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Is this Ragnarok, or just California? The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a valkyrie in the Norse god’s army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist’s job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world—and to kill th Is this Ragnarok, or just California? The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a valkyrie in the Norse god’s army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist’s job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world—and to kill those who refuse to fight. But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans. Journeying across a chaotic American landscape already degenerating into violence and madness, Mist hopes to find her way to Helheim, the land of the dead, to rescue her murdered sister from death’s clutches. To do so, she’ll need the help of Hermod, a Norse god bumming around Los Angeles with troubles of his own. Together they find themselves drafted into a higher cause, trying to do what fate long ago deemed could not be done: save the world of man. For even if myths aren’t made to be broken, it can’t hurt to go down fighting…can it?


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Is this Ragnarok, or just California? The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a valkyrie in the Norse god’s army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist’s job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world—and to kill th Is this Ragnarok, or just California? The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a valkyrie in the Norse god’s army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist’s job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world—and to kill those who refuse to fight. But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans. Journeying across a chaotic American landscape already degenerating into violence and madness, Mist hopes to find her way to Helheim, the land of the dead, to rescue her murdered sister from death’s clutches. To do so, she’ll need the help of Hermod, a Norse god bumming around Los Angeles with troubles of his own. Together they find themselves drafted into a higher cause, trying to do what fate long ago deemed could not be done: save the world of man. For even if myths aren’t made to be broken, it can’t hurt to go down fighting…can it?

30 review for Norse Code

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Hold up....everyone who sees this book’s cover and thinks it’s just another PNR crowding the already bloated market...you’ve been maliciously led astray. This novel is 100% Ragnarokian... ...but with words and punctuation. This story contains absolutely: **No sultry, “come and hither me” eyes; **No tumultuous, steam-filled romances full of moist, frothy otherworld humping; and **No star crossed lovers fighting the odds to win other-side-of-the-track booty. What this book does feature is a boat Hold up....everyone who sees this book’s cover and thinks it’s just another PNR crowding the already bloated market...you’ve been maliciously led astray. This novel is 100% Ragnarokian... ...but with words and punctuation. This story contains absolutely: **No sultry, “come and hither me” eyes; **No tumultuous, steam-filled romances full of moist, frothy otherworld humping; and **No star crossed lovers fighting the odds to win other-side-of-the-track booty. What this book does feature is a boat load of all things accompanying the Norse mythological apocalypse. You've got: 1. Pissed off, morally dubious deities jockeying for position; 2. Squabbling, backstabbing immortals playing "survivor" and forming/ dissolving factions on a whim; 3. Sibling gods throwing down on one another like a steel-caged death match; and 4. A fresh, modern retelling of the Ragnarok legend that foretells the end of days... Plus giant, immortal WOLVES. PLOT SUMMARY: I think I pretty much covered it above but here goes a bit more color: Present day America...murdered MBA student brought back to life to serve the Norse gods as a valkyrie (aka uber bad ass flying warrior extraordinaire). Incognito, “prodigal son” god wandering the Earth avoiding responsibility while trying to save his family from their predestined fate. Throw in a large ration of myth folk living everyday lives (ala American Gods) until they realize the end is upon them and you have the makings of an interesting travelogue of the Ragnarok legend. THOUGHTS: There is a lot to like about this book but it's also a bit of a mess. Accentuating the positive, I am a fanboy of Norse mythology and Greg Van Eekhout clearly has a good grasp of both the story and symbolic meanings behind the Ragnarok legend. I thought the references to myth were well done and the author was both playful and respectful of the material in its use. There is certainly an American Gods element here, especially in the rather detached protagonist Hermod. I like that. There is also some beautiful imagery and a number of nice moments of dialogue that clue the reader in to the fact that Eekhout has some real talent. I laughed out loud a few times and gaped, open-jawed at places where the descriptions were particularly good. However.... On the minus side, the characters are barely even two dimensional and so it was hard to stake an emotional claim to the story. Not caring about the characters really removed much of the tension and drama that might otherwise have been there. Also, the plot itself is a dysfunctional mess and very hard to follow. Now the Norse legends themselves are not straight forward narratives and so there is a bit of muddle built into the source material. However, it was more than that. It’s almost as if the author wanted the reader to experience the chaos of Armageddon as part of the reading exercise. If so, it was a bit too murky and I think the execution was not all it could have been. Overall, I thought the premise was very interesting and there are parts of this that are very good. Enough for me to say I like it and recommend that you give it a shot.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    This book has an awesome cover that is completely deceptive to what the book is about. This is not a vaginal-urban-fantasy book where a girl you connect with kicks mythological ass, it's from the POV of several ppl, more along the vein of American Gods by Neil Gaiman (although I didn't enjoy it as much as that book). I know from personal experience that it's fun to write "inside" stuff, but sometimes that can leave ppl left out on the joke, and this book did that a bit for me. I know SOME about N This book has an awesome cover that is completely deceptive to what the book is about. This is not a vaginal-urban-fantasy book where a girl you connect with kicks mythological ass, it's from the POV of several ppl, more along the vein of American Gods by Neil Gaiman (although I didn't enjoy it as much as that book). I know from personal experience that it's fun to write "inside" stuff, but sometimes that can leave ppl left out on the joke, and this book did that a bit for me. I know SOME about Norse mythology, but I think the people who would MOST enjoy it would be very educated in this area. There's a lot of really fun quippy dialogue in here, but the plot is very story-driven. The thing that it lacked for me is character stuff. I didn't really get connected to the lead characters or understand why they were doing stuff sometimes except for the plot telling them to. I found it hard to finish the last third of the book because I wasn't rooting for the characters like I'd want to as much. That said I did enjoy the dialogue, it made me laugh out loud a few times, and I would definitely check this author out again. Recommended for Norse Mythology fans for sure! I increased this rating by a star because I saw other stuff I gave 2 stars and this book is definitely better than them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

