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Ylava of the West, daughter of Helga, a fierce Wind Child was determined to become a Valkyrie. She starts at the Academy to begin training to help souls pass over after death. To be a great Valkyrie she needs a Dusk Wolf to be a companion and sort of familiar. She is determined, driven and has so much to learn. But things at the Academy are not going as smoothly as possible.
Arizona Tape has created an amazing new series filled with a multitude of great paranormal characters and interesting situations. As the storyline progresses, the reader learns about the concept of helping souls from different cultures. She weaves her tale, of a young girl trying to become a Valkyrie, using creative dialogue, descriptive scenery, interesting, highly complex characters and many unique and varied twists and turns. The result is a paranormal drama filled with action, suspense and emotional drama. It is a well written book and I can not wait until I get to read the next instalment.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
This was an interesting and engaging read. I enjoyed it. What I didn't know is that the ending is left hanging and requires the next book for resolution. I do not mind "to be continued" in a book series as long as it is made clear in the book description. If this was not true for this book (i.e., unresolved ending), I would have rated this book as a 5.
Stepping onto the grounds of the Afterlife Academy, Ylva is ecstatic. She's always wanted to be a Valkyrie like the other females in her family. At the school, students learn to help human souls pass onto the next phase. She's determined to be the best there ever was, but it's a bumpy start when her roommate turns out to be a dragon and a peppy elf tries to befriend her. Plus classes keep getting canceled and the teachers are whispering about things Ylva doesn't understand. She's going to solve the mystery, though, but will doing so end with her needing a guide to the afterlife?
This is a great start to this urban fantasy academy series. Ylva is a bit stuck up at the beginning, but her biases soon crumble as her eyes are opened to the world beyond the culture of the Wind Children (which she is). I especially love Ylva's Dragon roomie, Ryoko, and the wonderful descriptions of her. There is romantic tension between them, but Ylva doesn't know what to do with it. It's sweet and not rushed, and I can't wait to see where their possible relationship may go in future books. There is a lot happening on many layers, and I love the concept of a school where supernatural beings go to learn how to help human souls carry on to their appointed afterlives. I wanted to hug a dusk wolf no matter how fierce they are, and the dust bunny is just plain adorable!
SAPPHIC BOOK BINGO: non-human character, out of your comfort zone, not a romance, possibly other categories
I enjoyed the above mentioned TV shows, and that made it easy for me to enjoy the story. The mix of mythologies and their beings associated with death was another interesting facet. However, I had an issue with the MCs supernatural discrimination/speciesism. The character's and others' attitudes reflected the intolerance of the different species at the "death" school. There was a little tolerance, but not as much acceptance towards the end of the story.
I believe that the author was trying to relate it to current phobias and intolerances, but for some reason, all of it bothered me. The characters were young adults, and it's possible that their species cliques just reflected younger people's disrespect towards others similar to nowadays. I liked the rest of it enough to buy the next book, though.
There are 9 books in the series and it’s highly addictive, you’ve been warned. Ylva Helgudottir enrolls at Afterlife Academy, wanting her wings, her own wolf & the keys to Valhalla. Afterlife assistants learn all there is about afterlife care and death and assisting the souls in the Afterlife Academy. Tbh, I didn’t like Ylva at the beginning due to her attitudes towars other species, but she grew on me. I loved the idea of someone being flexible on the dying and that Valkyries have their own shadow wolves. Though Ylva’s age is never mentioned, the book is very YA - high school cliques & bullying, coming of age discovering one’s feelings etc. I loved how the author dripfeeds the Nordic myths&legends & constructs her own universe of it by mixing in repaers & dragon & fae. There’s FF flirting with potential for romance in later books. An enjoyable read, might look up the other books after the summer reading challenge & clearing my current tbr list (or else the books on my tbr will go all meme-y on me). Ends in a cliffhanger to guide you to the next book, Valkyrie 201. 4.5 stars.
Recommended for lovers of YA high-school and college fantasy, Nordic & Celtic & Germanic myths&legends and FF slow-build romance with teen self-discovery.
The concept was interesting, I really got interested with the blurb and all, but something didn't click for me, it was probably the fact it's a YA book and I'm not very into it. NA are hit and miss for me, so imagine YA, not much my cup of tea, but every now and them I do enjoy them. I hoped it would be the case here, but welp, can't win them all.
