Valhalla reads like a book a computer would spit out if you fed it all the scifi and action reads of the last few decades and told it to write a book. It has no soul. Two stars and an emphatic warning not to waste your time.
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Violet MacRae is one of the aimless millions crowding northern Scotland. In the year 2330, where war is obsolete and only brilliant minds are valued, she emerges into adulthood with more brawn than brains and a propensity for violence. People dismiss her as a relic, but world peace is more fragile than they know.
In Valhalla, a clandestine base hidden in an icy ravine, Violet connects with a group of outcasts just like her. There, she learns the skills she needs to keep the world safe from genetically enhanced criminals and traitors who threaten the first friends she’s ever known. She also meets Wulfgar Kray, a genius gang leader who knows her better than she knows herself and who would conquer the world to capture her.
Branded from childhood as a useless barbarian, Violet is about to learn the world needs her exactly as she is.
It is rare to find a book so full of action and yet so boring at the same time. I blame this on the author’s writing style. The overly-detailed descriptions and straight-forward narrative voice quickly proved monotonous. I never connected with the protagonist, mostly because her every action and choice was so clinically described that I felt like I was reading a lab report. The premise is promising, and this author managed to get it all down, but there is no voice or style present in the writing. It creates a distance that turns what should have been a very engaging action book full of blood and violence into a history channel documentary turned sleep aid for the insomniac. Part of the problem is a lack of flow. The story sort of encapsulates events and confines them into chunks that don’t easily connect as a whole story. The decision to describe minutiae, like every level in Valhalla and the accent and appearance of every minor character, is equally problematic to the flow. The romance seems to have been tacked on as an afterthought and, for me, contradicted some of the charateristics the author worked so hard to emphasize in the protagonist. Overall, there was very little I enjoyed about this book, and I would struggle to find a reader I would recommend it to. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers, though I can’t see many of then sticking this one out. I would have abandoned it at 25% if I hadn’t felt obligated by my request to read and review it.
I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.