    This book really deserves 4.5 stars. From the cover and the blurb, I expected Norse Code to be a lot fluffier than it was, especially with the tagline "Is this Ragnarok, or just California?". What I found was an ambitious re-telling of Norse mythology that encompassed our 21st century world. Greg van Eekhout manages to not only convey the complexity of Norse mythology, but he does it in a way that is completely comprehensible and entertaining. He accomplishes this feat in less than 300 pages. Nor This book really deserves 4.5 stars. From the cover and the blurb, I expected Norse Code to be a lot fluffier than it was, especially with the tagline "Is this Ragnarok, or just California?". What I found was an ambitious re-telling of Norse mythology that encompassed our 21st century world. Greg van Eekhout manages to not only convey the complexity of Norse mythology, but he does it in a way that is completely comprehensible and entertaining. He accomplishes this feat in less than 300 pages. Norse mythology seems to be an up-and-coming theme in fantasy literature these days. Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Elizabeth Bear's All the Windwracked Stars are both based on Norse myth. However, both seem to require a bit more knowledge of the subject. While knowing something about Norse mythology makes Norse Code more interesting, I think one could learn quite a bit about it just by reading this novel. Norse Code was thoroughly entertaining and quite exciting. I just wish the publisher had come up with a less misleading cover and blurb. I think I need to give this my mom rating too. While it is violent, it's no more violent than any ancient mythology. I wouldn't hesitate to give it to any teenager. Despite the cover, I think teenage boys might really like it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Update: It appears that there is an issue with some readers being mislead into thinking that this book is fantasy in the way of the strong-heroine-led urban fantasy variety. There are strong heroines in this book, but mainly it's about a male Norse god and his female companion who is a valkyrie. The valkyrie element could have been stronger, but I believe the real fault lies with the very misleading cover. I changed my review to reflect the fact that this is not really urban fantasy so much as f Update: It appears that there is an issue with some readers being mislead into thinking that this book is fantasy in the way of the strong-heroine-led urban fantasy variety. There are strong heroines in this book, but mainly it's about a male Norse god and his female companion who is a valkyrie. The valkyrie element could have been stronger, but I believe the real fault lies with the very misleading cover. I changed my review to reflect the fact that this is not really urban fantasy so much as fantasy with some everyday urban elements. If you are interested in exploring Norse mythology, you would love this book. If you want to read about a kickbutt heroine who happens to be a valkyrie, then this probably will not appeal to you. Onto regularly scheduled review: I can say one thing, if this is Greg Van Eekhout's first and last book, I think he can retire pretty proud of himself. As a fan of any mythology, I have to recommend this book. It brings the myths to life in all their dark, violent glory. Ever wonder what Ragnarok would look like? Read this book. I have decided this book is as close as I'd like to come to the Norse end of the world. Yes, this book is violent and gory. But it should be. It would have lacked the important impact otherwise. Think about it, heaven is preparing for the final battle on the side of Odin during Ragnarok, with brief periods of drinking mead served by comely maidens, er valkyries. These myths have a built in blood and guts factor. Like the best books, I felt like I was right there in the action, knots in my stomach as Fenrir devours the moon, while his ever-ravenous pups devour the sun and whatever else gets in their way. The Midgard Serpent engages Thor in the final battle, and the ship of the dead, carrying Hel, the Norse goddess of death's troops, comes from Helheim to fight the final battle against the Einherjar. Well thankfully there is a reluctant and disgraced god, Hermod, and a runaway valkyrie, Mist, to stave off Ragnarok. Mist is looking to rescue her sister Lilly from Hel's clutches in Helheim, and Hermod is the only living person to go there and return. He went there to retrieve his brothers Hod and Baldr, who died unjust and untimely deaths (long story, read the book). In payment for his aid, she agrees to help him save the nine worlds, which include Midgard, what we call Earth. It sounds complicated, and well it is a bit, but it's so entertaining, and so interesting reading about all these events. This book really is urban fantasy at its best. Although some might want a faster paced read, I felt this book is very much worth the investment in reading it. The descriptions are so vivid, and it is clear that Mr. Van Eekhout did his research, which he earns my admiration for doing. And for telling a story that is so readable, fun in parts, and almost dreary in others, as only the myths are; and increasingly hard to put down. Although reading Norse Code doesn't replace reading the Prose Edda, I would say that this book would do very well to introduce a novice to Norse mythology, and what a cool ride it is along the way. This book starts rather slowly, but you definitely want to hang in there. Heck, there's even a great, eight-legged horse (Slepnir).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    More of a 3 1/2 stars. I have to give Greg van Eekhout props for a very clever and interesting take on how Ragnarok might come about during modern times (I mean, the fire giant Surtr is wielding his sword from on high over a final battlefield that includes a Home Depot and a Costco, which made me smile). I can't say that I've read a lot of Norse mythology because it always seemed so fragmented and difficult to follow when I went through my mythology phase in junior high (the year Edith Hamilton More of a 3 1/2 stars. I have to give Greg van Eekhout props for a very clever and interesting take on how Ragnarok might come about during modern times (I mean, the fire giant Surtr is wielding his sword from on high over a final battlefield that includes a Home Depot and a Costco, which made me smile). I can't say that I've read a lot of Norse mythology because it always seemed so fragmented and difficult to follow when I went through my mythology phase in junior high (the year Edith Hamilton never left my side), so I have no idea how accurate Eekhout's depictions are. Furthermore, I can't say that I care. It was entertaining and original, especially when compared with the current glut of vampire fiction on the market today. Also, I'm always worried about books like this (the ones that look like they'll be urban fantasy with a strong female heroine) because they tend to devolve into nothing more than a sexfest of a plot that goes something like this: "It's almost the end of the world--there's only one thing to do! Have dirty, sweaty, S&M sex since all is futile! And then lets do it again every 25 pages or so until we've exhausted the Kama Sutra." I was pleased that Norse Code never becomes a dressed up excuse for supernatural porn. A few minor issues that shouldn't stop anyone from reading the book: 1. The back cover makes it seem as though the entire story will be told from the point of view of Mist, a valkyrie whose purpose is to gather warriors who will serve in the Einherjar at the final battle. However, the book doesn't seem to have one main character (which is just as well as Hermod and the Aesir are far more interesting characters than Mist; in fact, her whole "I must save my sister from Hel" mission seems unnecessary). It also seems as though the book will focus on the NORSEcode project being used to track down descendants of Odin (a kick ass idea in every way that isn't really utilized or expanded upon). These aren't really problems, but it ticks me off when a book presents itself as one thing and then goes in a different direction--even if I end up liking it. 2. And the name Mist is a minor irritation because sentences like "Mist hung around Hermod's waist" caused my mind to put forth disconcerting images of a Norse god riding into battle surrounded by a Charles Schulz Pigpen-esque fog. 3. The characters seem to exist only to serve the purpose of executing the plot. We never learn about them in any depth. Normally, this would be quite vexing, but the book makes it clear that they are pawns of prophecy and fate so, in a way, they do exist only to set the chain of events in motion. However, it would have been better if they could have been a little more interesting along the way. Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike Vasich

