Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: Between the Blade and Heart

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie #1)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult | Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC

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 (goodreads).

The Blade and the Heart reads like a Young Adult novel from 2011. 
Plot: I've only read a handful of books from Amanda Hockings; I found her journey to publishing to be inspiring, but Between the Blade and the Heart read like Hocking was resting on her laurels. The premise promised Norse mythology and paranormal intrigue, but I couldn't get into this book from page one. Hocking threw the reader in the middle of the story with little preparation for the world, I honestly thought that this was a fantasy novel, not urban fantasy. Once I got settled in the setting, I had to wade through all of the many overused tropes that are common in Young Adult novels. 

Characters: It was obvious from the start that Valkyrie-in-training Malin did not have a healthy relationship with her mother and while I'm usually interested to learn about fractured family dynamics, Malin's attitude turned me off almost immediately. She was written to be rough around the edges but I nothing about Malin made her a sympathetic character. She also juggled two love interests that seemed unnecessary.

Worldbuilding: As I mentioned earlier, I thought that this was an epic fantasy instead of set in present day with paranormal influence. I do appreciate that  Hocking brought urban fantasy back to the young adult category, but this world was missing so much; I'm not even sure I know what country this took place in. 

Short N Sweet: While the writing may have held my attention a few years ago, The Blade and the Heart had one too many cliches that I couldn't overlook. 


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