Between the Blade and the Heart

Amanda Hocking. Wednesday, $10.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-08479-8
Hocking (the Kanin Chronicles) sets this entertaining fantasy in a near-future alternate world where humans and immortals occupy crowded megacities. Eighteen-year-old Malin can’t wait to become an official Valkyrie like her mother, responsible for slaying certain immortal creatures at the behest of the gods, until she learns that one of her mother’s mistakes has upset the balance between good and evil. With the help of Quinn, her Valkyrie ex-girlfriend, and Asher, the vengeance-driven son of a Valkyrie, Malin journeys to the gates of the underworld to confront a long-forgotten evil. There’s quite a bit for readers to enjoy in this series opener, including an openly bisexual protagonist, the diversity of characters and mythological source material Hocking draws on, and the intriguing blend of fantasy and science fiction elements. It’s fast-paced and stocked with action, though aspects of the worldbuilding can be somewhat vague. Still, Hocking nicely sets up subsequent books in the Valkyrie series, which may flesh out the setting and history more than this initial installment does. Ages 12–up. Agent: Steven Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
Genre: Children's
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