    As others have already noted, this book has been mis-marketed, which I feel has done a disservice to the author. I purposely avoided it for a while because while I dearly love the Norse myths (see my own novel if you don't believe me), I thought this was a wish-fulfillment fantasy for teen girls. You know, sort of a Buffy but with Viking stuff. It's not that at all. This book should never have been portrayed as a YA book--there's nothing YA about it or teen about it aside from the cheesy cover. I As others have already noted, this book has been mis-marketed, which I feel has done a disservice to the author. I purposely avoided it for a while because while I dearly love the Norse myths (see my own novel if you don't believe me), I thought this was a wish-fulfillment fantasy for teen girls. You know, sort of a Buffy but with Viking stuff. It's not that at all. This book should never have been portrayed as a YA book--there's nothing YA about it or teen about it aside from the cheesy cover. Instead, we get the Norse myths clashing with the modern, which means gods who use modern day slang while still retaining their 'godness'. We get Valkyries and Einherjar who work for a corporation bent on identifying fighters based on their genetics. We get the essence of the myths with some twists and turns that were satisfying for Norse fans. It would also be good for newcomers, since much of the myths and characters are revealed in a way that is unforced. In other words, you don't need to know the characters already to enjoy the book since the author will ease you into their stories as you read. I thought the characters were great. Were they super complex and painstakingly rendered? No, but they were believable within the context of the story and true to their personalities and backstories. As another reviewer noted, the change in character in Hermod from reluctant hero (at best) to . . . well, I guess non-reluctant hero . . . was really good. Eekhout doesn't shy away from killing or maiming characters, and the story does not stay nice and tidy. It's chaotic (in a good way, I think) and action-packed, and I was never bored. In fact, I devoured this book. It was both light and funny, but also serious when it needed to be. Lastly, Ragnarok was handled really well. I loved where it took place--a thematic statement, I think, on the nature of our civilization. The climax and resolution fit the book extremely well. Recommended for Norse lovers who aren't too uptight about their characters being reinterpreted. Also for those who like action-packed urban fantasy-ish stuff that isn't too dark.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    The cover of Norse Code is misleading. It has a classic "urban fantasy" pose, the woman holding a phallic weapon and looking over her shoulder at the reader. Really, Norse Code is nothing like the cover or the description on the back of the book. Although it begins like other urban fantasy books, it quickly becomes something different. It is an epic tale focused through the lens of postmodern apocalypse, where metaphor becomes literal, and gods are as mortal as men. When I went through my mytholo The cover of Norse Code is misleading. It has a classic "urban fantasy" pose, the woman holding a phallic weapon and looking over her shoulder at the reader. Really, Norse Code is nothing like the cover or the description on the back of the book. Although it begins like other urban fantasy books, it quickly becomes something different. It is an epic tale focused through the lens of postmodern apocalypse, where metaphor becomes literal, and gods are as mortal as men. When I went through my mythology phase as a child, I gobbled up the Norse myths as much as I did Greek, Roman, etc. In fact, Norse mythology has a special place in my heart. Scandinavian myth has a wonderful knack for the epic. Ragnarok is the best apocalypse myth. Both the Greek and Norse gods are very human in their foibles, but the Norse gods have the advantage of being a part of this epic cycle of song and story . . . they know how they will die (with the exception of Hermod) or survive. They know how their world will end, that this end is inevitable, and that a new world will arise from the ashes. Greg van Eekhout plays on this theme well, turning Ragnarok into an opportunity for reflection on the mortality of all things. Even gods can die. And encoded in everything's beginning is also its end, or, as Frigg puts it: From its very first moment, the world has been dying, just as an infant's first breath makes certain its last. I am life in renewal, and I crave the new green world to come after Ragnarok. To tail against the end is merely preserving a corpse. So here we are thinking the end of the world is a Very Bad Thing—or is it? Perhaps Ragnarok is a time for renewal, a time for the world to be reborn. Suddenly the apocalypse has a moral ambiguity! The two protagonists sort of fall into the job of stopping Ragnarok. Each has a personal stake: Mist wants to save her sister from Helheim; Hermod is concerned with saving his family from their prophesied deaths. Although both are steeped in the mythology surrounding the apocalypse, neither is very competent in using this as an advantage. In essence, the world's best hope does the job half-assed. Speaking of which, the cover also presents Mist as the now stereotypical kickass urban fantasy heroine, which isn't accurate either. Mist is a competent fighter and plays a major role in the plot. She does not quite have the skill level to take the title "kickass" though. She is more of a sidekick to Hermod (whom I like better anyway). And there's nothing wrong with this (just as there's nothing wrong with being kickass). For Norse Code, it works. Hermod, too, is not what one would expect from a god. Van Eekhout is not the first to portray a god as apathetic and a little postmodern in his perspective on life. However, I like how Hermod grows over the course of the novel. At first he is very apathetic, but helping Mist embroils him in Ragnarok and makes him realize that he cannot stand by this time. Hermod's decision to make a role for himself—even as everyone tells him that stopping Ragnarok is hopeless—is an important turning point. Van Eekhout gives us a lot of background on Hermod. We get a clear sense of his role in initiating Ragnarok and his character as a god, why he avoids his fellow Aesir and "bums around" Midgard. This is one reason I prefer him over Mist, who gets considerably less character development. We learn that she has a sister, that they were both gunned down outside a convenience store, that their parents and grandmother are dead, and that Mist used to be an MBA student named Kathy. That's about it. There are no flashbacks; even Mist's "creation myth," if you will, is told more secondhand than as a proper flashback. As a result, Mist feels like a more ephemeral character than she is. Norse Code drags its heels in other respects as well. The pacing is problematic, even haphazard. This is especially difficult to ignore during the climactic battle, which appears abruptly and ends just as abruptly. It is very chaotic—but not in a good way—with too many disparate plot elements vying for space on the page. Once again, Mist seems relegated to a supporting role, taking out one of the minor antagonists while Hermod tries (several times) to derail the apocalypse. Of course, the end of the world is a downer, and as a book ending, it's really a downer. Van Eekhout sidesteps Ragnarok nicely, managing to simultaneously evince the "you can buck destiny" theme without hitting too many clichés. And that impresses me, because I do not think it is possible to avoid the apocalypse in an apocalyptic novel without being some kind of trite. So van Eekhout picked the right kind. There are some great moments in Norse Code, like this one: "So Vidar's got the eye," Mist said, "but we've got the sword. As long as Vidar doesn't have both, we're okay?" "Vidar's not that stupid," Hugin said. "The nothing in the Sword of Seven is a tricky substance to work with, but there's no shortage of nothing." "In addition to the Sword of Seven," Munin piped in, "he commissioned an Ax of Seven, a Spear of Seven, a Hammer of Seven, a Crude Bludgeon of Seven . . . His backup arsenal of Seven is quite extensive." I love this subversion of Vidar as a classic villain—he has backup apocalypse-triggering weapons! There are clever bits of dialogue like this throughout the book. On the flip side, there something high fantasy about Norse Code, and it is very attractive—and obvious, despite the packaging. Yet it seems to be at war with lighter aspects of the book, as if van Eekhout has trouble synthesizing the two sides into a unified voice.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kribu

