Friday, August 7, 2015

Valkyrie's Song

by M.D. Lachlan

Summary From GoodReads

The Harrowing has come to the North. And the wolf of Viking legend, a wolf that will kill a god, is on the hunt...

M.D. Lachlan's brooding and powerful tales of Vikings, Norse gods and werewolves have already won praise from, amongst others, Joe Abercrombie, Adam Roberts, Mike Carey and Chris Wooding.

With an original and terrifying take on magic, an ability to bring the Norse gods to vivid life on the page, a keen historical eye and a knack for fast-moving and brutally effective plots, M.D. Lachlan's series has won over critics, fellow authors and readers alike.

VALKYRIE'S SONG moves the action to Norman England and the Harrowing of the North. An immortal wolf and an immortal woman are on the run, fighting for their lives. They carry a magic within them, runes which flare with power when brought together. But others hold runes of their own, and the runes desire to be united.

And when they are, Ragnarok will come.

My Thoughts

I'm a big fan of these books.  Lachlan does his due diligence with the mythology and the setting.  Historical Fantasy Fiction done right.  I had pre-ordered this one so I didn't run into the same trouble I had with acquiring a copy of Lord of Slaughter, they're published in the UK, with not many copies sold state-side.


This book continues with Loys and Styliane surviving over a hundred years until the cycle begins again.  This time the wolf does not change, it is Loys, and Beatrice reincarnates as Tola.  It's set in 1066 in the north, right after the English won the battle against the Vikings and were defeated by the Normans (the French led by William the Conqueror) during the Battle of Hastings.  Loys has been waiting for Beatrice's reincarnation to kill him, thus ending the cycle, while Styliane tries her hardest to thwart him so she can remain immortal while the Gods' story is broken.

I was so excited to find out that this book took place in England in 1066.  Finally entering the time period that I know a lot about!  It was really cool to read about the Normans, the Englishmen, and the Vikings all in the same area, how everyone killed the Englishmen, and the Normans and Vikings killed each other, all vying for control over England.  At times it got a little confusing, just trying to remember Normans were Frenchmen from Normandy, not the Northerners.  But other than that the historical setting was fantastic.

The characters in this one I didn't care for as much as those in Wolfsangel and Fenrir.  Tola was okay, Gylfa was annoying, as was Freydis.  I really disliked Styliane, but I think you're supposed to.  The only one I was actually interested in was Loys.  His struggles against the wolf inside, his constant search for a permanent death so the story wouldn't replay and inflict the pains and horrors on future incarnations of himself and Beatrice.

This book, like all the others, added a little more Norse mythology to the mix.  There were the Valkyries, as well as Hel.  Even J√∂rmungandr (the serpent around Yggdrasil, the tree of life) was alluded to, though not by name, yet.  So two of Loki and Angrbodas' three spawn accounted for as important characters in the story, Fenrir and Hel.  I hope J√∂rmungandr plays a role in future installments.

The one odd thing about this book that bothered me a lot was the random mistakes.  I don't know how they made it past the editor's desk.  Someone wasn't doing their job.  In one paragraph at the very end of the book Gylfa's name is spelled Gylpha at the beginning and Gylfa at the end.  The only occurrence of "Gylpha" in the entire book.  Then there were some pronoun mistakes scattered throughout the book that made me stop and reread the last bit to figure out who it was.  It was very strange for a published book.  I'm used to small things like that in ARCs, but an actual published book?  Sloppy.

Overall I give this book a 9/10.  Not my favorite of the series, but things are getting very interesting in the story.

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