In any case, I think it's worth a try, so I hope you guys have a better experience
Welcome to The Afterlife Academy where young minds are taught everything they need to know about death.
All of her life, Ylva has dreamed of becoming a Valkyrie and attending The Afterlife Academy. Unfortunately she does not come from a wealthy background or a noble lineage and the only other person from her county attending the Academy is her arch-nemesis. She is then further isolated by being roomed with a Dragon, Ryoko, due to a shortage of beds so the mixing of the different breeds is necessary. She is then beset with an overly friendly wood elf, Aellyn, who dreams of becoming the impossible: a Valkyrie. Then there is Ylva herself who seems to find trouble wherever she travels and drags her new acquaintances along for the ride. The Academy is very much like high school where there a cliques, troublemakers, and mean girls. Apparently though in Ylva’s desire to become a Valkyrie she forgot to read the fine print: she has to die to become one.
I do not want to give too much away in Arizona Tape’s Valkyrie 101: How to become a Valkyrie the first in “The Afterlife Academy” series as it is just under 200 pages. Tape packs a lot of information and a lot of action for a short story. There is more than one mystery and subterfuge involved in Ylva’s first year. Tape has written Ylva as a strong character who is also very young in some areas, but that is due to the lack of life experience. Ylva bases all of her knowledge off of her mother’s stories and her own isolated existence. The relationship between Ryoko and her is as much a surprise to Ylva as to Ryoko that Ylva does not know that she is one (laugh). The confusion of young adulthood and miscommunication based on preconceived notions and ideas of what someone else knows and has experienced is dominant in this story. Aellyn has no clue that she can never become a Valkyrie or can she become one? Ryoko knows that she is a lesbian who has started a relationship with her roommate because she has been courting her or has she just been a good friend? Ylva’s goal is to become a Valkyrie at any cost, even friends, or has she had a change in heart now that she has had her heart stirred for the first time? I cannot wait to have all of these questions answered and Tape has written the beginning of a story that I want to follow, so I enroll me into The Afterlife Academy because Tape is guaranteed to take us on a ride.
This was an exciting start to a new series with an intriguing premise. Every student in the Afterlife Academy must learn how to collect souls from the recently departed to usher them onto the afterlife, but there are several types of roles they can take which are mostly dictated by race. Ylva is studying to become a valkyrie she is a Wind Child. There are also others like Reapers, Shinigami, and Wood Elves. The races are mostly separated in the school, but there is some conflict caused by things like Ylva’s roommate is a Dragon (studying to be a Shinigami) and there is a Wood Elf in the Valkyrie program. So Ylva has to learn more about the other races and compromise with them.
This is also a lesbian romance with growing attraction between Ylva and her roommate, the Dragon Ryoko. Ylva doesn’t seem to have considered her own sexual orientation before, so it comes as a shock to her that she’s developing feelings for another girl… particularly one of another race. This pushes Ylva to grow outside of her comfort zone and think about life from other people’s perspectives.
I enjoyed learning about all the Valkyrie classes and magic. The wolves, which act like partners or familiars to the Valkyries, were especially fun and cute. There is a mystery at the heart of the plot, but it doesn’t make much progress until the very end. The story ends on a cliff-hanger to be resolved in future books.
It’s mostly a light, fun read with cute lesbians and puppies. The writing isn’t particularly skillful with occasional errors in grammar and continuity, but not enough to make me want to stop reading. I will probably pick up future books in the series soon so I can find out what happens next.
The background concept for the book was interesting enough to give the main heroine, who I initially disliked, a chance to get better. The heroine obviously comes from a town/place where everyone is like her and they have impressed upon her the opinion that their's is the superior race of being. The story ends up being the fairly standard one of breaking prejudices and social exploration and self discovery from that starting point as the heroine interacts with other races now that she has left her home. Like all such stories it is the various character personalities and background world details that allow the book to stand out, this one had enough to make it worth reading, but in the end it still felt like a teaser for a longer story. 3 3/4 stars.
The world that was created was quite interesting and kept me engaged. I also found many things that related to my thinking when I was in university. This inspired many memories I had and gave me a chance to view what I was thinking now as opposed to what I was thinking at that time.