Series review: The Ragnarok Prophesies by A.K. Morgen
Book 1 Fade
When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She's forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him. When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels.
Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophesy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.
Available on Amazon.com: Fade (The Ragnarok Prophesies, Book One)
WOW. At first glance this may appear to be the typical plot line that Twilight feeds from in that a troubled teenage girl falls in love with a young lad who has a dark secret to hide but they are both drawn to each other like magnets. As they both discover more about each other through a series of sometimes dangerous and mysteriously powerful encounters they both accept that their passion for each other can not be extinguished and so must learn how to love each other without going insane.
Yet as their love finally kindles even more mindblowing secerets are revealed in each, opening their eyes to how much they are connected to each other and in ways unimaginable. Their very connection, let alone their very existence together as a couple, will be part of an ever expanding mythological puzzle that unless solved quickly and by them alone will not only endanger some of their close friends (who hide their own secrets) but perhaps the future existence of mankind itself.
This has all the power and seduction of Twilight packed with the drama and tension of Trueblood. Nothing and no-one is what they appear in this book and with each chapter you are more drawn in and captivated by what is unfolding. This is a truly envigorating twist on the Ragnarok myth with characters never before used in such a manner and I dare say A K Morgen is a genius for it. Without giving too much away if you are a reader who not only likes norse mythology but loves wolves then this is a book for you. It has the powerful bite of a wolf but is as hypnotically gripping as a wolf's eyes. I am so delighted this seems to be part of a series and I desperately await the next book.
Book 2: Fall
How do you save someone who doesn't want to be saved? Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren't strong enough to stop it. Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared. It's up to Arionna to stop him before it's too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self destruction. This time, Arionna isn't sure she can save him from himself. Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?
Available on Amazon.com: Fall (the Ragnarok Prophesies, Book Two)
You know its a truly gripping and enjoyable book when you finish in under 3 days and shun other books due it. That is how amazingly amazing Fall was. Fade was spectacular but Fall was AWESOME!
We finally learn the aftermath and indeed the aftershocks of the Hati attack on Arionna and the emotional bomb that Dace has turned into with worry and fear. Leaving a lot of mistrust and simmering frustration between the two of them which causes a truly heart breaking decision for Arionna. As they both struggle with the truth of their situation and the rising costs and consequences of their actions or in-action.
Dace does feature prominently in the first half but over time and due to plot twists he takes a step back, never completely gone and in his place steps Ronan the very raven-like personification of Hugnin. Or is it Mugnin? And through an adventure or two, we, alongside Arionna, discover more about his character, why he is the way he is and have to make up our own minds whether he is a good guy or a bad guy. Or neither. He is quite a conundrum character - you think you know him and then he does or says something that makes you rethink all over again.
Fall is purely about character dilemmas and there are few secrets both nordic and personal that pop up within each chapter to keep us on our the edge of seats. And although it may seem at first glance after reading that not a lot over all happens to be honest it doesn't matter. The entire book opened up a deeper sense of empathy between us and the characters. The entire journey through the plot felt like a burning fuse wire endlessly leading us on and making us anticipate the explosion to come and you need to wear safety goggles, bullet proof vest and maybe some plate armour to protect you from the nuclear sized explosion that is triggered in those final few pages. If some readers found Fall at all slow then surely even they appreciate it as a worthy build up to an epic climactic end that leaves us all breathless and dying to know what happens next. Book 3 will have a tidal wave of anticipation for it.
Book 3: Flame
Who do you trust when betrayal threatens to destroy everything you hold dear?
When Arionna Jacobs fled town in a desperate bid to save Dace Matthews, she never expected the chaos she would leave in her wake. Now her closest friend is dead, and another is missing, forcing Ari to return to face the devastating consequences of her actions and the broken boy she left behind.
Her problems are only just beginning. Even as her bond with Dace grows stronger, Arionna finds herself weakening when Freki's cage shatters. Fighting the wolf for control is tearing her apart piece by piece. And at every turn, she finds that those she's put her faith in aren't who they seem, bringing her face to face with SkOll and Hati. As the depth of their betrayal is revealed, Freki spirals out of control, and Arionna must face her greatest fear: losing herself to the fierce wolf within.
The world balances on the edge of a blade, and one wrong move will destroy it all. With few allies she can trust and little choice left, Arionna must decide between the lives of her friends and her own future with the alpha she loves. Will she be able to stand firm for the sake of the world, or will she falter in the face of defeat?
Available on Amazon.com: Flame (the Ragnarok Prophesies, Book Three)
I started reading this many months after Fall and so I did have to trawl my memory to remind who is who, who is good and bad, each time a name was mentioned. Of course I couldn't ever forget Arionna and Dace and their two kindred wolf spirit/souls Geri and Freki. Their evolving relationship between each other and between their wolves made such a huge impact on me emotionally and psychologically during the first two books Fade and Fall.
This book I think, after reading it, feels shorter than the previous two but each piece of drama and action is highly intense. Plus there is a strong focus on trust, loyalty, lies and secrets in this third book. Both between Dace and Arionna but also amongst their small group of friend and family, semi-human and shifter alike, but also amongst their enemies as hidden agendas and true identities are revealed - not least of all that of Hati and Skol - the eternal enemies of Geri and Freki.
The danger gets closer to Dace and Arionna than either had predicted and proves their worst fears - that there is no safety for either of them and that they are incredibly unprepared for defending let along attacking the enemy and preventing Ragnarok.
There is also danger on an individual level from within as Arionna struggles to form a bond with Freki to make her strong enough to survive any attack without relying on Dace and Geri. But her human health is compromised with each new connection, leaving her more vulnerable despite the cost.
In the end a two-pronged attack is launched by their pair and their few remaining allies and although a minor victory is won - the sacrifice required to gain is one the reader will never see coming.
It leaves an ending that isn't in fact the final conclusion and I for one sincerely hope that A K Morgen continues to write out this stunning piece of Norse fantasy. I just hope it doesn't take too long for Book 4 to appear as I will most certainly not take so long to read it with this jaw-dropping cliff-hanger leaving me gasping for more.
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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