**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Series: Mist #1
Published by Tor Books on July 16, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
AMAZON • B&N • BOOK DEPOSITORY • Goodreads
New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard launches her first urban fantasy series
Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.
Or so she thought.
When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.
Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….
Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.
Mist by Susan Krinard is one of those books I wanted to like more than I actually did. On the surface it checks a lot of my book love boxes: Kickass heroine? Check! Good vs Evil and the Fate of the world held in the balance? Check! Gods and goddesses at play and at war? Check! Sounds exciting, right? Not so much. This was a book I so wished had been a good 85 pages less than it was, a tighter version of itself. Instead, Mist, the first in a new UF series, had a few strong moments that were ultimately let down by its slow pace and a mythology so dense that you need a guidebook to understand it all.
Mist is a Valkyrie, one of the figures of Norse mythology who decides life and death for soldiers on the battlefield and is charged with taking dead soldiers into Odin’s Valhalla where they train for the epic battle of Ragnarok. But now, sent by Odin himself to Midgard (or Earth), Mist believes that Ragnorok has come and gone, Odin and his team lost and she and her fellow Valkyrie sisters are alone in the world, left to their own devices in protecting the magical artifacts of the gods. She’s lost her faith and belief and has chosen to lead a normal life; she and her sisters are scattered around the world and out of touch with one another. She thinks the war is over but is it?
My biggest issue with Mist was the pacing — it was too slow. It opens with a fantastic action scene – Mist and her sisters battling Nazis. This scene sets a mood and a pace that the rest of the book doesn’t live up to. The majority of Mist is made of up of internal monologues and long passages of exposition that slow down the pace and do little to connect the few action scenes together in any dynamic way. As a result, there is little tension, no build-up, and very little excitement.
Another issue for me was the fact that I have very little knowledge of Norse mythology other than the movie Thor. I know, for shame. There’s a lot of terminology thrown around in Mist and it helps to have some familiarity with the world and its characters. I found myself constantly going back and re-reading passages to make sure I understood the meaning of the Norse terms and references being used. If you already have solid footing in this world, this won’t be an issue for you but for readers like myself, the density of the mythology just added another heavy layer to the slow pace of the plot.
Mist, as a heroine, is interesting and compelling but I found myself held at arm’s length with her. I can’t put my finger on why just that I found myself only caring in the abstract about her with no sort of gut level connection. The only character that really drew me in was Dainn. He’s an elf with a dark past, full of mystery and ambiguous allegiances. The book has shifting POVs and I found myself looking forward to his perspective. I was constantly curious to see if we would get any closer to the truth about who he is, where he comes from, and whether or not he is truly on Mist’s side. Finally, there are a couple of side characters who are pretty stereotyped which is bothersome. The Asian lawyer who drops by and just happens to know martial arts? I really hope this pans out to mean something deeper later.
I’ll admit that the ending sparked some interest. I had an internal debate as to whether or not I would read the next one. All in all, I think Mist just didn’t hook me in enough to truly care about what happens next in the story. Strong premise though it is, I just don’t think I will continue with the series. 2 Howls!