    Rating: somewhere between three and four stars. I can't really decide yet, but I think that if I let it settle, it'll drop more towards the three, so three it is. This said, there were things about Norse Code I really liked. It's a rather different take to most urban fantasy out there, what with being strictly Norse mythology based and having no fae or vampires or werewolves. It's also quite exciting (after a slightly sluggish beginning, and I have to admit the ravens' POV chapters did bore me so Rating: somewhere between three and four stars. I can't really decide yet, but I think that if I let it settle, it'll drop more towards the three, so three it is. This said, there were things about Norse Code I really liked. It's a rather different take to most urban fantasy out there, what with being strictly Norse mythology based and having no fae or vampires or werewolves. It's also quite exciting (after a slightly sluggish beginning, and I have to admit the ravens' POV chapters did bore me somewhat; fortunately they were always very short). On the other hand, while the plot's exciting and moves along at a brisk pace, it's also a bit of a mess. We sort of get thrown into Ragnarok apparently starting to happen, and then Hermod and Mist, our protagonists, need to go to Helheim to rescue some people and possibly hinder Ragnarok, and some people and monsters are killed, and there's lots of plotting afoot, and while none of it was exactly difficult or too complicated to follow, it was also a kind of ... orchestrated mess, which I found it somewhat difficult to fully engage with. Same goes for the characters. Hermod and Mist were both likeable, which is good, but Hermod in particular... well, he's a nice guy. That's basically it. He's a god, a son of Odin, bumming around on Earth, not really knowing what his destiny and purpose is, just aimlessly wandering around and trying to figure things out. Which is all very nice, and I found very little to object to in Hermod, but... he's so bland. He's a nice guy. His heart's in the right place, and he does his best to do the right thing, but everything he does, he does somewhat blandly. For a god, and for a protagonist, he's just really too forgettable (in fact, I struggled for most of the book to remember his name). I did like Mist, and thought she had potential to be a much more rounded character, with more agency of her own. I'd have liked it better if Mist was the main protagonist and Hermod a sidekick, really. Secondary characters - Grimnir, Höd, Mist's sister Lilly - were all okay. I liked them. I just wish we'd spent more time with them. Unfortunately Höd and Lilly in particular became largely absent just when I'd started to enjoy their parts. I'm really trying to put my finger on what bothered me about the book and... Well, nothing, really? It's just that while I enjoyed it, I lacked that emotional connection with the characters as well as the plot. It probably doesn't help that while I have no objections to reading books based on Norse mythology, it's also not really something I've ever been particularly interested in, which didn't help with the lacking of an emotional connection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I just finished another book that wove Norse mythology into a modern tale, so I was eager to try this one as well. This book is a Ragnarok/end of the world story. I'm not listing it as a paranormal story because it's not about people having special powers; all of the magic in the story stems from the mythological aspects. I have mixed emotions about the value of the book. I quite liked the use of the Norse mythology. There were characters used in new ways, characters that were less familiar to m I just finished another book that wove Norse mythology into a modern tale, so I was eager to try this one as well. This book is a Ragnarok/end of the world story. I'm not listing it as a paranormal story because it's not about people having special powers; all of the magic in the story stems from the mythological aspects. I have mixed emotions about the value of the book. I quite liked the use of the Norse mythology. There were characters used in new ways, characters that were less familiar to me, and an interesting take on fate vs. free will. The characters are somewhat intriguing, but never take on any depth. And the story feels a lot like the main character, Hermod, drifting about from here to there, just happening to end up where needed. The convenience of fate, or the Sybil, is a bit too... convenient. The role of Mist is just lacking. She and her sister die at the same time, she becomes a Valkyrie, but she wants to rescue her sister from Hel. The story about her sister should be interesting and add layers to the main story about trying to prevent Ragnarok, but it doesn't really. It just feels added on and shallow. And as much as I enjoy any book that has a dog in it, the dog in this book is pretty much a meaningless extra. He's loyal and cute, but he doesn't do anything. Maybe the author is as crazy about dogs as I am and just can't imagine a story that doesn't include one. This review isn't any more cohesive than the story, I'm afraid. So overall I'll say that I liked it because it was a new take on Norse mythology, and I'd recommend it to anyone who also likes that topic. It's an enjoyable, light read but just not as good as it should have been.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roxane

    Somehow, I forgot to review this novel though I read it back in August! Greg Van Eekhout is one of those short story writers I've been keeping an eye on because I really like their works and would like to see how well they'd fare in the longer form (others are Gord Sellar, Eugie Foster, Rachel Swirsky, Shweta Narayan). This is Greg Van Eekhout's debut novel and as such, it is not perfect but it's a damn good entertaining read that you'll most likely read cover to cover in one sitting. It's fast-p Somehow, I forgot to review this novel though I read it back in August! Greg Van Eekhout is one of those short story writers I've been keeping an eye on because I really like their works and would like to see how well they'd fare in the longer form (others are Gord Sellar, Eugie Foster, Rachel Swirsky, Shweta Narayan). This is Greg Van Eekhout's debut novel and as such, it is not perfect but it's a damn good entertaining read that you'll most likely read cover to cover in one sitting. It's fast-paced, incredibly action packed in parts and filled with dark humor in others. As far as plot is concerned, here is what Publishers Weekly has to say about it: "Short story author van Eekhout makes a successful leap to long fiction with this thrilling urban fantasy. As human civilizations crumble, Valkyries prepare for Ragnarok by using DNA testing to select perfect warriors for their army of the dead. Resurrected NorseCODE operative Mist loses faith in the project after a tragic accident, and she goes AWOL. After Mist encounters the near-forgotten god Hermod as he investigates portents of doom along the California coastline, the two journey into the afterlife of Helheim, where they make some unexpected allies. With deities scheming and ancient prophecies coming true, can a reluctant Valkyrie and a world-weary god prevent the apocalypse? While a few aspects of the conclusion don't quite hang together, the compelling prose and epic blend of mythological and modern elements make it clear that van Eekhout is an author to watch. (June)" Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. You can tell Greg Van Eekhout is a short story writer just by the sheer number of events taking place within a bit less than 300 pages! Van Eekhout's style is precise and concise, no useless lengthy description, no longish, borish dialogs... everything in this book has a purpose and, while that's enjoyable, I believe it's also one of the book's flaw. In the end, everything falls a bit to neatly into place as is often the case in many debut novels. That's my only complaint and it's a minor one really. As a plus point, the author does an amazing job at weaving Norse mythology into the narration. No info dumps, no crash class Norse mythology for dummies. Elements are smartly introduced as the reader needs them. Greg Van Eekhout is definitely an author to keep an eye on. I'm eagerly waiting for his upcoming YA novel. I would recommend Norse Code to all those looking for a fast-paced adventure story with a nice mix of Norse mythology.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This books is a brilliant portrayal of the world of the old Norse Gods clashing and interacting with our modern secular one and it cleverly brings you into this mix of realms with the character who only became deceased and turned Valkyrie 3 months ago. It also focuses not on the greater known gods like Odin, Thor and Loki although they are involved in the overall adventure but on the more minor and genuinely more interesting characters of this pantheon of Hermod, a small wandering God and of cou This books is a brilliant portrayal of the world of the old Norse Gods clashing and interacting with our modern secular one and it cleverly brings you into this mix of realms with the character who only became deceased and turned Valkyrie 3 months ago. It also focuses not on the greater known gods like Odin, Thor and Loki although they are involved in the overall adventure but on the more minor and genuinely more interesting characters of this pantheon of Hermod, a small wandering God and of course my all time favourite - Valkyries. The story revolves around the impending doom of Ragnarok, Hermod's bitter luck after failing to bring Baldur back from the dead clutches of Hel and Mist (formermly human deceased) a relatively new and modern valkyrie who actually resists the role she has been given in exitsence to try and rescue her sister also from Hel's domain. The characters are brilliant to relate to and the rising chaos in the world (set in America) really helps invision what Ragnarok would be like if it occured in our modern world. The ending of the over all book is very unique and although it goes against the very mythology involved it actually suits it for the Gods like the viking people who worshipped them are anything if not survivors. It is a great novel (albeit it small) to read for fans of vikings, norse mythology and urban/paranormal fantasy. As a writer trying to write a story using the same range of characters (not exactly the same characters in this one) and also setting such an old faith in a modern world I was pleasently impressed to see how well it would actually work and how easy the reader would except if it makes a good story that grips you from chapter to chapter. Hopefully one day there will be room in the literary world for Valkyries and these great old gods, characters of legends and myths to overcome the firm base of Vampires and the growing presence of Angels in young adult novels.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Aisteach

