Author: Brittni Chenelle
Rating: Four stars
“To be fair, everyone was already dead when I got there.
My name is Valerie and I’m a traitor . . . At least, that’s what the Valkyries tell me when I arrive in purgatory. I can’t remember, so how the hell can I prove my innocence? In the meantime, the Valkyries are training me to help them keep the darkness at bay, but I’m pretty sure they got the wrong girl.
You see, the darkness calls to me, and the closer I get to it, the more I suspect the Valkyries might be right about me. They’re watching closely—especially Jaemin. He’s hella sexy and taking this betrayal situation rather personally. Now I’m on a desperate mission to clear my name and prove that I’m the champion they need.
But the more I dig, the more I believe that the Valkyries are far from innocent. Each of the guardians of light hides a sinister secret of their own and I’m going to get to the bottom of it even if it brings hell down on us all.”
* * *
A snappy novella, and the first of a series that accounts for the point of view of every valkyrie in this story, Valerie, is a great start to an unusual series.
Valerie wakes up in a world she doesn’t recognise, surrounded by people she doesn’t know, with no memory of her life before that moment. As she quickly finds out, she is dead and before then existed in purgatory as a valkyrie, a guardian of Lux. She is soon told that in Lux, souls are prepared to move on to the afterlife, and it is the job of the valkyries to guard them from the Riven, bad souls from the Nether who aim to destroy all goodness.
Her fellow valkyries, including Jaemin, who appears to have huge disdain for her, train her in the ways of being a valkyrie, in the hope she might regain her memories and become one of them again. But when Ajax, a valkyrie who defected from Lux to the Nether, shows up, Valerie begins to realise that before she lost her memory, she was a traitor.
As Valerie struggles to learn who she is and where here loyalties truly lie, she grows closer to Jaemin, and becomes more determined to answer the question as to whether or not she is where she belongs.
The depth of the characters in this book shows a great skill on the part of the author. Everyone is distinct, with visibly interesting, yet mysterious back-stories, and their chemistry as they interact with each other is truly natural and satisfying to read.
What I particularly loved in this book was Valerie’s confusion as to where she stands, who she was, and whether or not she did betray her friends. The question of whether or not she is capable of evil when she was so surrounded by love is a question for humanity, because we all ask this question sometimes, even if it’s just in passing. That might be why Valerie is such a relatable character, because she has moments of true turmoil, but unlike the real world, how she deals with them has a huge impact on the fate of Lux and everyone within it.
I would have loved to see a little more imagery in this book, because a city full of spirits and guarded by valkyries has amazing potential for some visually stunning moments. The story and characters really immersed me, but with some more imagery, the immersion trifecta would have transported me completely.
All in all, a really great read and I can’t wait to carry on the series – all of which are currently loaded on my e-reader, ready to go!
Thanks for reading! Grab your copy of my urban fantasy book, Valkyrie Cursed, here!