Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking
Publication date January 2, 2018
Summary from GoodReads:
Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that 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.
Malin not only 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. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
This is such a different take on the whole myth retelling thing, which was very refreshing. Plus it was a great read that was really hard to put down. The world that the author has created is also unique and full of interesting creatures as well as humans.
I did have trouble connecting with Malin at first. She was a bit bold, and aloof with everyone she meets. But as the story unfolds, and we learn more about her and her life as a Valkyrie in training, I started to like her more. Her interactions with her friend and roommate Oona is when I started to really like her. Oona is probably my favorite character in the book and they have a great friendship and understanding of each other. I also like Sloane, who is a classmate at Ravenswood Academy. I loved that there was a school that taught classes in the supernatural and other magical arts. Sloane and Malin don’t like each other, but they have a very interesting interaction in the middle of the book that really spoke to what living in their world was like.
There is a sort of love triangle in the story, but it is not the main story, it is just sort of there and part of Malin’s character and life. She actually does sort of sleep around with lots of people, and that is just who she is. I’m not sure I like Asher, even though he is the son of a Valkyrie and is strong and knows his way around a sword, but he is also kind of a wet noodle. I’m not explaining it well, I guess he is too emotional given his background. But he is a nice contrast to Quinn, Malin’s ex-girlfriend. I really didn’t like Quinn, she is just to bold and controlling.
Although this is a story about Valkyries and other mythical creatures it is not a rehashing of any of the Norse myths. It is it’s own story about free-will and the internal struggles to figure out how you belong in the world. It is fast paced with lots of action and sassy dialogue. A nice mix of diverse characters, even the mythological ones have diversity in their sexual orientations. The ending leaves you hanging a little bit, but it is a great read and I am looking forward to seeing how it all ends in the next book.