Series review: Valkyrie by Kate O'Hearn
Book 1: Valkyrie
Freya is dreading turning fourteen - that marks the official end of her childhood and when she takes up full duties of a Valkyrie - an angel of death and collector of souls from humanity's battlefields. But Freya is unlike any other Valkyrie. She doesn't want to follow in the footsteps of the legends before her. As she observes from Asgard, she tries to understand what it is to be human: to make friends with girls her own age and laugh with boys, without the fear of causing their death with one touch. Little does she know that her dreams will soon be realized: on her first battlefield mission, Freya reaps the soul of a soldier with unfinished business that will send her to the human world on a deadly quest. And there she must battle both ordinary and extraordinary enemies to create a new VALKYRIE legend. 'Kate O'Hearn serves up a winning mix of modern adventure and classic fantasy.' Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson
Available on Amazon.com: Valkyrie
Valkyrie is written very much for young readers but it still resonates with the inner child in adults as it recalls moments of childhood and the turbulent years of being a teenager and trying to find our own identity as well as learning that the world isn't as innocent and nice as we thought it was.
The mythological world Kate creates for her Valkyries is rich in it's own culture with a great social structure and I am very impressed with the orginality and uniqueness she has brought to the Valkryies themselves as beings in their own right but also through to the way they do their job of collectings warriors for Odin's army.
It is a great, pacey, action packed and thrilling story which speaks about the truth of of fighting for and defending what's right such as friendship, love, family. Even when the whole world may be set against you and even if you may suffer because of it.
All is shown through the great cast of characters demonstrating some of the failings in ourselves as humans but also as part of the society we live in. Such as a drunk disappearing mother, a bully who refuses to say sorry or stop going to the extreme for the sake of cruelty, a kid who is homeless, a boy who still dreams of becoming a hair-dresser even though his home situation pulls him back. But it shows the goodness in us all like the windowcleaner who is prepared to adopt threatened children, the female lawyer prepared to take on big corrupt development firms, the police who are prepared to take on drug gangs, the friends who will risk their lives for friends.
Book 2: Valkyrie the Runaway
In the world of Asgard, living among Odin, Thor and Loki are the Valkyries of legend. Norse goddesses, reapers of souls from human battlefields - they have the power to cause death with just one touch. Fourteen-year-old Freya is a Valkyrie - but she has not followed in the footsteps of the legends before her. She has been to the World of Man to befriend humans - and not to reap their souls. Now she must return to the World of Man on a new quest to track down the runaway Valkyrie of legend. There she will discover a dark secret that leads her to the Land of the Frost Giants where she must take on new enemies. But this time she has friends to rely on, and lots more to gain. Enter a new Valkyrie legend ...'Kate O'Hearn serves up a winning mix of modern adventure and classic fantasy.' Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson
Available on Amazon.com: The Runaway (Valkyrie)
Oh My Word. Kate O'Hearn has OFFICIALLY joined the ranks of my favourite and super exciting and refreshing Valkyrie authors with this first class sequel to Valkyrie. The characters we loved in the first book are back to face even more danger, experience even more adventure, discover even more secrets and teach us as readers even more powerful lessons so simple and beautiful that connect to us all as humans.
Whereas Valkyrie 1 explored the issues of bullying and social family collapse with Archie's alcoholic mother - Valkyrie The Runaway expands into the wider and deeper value of family whether blood or not. I won't say any more as it is a key part of the excellent gripping plot that had me dedicate many hugely enjoyable hours doing nothing but reading chapter after chapter. And that is the real magic of Kate's writing is that although I am an adult I am enchanted and hooked on the story as much as any young child or teenager would be. Her Valkyrie books each have so much for everyone of all ages and gender.
This sequel is truly fantastic and raises the bar even higher for these fab characters and the world they live in. And as Book 2 has raised the bar higher than first expected I can guarantee that Book 3 will literally be a world changer for readers and characters alike.
If you or a young sibling or relative have any interest in Norse Mythology then I insist you read Valkyrie & Valkyrie: The Runaway asap.
Book 3: Valkyrie War of the Realms
Available on Amazon.com: Valkyrie War of the Realms
WOW! The first book was exciting. The second book was thrilling. Now this final and third book should come with a warning that there will be jaw-drops, heart break, stomach punches and the occasional chuckle. Sooo much happens and it truly is an epic finale that befits and honours all the adventures Freya had before the impeding danger of Ragnarok.
I really enjoyed following the adventures of not just Freya but also so many other characters.
Kate has become a master of working with Norse Mythology in all aspects and characters. She has kept the traditional essence but given it new energy and created a superb set of stories that are enjoyable for all ages from the first line to the last.
I will honestly miss this Norse fantasy world and its fantastic characters.
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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