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Review: Between the Blade and the Heart

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Title:Between the Blade and the Heart

Author:Amanda Hocking

Series:Book 1

Rating★ ★ ★ ★ 

Note:I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.

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Malin was independent and kind of stubborn. What was really frustrating about her character was how easily she believed these truths about what it meant to be a Valkyrie that her mother told her.

Asher was very calm and rational. I enjoyed his character because he brought something new to Malin’s circle and made her really think about the way she’d been brought up.

Oona was a dedicated and caring friend. I really enjoyed the way she looked out for Malin. She tended to push Malin to make the right decisions.

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For several millennia, this balance helped create an uneasy peace, one that the Valkyries would do anything to protect. But one misstep, even the smallest lapse in duty, could send it all into a tailspin…

Many thanks to the author and publisher for giving me this ARC!

Wow, this book was crazy good. I have to say that the writing was pretty addictive. I wanted to keep reading and finding out what was coming next even though it had little bumps here and there. What really pulled me in from the beginning was the lore and worldbuilding aspect of the book. I loved the mythology of these Vanir Gods ruling over everything and the balance that was struck between the Valkyries and Immortals. It almost made the story have a Buffy the Vampire Slayer type feeling where girls were called up to protect humanity and maintain a balance. I’d also say it’s a little like The Mortal Instruments as well, only with mortals/humans knowing about these other supernatural beings. This is definitely a good one if you’re looking for girl power!

I also liked many of the characters we came across, so I think I’ll go into that a bit–starting with our main character. Malin was kind of a new Valkyrie, only just starting to do jobs on her own. I think she took it very seriously and was really passionate about her job as a Valkyrie.

Her relationship with her mother, Marlow, was complicated in the sense that it wasn’t a typical mother-daughter connection. Marlow was very distant as a mother and not very affectionate although she did try her best to mentor Malin in how to be a good Valkyrie. At the same time, however, Marlow passed down some really twisted and unfair beliefs about being a Valkyrie to her daughter that made it difficult for her to have personal connections with others (like Valkyries can’t love, they can’t feel, they have to be strong all the time). I found it kind of frustrating that Malin accepted it all and didn’t try very hard to break free of that mold until later on.

❝ “You have me. You’ll always have me.”

“Nobody really has anybody,” I told her. “We all must die, and we all die alone.” 

Another pair of characters that clashed were Asher and Quinn. They were definitely meant to be opposites and their different ways of expressing affection and support. Asher tended to be more emotionally supportive and comforting. He was kind and protective in a way where he let Malin know he was worried, but he also understood she was capable of taking care of herself. He knew when to give her space. Quinn, on the other hand, was very passionate and ready to jump into things quickly. She tended to smother Malin a bit and push her too much. That being said, I enjoyed the love triangle because it made Malin think about life in a different way from that which she’d been taught to believe. Asher, in particular, challenged many of her beliefs.

I also liked the plot for the most part, although I did think it was exaggerated a bit at times. I wasn’t quite sure why Marlow decided to do what she did that put the whole balance of the world at stake. It seemed a little crazy to think that her one mistake was going to mess everything up. I guess her motivation for her decision seemed a little weak. I also had the same problem with Bram.

Even with those issues I still had a lot of fun reading this book. It had me hooked from beginning to end, and I really liked that surprise character appearance at the end. I can’t wait to see where the series goes! ❤

Between the Blade and the Heart was released earlier this month on January 2nd so I highly recommend you go check it out!

 

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