Book Review - THE VALKYRIE OF VANAHEIM by Phil Parker

(Title: The Valkyrie of Vanaheim / Author: Phil Parker / Publisher: Self-Published / Publication Date: September 23, 2021 / Total Pages: 291)

Book Blurb
Frida Ransom has a secret, she is a human/Fae hybrid. A lonely one too. Frida and her mother lived a solitary existence to keep that secret safe. Her mother's unexpected death and a decade-long war with the Fae, turned the girl even more emotionally fragile.

Now, with the war over, humanity and the Fae must cooperate to overcome new challenges. Except factions on both sides of the inter-dimensional portals oppose this collaboration. A new dimension has been found, one humanity could colonise. A mission to reconnoitre this new world takes shape and Frida finds herself included on the team. Her problems deepen when factions of humanity and fae try to sabotage the mission. A sequence of events shines a spotlight on Frida and her family heritage. For the eighteen-year-old young woman, its attention threatens her sanity and places her in danger.

Beyond the spotlight, waiting in the darkness of their destination, something malevolent and cunning awaits. It needs Frida to fulfill its plans. Which, if successful, threathens the existence of humanity and the Fae.

I did the official cover reveal for this book last week, so I'm excited to finally get to do a proper review of it, especially since it was such a delightful read. THE VALKYRIE OF VANAHEIM is one of those books that is right in my wheelhouse so to speak. A fantasy book that involves portals to other worlds, Norse-inspired elements, and just a flat-out great story that provides some social commentary on our own world as well. It's been a while since Phil Parker has published a book, and I have to say that it was more than well worth the wait after reading his latest offering.

The first thing that you notice about a Phil Parker story, and this one is no different, is that there's a tremendous amount of emphasis placed on the characters and their own individual journeys, both physical and emotional. Rarely will you find such quality characterization and dialogue making you feel as if you are intimately connected to each person. That connection is what also makes the story one that is not simply one-dimensional. Every bit of danger that the protagonist encounters is felt, sympathized with, and shared in a very real way. So I can't say enough about the strength of character of Frida in particular, who has lost so much and yet constantly battles to set things right. The fact that Frida is half fae and half human creates a lot of conflict as she feels a certain sense of loyalty to both, and yet there are factions on each side that would destroy the other. How she attempts to reconcile this is really interesting to see and it created some unbelievably dramatic moments for sure.

The world of THE VALKYRIE OF VANAHEIM is a beautifully crafted one with a good deal of depth to it. The setting is close to modern day-like, yet there are portals which lead to different dimensions. Some are populated by some very unsavory creatures and as such are uninhabitable. As the real world unravels, a segment of humans and fae seek to potentially colonize the one world that seems the most palatable, Vanaheim. But there are very passionate factions on both sides who never want to see this happen to the point of openly trying to sabotage the endeavor, sometimes in very violent ways. This part of the story is quite powerful and begs the question of whether colonization is ever just or moral and who will ultimately suffer under such a practice. 

The tension in THE VALKYRIE OF VANAHEIM is absolutely palatable and there were many times when it really had me on edge. The question of what the mission to Vanaheim would ultimately discover lent an air of suspense that made it such a fantastically paced story. I just love books that have something mysterious and unknown as a payoff. I'm also a sucker for portal fantasies in general, and although this isn't a pure portal fantasy, those elements were done so well that it really scratched that itch. 

Phil Parker has written a very engaging and entertaining book in THE VALKYRIE OF VANAHEIM. It's both a pulse-pounding romp through a cool and multi-layered world and also an intense depiction of two sides who both revile each other because of a bitter war, and yet kind of need the cooperation of the other to survive. Quite a complicated dilemma and one that Parker adroitly describes with every absorbing chapter. This really is a book that delivers on so many levels and its a testament to the skill of Phil Parker as a writer.

In the end I found this book to be a super fun read and also one that hits you in the gut with its message. I'm glad that Phil Parker has given us another book to enjoy and I hope that we get to visit the worlds he creates in his creative mind sometime very soon. A really enjoyable book that I recommend without hesitation. Definitely pick this up if you like fast-paced reads that pack a whole lot into the story.

Overall Rating:

You can purchase THE VALKYRIE OF VANAHEIM right now on Amazon.


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