The romance genre used to consist of a standard narrative: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gains girl. It is standard but boring. Thankfully, a new genre of romance novels have elevated this very standard narrative. The niche genre of paranormal romance brings in new characters and new narratives to what is a very tried and true, but cliché story.
In Asa Maria Bradley’s new paranormal romance, Viking Warrior Rising, Naya Brisbane is a fugitive super soldier. Her one goal is to not only keep her brother safe, but return him to full health.
That plan gets derailed when Naya saves Leif Skarsganger, the leader of a band of immortal Viking g-ds. After Naya saves Leif, Leif’s warrior spirit is not shy about wanting Naya. The problem is that Naya has a past and that past is catching up with her. She does not want or need a relationship, but the more time Naya spends with Leif, the more she starts to see a future with him.
This book is very interesting for a number of reasons. First is that the author has woven in Nordic myth, pseudo-scientific language, and every day modern life. The second is that Naya and all of the female characters are not the standard “someday my prince will come” heroine that is usually specific to the genre. Naya is a badass who, when we meet her, is not looking for a relationship. She just saves a guy who she sees in trouble.
That being said, I have three problems with this narrative: the first is that the climax of the story is not really the climax and the villain of the story is a no-show. He is spoken of and certain sends his minions to do his dirty work, but he is not seen or heard. The second problem is outside of the building relationship between Naya and Leif, I really was not interested in any of the other characters. The third and final problem is that the dialogue was a bit dry for my taste.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.