Monday, November 14, 2016

Monique's Review of * Viking Warrior Rebel (Viking Warriors #2) by Asa Maria Bradley *

In a forest in Washington State lies a fortress where immortal Vikings hide. They must stop half-god Loki from annihilating the human realm. As Loki is not permitted to roam the earth – Midgard – he has henchmen do his dirty deed, wolverines. The immortals’ new queen, Naya, asked her friend Astrid Idrisdotter to find her brother Scott for her impending wedding. Astrid is determined to go at it alone to redeem herself for her previous mission, which went quite badly. Alas, luck is not on Astrid’s side when she runs into a few problems: new, improved wolverines, Scott who has vanished, and Luke Holden, with whom she had had a one-night-stand… 

If only to give you an idea how good VIKING WARRIOR REBEL is, I am not a fan of mythology per se, and I loved this book! Ms. Bradley knows her subject, but better still she is able to smoothly weave mythology, paranormal, suspense and romance seamlessly, thus creating a fresh new world. I ran into some difficulties at the beginning of the story for a somewhat peculiar reason: while they are masterfully written, there were too many action scenes, mostly fighting and sparring scenes, to my taste. However, around halfway through the book, things really take off. I hope Ms. Bradley won’t mind, but almost from the onset I pictured Jason Statham as Luke: Luke is a tough, no-nonsense alpha male, an undercover special agent, but he has a tender side and he is very sweet. He has a terrific backstory, and I would have wished to know even more. Astrid is just a fabulous heroine, and she will forever remain my perception of a Valkyrie.

The romance in VIKING WARRIOR REBEL is simply glorious! The lust that Luke and Astrid experience is palpable, but they work well together, they respect each other’s talents, they are equally strong and wilful, and in spite of major bumps on the road, they trust each other, they have each other’s back. The banter is terrific all around, the characters are all well defined, but what I liked the most is the distinctive spins Ms. Bradley put on a few commonplace paranormal elements. Life mates – själsfrände – are not exactly what we’re used to see, and both Luke and Astrid are somewhat baffled by what it entails. Berserkers, a sort of collective conscience shared by the immortal Viking warriors goes deeper than what we usually see in shifters: it’s more existential than a mere communication device, if you will; it’s the essence of the Viking warriors’ soul and I loved how that it’s much more fluid and that it is not static. And it helps a lot to see real Swedish, and not some made-up Scandinavian drivel. I wonder if there will be some Finnish mythology in the future as well…

I have no idea what Ms. Bradley has in store for us in the third instalment (there will be a third book, won’t it?), but I will be waiting because the possibilities are endless! VIKING WARRIOR REBEL is an innovative, exciting paranormal romance that goes beyond the usual fare; a terrific book! 


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