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The Valkyrie's Daughter

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2.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! First, I’m quite pleased to see a fantasy novel with Norse mythology and a LGBTQ+ love interest. It’s about time I read a book for young readers and see that. It had some action in it that younger readers would love also. While I loved those aspects, the overall story development and interactions left some things to be desired for me. The things Sigrid was saying and thinking just seemed too juvenile. Part of the story dragged for me towards the end, & I found myself skimming. I also wasn’t feeling the plot twist.  So, yay for diversity because it had all the sappy feels of the average YA just with the girl having feelings towards another girl, which was refreshing, but meh on dialogue and characters overall. Very clean. Not too much violence. Good for even middle grade readers with just some kissing
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The Valkyrie's Daughter was OK, but certainly did not live up to the blurb/synopsis.

What we were promised was a queer Norse mythology novel in which the fate of the nine worlds rests on an orphaned stable hand (the latter part of which had me thinking of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain (suitable for young readers, but which if anything are more rewarding to a mature reader). What we instead got was Rick Riordan-lite, a slow-moving book with choppy writing, stilted dialogue, and a "love" story that really doesn't go anywhere (it takes until the end of the books for the characters to kiss, and then they just...go their separate ways, to different worlds, with a "see ya later!"). The conflict introduced at the start of the book (Sigrid trying to find her place, constantly being snubbed by the valkyries, etc.) just mostly gets dropped. Suddenly the valkyries decide that she's fine, and then the goes back to being a stable hand and just hides Sleipnir in the woods? Absurd!

Overall, this was moderately interesting but nothing special, not terribly well plotted or well written, okay for a young reader who likes fantasy but generally forgettable.
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I had wanted to love this, but the main character was so ridiculous in how she felt like she could only be a Valkyrie. People literally called her on it, being like, you can do something else, and she absolutely refused. Also, making the awesome warrior women absolutely horrible and mean made me really angry. I had a hard time wanting the main character to get her dream when she sucked and so did all of them.
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The Valkyrie’s Daughter is a YA fantasy inspired by Norse mythology. Stablehand Sigrid has spent her whole life wanting to be a Valkyrie but is instead looked down upon because she was paired with a regular horse at birth, not a winged mare. During a battle that she’s not supposed to be fighting in, Sigird sees a vision of herself riding along with the valkyries on the legendary eight-legged Sleipnir. The only problem is the general won’t let her go along on their mission. So Sigrid takes a chance on Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who reluctantly agrees to lead Sigrid to Helheim so that Sigrid can fulfill the vision and find her cosmic purpose. But the truth about her birthright might be more than Sigird thought.

This was an enjoyable book. The world was well fleshed out and incorporated many mythological figures as the characters traveled. There was a good amount of action that kept the story moving. I ended up really liking the three main characters although it took a little bit. Sigrid was irritating at times, a bit naive and ignorant but she grew throughout the story and I really liked where her character ended up. I love Mariam and Fisk, and I liked the dynamic that the group grew into. There were plenty of reveals that really tied the story together and made Sigrid’s original vision come full circle. Overall, I thought it was a really good book and I will definitely be picking up the other books in the series when they come out!
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Who doesn’t love an underdog story? Maybe I’m biased as I am in Norway now visiting musea and well known places with Viking relics and Norse mythology, but this was the perfect book for me to read (even with the limited time I have to read).
I have to mention, this book is inspired by Norse mythology and liberties are clearly taken, but I liked the fictional world that is created by Warner.

Sigrid is a stable hand who wants to be (and feels she is destined to be) a valkyrie.  I liked how Sigrid’s character grows throughout the book. At the start I got a bit  of a mean girls feeling, as the Valkyrie juniors (and various others) were mean to Sigrid without any good reason, but this high school vibe changed soon and my favorite part was when the real adventure of traveling into different worlds started.

There is a small sapphic enemies to lovers YA romance between Sigrid and Mariam. It’s sweet and very PG and I look forward to see how it develops further in the following book(s) because it’s very slow burn and this was only the beginning. At the start of the book the romance was a little bit too much tell and too little show for me, but it improved during the story. Mariam is a fierce character and as this book is written in third person with one POV I found myself wishing for Mariam’s POV as well. Also Fisk’s POV (a side character) would have been interesting to read. If there is only 1 POV I prefer first person, in this case I would have really liked multiple POVs. 

