All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Between The Blade And The Heart by Amanda Hocking

on January 24, 2018

Between The Blade And The Heart (Valkyrie #1)
Amanda Hocking
Pan Macmillan AUS
2018, 392p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.

I didn’t know anything about this book before it turned up on my doorstep. And I’ve only read one Amanda Hocking book so I’m not that overly familiar with her work. This is the first in a new series exploring Valkyrie, women who maintain the balance between immortals and those on Earth. As humans die and immortals do not, Valkyrie are given the job of hunting them down and returning them to another world once their time is up. They don’t make the decisions, they just carry them out. It’s a job that is passed down through a female line, mother to daughter.

Malin was raised by her single mother Marlow. She’s a tough woman, a loner, drilling into Malin that Valkyries don’t fall in love or maintain attachments. Malin was brought up thinking this was the way of all of the Valkyries. She has a complicated relationship with her mother but the one thing she always believed of her was that Marlow would do her job and do it well. When someone tracks Malin down and informs her that once her mother did not carry out the contract, Malin refuses to believe it. Her mother wouldn’t do that. She was the ultimate professional. Surely this person, a man named Asher who blames Marlow’s unprofessional lapse for the death of his mother, is mistaken.

I have to admit, it took me a while to assess the lay of the land here. I wasn’t sure at first if immortals were something that humans were unaware of but it seems as though all the species seem to coexist kind of and mingle. It seems a bit futuristic as well, Malin has a sort of hovercraft type thing which is kind of like a motorised scooter that gets along a few feet off the ground. She lives in an apartment way up on like the 50th or 60th floor and some of the descriptions sound as though this is an area that has kind of gone to a bit of ruin. Her roommate is human, a thaumatology major who intends on being a sorceress someday. As part of her Valkyrie training, Malin attends classes at a college that seems a hybrid of ‘normal’ classes and those related to her destiny as a Valkyrie.

There’s a love triangle happening here – Malin’s ex-girlfriend Quinn is a rather large portion of the book for reasons I’m not really sure about. There’s a bit of vagueness about how she wants to help but Malin seems to feel awkward around her and there are loads of unresolved feelings due to Malin’s upbringing and her mother’s constant diatribe on isolation and being alone and Valkyrie’s don’t do this or that. Malin is slowly learning through Quinn and also Asher and his portrayal of his family, that Marlow’s instruction and mothering were not the ‘norm’ and now she has to almost recalibrate herself. She can have a family, she can have real, meaningful relationships if she so chooses….but first she has to do some important things like save the world and stuff. Asher is the other part of the love triangle. I didn’t mind the love triangle so much except for Malin being so confused and not telling either of them about the other or her feelings and basically must messing things up and hurting people unnecessarily. I don’t think she’s even 100% sure of what she wants right now, she’s still trying to deal with this new information and realisation that her mother has portrayed things in a way that isn’t strictly necessary for all Valkyries. There’s also some other important stuff going on with what happened when her mother didn’t fulfil her end of the Valkyrie contract and send an immortal back to the underworld. I don’t know anything really about mythological figures so a lot of the references go over my head to be honest.

All in all, this was probably just okay for me. I felt quite distant from Malin, perhaps her upbringing from Marlow had given her a naturally aloof personality and so it felt difficult to connect with her and her struggles. Even when she was grieving I didn’t particularly feel as though she expressed anything. I was indifferent to the love triangle, not really knowing enough about either. Quinn and Malin break up before the book begins so we aren’t really witness to them as a couple and Asher and Malin spend relatively little time together. That portion of the book wasn’t particularly well explored. I’m not sure if this is something I’ll continue with, to be honest probably not. Didn’t love it enough to really care about what happens next, even though this book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger.

5/10

Book #14 of 2018

 


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