    This is one of the better urban fantasies I've read, and that's a genre I generally enjoy. Greg Van Eekhout writes Norse mythology with the same facility that C.S. Lewis wrote Christian mythology, and as a Norse mythology geek I really appreciated the organic way Van Eekhout wove that mythology into a thoroughly satisfying story about Ragnarök occurring in our own time. The novel follows the story of a young woman who died young and was selected to become a Valkyrie as the events of the end times This is one of the better urban fantasies I've read, and that's a genre I generally enjoy. Greg Van Eekhout writes Norse mythology with the same facility that C.S. Lewis wrote Christian mythology, and as a Norse mythology geek I really appreciated the organic way Van Eekhout wove that mythology into a thoroughly satisfying story about Ragnarök occurring in our own time. The novel follows the story of a young woman who died young and was selected to become a Valkyrie as the events of the end times begin to unfold. Not to give too much away, but the process of selecting worthy warriors to join Odin's army in Valhalla has had to be accelerated, and a front company has been set up to identify likely candidates, and then events are set in motion to give these likely candidates the opportunity to die in combat -- a situation which does not often occur spontaneously in 21st-century America. This is a complex story, full of double dealing and ancient grudges coming to the surface. Urban fantasy readers should thoroughly enjoy this one, and it should also find crossover appeal with the folks who like epic fantasy (and don't mind a contemporary setting). This is one I'm glad I purchased, as I'm sure it's one I will re-read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Serena

    I admit to some frustration to this book. "Sibyl" is not Norse, nor meant to be a catch all phrase for a prophetess. The number of sibyls in Greek myth was numbered, their names known. What the "sibyl" is, is a volva, a Norse wise woman who perhaps practices seidr. However, the "sibyl" played a small part, and I still enjoyed what I read, which was a modern take on Ragnarok. Hermod is a god rarely focused on, and in the wake of Hel's refusal to to give back bis brother Baldr (and in this account I admit to some frustration to this book. "Sibyl" is not Norse, nor meant to be a catch all phrase for a prophetess. The number of sibyls in Greek myth was numbered, their names known. What the "sibyl" is, is a volva, a Norse wise woman who perhaps practices seidr. However, the "sibyl" played a small part, and I still enjoyed what I read, which was a modern take on Ragnarok. Hermod is a god rarely focused on, and in the wake of Hel's refusal to to give back bis brother Baldr (and in this account Höd) he fails to prevent the Fimbulvetr that brings about Ragnarok. Hermod becomes depressed and despondently wonders Earth. This is a book in which, just because your dead, you can't be counted out of Ragnarok. Enter Mist (aka Kathy Catillo) - like Hermod, she has lost her sister, and now as a Valkyrie intends to find her and get her back. She has the help of the Einherjar Grimnir, who I fell a little in love with. He's just badass - a warrior, a loyal friend, and he fights for what he feels is right in the end. He doesn't give into the doom and gloom of Ragnarok which he destined to fight - and most likely loose. There is much more to this book then the cover - or Ragnarok. (I really feel the cover does the book no justice). This is gritty and grim, but not a hopeless end. So, Mr. Greg Van Eekhout - a sequel if you please?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacki

    I ran into this book about 18 months ago, but had some reservations about how good it could possibly be. I recevied it through PaperbackSwap about 6 months ago, and there it sat until I picked it up last week. Boy were my reservations WRONG. As the earth falls into endless winter, Mist is resurrected through NorseCODE to perform the duties of a Valkyrie. That is, she is expected to track down the genetic descendents of Odhinn and kill them in the hopes that they will take up the warrior mantle an I ran into this book about 18 months ago, but had some reservations about how good it could possibly be. I recevied it through PaperbackSwap about 6 months ago, and there it sat until I picked it up last week. Boy were my reservations WRONG. As the earth falls into endless winter, Mist is resurrected through NorseCODE to perform the duties of a Valkyrie. That is, she is expected to track down the genetic descendents of Odhinn and kill them in the hopes that they will take up the warrior mantle and travel to Valhalla to fight on the side of the Gods at Ragnarok. After 3 months on the job, Mist has enough and decides to travel to Helheim to free her sister and the latest man she has killed. On her way, she stumbles into unexpected allies and finds herself fighting to save more than just her sister. It turns out that I loved this book. LOVED IT. Van Eekhout clearly researched Norse mythology and was a genius in bring the saga of Balder's death and tale of Ragnarok to the modern era. The characters were so well developed that this book reminded me of my passion for these Gods and Goddesses and why I dedicated myself to them long ago. Strangely, it was this work of fiction that renewed my faith. It didn't hurt that Hugnin and Munnin were star characters.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    This book actually rates 3.5 stars IMO. I enjoyed the characters, the use of Norse mythology and the pacing. Also appreciated the cover art: she's not in some unrealistic pose that would take a contortionist to actually do, she's wearing clothes that look as appropriate as anything else for fighting to save the world. I do wonder about the sword in the left hand? I know, I know, it worked for the cover design. I was interested in the premise/title: NorseCode is a company using genetics to search This book actually rates 3.5 stars IMO. I enjoyed the characters, the use of Norse mythology and the pacing. Also appreciated the cover art: she's not in some unrealistic pose that would take a contortionist to actually do, she's wearing clothes that look as appropriate as anything else for fighting to save the world. I do wonder about the sword in the left hand? I know, I know, it worked for the cover design. I was interested in the premise/title: NorseCode is a company using genetics to search for descendents of Odin (loved the whole genetic code/Morse code/Norse mythology mash-up implied in that title). My only complaint would be that NorseCode itself really doesn't feature much in the book beyond the first couple of chapters, it gets left behind during the course of the action. But that's a minor quibble. Since everything seems to be designed for sequels/series nowadays, I'm wondering if the author is planning another book with these characters? I'd be willing to read it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maggie K