Another character that should be mentioned is Hestur, Sigrid’s horse. He’s great and they have an awesome bond. This is definitely a book for horse lovers. 

In short, if you like strong women, horses, Norse mythology, and a sweet sapphic romance you’ll likely enjoy this action packed YA book. Recommended. 

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Valkyrie's Daughter was a fast and fun read, about a Valkyrie unlike any other, one without a winged horse. Sigrid grows up with a normal brown horse instead of a white Pegasus, and is shunned by her peers for it. They treat her as a servant and their instructors refuse to train her. Sigrid isn't happy with this status quo, so when she sees a vision of riding on Sleipnir, Odin's horse, in the middle of the Valkyries, she is willing to do anything to make the vision true.

Be wary of one who would do anything, though. Sigrid is selfish and self-centered in most ways, without much empathy toward others. Her emotions are huge and her narcissism strong, not thinking about what battle she's leading the Valkyries on, just happy that she's leading it. She walks into Hel's realm without question or her companions, just blindly following what she believes is her right. She doesn't even really like Sleipnir or riding him, but she still thinks of him over the horse she trained from birth. Sigrid is quite the unlikeable character, but that doesn't slow down the story or stop readers from connecting with her.

What does cause a disconnect is when the readers end up wondering more about the happenings in Sigrid's world then she does. For example, Ratatosh the Ferryman is missing and the characters make off with his all-powerful boat, but don't stop to wonder where he is.  There are other going-ons that readers pick up on too, but because Sigrid doesn't, they can't be followed up on. It's a little awkward when readers want to turn their attention to a different part of the world than the character is going. 

All in all, there was a lot of issues in Valkyrie's Daughter, but it was still a fun read with a well-paced plot and interesting mythological components.
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CONTENT WARNING: bullying, violence, death of an animal

I loved the idea of merging queer fantasy into Norse mythology, with a hefty dose of valkyries, which is what initially drew me to this story. After recently finishing a full binge of Vikings and The Last Kingdom on TV, I was fully primed to love this story, but unfortunately, it fell a bit flat for me. 

Sigrid’s character is a rough one to like. For so much of the book, she’s selfish, self-centered, and so overly focused on herself that she completely ignores all of the people around her. It made it hard to really empathize with her fully, and to get behind her when she finally starts to change, which doesn’t even happen until the last 20% of the book.

I wound up liking some of the other characters better than Sigrid, especially Mariam and Fisk. These two wind up having more of a found family dynamic, and accepting each other’s quirks and weaknesses, as well as highlighting the strengths that they have. It stood out in a stark contrast to the way that Sigrid treated them, despite the slow burn romance that was simmering between Sigrid and Mariam.

The writing depicts the setting beautifully. I was able to picture everything in my head effortlessly. However, the conversation felt a bit stilted and jarring, and there’s a decidedly modern flair to the conversation and even, at times, to the descriptions. It made it a little difficult to stay immersed in the story. In addition, it reads a little on the young side of YA.

The pace is a little slow, and I was lucky enough to be reading another book at the same time, so that kept me motivated to read. I kept finding myself putting the book down, and pushing myself to pick it back up. The story didn’t really pick up in pace until the last quarter, and that’s honestly what redeemed it and increased my star rating for it. This is the first in a series, but everything felt pretty wrapped up by the end of this book, and I don’t think I’ll keep reading this series.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc!

This was such a fun read! I have always loved Norse Mythology and I adored this refreshing take on this world.  

Sigrid is a stable hand. But she is a stable hand for the Valkyrie warriors who practice drills daily on their beautiful flying horses.  The thing about Sigrid, though,  is that she truly has a heart of a Valkyrie and she knows she would be fierce if given a chance.   

When Vanaheim comes under attack, Sigrid takes off on her trusted (and really awesome) horse.  She almost saves the Eye, a tool for prophecy but in the process she sees a vision and when she attacks, she unfortunately kills a rider's horse and is overcome with grief.  The Eye has been stolen.  However,  this does not stop Sigrid from pursuing her future that she briefly glimpsed in her vision.  

This book was a blast! I loved the look into Norse Mythology, the enemies-to-lovers Sapphic romance, and, of course, horses! 

