Cover Image: The Valkyrie's Daughter

The Valkyrie's Daughter

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3.5, rounded up.

Once this story found its footing, it became a really solid tale. The prose, however, felt a bit choppy to me, and this caused me to put it down for over a month after the first quarter because I couldn't make myself get into it. The slow burning romance of our teens was really sweet, and I found myself rooting for them a lot towards the end. I like Sigrid, she's interesting and her motivations make sense. I'm not familiar enough with Norse lore to comment on its accuracy, but I found it intriguing and informative enough from that point of view.
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Sigrid has always wanted to be a Valkyrie, however without a winged horse she is just a stable hand. During an attack on Vanaheim, she tries to prove she’s good enough by going after the enemy on her own. While fighting she sees a vision of her destiny and she’s hellbent on seeing it through. 

This book contains a lot of action in all directions. Valkyries are cool because they add so much dimension to a fight scene, they’re constantly swooping in and doing something. It was interesting that the main character, however, does not have a flying horse but a seemingly normal one. I did have to suspend my disbelief at different points with how unusual her horse was even though he is confirmed to be a standard horse. I also had to make myself believe that she would willingly part with him for any extended period of time. Of course as the reader you’re able to put things together from an objective standpoint so you just want to shout at the characters to not be dumb. There were many times when Sigrid walked right into a situation being dumb. Though that’s kind of her charm. She’s trusting and thinks people can be good. That being said, Mariam was my favorite. I would have loved to see some things from her perspective. For me, this was a 3.5/5.

If you like action-packed books, warrior women, or you simply love horses, this is the one for you. 

I received a digital copy of this book free from Entangled Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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FUN, BUT NOT GREAT

Actual rating: 2.5 ⭐

I might be biased, seeing as how I am Scandinavian and a fan of Norse mythology. If you're not that into the mythology, this might work better for you. But please don't make the mistake of thinking that this is about Norse mythology. It's just inspired by it.

👍 What I Liked 👍

Sigrid: I had great sympathy for our main hero, Sigrid. I felt her pain and her desires very acutely. I was rooting for her to have her happily ever after.

👎 What I Disliked 👎

Writing: For me, the writing was a sore spot. It felt choppy and fragmented. It lacked a natural flow.

Dialogue: Another issue for me was the dialogue. It felt stilted and didn't reflect the setting of the novel. That might, of course, be creative choice by the author. But it was a choice that did not work for me. It made it very hard to buy into the concept of Norse warriors in a foreign, magical land.

Mythology: Like I said in the beginning, I feel like it is wrong to sell this as a novel about Norse Mythology. Because there were so many things that were unsupported by scholarship. It would be more accurate to say that it was inspired by Norse Mythology.
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The Helheim Princess
by Tiana Warner

#TheHelheimPrincess 

For as long as Sigrid could remember, she’s wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she’s a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she’s so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she's leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go. 

Too bad that the only one who can help her get there is Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who begrudgingly agrees to lead her to Helheim but who certainly can’t be trusted—even if she does make Sigrid more than a little flustered. As they cross the nine worlds, battling night elves, riding sea serpents, and hurtling into fire to learn the truth about Sigrid’s birthright, an unexpected but powerful bond forms. 

As her feelings for Mariam deepen into something fiery and undeniable, Fate has other plans for Sigrid. What happens when the one thing you think
 you were meant to do might end the nine worlds?

My Review to come closer to the Release Date
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I was drawn to this book because I was promised sapphic Valkyries and adventures. I definitely got the adventure but this book could have been so much gayer. The book is fast-paced and offers some twists on the usual Norse mythology.  I was not expecting the twist/reveal we got at about 60%, so that was definitely interesting. And at first I kind of thought this was reminding me of Rick Riordan’s books (a little Magnus Chase, a little Trials of Apollo).  But at the end of the day, I’m not sure it offered much more or anything different than a lot of YA action fantasy books I’ve read. And the ending felt a little “after-school special.”  
It’s not a bad book by any means.  It’s fast-paced, engaging, and I think a ton of people will enjoy it. But it just missed the mark a bit for me. 

3.25 stars
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Originally posted on Just Geeking by.


Content warnings:
(view spoiler)

I have always been drawn to books based on mythology and folklore, and the gorgeous cover for The Helheim Princess drew me in just as much as the title did. I’ve become quite familiar with the goddess Hel and Helheim through various fictional interpretations, and I was curious to see what this one was like!