    ok, I may be being picky, but this book COULD have been super-cool. A solid Ragnorokian premise, complete with Valkyries, extraneous Norse gods, giant wolves, and eight legged horse. This is coupled with the idea of using modern day DNA testing to find living descendants of Odin...what a great idea! But it just turned into such a mish-mash of a story that it's hard to even say what it was about.... An MBA student named Kathy and her sister are shot, and Kathys DNA brings her back as a Valkyrie, s ok, I may be being picky, but this book COULD have been super-cool. A solid Ragnorokian premise, complete with Valkyries, extraneous Norse gods, giant wolves, and eight legged horse. This is coupled with the idea of using modern day DNA testing to find living descendants of Odin...what a great idea! But it just turned into such a mish-mash of a story that it's hard to even say what it was about.... An MBA student named Kathy and her sister are shot, and Kathys DNA brings her back as a Valkyrie, so she tries to stop Ragnarok and save her sister from HEL. I kept getting caught up on why wasnt her sister Valkyrie material as well? and although the Norse mythology can be cool, as a whole it isnt very coherent, so taking as much into play as this novel did probably didnt help it much. I also had an issue with the dialogue; WAAY too much slang for the likes of Thor and his brothers. and KATHY the VALKYRIE? Really? I dont know

  17. 5 out of 5

    Reed

    Even though I had been warned, it was hard for me to begin reading Norse Code, look at the tough female heroine on the cover, and not think urban fantasy. Virtually impossible. Despite appearances, there is not one main character, but shifting points of view. Mist, a Valkyrie, is indeed a tough chick. But she is merely one of many characters in this modern revisiting of Ragnarok--the Scandanavian end of the world. With characters such as Odin's ravens, Baldr, Loki, and many others, it's a fun rom Even though I had been warned, it was hard for me to begin reading Norse Code, look at the tough female heroine on the cover, and not think urban fantasy. Virtually impossible. Despite appearances, there is not one main character, but shifting points of view. Mist, a Valkyrie, is indeed a tough chick. But she is merely one of many characters in this modern revisiting of Ragnarok--the Scandanavian end of the world. With characters such as Odin's ravens, Baldr, Loki, and many others, it's a fun romp that's well worth reading if you are interested in the subject matter. It ain't urban fantasy, but that's not a bad thing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    This book was enjoyable, but had enough major flaws that I hesitate to recommend it. I'm interested in Norse mythology and I liked seeing Ragnarok mapped on to the modern world. I also thought it was clever to use Hermod as a main character; he doesn't get much love when it comes to retellings, and he ends up being the only one of the gods who's both sympathetic and personally involved in the survival of the mortal realm. All of that is well done. Where the book fails is in making the modern hum This book was enjoyable, but had enough major flaws that I hesitate to recommend it. I'm interested in Norse mythology and I liked seeing Ragnarok mapped on to the modern world. I also thought it was clever to use Hermod as a main character; he doesn't get much love when it comes to retellings, and he ends up being the only one of the gods who's both sympathetic and personally involved in the survival of the mortal realm. All of that is well done. Where the book fails is in making the modern human world as well-realized as the mythology. As a result, the plot rings hollow despite the excellent characterization. Read it if you're a big fan of the Norse gods; otherwise, don't bother.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I read this book 'cause my boyfriend told me to. If you don't know much about Norse Myths, you will still be able to follow this book. Van Eekhout does a fantastic job of melding modern times with Norse myth and Rangnarok (the end of the world). Mist, who was known as Cathy in life, is a Valkyrie working for NorseCODE, a company who uses the human genome project to find decendents of Odin for the final battle. It just goes down hill from there. Full of action, free eyeballs, and Jim Butcher wort I read this book 'cause my boyfriend told me to. If you don't know much about Norse Myths, you will still be able to follow this book. Van Eekhout does a fantastic job of melding modern times with Norse myth and Rangnarok (the end of the world). Mist, who was known as Cathy in life, is a Valkyrie working for NorseCODE, a company who uses the human genome project to find decendents of Odin for the final battle. It just goes down hill from there. Full of action, free eyeballs, and Jim Butcher worthy quotes, this is sure to please.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jason Lundberg

    Greg's a great writer, and I'm constantly amazed by the ideas that come out of his head. However, the story seemed to be a bit too big for just 300 pages; it's massive in scope, detailing the last days before Ragnarok, with a huge cast of characters, and it might have been better had he expanded it to twice the length, or tightened the story to just one or two POV characters. That said, it was a helluva lot of fun, and the book is worth picking up for sure. Greg's a great writer, and I'm constantly amazed by the ideas that come out of his head. However, the story seemed to be a bit too big for just 300 pages; it's massive in scope, detailing the last days before Ragnarok, with a huge cast of characters, and it might have been better had he expanded it to twice the length, or tightened the story to just one or two POV characters. That said, it was a helluva lot of fun, and the book is worth picking up for sure.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My timing on reading this book turned out to be nearly perfect. I'd just finished a great deal of research on Norse mythology for a project that I was commissioned to write, and I was heading out for a week of vacation on the beach and grabbed this book as something small and 'light' for beach reading. Having so many of the Norse gods and their relationships and places still in my head, this book struck me as extremely well researched and a fun take on the personalities. I knew immediately who ea My timing on reading this book turned out to be nearly perfect. I'd just finished a great deal of research on Norse mythology for a project that I was commissioned to write, and I was heading out for a week of vacation on the beach and grabbed this book as something small and 'light' for beach reading. Having so many of the Norse gods and their relationships and places still in my head, this book struck me as extremely well researched and a fun take on the personalities. I knew immediately who each character was and of course I knew their relationship with the other characters. I did wonder, though, if I hadn't been as fmailiar with them before reading this, would I have enjoyed this book nearly as much? Probably not. Although I gave this book four stars, based on my own enjoyment of reading it, I did have a few problems with the story. First, while I really liked the idea of "Norse Code" -- a technologically modern center for finding appropriate people to bring to Valhalla to fight for Odin at the final battle, I felt that this gimmick was ill-used. Certainly not worthy of the title of the book. It came into play in the first couple of chapters and then was really nothing at all important to the story. Second, we as readers had to take some giant leaps (pun intended) of literary faith to accept that everything that happens in the story is simply because one woman, a mortal who became a Valkyrie, wants to rescue her sister and a man she doesn't know (but whom she killed) from Hel. I don't think that the relationship with the sister was ever really established enough, and the guilt over killing the man was definitely not believable. Perhaps that's why both ... neither was strong enough motivation? Even so...for all that these people faced, marching into Hel, attempting to stop Ragnarok (the final battle), facing undefeatable foes, all to rescue two people... well, it just seemed a bit lame, quite frankly. If I could have given this three and a half stars, I would have, but I stand by the four stars because ... well, I enjoyed it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    J'aime

