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Secrets of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards eARC {4 Stars}

Secrets of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards is a cute spin on middle grade fantasy featuring Norse gods in that it includes a few other pantheons because everyone must cooperate to keep the days of the week flowing as they should. If you are looking for a story with a fun twist on Norse mythology and a girl of color as the heroine, this is the book for you!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Secrets of Valhalla from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Secrets of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards eARC {4 Stars}

Secrets of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards
Published by HarperCollins on Jan. 19th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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Two friends awaken a world of myth and magic in this clever middle grade fantasy perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and Anne Ursu.

It’s not every day that you find a famous weatherwoman bound by magic to a tree deep in the woods. Or discover that the weatherwoman is in fact Sunna, the Norse Goddess of the Sun, and one of the seven day guardians who keep time in order. But that’s just what happens to new friends Buzz and Mary—and it’s only the start of their adventure.

Now, as the people of Earth are forced to repeat the same Saturday over and over again, Buzz and Mary must journey to collect the Runes of Valhalla and awaken the other day guardians, before vengeful god Loki can get to them first.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • There are a lot of middle grade out there that focus on one pantheon or another, but it was fun to see a combination of Norse and Roman gods depicted since that’s where our days of the week come from!
  • I loved realizing that Mary was a girl of color, describing as having darker skin and tightly curled hair. I also really loved that she was smart and an engineer: she designed her own smart watch with all sorts of cool tricks.
  • We live in a society where failure is generally considered the worst thing that a kid can do, so it was nice to see our two heroes fail at solving tasks, but then try again until they figured it out. It’s okay to fail as long as you keep trying!
  • Both Mary and Buzz aren’t the most popular kids in school, but it is their unique quirks that save the day. I love seeing the ‘be true to yourself’ message in middle grade since it is so important for kids to hear.
  • We can’t have Norse gods without Ratatosk! I may be biased towards loving this squirrel from other depictions of him, but he is just as fun in Secrets of Valhalla :D.

Weaknesses:

  • As with many middle grade stories, the ending seemed overly convenient for me.
  • In addition to the above point, I got a little annoyed that the kids didn’t have much of a hand in the actual important actions to solve everything. What’s the point of inspiring kids to go on an adventure if the adults come in and save the day? Don’t get me wrong, the kids do have some impact, but I wanted to see more.

Summary:

Secrets of Valhalla is a perfect book for readers who have finished the Riordan books and are looking for more Norse mythology with a twist. I’m also thrilled to see a girl of color staring in the brains role of a fantasy story. Overall, Secrets of Valhalla is a bit convenient at the end, but has a great story and message for young readers.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Secrets of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Norse! HELL YES!!!
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