Cover Image: The Valkyrie's Daughter

The Valkyrie's Daughter

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As expected from Tiana Warner, really, this was a solid, fast paced fantasy novel. The Norse mythology is weaved into the story beautifully, and anyone who knows & loves it, should be happy with this title.

In this book we meet Sigrid and follow her as she reluctantly joins forces with Mariam for an epic adventure. Any romance fans will be satisfied with this hate to love trope!
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From the time she was born Sigrid has been unique in her ordinariness, born bound to an ordinary horse rather than one of the winged mares that mark a girl as a Valkyrie. She grew up in the stables, learning her horse as well as the Valkyrie’s mares, craving the glory of their life while knowing it can never be her own, no matter how hard she works for it. At least, knowing it until the day Vanaheim is attacked by a terrible enemy force. In trying to help save her home Sigrid sees a prophecy, herself astride a legendary eight-legged stallion, leading the very Valkyries she has served so long into battle. And yet, alongside one of the enemy as well. In the face of this, Sigrid sees a chance to seize this destiny for herself, to be the heroic warrior she always wanted to be. But doing so will take her to Helheim itself and she will have to decide if what waits for her is worth the risk.

I find that I have very little good to say about Tiana Warner’s The Valkyrie’s Daughter. The story is solid enough. The characters are interesting enough. But there was very little about it that grabbed me and held my attention for any amount of time. Sigrid was dealt a terrible hand from what turned out to be a loaded deck and somehow, despite there being an old seer who knew the broad stroke of Sigrid’s situation, no one in this magical world of destiny bound horse girls thought to question the unexplainable child with an unexplainable normal horse that just showed up in the guarded ward for baby Valkyries. No, they put her to work in the stables to earn her keep and did not bother wondering how she got there in the first place. It is an unimaginable unfairness that the book mostly skates past that also manages to make some of the book's LGBT representation worse in the process. So, I am going to jump right to that.

One of the junior Valkyries is a trans girl who is fully and unquestionably accepted as a girl and a Valkyrie. That is fantastic and much appreciated inclusion, I wish there was more of that in fantasy today. But her inclusion throws Sigrid's exclusion from anything Valkyrie related into sharp contrast in a really bad way. It feels like, if absolutely nothing else, Sigrid should have represented a mystery to be solved to the Vannaheim ruling class. Something to be studied and watched over for signs of some special destiny. An unaccounted for child where children should be, with a similarly unaccounted for horse that does not fit, should be the biggest mystery Vannaheim has seen in ages. In a world that prides itself on the power of prophecy Sigrid’s situation does not feel like it should exist. But the plot needs her to be just a stable hand, mistreated by the girls who would be her peers if only her horse had been a winged mare instead, because a Sigrid who is desperate for her grand destiny is a Sigrid who will march directly to Helheim to retrieve it. It is hardly good, but it is enough for the plot to happen.

And, honestly, a lot about the book is just "enough" rather than being particularly good. The romance is such a side plot for most of the book that, while it did not come from out of left field, it felt like it could have just as easily been left out in favor of letting the two lonely girls with tragic backstories develop into friends as they travel. And I say that as someone who almost always wishes for more gay in genre fiction. The characterization is good enough for the most part, it does tend to feel like the love interest, Mariam’s, tragic back story is overplayed to both drive her away from Sigrid and to clumsily foreshadow that maybe Sigrid’s grand destiny is not such a good thing. The antagonist is basically fine, by turns well done and frustratingly poorly done, overplaying her hand to a frustrating degree at times, but basically fine. The plot is solid enough, if some details of it feel poorly thought through. It all just sort if feels frustratingly ok, which unfortunately means that the bad stands out all the more.

A major thing for me with The Valkyrie’s Daughter is that it feels desperately unfinished. This is likely due to the upcoming sequel mentioned in the author's thank you section post book, but the text itself does not do a great job setting up anything coming next. It just leaves a bunch of dangling plot threads and sends our protagonist on to the next thing. The problem is that this feels less like the lead in to the next book and more like the author just did not know how they wanted to tie off those threads. It is terribly frustrating because, other than those threads, the plot is finished. We have seen our protagonist's journey of self-discovery, seen her fulfill the prophesy and then some, know that she is going to be a kinder rider to Slepneir and that the love interest will return one day. All that really feels left is showing her figuring out what it is about riding Slepneir that puts her so on edge. It is a mess at the end. But a mess that feels worse because it had a lot of potential going in.

Which leads to this bit. I have very little good to say about The Valkyrie’s Daughter, it had potential but squandered it, it had the bones of a solid story but pulled it off poorly, it moved in fits and starts. All of that initially led to me giving it a three out of five, but the author bringing up the sequel in the thank you segment frustrated me enough to drop a star and leave it at a two out of five.
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I didn't have the time to read it. I really wanted to make a big review but I realize that I let the title go.
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Norse Mythology is one I am not as familiar with, like Greek and Roman, but I am familiar enough to get by with retellings. When I saw the cover and title, it drew me to it and the blurb got me excited. I am interested in seeing what book 2 will bring.     

