riding warrior women whose job is to guide heroes to the afterlife. It sounds so simple (and somewhat grim reaper-like), but there's something about it that's compelling. I loved the Valkyries so much that I devoted an entire project to them in one of my college classes and read just about every source text (which isn't that much) about them. The main thing I found is that they are blonde warrior women beholden to Odin.So it's not surprising that I was drawn to Ingrid Paulson's Valkyrie Rising. Here, young Ellie is visiting her grandmother in Norway with her oh-so-perfect and very-popular-with-locals brother Graham. Life seemed to be slow and dull for Ellie in Norway until boys started disappearing, mostly Graham's friends -and even Graham himself. Fueled with the need to find her brother, Ellie finds that she's descended from a long line of mythical woman warriors and it's here destiny to take her place as a warrior.Okay, on the surface this book looks awesome: Valkyries, warriors, girl characters who kick butt, but it nearly really seemed to get there for me. The writing is straightforward, but lacking in detail and crispness. Ellie, for all her kick-butt greatness and occasional witty comes, just never leaped off the page for me. She just read as a one-dimensional character with little motivation -only to do things because they must advance the plot. And speaking of the plot, Valkyrie Rising had so much potential, but it was just stuck in first gear. It just never engaged for me because everything was so darn predictable. No twists, no turns, just a very expected coming-of-age/training/romance-y/supernatural-ish story. Nothing new, nothing all that compelling. I just wish there was more here to interest me, but I just got bored.Perhaps my hopes were too high for this when I saw the word "Valkyrie," but this book just falls short.