I wanted to like this book more than I did because it has a beautiful sapphic love story, some great characters, and wonderful Norse world-building, but the sad reality is that it is chock-full of YA tropes. The first problem straight out of the gate is that the title and the synopsis gives the plot away immediately. You’re probably thinking, hold on a second, The Helheim Princess is for teen readers, and you’re a thirty-something year old woman. Of course, it seems obvious to you! Sorry, but teenagers aren’t idiots. This novel is listed as being for 12 to 17-year-olds on Amazon, and while I can see readers of the younger end of that age bracket not piecing things together, I can tell you from experience that older teens definitely will.

Despite the predictable plot, The Helheim Princess was an enjoyable read. I feel that it suffered from what I call ‘first book syndrome’, where the author sticks to a very basic plot to get the protagonist’s original story out and get them in position for book two. In this book, Sigrid finds out who she is, follows her destiny and decides who she wants to be, while falling in love, making friends and learning a few hard lessons along the way. It is a very typical coming of age story, so what made The Helheim Princess different enough for me to give it a decent rating? Well, that would be the world-building.

Warner has created a unique and magical interpretation of Norse mythology and the nine worlds, and offers an insight into her creative process at the end of the book. It was interesting to see where her path took her from original sources and academic texts as she explained how one of the few two sources we have of Norse folklore was written by a Christian, and the other, a primary source, is filled with gaps. The world she has created in The Helheim Princess is her interpretation of these sources and an attempt to fill in some of the gaps, creatively. The result is a fantastic world where baby Valkyries are born at the exact same time as a winged mare, rather than them being the traditional “chooser of the slain”. Instead, they are guardians, warriors who protect the nine realms. For the most part, the nine realms are the same, with a few changes here and there.

This is also a book for horse lovers. Warner is a lifelong rider, and it shows in every scene. She brings all that experience to provide authentic, fast-paced action scenes with the horses, and they are probably the best I’ve seen in a fantasy novel.

An easy read with lovely characters and a great romance, The Helheim Princess might not have scored high for me as an individual book, however it definitely put The Helheim Prophecy series, and it’s author Tiana Warner on my radar. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for book two because I want to see where Sigrid and Mariam’s story goes, and spend more time in the world Warner has created.
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As a badass viking girl book its pretty good. Not historically accurate in the slightest but I honestly didn't care. Could have been gayer tbh.
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Series Info/Source:  This is the first book in the Helheim Prophecy series.  I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley to review. 

Thoughts:  I wasn't a huge fan of this book.  The writing style was just too simple for me and the characters acted way too immature.  I felt like I was reading a mediocre middle grade fantasy novel.

Despite my general lack of enthusiasm for this book there were some things I did enjoy.  I enjoyed the Norse mythology background and how the different worlds of this mythology were explored.  I also enjoyed Sigrid's closeness to her horse and some of the training they did.  The two horses in here were the best characters in the book.

Now on to the things I didn't enjoy.  Not a lot happens early on, it took 25% of the way through before things really got moving.  The characters lacked depth.   Sigrid in particular is incredibly immature and naïve and makes a lot of very selfish, questionable decisions throughout the book; I found her frustrating.  The writing here was very simple, not a lot of description or introspection. It was hard to picture the settings and hard to engage with these very 2D characters.  Lastly the dialogue was stiff and didn't flow well, it sounded really awkward.

My Summary (3/5): Overall this was a fairly quick read for me, but I struggled to stay engaged with the story.  Aside from the Norse mythology setting, there wasn't much here I enjoyed.  The main issue in this book is wrapped up nicely and things are set up for the next book without a huge cliffhanger so I do appreciate that.  However, I really disliked the simplicity of the writing style and how immature the characters were.  I won't be reading anymore of this series or picking up any more books by Warner.
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This book had a pretty slow start, and for me, it took a while for things to really pick up. I liked both Sigrid and Mariam, their budding romance was slow-burn enough that it didn't come across like 'Insta-love'. The dialog was occasionally very modern, and at times it took me out of the story. The relationships are the best part of the book, there really needs to be more sweet sapphic stories, and I would have loved for this book to exist when I was a teen, and I am so glad it does for teens now.

   The plot, as I mentioned, was a little slow-moving at first, but once things did pick up, they really picked up. I don't know how much this can really be called 'Enemies to lovers' as they weren't "enemies" for really that long. They became allies fairly quickly, still mildly distrustful of each other, but they worked together and fought side by side for most of the book.

