New elements such as the isolated Norway backdrop and the coldly
beautiful Valkyries add a fresh touch. Teen girls will empathize
with Elsa's feelings of unsure independence and
Readers who like a strong, talented heroine who can save the day but still lose her heart to a roguish equal, in the spirit of Cashore's Graceling and Melling's The Chronicles of Faerie, will find much to enjoy in this complex, clever fantasy.--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Gr 6-10-Sixteen-year-old Ellie is used to being an outsider: she's blond, statuesque, and Graham Overholt's little sister-no guys dare get too friendly with her as long as the golden boy, high school sports star is watching. Normally her visits to her grandmother in Norway are different. She blends in with the locals and everyone is typically friendly. But not this summer. Instead, she is greeted with suspicion and even hostility. Young men have been disappearing at an alarming rate, and a ridiculous-sounding rumor has begun that these vanishings are the work of Valkyries: beautiful women from mythology who were seen around battlefields gathering the souls of young men for Odin's army of the undead in Valhalla. Ellie would think the rumor was ridiculous, too, except she's seen the strong, beautiful women who've appeared in the clubs just before some men have gone missing, and suddenly her grandmother is acting strange as well. To complicate matters, Graham's infuriating and irresistibly handsome best friend has also come to Norway. What Ellie doesn't know is that Tuck has a secret, and it might save or doom the young men of the village. With guest appearances from Odin, Loki, and even the Morrigan, the plot in this creatively imagined but incompletely executed book creeps along for the first half, then struggles to gain its footing as Ellie accepts who she is and what she is up against. If readers ignore the flat characters and stick with the book to the end, they will be rewarded with a thrilling climax where the mythological characters intersect and become better realized.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.