Sigrid is a stable hand who wishes she could be more. Because of being different, she consistently gets picked on by the Valkyries in training. In her spare time, she trains herself and her trusty steed Hestur, the ways of the Valkyrie. She is determined to be heard, not realizing the consequences it could have. I am interested in seeing how Sigrid grows as a character in the next book.

Mariam is a secretive character, and those characters always catch my interest. I am one who does not have to know everything about the character in one, two, three books, or never. She acts more mature than her age because she had too. She opens up to Sigrid, discovering how Mariam became a fallen Valkyrie. I would love to learn more about her in the next book.

The world building in this story was well written. Norse mythology influence is sprinkled everywhere throughout the story. Mariam described the nine realms so one could understand. I do not know how much of it was the author or Norse mythology, as I am not as familiar with it. The romance in this story was okay. How I read it was more of a crush than anything else. Maybe this will go deeper in book 2.  

I enjoyed this book. It was well paced and held my interest till the end. I would recommend this to anyone who likes slow romance, Norse mythology, Valkyries, and adventure.
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This was a 3.5 rounded to 4 for me. 

I was a great story full of adventure and fast paced. You get that hate to like the main character and the romance was dashed in there, which was great. One thing that slowed it down for me was the ending, I felt that to be too ‘let’s all just hold hands and be friends’. Without getting into too much detail, I felt the ending could have done something and it would have wrapped it all up in a nice bow. But other then that, I really enjoyed the story.
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The Valkyrie's Daughter uses one of my favorite tropes but left me feelijg a bit unfulfilled. It was an easy and quick read,which isn't a bad thing. I couldn't feel invested in the characters or the story. I found myself putting it down often and later remembering that I needed to finish it. The concept itself was good and the world building was good as well. I just needed a little bit more and was more frustrated with myself that I didn't fall in love with it.
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“A measure of wisdom each person shall have, but sharing it must be restrained. For the wise person’s heart is seldom content, if wisdom too great he has gained,”

Sigrid is a lonely girl that has struggled through life on a daily basis. She has her beloved horse Hestur, good friends and Peter (that is much like an older brother), and together they’re the closest to a family she’s gotten. Sigrid has done the best she can to raise herself, but without people she can call her own, she feels she needs a path in life to see what the universe has in store for her. And that’s how sometimes her actions are a bit reckless. However when she had a vision about herself riding a legendary horse and leading a Valkyrie charge, she’s determined to fulfill that prophecy!! 

I love reading about Norse Mythology and I was thrilled to pick up this Fantasy Romance story! Love Mariam and Sigrid, they had a rocky start, but when they reluctantly had to join forces for an epic adventure, they found it hard to resist. As they travel the nine realms we get front row seats and experience through Sigrid’s eyes this fantasy world. We get to meet several characters along the way such as Fisk, a Night Elf who I really liked. And we also discover a little about Sigrid’s and Mariam’s past.

The Valkyrie’s Daughter is about falling in love, how important our animal companions are (in our case: pets), finding a purpose in life, fulfilling dreams and the feeling of belonging to someone. I enjoyed reading this first installment of The Ascend Trials. And after that ending, I’m looking forward to see what’s to become of Sigrid and Mariam in the sequel!
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“I’ve never had any of that – a family, a path, a future. I’ll always be below the other girls my age. It’s not enough.”
(This quote may not be in the published version of this novel, it was copied from the advanced reader’s copy.) 

This was a quick and entertaining read! I enjoyed the fast-paced and exciting storyline, and found the writing very easy to follow, plus the Norse mythology and iconic valkyries were really fascinating – who doesn’t love female warriors on flying horses.

However, I couldn’t help but be… incredibly irritated by the protagonist. She just could not be satisfied, and she was so easily manipulated, and so ridiculously selfish… I was not her #1 fan. Though she did have some development and growth, I still found myself holding a grudge against her by the end of the book, which was disappointing. I also just wasn’t all that entranced by the romance – yay for sapphic valkyries, but there seemed to be little build-up or chemistry in their relationship, which made me really sad. Plus our love interest seemed to have minimal personality?

This was a really quick and easy read, and quite entertaining and interesting, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the characters. Nonetheless, Tiana Warner definitely has potential, and I might try some of her other books in the future! Thank you to the author and publisher for the free copy provided in exchange for an honest review :).
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Overall, a good book. I liked the theming and plot progression. A bit of a slow burn, but it felt realistic. There was a lot of character growth as well.

It was the ending that got me. I had hoped for more of a happily ever after. It wasn't sad, by any means. It just felt underwhelming.
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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced review copy of “The Valkyrie’s Daughter” by Tiana Warner. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’m a big fan of this author’s ‘Ice Massacre’ series so I was excited to get to read this new book about valkyries. It read as a standalone but I wouldn’t mind seeing more books set in this world. 

The story follows a stable hand named Sigrid and this is definitely one for the horse girls. Sigrid doesn’t fit in with the Valkyrie’s and this is very much her story of realizing what she wants from life and finding out about herself and her past. She meets Mariam along the way and their relationship was very cute. It read a bit young for YA but I enjoyed it. I liked the friendships and Sigrid’s strong bond with her horse, Hester. 

