Norse Code - Greg Van Eekhout A bloody, brutal, mythical and definitely different apocalypse.
Think California. Think the not so far future. But also think nine worlds at the brink of destruction caused by Ragnarok, an apocalypse prophesied by a sybil thousands of years ago. Think giants giving birth to wolves, dwarfs, gods of all sort of character. Think Valkyries recruiting students for an army to defeat the ruler of the land of the dead by testing their DNA for a relation to the Norse god Odin's and then killing them. I didn't know much about viking mythology before. It didn't matter. Myths, characters and prophecies are neatly interwoven into the contemporary plot so I got to know the nine worlds and glimpsed their capitals - all part of the world tree - I learned about the relationship between Odin, Frigg, Höd, Hermod, Hel, Thor, Freya, Nana, Loki, Vidar, Vari, Munin and many others, saw them feasting in Valhalla and in the same time I watched former student turned Valkyrie Kate aka Mist bonding with loner god Hermod - who wants to prevent the moon getting swallowed by wolves (part of the prophecy) - in a slowly dissolving Venice Beach. Her main goal is to cross the seams between the world to rescue her sister Lilly who stranded in Helheim, the Land of the Dead when both of them were shot. True to its Norse content the story contains much blood, poison, gashing wounds, spilled intestines, revenge and a lot of unlikely details (i.e. diving for a ripped-out eye in a well and replacing one's own with it). But the idea, the setting is good, the storyline is great to follow, continuously captivating and refreshingly different and the characters are easy to like. There is a bit of romance - but do not expect gushing about Hermod's sexy muscles. This is urban fantasy with a stress on action.