Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.
Or so she thought.
When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.
Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….
Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.
Thoughts: There’s been a resurrgence in interest in Norse mythology these days, and Mist is primed to take advantage of that. Taking place in San Francisco, the story centres mainly around Mist, a Valkyrie who no longer has much of an association with the deities she once served, due to believing that they all died after Ragnarok. She spends her time just living life, going through day-to-day mundania, with some breaks for training in order to keep her weapons’ skills up to snuff.
And that’s where the plot twists start. The old gods are alive and well, but most of them are simply residing in another plane of existence. Except for Loki, the smooth-talking tricksy bastard that he is, who’s very much present on this plane and making use of his time by trying to provoke Ragnarok. Yes, it turns out that what the surviving Valkyrie thought was Ragnarok actually wasn’t, because not all the signs were right, and so now that actual Ragnarok is coming, and signs are starting to be felt.
Or so we’re told, because the biggest tip-off to Mist is supposed to be the fact that San Francisco is getting colder and it’s been snowing more, signalling an unusual winter. But aside from a first mention where she makes that connection, that fact gets relegated to something that’s only mentioned in passing from then on, completely ruining the urgency that’s supposed to be felt over the changing times. It seemed a leap of logic to start with. I know it doesn’t see snow often, but it’s not like it’s completely unheard of. Definitely remarkable, though, if not a herald of the end times, but nobody else seems to actually remark on it. Even the completely mortal characters who get dragged into things later on don’t give it a mention, and seeing as how those kids lived on the street, you’d think that they might have mentioned it as a concern.
Mist herself alternates as an interesting character and then a bog-standard one. She has strength, and it’s not just pseudo-strength that’s passed off in a lot of urban fantasies. She knows how to use multiple weapons, she’s not afraid to lay physical and verbal beatdowns when needed, and she’s throws herself into danger more often than not. Occasionally stupidly so, but I found that actually added to her interest, because it was a major flaw. She was used to standing alone, and it showed. On the other hand, besides those things, I can’t actually think of a single thing that could describe her. I have no idea what there was to Mist beyond what I mentioned. Her favourite drink, whether she slept on her back or her side, where she liked to order take-out from. Stupid little things, but they flesh out a character to a large degree. We get to see that the persona Loki adopted enjoys diet colas, even, but not the same thing for Mist. She became a character of ideas, more of an archetype than a real person, and that took a lot away from what could have been a truly awesome character. The fact that she’d lived for thousands of years was not evident in her personality at all; she was in nearly every way a perfectly modern woman at home in America, and maybe she’s just that fluid and adaptable, but I doubt it.
Honestly, I think Krinard put more time developing Loki and his habits in the modern world than she did for Mist. Loki is more fleshed out and real than any other character in the book, and I looked forward to his point-of-view chapters more than any other.
In terms of the inevitable romantic aspects of the book, there were actually surprisingly few. Dainn was obviously intended to be her love interest, and he had a clear thing for Mist, but Mist was actually more focused on other issues to give time to budding attraction. I’m not sure if that contributed to the realism of the situation or detracted from the connection between them, though. It could go either way. Really, I felt more chemistry between Dainn and Loki (and that’s not just my slashdar acting up; that was canon!) than between Dainn and Mist.
In the end, this was an okay piece of fluff reading, but nothing much beyond that. I was expecting something a little different and the book didn’t deliver. The writing didn’t stand out as being particularly good or bad, the characters were hit-or-miss, and aside from Loki, I felt very little interest for the affairs of any of them. Not bad, but nothing I can really recommend unless you’re looking for some fluff reading with a touch of unclassical mythology.
(Book provided for review by the publisher via NetGalley.)