Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Ragnarok Unwound

Ragnarok Unwound- Kristin Jacques
Sky Forest Press
Release Date: January 8, 2019


Synopsis: Prophecies don’t untangle themselves. Just ask Ikepela Ives, whose estranged mother left her with the power to unravel the binding threads of fate. Stuck with immortal power in a mortal body, Ives has turned her back on the duty she never wanted.

But it turns out she can’t run from her fate forever, not now that Ragnarok has been set in motion and the god at the center of that tangled mess has gone missing. With a ragtag group of companions—including a brownie, a Valkyrie, and the goddess of death herself—Ives embarks on her first official mission as Fate Cipher—to save the world from doomsday.

Nothing she can't handle. Right?

Unraveling fate might sound like a good job, but Ikepela Ives has been ignoring her own fate since her absentee mother dropped that surprise on her three years ago.  Until now Ives' closest contact to the supernatural has been her best friend, the brownie Jules.  Now an insistent Valkyrie is claiming Ives needs to use her abilities as the Fate Cipher to help stop the Norse apocalypse, Ragnarok.  Seeing outside the box and possessing high-level snark may be two of Ives' biggest talents, but will they be enough to help her survive her first day on a new job?

I went into Ragnarok Unwound not entirely sure what I was getting into, or if it was a good idea.  One chapter in and I knew this book was going to be a winner! Ives (don't call her Ikepela!) is a heroine full of snark, courage, and a fantastic ability to roll with weirdness.  Completely unprepared for her job and in total denial of her heritage, Ragnarok forces Ives to confront her destiny.  Like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, Ives has no clue what she's doing, but before long is fully committed to doing it anyway and trusting that luck and fast-talking will help her stall until she's figured it out.  And it works.  She's completely believable, and absolutely who you'd want at your side for an impending apocalypse.  

Ives comes at Ragnarok thinking that it doesn't make a lot of sense and that Loki and his children got a pretty lousy deal through it all.  What if they aren't the monsters the legends have turned them into?  On meeting Hel, goddess of death, Ives knows there is far more to the story than what's on the surface.  She becomes determined to figure out her abilities, to save Hel's family and to stop Ragnarok. Things are complicated since Hel's brothers are a giant wolf and the World Serpent; they've lost Hel's father; there are frost and fire giants destroying Las Vegas and Hawaii; the Hound of Asgard protecting Ives' father is completely incompetent; and it turns out that using her Fate Cipher abilities too many times will kill the mortal Ives.

I can only hope we get more of Ragnarok's cast of secondary characters in future books. Hel and Loki in particular are wonderfully entertaining and scene-stealing.  There were enough touching moments to see that Jacques has talent for emotional depth as well as humor and is good at doling those moments out just when they are needed.  Unexpected twists and turns, surprise allies and enemies, characterize a book full of non-stop action that you won't be able to put down once you've started!

Full knowledge of the mythology isn't needed to enjoy Ragnarok Unwound, but is always a good excuse to re-read Neil Gaiman's magical Norse Mythology.

Norse and Hawaiian legends meet in a way that Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Xena & Hercules/Marvel fans will love in this first book of a new and delightful series! 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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