Author: Kate O’Hearn
Series: Valkyrie #1
Freya is the youngest Valkyrie, finally come of age. But she’s never felt right about taking her place among the rest of the Valkyries. She hates the evils of war, and the thought of rewarding those who fight well in them, and the pointlessness of the eternal lives those warriors enjoy in Asgard. But when a promise to a dying soldier and a conversation with Loki leads to her exploring the human world, she quickly becomes embroiled in an entirely foreign set of circumstances. War she understands, but human school?
I liked how this played out. Freya’s immaturity and insecurity make her a very relatable Valkyrie, yet she’s got a full set of equipment, skills, and magic to make her every bit the deadly warrior her kind is supposed to be. I adored the scenes with flying. As the cover image shows, Freya has wings, and she also has a winged horse that she’s supposed to ride into battle. I also liked the way her unrelenting hatred of humans starts softening once she sees that there really are more dimensions to people than what she’s seen in war. She’s just never had exposure to anything like a normal human life before.
The myths and everyday life mix well at first, and although I do very much like some things about the ending, the blend felt off-balance at the end. Odin is far too willing to trust Loki, who has betrayed him numerous times by now, and calls up forces mighty enough that he really ought to think twice. (Not that I’m objecting to Chicago getting wrecked for once instead of certain other cities that are always featured in books.) I don’t suppose Odin needs to worry about cameras and evidence, but there is a certain level of care taken early on by everyone to remain hidden from humanity, that the ending just doesn’t care about. What about the consequences? One lone Valkyrie moonlighting as a force of justice can be somewhat explained away to the public consciousness, but given the wreckage caused by that last battle, the world would have a tremendous shift towards believing the old Norse legends again.
Anyway, overall it was still a fun story, and even if the end gives Freya a little bit more leeway than she probably ought to have, it’s better to have a happy ending. I rate this book Recommended.