Review: The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner

For as long as Sigrid could remember, she’s wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she’s a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she’s so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she’s leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go.

Too bad that the only one who can help her get there is Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who begrudgingly agrees to lead her to Helheim but who certainly can’t be trusted―even if she does make Sigrid more than a little flustered. As they cross the nine worlds, battling night elves, riding sea serpents, and hurtling into fire to learn the truth about Sigrid’s birthright, an unexpected but powerful bond forms.

As her feelings for Mariam deepen into something fiery and undeniable, Fate has other plans for Sigrid. What happens when the one thing you think you were meant to do might end the nine worlds?

Publication details: 26 July 2022, by Entangled: Teen. Review copy provided by the publisher

Rating: 3/5

Review

The Valkyrie’s Daughter is a sapphic take on Norse mythology, focused around Sigrid – the only girl in the Valkyrie training camp without a flying horse, who is desperate to prove that she is worthy of something. I was excited to see what this book could do with the source material, and it does do a good job in that regard: the focus on valkyries in particular allowed for a relatively feminist take on the myths that gave us a wide variety of female characters and allowed them a chance to shine. There are also some fun horse-chase scenes that I really enjoyed.

However; overall, this book reminded me of a slightly aged up version of a Rick Riordan story. It would be a good fit for younger readers who are looking to make the transition from middle grade to young adult, or who have simply read all the available books in those series and are looking for more. But for an adult reader – or a more mature YA reader – there simply isn’t a lot to offer here. There is no nuance in Sigrid’s story – every emotion is telegraphed very explicitly on page – and the plot twists are all very predictable, regardless of whether the reader has any background in the original myths. It does hit the emotional beats well, especially in the back half of the book, when Sigrid’s family origins come into play, and the romance between Sigrid and Mariam is sufficiently sweet, but The Valkyrie’s Daughter isn’t quite the refreshing new addition to the genre I’d been hoping for.

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