Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Book Review: Mist

Book:  Mist by Susan Krinard
Series:  Mist (Book 1)

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.

You know, I think vampires have had their day in urban fantasy and paranormal romance.  I totally got on the Greek mythology bandwagon (and positively squee'd when Sherrilyn Kenyon combined both vampires and Greek mythology in one series).  But I think it's time for me to respectfully bow out.  It's not you, vampire fiction; it's me.

And then I saw Mist sitting in my favorite bookstore, with a kick-ass heroine holding a sword with one hand while grabbing friggin' lightning with the other.  When the blurb was all "You know what I got?  Norse Valkyries in San Francisco - that's what!" it was a few quick skips to the checkout counter. 

This was me for the first half of this book.
I'll admit, I got a little twitchy with excitement while reading the first chunk of the book.  Valkyries.  Lost artifacts.  Missing gods.  Ragnarok!  Frost giants in Golden Gate Park!  Aah - so much excitement!

And then I don't know exactly what happened.

Or rather, I know exactly what didn't happen.
There was no massive cosmic war.
There were no more Valkyries.
The Frost giants didn't do anything more than show up to be the Generic Bad Guys.
Loki makes an appearance and he's kind of a dick, but that doesn't really make him "ultimate villain who will end the world" material.
Some "special" mortal characters are introduced, but their talents don't make a ton of sense in driving the plot. 

Then I got to the finale, and without trying to spoil anything, I can't say that I was blown away or felt like it was a good payoff.  Sure there was a "reveal" about Mist and her abilities, but it's not like that couldn't have been thrown into the "booyah" first half, progressing the plot along a little farther than Not At All.  The whole book, the whole set up about the missing Treasures of the Gods, all of this book is there to setup our heroine to make her the most badass thing since a shark with a laser beam attached to its head.  Once that's done, though, there's nothing left to really drive the plot. 

It's like this volume is so twisted up in setting up a series that it forgets to tell a complete story by the time the reader gets to the final page.  There's plenty of plot promise, but not a whole lot of plot delivery.  There are fight scenes, one which quickly blends into the next, and a few new characters introduced - not that they are vastly different from one another.  So yet another book falls to the Setting Up a Series Syndrome, and I am vaguely disappointed.

I can't anti-recommend this book, because I did enjoy the concept and for all that it felt like a series premiere of a new SyFy show, my time was not wasted.  I would tentatively recommend for die-hard Norse fans, and probably for Krinard fans (this is the first book of hers I've read).  I'll be a bit more cautious about reading the next book, whenever it comes out. 

3/5 stars.

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