Out July 26, 2022!
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This was a fun book and will go a long way with mythology and marvel readers. I highly recommend this for YA libraries.
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I'm a big fan of Norse mythology, so I expected to enjoy this a little more than I did. I do think that some of my students who are lower-level readers would be interested in this. As an adult reader, I found getting over the anachronistic mix of Norse mythology and a more modern language and setting was too much for my entertainment. I did not end up finishing this book because I could not feel any sort of connection with the main character. I often end up liking more simplistic YA protagonists, but I didn't know anything about Sigrid almost twenty percent into the book except that she (for some reason) wanted to be a Valkyrie and liked horses. Just not for me.
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this was a really fun book!
it definitely does not take Norse mythology seriously, so if you're a die-hard fan this book probably will not be for you. also, it is not historically accurate whatsoever (looking @ you dialogue), so if you go in understanding that you shouldn't take this book too seriously I think you'll have a lot better time with it.

Sigrid is a sympathetic protagonist. she grew up a stable hand in a barn full of valkyries and has always longed to join the group. she sees a vision one day of her riding Odin's eight-legged steed and she embarks on an adventure to make it happen. I liked Sigrid because she messes up multiple times; she is not a perfect hero by a longshot, but she still gets there eventually.

the horse characters were honestly my favorite part. there were some slow sections of this book and overall it felt a little bogged down by the length, but it covers a big story and doesn't leave you on a cliffhanger so I suppose I can let the length stand. will be happy to rec this to teens who are looking for more animal-human bond books too.

thank you to NetGalley for the arc!
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It's certainly nice to see Norse mythology get the queer YA treatment in The Valkyrie's Daughter, but that is unfortunately its main draw. Underneath the smattering of Norse words and ideas, there is quite an unremarkable tale of a classic YA chosen one outsider, which is easy enough to read but not a standout. I have no issue with diverging from "true" mythology (because that is basically a nonsense idea), but it is quite hard to make sense of this world, which on the one hand has some very niche references and on the other hand doesn't feel like it is going for much of a Norse setting at all. The central valkyrie idea as magical horse girls is fine as an innovation, but it ends up landing with a really weird gender essentialism (even though it accepts queerness). I honestly wish this had just embraced a Norse-flavoured "girl and her horse" style narrative and made that central, because I feel like that could have made for a charming (and possibly MG) book rather than the fine but forgettable read we have.
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Thank you to the author and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC.

I started this book back in October. When I reached around the 45% mark, I started to struggle. I’m not sure why. This story has everything I love - LGBTQIA+ characters, adventure, Norse mythology. Warner’s prose is lovely. I just???

Finally, today, as I sit at Schipol airport, after it taking two hours to get through security and my flight being delayed a few hours, I said I had to finish this book. I did. And I’m glad I did. It took until about 60% for me to get sucked back into the story. It picked up again. 

The evil mastermind behind this all was a bit predictable. And their confession was a bit like Dr. Doofenshmirtz-like. 

However, I know this is probably aimed at a younger audience. 

I loved the depth of the world building and the characters. I could really envision it all. And besides the middle like 15-20% I was rapidly reading through as I was just sucked into the story. So, definitely give this a read!
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I really liked the first fifty percent of the book. But after that, things felt a little rushed for a story that's supposed to span a trilogy. I still liked all the characters the writing and the plot though and I'm excited to read the next book.
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DNF: 22%

Before I get started with my review, I want to acknowledge that I did abandon this book at the 22% mark. That is an unusual choice for me and it’s not one that I make lightly. I did give this book two chances; but, once it put me into a reading slump, I knew it was time to put this book aside for a few weeks to see how I felt about picking it up again. In the end, I decided to abandon reading this book.

I was looking forward to this story. I am a fan of any book involving Norse mythology (honestly, there aren’t enough in the young adult world!), and I wanted to support a book that featured a sapphic romance. Pair that with an amazing cover and title—I was sold immediately. However, once I began reading the story, things began to quickly get... Dicey.

Before I start with the developmental issues, I want to start with the strong elements of this novel, which was Sigrid’s character. Sigrid had clear character motivations; I never once questioned what her goals were, or how her character development would help her in reaching those goals. As far as a main character goes, she was well-written and proved herself to be the pillar of the story.

