Between the Blade and the Heart | Book Review + Giveaway
I received an ARC of Between the Blade and the Heart. I would like to thank St Martin’s Griffin (St. Martin’s Press) and Amanda Hocking sponsoring this review and giveaway.
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Pub Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from NewYork Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.
So right off the bat, the book opens with some brief backstory/a mini history lesson which I thought was a great touch, especially if you’re not familiar with Norse mythology and don’t know who Odin is. He’s Thor’s daddy btw if you haven’t seen the movies or read the stories. Then readers are thrust into an action scene as the book opens with Malin (the main character) and her mother Marlow waiting in an alley to kick some butt.
Malin and Marlow are both Valkyries, mortal women whom Odin gave supernatural powers and weapons to slay immortals who were wrecking havoc on the Earth. Being a Valkyrie isn’t something one can decide to become, but rather it’s something that is passed down through the generations from mothers to their daughters. Things really take off when Malin returns home one evening to find a handsome stranger has broken into the apartment she shares with her roommate Oona.
The sexy stranger turns out to be Asher, the son of a former Valkyrie, and he drops a bomb on Malin that rocks her world. It’s a secret that leads to Malin having to confront her mother and leaves her questioning her mother’s ethic’s as a Valkyrie. From here everything starts to unravel and Malin quickly finds herself shifting from trying to save her mom to having to save the world by hunting down a draugr named Tamerlane Fayette.
No worries she gets lots of help along the way from Asher, Oona and we’re introduced to her ex-girlfriend, Quinn Devane. She also gets some help from her boss/handler, Samael, and his personal bodyguard Atlas. Even her archnemesis, Sloane Kothari, offers a helping hand.
Let’s get back to the action scenes for a minute. There’s an action scene in the book between Marlow and Tamerlane and at first I was disappointed in short it was because it felt like the story had been building up to the moment when they caught Tamerlane and then everything went down so quickly. However, I took a few days to process the scene and realized that it wasn’t as climactic as I was expecting for a reason. I can’t go into detail because SPOILERS, but once I played the scene out in my head, it made sense.
That said, I was and still am disappointed about the later action scene between Tamerlane, Asher, and Malin that does down at the end of the book. I really wanted to feel and see Asher’s and Malin’s rage come out and Tamerlane to get the butt kicking he more than deserved by this point. I definitely think that this particular battle scene could and should have been a little longer and intense. Instead, it fell very flat for me and when all was said and done, I found myself asking: “Is this it?”
While there a lot of characters in this book, I didn’t find that it took away from the overall story. Each and every character had a role that I felt was beneficial to the story. Also, there is a bit of a love triangle/rectangle in this story. One could say that Malin is popular demand. LOL. There’s Quinn, her ex-girlfriend who is hoping that Malin will give her second chance.
But then cute Asher comes into the picture and hits it off with Malin. There’s also Malin’s mechanic/friends-with-benefits, Jude who we meet at the opening of the book and then again at the end. I see I told this triangle is more of a rectangle.
There’s also a good mix of diversity in this book with having a bi-sexual main character and plenty of “racial” diversity. I was pleased to that some of the characters had brown skin because YA fantasy is notoriously known for being “so white” as well as mostly heterosexual. Representation matters and I think Hocking took that into consideration when this book.
Also, I loved that this book was told in the first person. Although we are limited to Malin’s viewpoint, I think that there’s just something about getting to experience the story as the characters do or in the moment as opposed to experiencing the story from a narrator’s point of view that draws me in more and allows me to get more emotionally involved.
I think that world building for Between the Blade and the Heart was okay. I could picture in my the futuristic society composed of mortals and immortals living practically on top of each other that Hocking was trying to create. Would have loved to see more? Yes, but it is there is enough to paint a good picture.
Personally, I’m hoping that Hocking will go deeper with the world building and bring the intensity with the fight scenes. I’m also looking forward to meeting some characters as well as seeing familiar faces. If you enjoy fantasy and mythology, Between the Blade and the Heart is definitely worth a read.
About The Author
Amanda Hocking and St. Martin’s Griffin has graciously offered to give one of you a copy of Between the Blade and the Heart. Use the giveaway widget below to enter for your win if you’re a US resident 18 or older.