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Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie) Paperback – January 2, 2018
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About the Author
Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.
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Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking is the first in her Valkyrie duology. This book was all action with a little romance which made it a fast read despite its size. My favorite part of the book though was the blending of urban contemporary with Norse mythology. It’s not a common thing in YA fantasy and I loved seeing it here. Amanda Hocking did a fantastic job of taking the mythology and interweaving it with today’s world. Following Malin, a young Valkyrie in training, Between the Blade and the Heart brings into question the choice of free will and the guiding hand of fate.
Malin was an interesting character to say the least. At 19 she is attending college as she completes her Valkyrie training. She feels she was destined to be a Valkyrie, nothing else feels right in her life except the returning of immortals when deemed by the gods. Returning is a nice word for killing….just fyi 😉 She strives for the approval of her mother who has never been a kind woman. But when Malin discovers that her infallible mother made a choice to spare an immortal destined to die, everything Malin thought she knew comes into question. Her life is thrown off balance by this one choice and now she must correct it if she is going to save the world.
But as much as I liked Malin, I loved Asher. Asher is the son of a Valkyrie who was killed by the immortal Malin’s mother neglected to return. Asher is out for revenge and that starts with finding out why Malin’s mother spared this immortal. Despite this need for revenge, he is kind, level headed, and shows Malin that not all Valkyries are as cruel as her mother can be.
The main plot follows Malin and her new found friend as they track down this immortal. But the deeper they go, the more they realize there is more at stake than correcting a wrong. The entire world hangs in the balance. The action is interspersed with the answers Malin seeks and I found myself engrossed. My only complaint about the story was the romance. Malin is bisexual and her ex is also a Valkyrie. Now according to the book they’ve been apart for six months when Asher enters the scene. Malin spends her time kissing both in the book and I didn’t care for that. It was a love triangle that only Malin knew she was in….does that make sense? I felt it brought unnecessary drama to the an already action-packed, dramatic plot.
Overall Between the Blade and the Heart was just okay for me. As much as I loved the interweaving of contemporary and mythology, it couldn’t carry the book. The world-building while fantastic was hard to follow. To be honest the book would benefit from having a glossary in the back because there are so many names for demons, cities, ruling parties, etc. that I found myself flipping back trying to figure out who was who. And as I already mentioned the annoying triangle I won’t go into that again. Despite the negative though I plan to read the next book because I am invested in the characters and need to know what will happen next….especially after that bombshell ending. If you enjoy urban mythology, a little romance and a lot of action, you should check out this book.
Malin knew that the life of a Valkyrie wasn’t an easy one. Returning immortals to the underworld was challenging more often than not and even dangerous on occasion. It was also a lonely existence – the job didn’t allow for much time for friends, being hated or feared by immortals meant there weren’t many options for friends even if there was time, and not being able to fall in love made for a lot of empty and pointless relationships.
But still she couldn’t imagine becoming anything but a Valkyrie. It was in her blood. It was her destiny. She never felt more alive than when she was wielding her sword and sending the chosen immortal back to where they belonged.
She never questioned her orders. She never wondered how her assignments were chosen. She never hesitated to do her job and keep the balance. Not until things start to go wrong and she discovers that the person she trusts most has been keeping a dark secret that could change everything she believes in.
Amanda Hocking created a world that is imaginative, dark and dangerous, and utterly fascinating – where mortals and immortals live side-by-side, in a fragile balance enforced by the Valkyries. She chose a setting for the bulk of her story that is gritty and decaying and seedy and a little bit sexy. She introduced a wide variety of beings from Norse – and other – mythology and folklore. And she gave readers characters who are captivating and intriguing and unusual and appealing.
BETWEEN THE BLADE AND THE HEART has action and romance and mystery and suspense. It has drama and heartbreak and humor and intrigue. It has heat. It has adventure. It has battles aplenty. And it has one adorable wolpertinger named Bowie. All of which make for an absolutely gripping and wildly entertaining must-read.
Most recent customer reviews
Review I really liked this book! There were a few parts in the beginning that dragged a little bit, but overall I had such a good time with this book.Read more
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: Wednesday Books, 2018 (Jan 2)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Mythology