    I've always enjoyed mythology, especially historical fiction that is based upon it. In recent years (thanks to Marvel for reawakening a love for the Trickster) I've been reading more Norse-based fiction. I found this book on a recommended reading list and decided to try it. The basis for the story is very imaginative, but sadly underdeveloped. Ragnarok is approaching and the NorseCode project/group is trying to identify descendants of Odin via genetics to "draft" for the final battle. This concep I've always enjoyed mythology, especially historical fiction that is based upon it. In recent years (thanks to Marvel for reawakening a love for the Trickster) I've been reading more Norse-based fiction. I found this book on a recommended reading list and decided to try it. The basis for the story is very imaginative, but sadly underdeveloped. Ragnarok is approaching and the NorseCode project/group is trying to identify descendants of Odin via genetics to "draft" for the final battle. This concept is what initially drew me to the book - I loved the idea of blending scifi and myth. Sadly, beyond our heroine targeting one of these descendants right at the beginning, the concept is never visited again. There is no expansion on how they are accomplishing the goal, why his descendants are particularly useful, how Radgrid came to be in charge or anything else. The book immediately switches gears to Mist trying to mount an unauthorised rescue mission into Helheim. Now, her mission and the characters introduced were entertaining. Unlike most fiction that centers around Asgard, the story doesn't focus on Loki, Thor, et al. Instead, we get the gods who are mentioned but don't have a big role in the original myths: Hermod and Hod. Mist joins forces with them to try and stop Ragnarok. But, can it be avoided? That's not to say that the biggies don't appear in the story, but they are not main characters. Overall, I enjoyed this book but it needed serious fleshing out. The genetics angle should have been explored in full, which would have given Mist much needed character development. She's not two dimensional, but she's not fully realized either. Hermod, with the weight of Assgardian myth behind him, felt more three dimensional. The book has a solid conclusion, but at less than 300 pages it's more like an extended novella than a full novel. I recommend it to Norse myth fans mainly because it was a quick, fun read. But, it's sad that so much potential went untapped.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Norse Code is the first book written by Greg Van Eekhout- a tale of the epic collapse of the world known as Ragnarok and humanity along with gods trying to stop it's embrace. I've always been a big fan of Norse mythology- tales of adventure, giants and gods, that while being muli-layered and confusing at times never stops from bringing a smile to my face. So yeah, I was really excited to read this book, a mix of old-school tales with a fresh and new take. If anything, Norse Code is a very amb Norse Code is the first book written by Greg Van Eekhout- a tale of the epic collapse of the world known as Ragnarok and humanity along with gods trying to stop it's embrace. I've always been a big fan of Norse mythology- tales of adventure, giants and gods, that while being muli-layered and confusing at times never stops from bringing a smile to my face. So yeah, I was really excited to read this book, a mix of old-school tales with a fresh and new take. If anything, Norse Code is a very ambitious first novel from Van Eekhout. It tries to harness an entire cultures myths and make them more accessible to the modern masses while also putting his own touch on the stories. However, that's where Van Eekhout really falters. There are so many characters, so many grand moments that are just swept aside (Thor's death, Odin's battle with Fenrir, etc) that the reader never gets a feel of the real gravity of the situation. The world is facing Ragnarok and while reading I couldn't help careless because the story never focuses to much on the event, leaving things just to feel, well, flat. The book is around 300 pages, but feels like only 200, because somehow and shockingly (maybe this a skill on the writers part, I don't know) but for a tale of the end of the world, nothing happens. Also, while the main characters are fun, none are fleshed out particularly well, and when we come back to some secondary characters after some of the "big" moments, they've changed so much without any explanation and are barely noticeable. So yeah, Norse Code tries to be big but ultimately and epically fails. However since it tries to be so ambitious, I give it 3 stars because isn't it better to try and fail then retread- a word we fans of the urban-fantasy sub-genre know all to well.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alexia561

    The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a Valkyrie in the Norse god's army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist's job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world - and to kill those who refuse to fight. But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans. This book was amazing! I gave it 5 stars for sheer originality as well The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a Valkyrie in the Norse god's army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist's job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world - and to kill those who refuse to fight. But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans. This book was amazing! I gave it 5 stars for sheer originality as well as for having great characters and a good plotline. I mean, honestly, how many books have you ever come across featuring the Norse gods and Ragnarok? I vaguely remember Odin and Loki, but the other gods and mythology were new to me. Greg did a great job of providing short backgrounds when necessary, and made it easy to keep track of everyone. Mist is a new Valkyrie who is not really comfortable with her job of finding new recruits for the final battle between the gods. On her very first job, when her first recruit is deemed unworthy and is set on the road to Helheim (the land of the dead), Mist decides to embark on a rescue mission. She will not only rescue her recruit, but also her murdered sister Lilly. To do this, she needs the help of the only one to ever go to Helheim and back, the Norse god Hermod. Hermod has problems of his own and would rather just be left alone, but somehow winds up accompanying Mist on her rescue mission. Along with her bodyguard Grimnir and Hermod's loyal dog Winston, they set off on the adventure to end all adventures. And hey, while they're at it, why not prevent the end of the world as well?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Woodge

