Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

Book Review: ‘Between the Blade and the Heart’ by Amanda Hocking

New book alert! The first book in Amanda Hocking’s new Norse mythology duology came out in January and I was given a chance to read a free ARC copy. Despite the unique subject matter and diverse characters, the book just didn’t stand out for me. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

Malin is a Valkyrie in a futuristic United States governed by the Norse Gods. It’s her job to kill immortals at the Gods’ command and return them to the Underworld to keep the planet from becoming overpopulated and unbalanced. As such, she has superior strength and reflexes. Her mother is a Valkyrie as well. When Malin finds out that her mother has let a marked immortal live despite her orders, bringing on a possible demon takeover, she’s shocked. Together with the son of the woman that immortal killed and several other friends, it’s her job to fight back and try to return the world to balance.

Something I enjoyed about this book was the variety of creatures that you don’t normally see in YA and Hocking had great imagination when it came to combining ancient mythology with futuristic technology. I just felt like the writing was too much like every other YA urban fantasy on the market. Insert love triangle, demon fighting and somewhat shallow heroine here. I did appreciate that the love triangle involved a straight guy, a bisexual woman and a lesbian. The book certainly didn’t lack diversity, but the story itself felt stale. This was actually my first experience reading Hocking’s novels so I had high hopes, but I was left disappointed. When Malin finally confronts the immortal she quested to find, it’s over in a flash and then the rest of the book simply leaves it open for the next novel. I felt like no real thought was put into the sub-conclusion after the rest of the novel centered around the search. Truly unsatisfying.

If you like traditional urban fantasy stories, you might enjoy this novel. However, if you are like me and choose extraordinary plots and prose over a quick and easy read, you might want to look elsewhere.

3 out of 5 stars

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