However, Sigrid’s characterization wasn’t enough to distract from the developmental issues of this novel. For instance, the writing style was not as rich as I expected (or wanted) it to be. With the book synopsis in mind, I expected two things: 1) for the Norse Mythology to be a greater foundational piece for the story; and, 2) for the writing style to be balanced with figurative language to build up the setting, images, and atmosphere. None of those things occurred, which led the story to feeling juvenile and choppy. I was missing a consistent flow I was craving for a YA fantasy novel.

The writing style issue continued with the dialogue, as well. Much of the dialogue felt too colloquial and modern for the Norse-inspired setting. It’s not that the story needed strict, old sounding language, but I wished the dialogue didn’t sound like it had been planted from modern day into the Norse-inspired novel. Ultimately, both writing style issues pulled me out of the story, and I was never able to find my footing with the novel.

Although I only read 22% of the novel, there were some plotting issues, as well. There were too many instances of the set-up and pay-off of a plot point coming too close together. (I’m looking at the vision sequences from chapter six through chapter eight.) It often felt like the story was trying to rush from scene to scene instead of giving the characters time to live in the moment and truly work through what was happening.

Overall, this novel felt more middle grade than YA to me. Which was disappointing to see! I came in to this book imagining an amazing plot-line carrying us through Norse mythology with a sapphic romance. Instead, I was distracted by the poor writing style and inconsistent pacing of the story’s opening.

Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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The Valykyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner

9781649371539

399 Pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC, Entangled: Teen
Release Date: July 26, 2022

Fiction, LGBTQIA, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Teen, Young Adult

The young Valkyries are privileged teens living in Vanaheim. They spend their days training and sparing flying through the air on their white mares. Sigrid is an orphan and lives in the stable with her brown gelding Hestur. Together, the serve at the pleasure of the Valkyries. 

Vala, the Seer, comes to the training field one afternoon and shows everyone a vision – Vanaheim will be attacked and soon. The young Valkyries stake out positions around the castle to protect the royal family. That evening, the gates are attacked by Night Elves, Dire Wolves, and other Valkyries. Sigrid sees a Valkyrie going to the Seer’s tower and realizes what she is after – The Eye of Hnitbjorg. It is the most precious item in the kingdom, and any of the nine worlds that owns it will become more powerful.

The story is fast paced, the characters are somewhat developed, and it is written in the third person point of view. I enjoyed this story and have studied Norse culture for many years The author did an excellent job with referencing the nine worlds and their inhabitants. I also liked how Sigrid realizes her feelings are not for Peter, the stable hand but for a Valkyrie. It is a good coming of age book and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.
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A solid young adult pick, especially for those who like horses (or even flying horses). I loved the Norse mythology since it's a world we aren't as familiar with. The author's note at the end offers some fascinating insight. She also explains where and why she chose to "adapt" certain aspects of the mythology to make it her own.
Really great characters and worldbuilding. Definitely, some difficult to ignore young adult tropes such as, "friendship is magical!", etc. but otherwise enjoyable for new adults.
The Sapphic romance is secondary to the plot but I expect to see it more thoroughly explored in future installments (I hope).
#NetGalley
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Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this YA book. From the title, I had a general idea of what to expect when introduced to the main character- Sigrid, the Stablehand. Following the traditional YA trope of the orphan looking for her destiny, this book had the potential to establish Sigrid as a lead character in mythological fiction, like Percy Jackson or Magnus Chase. However, I didn't find her character or story well-developed. Luckily, I have prior knowledge of Norse mythology, but everyone who picks up this tale won't have that. I think this was a lost opportunity to create a dynamic series.
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The beginning and ending of this book were the best parts. I genuinely wondered if Sigrid would get to join the Valkyries in the beginning and the ending was well wrapped up and I was pleased with how it ended. I like Sigrid, Mariam, and Fisk and their dynamic. I like the relationship that blossoms between Sigrid and Mariam though it takes some odd turns at time, but works out in the end for which I’m very happy about. The middle of the book lost my interest and I ended up skimming and even skipping parts to move the story along. I can only give 2 stars since the majority of the book didn’t hold my interest. The journey to Helheim where they immediately got caught and then went with Elina even though it was obvious she had ulterior motives I found to be a bit exasperating. The journey down the river was ok. I really wanted to like this book more as the concept sounded awesome, the execution just fell short for me.
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Norse mythology is very tricky. Sometimes it is interesting sometimes, it is not. I liked this one. And the queer aspect is a plus.
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