Writers need to read. It’s easy for us to get to focused on writing (e.g. my recent obsession with writing rejections) but we can no more write without reading than a musician can play a tuba without listening to an umpa band now and again. So it was back to the library for me last month, hunting down a trio of mythica novels recommended to me by fellow writers. Specifically Old Norse based mythica novels, hopefully with lots of frost giants and one-eyed gods and ravens, and especially valkyries and their einherjar.
My first read was Norse Code, by Greg van Eekhout. Featuring a valkyrie named Mist and her einherja. Direct hit.
California college student dies, gets reincarnated or something like that as the valkyrie Mist. Turns out that Ragnarök is coming and the gods are drafting their versions of fantasy semi mythical beings teams. Mist is playing for team Odin, with help from some minor gods and, yes, my favorites, einherjar (one einherja, two einherjar–Old Norse pluralization).
Lots of supernatural muckety mucking, battles between gods and demons and some Iowa patriots. Great fun although more than a little confusing.
What I liked:
All my favorite Old Norse good guys and bad guys; lots of action; really complex plot. And a pair of really cool ravens. They’re the bomb.
What I didn’t like:
Really complex plot, so much so that I’m still not sure if I got it. Not sure I’m all that happy that van Eekhout’s protagonist was named Mist, as I have a Mist as an antagonist in my WIP novel, Ragnarök Willie, but of course that’s just my selfish bias.
- Title: Norse Code
- Author: Greg van Eekhout
- Genre: Urban fantasy; Mythica
- Publication date: 2009
- Published by: Spectra (Random House)
- Amazon average rating: 4 out of 5
- Amazon ranking: 872,765 (as of 9/13/2012)