Mundie Moms

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BETWEEN THE BLADE AND THE HEART by Amanda Hocking / Book Review

By: Amanda Hocking
Published by: Wednesday Books
Released on: January 2nd, 2018
Series: Valkyrie #1
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
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Source: purchased book / ebook for review from publisher 

Between the Blade and the Heart is the first book in a brilliant new young adult fantasy duology inspired by Norse mythology by New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As 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.

I am a huge fan of a well written Valkyrie story. Having read, and really enjoyed Hocking's Trylle series, I was really looking forward to reading this book. I've enjoyed her previous books, and the way she creates her worlds, writes her mythologies, and her characters. I've been a longtime fan of her fantasy / urban fantasy stories. I had high expectations with this book, but unfortunately there was something that just missed it's mark for me with this book. That pains me to say that. 

What I liked, is that Between The Blade and The Heart has a solid Valkyrie mythology that worked for me. I liked the grittiness of it, and the action scenes that are apart of being a Valkyrie. I also enjoyed the story's mix of urban fantasy and paranormal elements. It really set a tone for this book. The characters were ones I liked. Including a couple secondary characters I would have liked to get to know more, like Asher.

What didn't work for me was the romance. I don't know why, but this romance felt all over the place, and lacked any depth, and connection that I normally find in Hocking's books. Maybe it's because this was a love triangle that felt like neither relationship was well developed. The romance came across as awkward and confusing. Like Malin was torn on who she wanted to be with, though it's obvious in the assessment she makes to herself about the differences in how her ex-girlfriend makes her feel, and how Asher, her sort of boyfriend, makes her feel. Had there not be a love triangle, the romance would have felt a lot more natural and not so forced. 

The other element that lacked in this book was the world building. Normally Hocking's world building is one of the things I like most about her books. This felt little a flat compared to her previous books. I think that having a mix of various mythologies and paranormal cultures might have hindered it, because it was a little too much, and felt a little all over the place. Which times was a bit confusing.

Thankfully this book has some good mythology and some solid characters that made it a quick, entertaining read. It always stinks when you think you're going to like a book more than you end up liking it. That's not to say this was an awful book. What I'm comparing this book to is Hocking's previous books, all of which I've really enjoyed. I'm hoping this book is just a case of 'this book just didn't work for me, but hopefully the next book in this series will'. 

*There is some mild language, and some sexual content mentioned in this book.