Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2016, 2013
In this middle-grade book, Freya is poised to become a real Valkyrie, or, a “Reaper of Souls.” In Asgard time she is 600 years old but in human years she is 13. Freya was born different – with raven-black wings instead of the normal pure white ones and she is restless, having no desire to reap souls of the battlefields of humans and bring them to Valhalla, the ‘heaven’ of the Norse gods. On her first reap she takes the soul of an American soldier who talks her into helping his family left behind on earth even though she risks the wrath of Odin, the king of all the gods. If caught she will not only lose her wings, but will be blinded and banished forever. Being the restless and reckless teenaged-Valkyrie Freya is, she sets out for earth to help her soldier’s family.
While the story was enjoyable and I don’t have anything really negative to say about it, I don’t have anything really positive to say either. I didn’t find Freya to be so likeable that I was able to become emotionally involved in her story, or in that of her new found human friends. Most of the book is a PSA about bullying and the bullies are ultimately punished in the end – at least the human ones are. The Norse god bullies aren’t dealt with in this book (maybe in the two sequels they are). There are only two reasons I put a book down for more than one day while reading: 1. I am so emotionally involved in the character(s) I need an emotional break; and 2. The book is just okay and I could continue reading or not without giving the characters another thought. Valkyrie falls into the number two category. It’s just okay.
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