The end was a bit repetitive with running back and forth and getting the necklace and losing the necklace and getting the different horses and losing the different horses. A lot was happening but it felt like the setbacks just kept piling on. I liked the quests in the book but the big climax scene felt like running around in circles.

Overall I enjoyed this book and would read more in this world. It was a fun journey and I’d be happy to revisit the world in another book. 

4/5 stars
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Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for an ARC of this book. All opinions in this review are my own.

Wow, this book. This book is really cool - while not 100% my cup of tea, it is still really good! Let me clarify - it is Norse mythology based (think Thor, Loki, Odin, etc.) which is not generally what I go for, I am much more into East Asian or Greek mythology, but for my first foray into Norse mythology this was a really cool book! 

This is a Sapphic romance, filled with adventure, horses, and finding out who you are truly meant to be. It was a great fantasy, with all of the characters having strong personalities & being very distinct from each other. However, that was a bit of the problem for me - I didn't particularly like the main two characters, I found them a bit bullheaded and annoying at times, which meant it could be a bit of a struggle for me to read this book. But because the book was so interesting, I would push through my annoyances because I wanted to keep seeing how the plot developed. I am really curious as to what happens next, so I will read book 2 when it comes out, and I think if you like Norse mythology or Sapphic books, you should definitely check this out.
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Fun fact about me, I LOVE everything Norse Mythology inspired, so of course my interest was piqued from the first moment I heard about this book!

I really like how the story played out and how lighthearted it was. Like I said, because I’m already interested in Norse Mythology, and in the setting upon which the plot was built, I think it was way easier to get into the story and enjoy it. I don’t know if someone who is not that into these types of stories would feel the same way. I just wish that the characters, and especially the relationships between them, were better developed.

Do you have any Norse Mythology inspired book recs? Looking forward to reading more books like that!!!

Thank you to @netgalley and @entangledteen for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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In reading the description of this book, the idea of Valkyries, a mythical stallion and a treacherous journey had me intrigued immediately. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time really getting into this book and found myself picking up and putting down several times before I started getting pulled into the story.

I thought the world, creatures and twists were quite interesting. I'm not really into Norse Mythology so I'm not certain how much was pulled from that and how much was the author's creation. There were parts that kept me intrigued but there were several points where the pacing felt too slow. I am also a fan of romance and wished there had some additional focus on the relationship between Sigrid and Miriam.
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I really loved the tone of this book--it was so much fun even in the midst of an epic plot. The first chapter had me with that hilarious twist! I felt like the author really distinguished her voice in the Norse mythology category. I also really loved Sigrid and Mariam's relationship and how they grew together throughout the book. Honorable mention for best character goes to Sigrid's horse, Hestur!
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Thank you for letting me read this book. I am a big fan of mythology retelling and this one didn't disappoint. I loved to see the relationship the MC has with her horse.
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I really really enjoyed this story! 

I’m an absolute sucker for an underdog who is destined for nothing but steps up, makes a choice, and suddenly the weight of everything is on their shoulders!
Stories like that get me every time! 

This is a sapphic ya read that felt familiar and fresh at the same time! I definitely recommend for those looking for LGBTQ reads that enjoy YA! 

I personally would have liked a bit more emotion and character development, this was definitely more of a plot driven read, which will appeal to many but isn’t what makes a five star read for me personally!
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Really loved this one a lot. It gave me a lot of Viking vibes which I am all for. I highly recommend this to everyone.
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This is a Sapphic YA adventure settled in Norse mythology. I think fans of Magnus Chase who want LGBT rep and female main characters will enjoy this story. I think it's best suited for a young YA audience, perhaps just coming out of middle grade books.

Personally, I was not a big fan of the writing style. It went from one big event to the next without much of anything in between including emotions or reactions from the characters. I also wasn't a fan of the way that everyone's hardships were compared.

However, I do think that kids who want a fast paced adventure will enjoy this book. I didn't particularly dislike it, I just thought it was very average.
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I am a huge fan of books who can take myths and legends and interweave them within a story while ALSO working to take the known and…make it their own.  The Valkyrie’s Daughter is one such book. 

While discussing destiny vs choice, it also tells a great story of a young lady who is not destined for much of anything - until one day she is. And how she manages to make her destiny her own by bending some rules and absolutely shattering others. 

It’s a classic Cinderella story, but one where the prince isn’t the savior - and isn’t wanted anyway.
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Ok, so I really enjoyed the Norse mythology aspect of it and the story line that went with it. It was the characters that I couldn't take. Sigrid and Mariam, our protagonists and their feeling for one was just such a good story, well written, until you get to the romance budding between these two young girls. It felt very middle schoolish and immature. all the talk about fluttering hearts etc., were just really cringe worthy in my opinion. It was super awkward and I just skipped past those parts. It made the characters lack depth and I felt no real connection to them. I will though probably try the next book because I did enjoy the mythos in the story. Perhaps the romance will mature better in the next book.
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