My rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ of 5!
As a Dane I’m always very sceptical when non-native authors take on the Norse mythology.
Why? Well more often than not it results in the myths I grew up on gets butchered. This happens with films and books all the time. And entertainment aside, it makes hard for me to get submerged in the story when I keep thinking “that’s not how he should look”. Yes, I’m talking about Chris Hemsworth. Fine as he is (and that man is really fine), the Thor I know is a red head so his blonde locks look all wrong!
That’s why I have to give massive kudos to Eva Chase for staying true to the old myths, whilst daring to put her own spin on it. For me Eva has pretty much nailed the characterisation of the five gods we meet:
- Freya – Goddess of Love & War
- Thor – God of Thunder
- Baldur – God of Light
- Hod – God of Darkness
- Loki – “God” of Mischief
Eva even stays somewhat true to the myths by acknowledging that Loki isn’t a god, he’s an ice giant. But as Odin’s blood brother, he became the god of mischief – which he managed quite well. What she has changed up a little is their family relation. Thor is correctly the elder son of Odin, however, Baldur and Hod are twins in this book, making their powers more of a balance.
What I found particularly interesting in the way Eva has changed things up, is Freya. Frigg is well known for being Odin’s wife, however, if you look closely at the Norse Mythology, their powers are almost the same and since Frigg is an Aesir and Freya originally of Vanir, some have speculated that they might be one and the same – which makes Eva’s take even more interesting.
In this story we learn that after Ragnarok these five gods came back to Midgard, whilst Odin went about doing his own thing, but now they cannot find the Alfather. Unfortunately, they can’t return to Asgard without him, so they decide to pull their resources together to create Valkyries, that can help track him down. The first two Valkyries are noble and selfless, however, this time around that doesn’t seem to be what they need, as the Valkyries disappear. Loki manages to convinces the other gods that desperate times call for desperate measures, and they need someone who can survive and adapt. Basically, someone who’s more like him.
When Ari dies, they grab her soul and make her a Valkyrie.
“I’d like to tell you that I died in epic fashion, guns blazing in the middle of a vast street brawl, or at least something scandalously hot, like falling off a balcony during the most incredible sex of my life. The truth? My death was cringingly mundane.”
As my vision shrank to a pinhole and the light contracted with it, I had enough consciousness left to think, Fucking jackass and his fucking jackass jeep.
Ari is definitely a far cry from the noble she-warriors of Odin, who decided amongst fallen men, which ones would be feasting to Valhalla, and which wouldn’t – but Ari might be exactly what they need!
By creating Ari, she and the gods share some kind of bond. This is typical for this genre and can get a bit tiresome at times. So what I particularly enjoyed is that we’re not talking about love at first sight. Hell, even though she does “get it on” with one of the gods, it’s towards the end so we’re not even dealing with lust at first sight. And I loved the change!
Besides from the gods we also meet one of Odin’s legendary raven’s.
“It’s been a long time.”
The Raven woman gave me a smile that recalled the angles of her beak.
“It’s been a while,” Muninn agreed.
Personally, I love the characters. I think it’s very interesting that Eva chose these five, considering how much history there is between each of them. (Like how Loki tricked Hod into killing Baldur with the mistletoe, which was basically, one of the first steps towards Ragnarok). However, it seems that with the many, many years they’ve spent together in Midgard, they’ve learned to co-exist and even managed to build, at least a little, trust between them. But even so, it’s clear from Eva’s writing that the old wounds haven’t completely healed, so we might hear more about this later on.
Ari has to be one of the most awesome female leads I’ve read about lately. Her upbringing was harsh and filled with neglect, which unfortunately seem to be the new black for Reverse Harem heroines. However, Eva manages to walk the line perfectly. Ari is not controlled by the demons in her past, and she doesn’t demand that the plot bends over backwards to fit her whims. If anything she’s the one who’s bending. And I love that Ari is staying true to her character, whilst the world she thought she knew, gets turned upside down.
I’ve heard through the grapevines (actually, right from Eva Chase) that the next book should be out in July and I for one am counting the days for the next instalment in the “Their Dark Valkyrie” series.
Have you read the book? Thinking about reading it? Please comment and let me know.