   The chapters were really short, and while I prefer chapters to be on the shorter side, in this book, it sometimes read like the chapter was cut in half and a new one started. It made some of the chapters feel... choppy. This is a personal preference, but I don't really like chapter titles, and this book has them. I know it's YA, but chapter titles feels more like something done in middle grade books.
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While there is tons of action in The Helheim Princess - basically nonstop - what I enjoyed most was the main character Sigrid. If you're looking for a Norse adventure story with tons of little clues to Norse mythology and legends, The Helheim Princess is 100% your book. But what I enjoyed the most was Sigrid's character evolution. She's so convinced that she's meant for more, that she should be a valkyrie. Then when she has that vision, she's even more convinced. 

But throughout The Helheim Princess, Sigrid has to figure out how much control over her own fate she has. Is everything written in stone from her vision? Because we can think we know how our life is going to go. We can be so utterly convinced that our vision is going to happen like we think it is, only to find out it's the same image with a different story. Sigrid is almost singled handedly focused on her future, that she struggles to see those around her and the other options.
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This wasn't quite what I was expecting. I liked Sigrid. I actually liked most of the characters. The story was a bit slow at times. I was expecting a cliffhanger ending since Goodreads has this as a series but while there are a few loose ends, it could easily be a standalone. I wasn't super thrilled by the ending but I do understand it. I thought there would be a bit more on the valkyries, but Sigrid was mostly separated from them. (but this might be different in the next one).
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The Helheim Princess is an adventurous and fun young-adult fantasy romance title.  The chapters were quick to get through and I did like aspects of the romance between our leads. It was full of yearning, initial judgments, and some enemies to lovers excellence, I always love some more wlw. I think the concept is enticing, there are attempts at giving the characters flaws, but sometimes it read a bit juvenile. More so than young adult fiction. 

It excelled with the bond between the horses and the women in this book. 

I was not hugely into some of the tropes, like a lot of the girl-on-girl disliking sentiments. The conflicts and plot points felt simplistic, the writing wasn't bad but it wasn't amazing either. I just wish parts of it held a bit more depth. The plot was predictable, I wish some of the characters were more dynamic like the mother and Fisk and everyone but our leads to be honest.

Overall, I enjoyed it fine, I don't think it is a title that will particularly stick with me but I think there is a definite audience this book will appeal to.
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I was saving The Helheim Princess to be one of my last five reads of the year simply because of the stunning cover. Behind the cover is exactly what I was expecting, a sensational YA adventure wrapped in Norse mythology and then some. Warner bent the myths beautifully to support her narrative of two young outcasts, one trying to redeem herself and the other following her destiny. The epic adventure story is told in a scintillating fashion sure to hold you spell bound.
The Helheim Princess offers readers who are questioning their identity a positive place to explore and visualize their future. This is a queer utopia for burgeoning LGBTQ young readers. 
Sigrid is a lowly stable hand who always wanted to be a Valkyrie riding her winged horse to protect her kingdom. Mariam is an enemy valkyrie tasked to stealing a Seer’s stone and bringing Sigrid to Helheim.
The Helheim Princess is everything I would want if I was a YA reader and as  an adult reader it is pure entertainment.

 I received a free advance review copy  from Entangled Publishing and NetGalley. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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Thank you NetGalley and publisher. This was a wonderful book of a young girl finding out who she is and learning what she is capable of doing.  I can’t wait to read the next book and find out what new adventures Sigrid and Hestur goes on.
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I absolutely loved this underdog story that is set in Norse mythology. Sigrid longs to be a Valkyrie but as she lacks a winged horse it's never going to happen . However when she gets involved in trying to stop the theft of a mystical object she has a vision that shows her anything is possible !
I'm not going to be long winded but will say this story of a young girl finding her place in the world was fun to read and had action, emotion and of course delightful horses. I was a tad nonplussed that the Valkyries don't seem to kill their enemies and only wound but its aimed at teenagers so perhaps that explains it. A good story and just the beginning of Sigrids adventures.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
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Thank you Net Galley for giving me a free ARC in exchange for a honest review.

This book had me pulled in from the beginning due to Sigrid's ambitious personality. In that she wants more than anything to be able to help the nine worlds. She will do anything to prove herself to the valkyries. One day all that changes when she sees a vision from the eye that will alter all nine worlds. This story was easy for me to follow and enjoyable as well. I found Sigrid and Mariam to be very relatable and likable characters. However I had a hard time liking or relating to any of the other characters besides the horses. This book told a great story it just fell a little flat when it came to some of the more minor charector building also some of the action scenes seemed a little slow for me. 

