Book review - Norse Code by Greg Van Eekhout
review by Rebecca Wilson
Norse Code by Greg Van Eekhout
Is this Ragnarok, or just California?
The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a valkyrie in the Norse god's army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist's job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world-and to kill those who refuse to fight.
But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans.
Journeying across a chaotic American landscape already degenerating into violence and madness, Mist hopes to find her way to Helheim, the land of the dead, to rescue her murdered sister from death's clutches. To do so, she'll need the help of Hermod, a Norse god bumming around Los Angeles with troubles of his own. Together they find themselves drafted into a higher cause, trying to do what fate long ago deemed could not be done: save the world of man. For even if myths aren't made to be broken, it can't hurt to go down fighting.can it?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This books is a brilliant portrayal of the world of the old Norse Gods clashing and interacting with our modern secular one and it cleverly brings you into this mix of realms with the character who only became deceased and turned Valkyrie 3 months ago. It also focuses not on the greater known gods like Odin, Thor and Loki although they are involved in the overall adventure but on the more minor and genuinely more interesting characters of this pantheon of Hermod, a small wandering God and of course my all time favourite - Valkyries.
The story revolves around the impending doom of Ragnarok, Hermod's bitter luck after failing to bring Baldur back from the dead clutches of Hel and Mist (formermly human deceased) a relatively new and modern valkyrie who actually resists the role she has been given in exitsence to try and rescue her sister also from Hel's domain.
The characters are brilliant to relate to and the rising chaos in the world (set in America) really helps invision what Ragnarok would be like if it occured in our modern world.
The ending of the over all book is very unique and although it goes against the very mythology involved it actually suits it for the Gods like the viking people who worshipped them are anything if not survivors.
It is a great novel (albeit it small) to read for fans of vikings, norse mythology and urban/paranormal fantasy.
As a writer trying to write a story using the same range of characters (not exactly the same characters in this one) and also setting such an old faith in a modern world I was pleasently impressed to see how well it would actually work and how easy the reader would except if it makes a good story that grips you from chapter to chapter. Hopefully one day there will be room in the literary world for Valkyries and these great old gods, characters of legends and myths to overcome the firm base of Vampires and the growing presence of Angels in young adult novels.
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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