Between the Blade and the Heart, Amanda Hocking – ARC Book Review

Morning mortals! Remember when we all went to see Thor: Ragnarok and could have cared less about the titular character because there was a bloomin’ Valkyrie on screen? Well, my burning desire to read this book was entirely because of that fact. I want more mythological female warriors on my screen and in my books, sue me.

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Find Between the Blade and the Heart on Goodreads

I’d describe this as something of an urban fantasy with a lot of the paranormal thrown in. It takes place in a city where the paranormal is…well…normal. I actually liked reading a book where most of the plot was not to do with concealing the paranormal from mortals. I don’t know that the fact that it was ‘normal’ was as clearly indicated as it could have been since you don’t actually encounter many (now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure if you encounter any) mortal characters. Just a little element of worldbuilding that could have been a little clearer.

I won’t lie to you, the romance is a strong plot point in this book. If you’re not into books with romance, run for the hills, if you shudder at the mention of anything slightly resembling a love triangle then flee! I actually wasn’t bothered too much by the love triangle-esque dynamic in this book, I think perhaps because I haven’t read a love triangle in a while. It may also be that because our MC is bi it’s different to the clichéd ‘two men fight for the beautiful girl’s heart’. Either that or it’s just better written than most love triangles I have read in the past.

What the predominance of the romance proves, I think, is that this book is heavy on both emotions and on the action. The relationships between various characters, both romantic and otherwise, are at the forefront of this story. There is, however, a good number of fight scenes and action sequences that keep the pace of the story going.

I would describe this as reminiscent of Rick Riordan’s work, in the sense that it brings mythology into the modern day, but obviously for an older readership and with a different sense of humor behind it. It doesn’t have the wackiness of Riordan’s work, it’s wrier than that.

With this and Reign of the Fallen I’ve been reading a lot of bi protagonists of late and honestly I’m loving it. What a time to be alive.

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? What other books have you read with a Viking influence? Let me know in the comments below!


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