Rating 3.5
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I really fell in love with this book. Within a few chapters I could tell it was going to be amazing.  The story begins with Sigrid who wants to be a Valkyrie but has not been bonded with a winged horse. She is taunted and belittled by the Valkyries but it doesn’t stop her training and trying relentlessly to prove herself.  Sigrid is strong, determined and the whole story gave me warrior, bad ass vibes.  I love the Norse, warrior, sapphic narrative and it’s done really well.

There is an attack where we meet Mariam and the story becomes really interesting quickly with lots of action, heartbreak and an epic adventure of Sigrid finding herself. 

Really recommend it and looking forward to reading more from this author.  I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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3.5 stars rounded up.
This was a good book! It is very slow to start though and the first third in particular feels a little on the wordier side. I understand there is a lot of set up to do, I just feel it could be tightened up a bit. That being said the last third or so is so enjoyable.
We have Sigrid, the want to be Valkyrie who doesn't understand her place in the world. She's an orphan with no clue where she comes from. She wants to be more than a stable hand, to be able to be someone special and believes her destiny is to do just that. She's a fierce character who loves her horse Hester, and is great with horses in general. The author obviously has a lot of knowledge about horses and I loved it.

<i>"She wanted the reverence that came with being a guardian, a protector, a valued member of the best warriors in the cosmos. Most of all, in her heart, being a valkyrie was her destiny, and without parents to confirm or deny this, it pained her to think she was missing out on her cosmic purpose."</i>

Sigrid goes through a ton of growth throughout this book. She starts truly feeling like she deserves more and that her cosmic destiny is more important. But she becomes this tough, yet tender leader who is able to listen to others, admit her mistakes and lead when needed. I enjoyed her journey. The love story felt forced to start with but grew into something sweet. I appreciated lesbian pairing and thought that was done well. I agree with the author, I too wish that all relationships were more accepted in our world and that one didn't have to worry about what others would think, only what they feel for a person. 

<i>"Don't be so hasty about reaching your destiny that you forget the most important part of life  discovering who you are by living moment to moment."</i>

I liked the Norse world created here, I thought it was pretty well thought out. I never realized how little concrete information was around about Norse religion and liked how the author explained that in her note at the end of the book. 
I look forward to reading the second book when it is out. It looks like the story will be moving in an interesting direction.
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Thank you to Entangled Teen for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

<I>The Helheim Princess</i> is a sapphic, Norse mythology adventure. I am a huge sucker for any book with mythology – and that also has horses and is sapphic. This meant that I was so excited to read it! I was really pleased when I finally got the chance to dig into this book. This is an enemies to lovers book FYI! I enjoyed the book overall!  

First off, I generally enjoyed the writing style. However, at some points I felt that it leaned a bit juvenile. I also felt that some of the dialogue felt a bit stilted but overall, I think the writing was good, and lent itself well to the book. This is because the book itself is fast paced. There is adventure abound in the book, and so the story keeps its flow.  

There were a few slower paced parts (like the very beginning of the book, but that was more setup).  

The world building in this book was excellent. I like Norse mythology, but I will admit that I don’t know all that much about it. I was fascinated with the fact that the Valkyries took the lead in this book and were strong and fierce warriors. This book also involves a prophecy and a bit of a “chosen one” type of book, but I think it works well with the context of the book!  

The plot of the book was good – mostly based on adventure and finding out where Sigrid comes from is a subplot as well. Everything was interwoven together to make the book work.  

Sigrid and Mariam were good characters, and I liked their relationship with each other. It felt well done overall, and they were just cute. Hestur the horse is one of my favorite characters as well. This book also deals with friendship and family relationships – so I liked that aspect of the book as well.  

Overall, I think this is a book that is going to find an audience of wide appeal!
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The Helheim Princess by Tina Warner
  “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”
~~~
   This is my first time reading something from Tina Warner and I couldn’t put it down. Warners writing is great for when you’re flying; got it done in my whole stretch of delays and air time! Absolutely loved the descriptions of the characters, layout, and the plot was easy to follow. 
   Loved, loved, can’t express this enough how I loved the representation of LGBTQ+ in the book with the main character!! 
  Seriously if you love Norse mythology, twisted with LGBTQ+ representing. Pick up this book when it hits shelves on January 4,2022; Warner’s book was magical.
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