    I bought this one a couple years ago when it first came out and figured it would be a good one to read since I'm currently in Sweden and Norse mythology takes a big role in this story. I have a passing familiarity with Norse mythology (which I enjoy more than Greek) since I've read D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Gods and Giants several times to my kids and I've also started a grown-up book about Norse mythology. So I actually recognized some of the lesser known Norse gods' names. (Beyond Thor, Odin, I bought this one a couple years ago when it first came out and figured it would be a good one to read since I'm currently in Sweden and Norse mythology takes a big role in this story. I have a passing familiarity with Norse mythology (which I enjoy more than Greek) since I've read D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Gods and Giants several times to my kids and I've also started a grown-up book about Norse mythology. So I actually recognized some of the lesser known Norse gods' names. (Beyond Thor, Odin, and Loki, can you name some?) Anyway, this story uses a murdered woman who becomes a Valkyrie as its protagonist as she joins forces with some of the gods to prevent Ragnarok (a Norse end-of-the-world scenario featuring deaths of gods, natural disasters, and rebirth). But I didn't get a good sense of the main character (christened Mist) and couldn't figure out which gods were on which side of the fighting. I was also frequently lost as to many of the characters motives and didn't really understand what was happening. Perhaps you can tell where this review is heading? Either I'm not that smart, wasn't paying close enough attention, or things were clear as mud. But at only 292 pages, I finished it anyway.

  26. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Day

    Bloody and full of great story-telling! For someone who only knows the basic of Norse mythology from other books and superhero movies, it seemed pretty legit to me. I loved how it sticks with the premise of the myths but at the same time has its own flair. It kinda lagged in a few places but I got through it. It's probably because I have a thing for male perspectives but I did enjoy Hermod's a lot better. He has a sarcastic, pessimistic tone and yet a need to do the right thing. He's the trouble Bloody and full of great story-telling! For someone who only knows the basic of Norse mythology from other books and superhero movies, it seemed pretty legit to me. I loved how it sticks with the premise of the myths but at the same time has its own flair. It kinda lagged in a few places but I got through it. It's probably because I have a thing for male perspectives but I did enjoy Hermod's a lot better. He has a sarcastic, pessimistic tone and yet a need to do the right thing. He's the trouble maker and black sheep of the family but not so far as to say the hopeless one. I do love that Mist is brave and not distracted by Hermod after she begins to care for him. I would have liked to have heard more from Lilly and Hod and their adventures aboard the ship during the mutiny. But I did like the multiple points of view from the ravens and other characters. Good story! Although from the cover, I was expecting the characters to be younger. But I enjoyed the violence and plot, regardless and was happy for the delve back into urban fantasy before I head back into young adult.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    All in all, a fun read. While I don't really know more than the basics of Norse mythology, the story provides an explanation for what you need to know, though it does mean I can't comment on any extra goodies that may have been included for people that know it well. The fading of the world as Ragnarok approached was very well handled, and it was an interesting take on gods -- quite powerful in some respects, yet at the same time, in many ways surpassed by the technology of modern man (as Hermod All in all, a fun read. While I don't really know more than the basics of Norse mythology, the story provides an explanation for what you need to know, though it does mean I can't comment on any extra goodies that may have been included for people that know it well. The fading of the world as Ragnarok approached was very well handled, and it was an interesting take on gods -- quite powerful in some respects, yet at the same time, in many ways surpassed by the technology of modern man (as Hermod drukenly pointed out at one point in the story.) My one complaint (and what makes me limit it to two stars rather than more) is that I felt like I never saw below the surface of the characters. While we get the story told from the perspective of multiple characters, I never really felt like I got into their heads and saw their unique voices, which is something that I consider very important in a novel -- it's what makes me come to really care about them.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Schwarzkopf

    Believe some of the other reviews of this book when they say that the title, or the cover art, is misleading. These present it as yet another addition to the urban fantasy sub set that's been all the rage for the past couple years. But the character of Mist is not just another pseudo-hip cute-chick-with-supernatural powers who battles monsters. The events of the story follow the order of things that are, according to legend, supposed to occur as Ragnarok draws to it close, but the ending truly Believe some of the other reviews of this book when they say that the title, or the cover art, is misleading. These present it as yet another addition to the urban fantasy sub set that's been all the rage for the past couple years. But the character of Mist is not just another pseudo-hip cute-chick-with-supernatural powers who battles monsters. The events of the story follow the order of things that are, according to legend, supposed to occur as Ragnarok draws to it close, but the ending truly surprised me. I won't say any more about that, though. One of the major themes of the book is how belief can become a prison, essentially. Throughout the book Mist and the fallen god, Hermod are met with blind, unquestioning faith on both sides of the conflict. The only reason anyone can offer for why the world must end is that it was foretold, so it must come to pass.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kat Mandu

    Kat Mandu says... Bloody and full of great story-telling! For someone who only knows the basic of Norse mythology from other books and superhero movies, it seemed pretty legit to me (but of course, that's not saying much on my part, however it was still epic). I loved how it sticks with the premise of the myths but at the same time has its own flair. It kinda lagged in a few places but I got through it. It’s probably because I have a thing for male perspectives but I did enjoy Hermod’s a lot bette Kat Mandu says... Bloody and full of great story-telling! For someone who only knows the basic of Norse mythology from other books and superhero movies, it seemed pretty legit to me (but of course, that's not saying much on my part, however it was still epic). I loved how it sticks with the premise of the myths but at the same time has its own flair. It kinda lagged in a few places but I got through it. It’s probably because I have a thing for male perspectives but I did enjoy Hermod’s a lot better. He has a sarcastic, pessimistic tone and yet a need to do the right thing. He’s the trouble maker and black sheep of the family but not so far as to say the hopeless one. I do love that Mist is brave and not distracted by Hermod after she begins to care for him. I would have liked to have heard more from Lilly and Hod and their adventures aboard the ship during the mutiny. But I did like the multiple points of view from the ravens and other characters.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I really hesitated in grading this one. It is by no means a bad book. I wonder if I came at it with too many expectations/hopes as to how great it could be. My grade should perhaps be read more as indicative of my reaction rather than the work itself. Van Eekhout has written several short stories that have struck me with their insight and sharpness, and with his quick way with words. This book, his first novel, did not quite live up to the promise of those stories, not for me. I enjoyed some of h I really hesitated in grading this one. It is by no means a bad book. I wonder if I came at it with too many expectations/hopes as to how great it could be. My grade should perhaps be read more as indicative of my reaction rather than the work itself. Van Eekhout has written several short stories that have struck me with their insight and sharpness, and with his quick way with words. This book, his first novel, did not quite live up to the promise of those stories, not for me. I enjoyed some of his ideas, and how handily and willfully he mixed myth and everyday grit together to form a world of his own, but. But. It did not quite catch fire for me. I never quite fell through the page. I will continue to devour every short story he writes, and I look forward to when his YA novel will be published.

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