This is the story of Freya who was born to be a Valkyrie; chooser of the slain, reaper of souls. But on the eve of her fourteenth birthday, the official end of her childhood and the start of her life as a fully-fledged Valkyrie, Freya confesses her fears to her older sister Maya.
“I hate the warriors and I hate all the killing and wounding. Humans are bloodthirsty monsters. I don’t want to touch them or be part of bringing more of them here.”
But of course Freya has to follow her destiny and on her first mission she reaps the soul of a young soldier who begs her to help the family he is about to leave behind. Freya is shocked that this man is fighting to live, not for himself but for others. He is nothing like the warriors in Valhalla. So she promises to do all she can to protect his family. This heartfelt pledge sends Freya out of Asgard and to Earth on a desperate quest where she finds out what it really means to be human.
On one level this is a fast action adventure where a powerful supernatural being comes to the rescue of a group of bullied children. But it also deals with the rather dark side of human nature; an absent alcoholic mother, a bully who won’t see reason and the fear of homelessness. Dig deeper and you see it’s about understanding who you are, what you are capable of and the power of friendship. Cleverly interwoven in this contemporary world are the characters of Norse mythology; Odin, Thor, and Loki all making an appearance. Even the Midgard Serpent is released to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting Chicago.
Being a dog I feel I have much in common with Freya. I am often left wondering about you humans and what makes you tick. I also know what it’s like to want to fit in with the pack, to not be bullied and make sense of one’s place in the world. This is something most young pups can relate to and Kate O’Hearn has done a fabulous job of reinventing the characters of an age old Norse myth so they have relevance in the 21st Century.
If you are looking for something to recommend to confident readers or to read aloud to younger pups (while being entertained yourself) go grab a copy.
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