Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie #1) by Amanda Hocking

betweenAs one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. The balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

As Malin wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought, she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue-eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. Malin, along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend, must decide where her loyalties lie…and whether helping Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and to her heart.

So, the above is the synopsis for Between the Blade and the Heart taken directly from the Goodreads page.  Now, I don’t normally just cut and paste the blurb – this isn’t a judgement by the way – everyone writes reviews following their own preferred style and I normally try to give a brief synopsis in my own words.  Mainly because I want to write my own interpretation of the plot.  But the reason I’ve changed my style a little is twofold.

Firstly, this book didn’t really work for me but, I can’t deny that it was a great idea – Odin’s Valkyries – oh yes, I am there for that.  And, this book is undoubtedly action packed and fast paced – and I think you can pick up from the synopsis that the story will be that sort of style, urban fantasy, plenty of characters and action.

Secondly, there was a love triangle, this is the main reason why I’ve used the publisher’s blurb – if you read this it’s patently obvious that not only will this book involve romance but there will more than likely be a love triangle.  Why then, given that romance and love triangles are not really my preference, did I pick this up?  Odin’s Valkyries  – right thereyou got me.  I read that and was totally blindsided.  Basically, what I’m trying to say is that although this didn’t work for me I think I have to own that I chose a book that was always going to have to work hard to win me over.  I was just caught, like a fish on a hook, by the thought of reading some Norse mythology and didn’t really read the description properly. My bad.

All that being out of the way I’m not going to go into too much further detail.

The idea of the Valkyries is that they’re a little like the Grim Reaper of the Immortals. Basically when your time is up, and I’m not sure how it’s decided they appear for you and it’s ‘curtains’.  Seems a bit harsh really doesn’t it.  In one respect you can’t just have more and more immortals populating the planet, it just wouldn’t be good would it, but, the idea of somebody appearing with their sword and saying ‘your number’s up mate’ does seem a bit of a crazy way of doing things.  Clearly, most of the supernaturals who receive a visit from their own angel of death are less than pleased, some beg and plead, some run, some fight.  Consequently, as you may be able to imagine the Valkyries are not terribly popular.  There is however an underlying theme to the book which is all about fate and choices, whether everything is predestined or whether there is free will, and this aspect feeds into the plot.  Malin’s mother, who has been one tough cookie to deal with, has basically let an assignment go and in doing so has set in motion a train of potential world destroying events.

Now, clearly I’ve already mentioned the romance and love triangle.  I think for me the other problem with those elements is they felt rushed and consequently a little thin.  The characters themselves are not really well fleshed out which is understandable in some respects because there’s quite a lot of action, themes and ideas, but it still made me feel ambivalent to them all.  Perhaps too ambitious given the page count.

Then there’s the world building.  It’s urban fantasy but futuristic with flying, hover-type bikes, etc.  Regular humans and immortals living alongside each other.  I couldn’t really get a grip of it.  Again, maybe it’s because there really isn’t any nod to the humans of the world – how do they fit in.  It all seems perfectly normal having a world where your mechanic has horns but I just felt like I wanted a little more depth and a better understanding.  I just feel like I have too many questions and although they might be answered in the second book I don’t think at this point I have the motivation to read on.

I’m a bit saddened that this one didn’t work for me and I realise this sounds very negative.  To end on a positive note I would say that this will probably work very well for others, it’s fast paced and packed with ideas, it’s got gorgeous people being smitten with each other and it’s got a crazy, action packed finale.  On top of this there is diversity and strong female characters – in other words plenty to enjoy.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.




13 Responses to “Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie #1) by Amanda Hocking”

  1. Lena @ The Printed Girl

    I often get blindsided by a book 😁
    Oh, it’s magical realism? I don’t care what the rest of the summary says anymore.
    Oh, what a gorgeous cover, it has to be a good book.
    Oh, it has a dragon? Definitely going to read that!
    And so often, afterwards I think: why do I even read that, I should have known it wasn’t my type of book.
    Great review! 😊

    • @lynnsbooks

      Exactly – I feel a little guilty that I’m writing a negative review for a book that was always going to struggle to win me over. My own fault really. Why choose a book that is outside your zone – still covers, and blurbs and pictures of dragons have a lot to answer for *shakes fist*.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I have read one book by this author and I have to admit it didn’t work for me either, although I know she’s extremely popular. But I can’t deny my love of the purple cover!

    • @lynnsbooks

      The cover is lovely – a shame it didn’t quite work for me but it is fast paced and fairly full of action so I’m sure that there will be plenty of people who enjoy it.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Don’ think I’m in the mood for a love triangle so thanks for the review – you saved me some time.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Love triangles are not my favourite element to any story tbh – I should have read the blurb though.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Even before reaching the part of your review where you admitted the story did not work for you, I was already wrinkling my nose at the words “romance” and “love triangle”.
    Now I can run the other way. Fast. 😀 😀
    Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I should have been more careful with this one – the blurb is fairly clear. Note to self….
      Lynn 😀

  5. sjhigbee

    I have read a couple of her books and quite enjoyed them – but this one sounds like it’s far more ambitious than the other books I’ve ready by her. It is all too easy to be swept away by a cool premise and not necessarily go back and ensure you do it justice (she says with some bitterness, while struggling to cope with the same scenario!)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Definitely lots going on and a fast read but it just didn’t work out for me.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Yes… she isn’t an author that I would trample my granny to get to read her latest, though I quite enjoyed her books…

  6. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This one was sent to me for review consideration, which is why I’m a little disheartened by your review because it sounds like a lot of the issues you found with it would be negatives for me as well. I’ll still give it a try but I probably won’t be rushing to read this one.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s fast paced and fairly full of action but it ultimately didn’t work for me. It is a quick read though.
      Lynn 😀

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