Naya is constantly on the run, hiding from the people who have kept her captive and experimented on since she was twelve years old. After rescuing her brother and hiding him away in a medical facility it is up to Naya to figure out a way to save them both. Naya has no idea of what she is, what has been done to her brother or herself; but she is determined to keep their hard won freedom. Discovering Leif in a back alley being beaten does not fit in with her policy of keeping to herself and avoiding attention. Naya's conscience won't allow her to leave Leif to the mercy of the men abusing him. After jumping into the fray Naya quickly discovers the attackers are more than mere men.
Saving Leif has triggered more than a simple debt and Naya doesn't understand or want what it means to her. Leif is an immortal Viking sent to Earth to fight the evil plans of Loki to bring about the end of the world as we know it. Leif is the king of the group of Viking warriors who all have berserker spirits that is bound to them. Leif's berserker has recognized Naya as his at a most inopportune time. Leif is busy trying to save the world and Naya is busy trying to save herself and her brother.
Bradley has created an interesting world that merges Norse mythology, modern day society, and action. Both Naya and Leif are strong characters. Leif is dominant and has to fight his tendency to tell instead of ask when it comes to Naya. While Naya is not accustomed to asking for permission before she acts, she has to try to accept what she thought was all myth and fantasy and accept help. With the horrific yet extraordinary things that have been done to her Naya is better equipped to handle what and who Leif and his group of followers really are. The story unfolds smoothly and with enough conflict and action to keep the reader engaged. The world building is solid and the secondary characters have just enough development that future stories can easily be imagined. The small group of Vikings and Valkyrie will make for good future books. VIKING WARRIOR RISING does not end in a cliffhanger,the story is complete, but the story is very much open ended and I look forward to seeing where Bradley leads the story next.
**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**
Immortal Vikings are among us.
Leif Skarsganger and his elite band of immortal warriors have been charged to protect humanity from the evil Norse god Loki.
Under attack from Loki’s minions, Leif is shocked to encounter a dark-haired beauty who fights like a warrior herself. Wounded and feverish, the Viking kisses her, inadvertently triggering an ancient Norse bond. But when Naya Brisbane breaks away and disappears before the bond is completed, Leif’s warrior spirit goes berserk. If Leif doesn’t find her fast, he’s going to lose himself to permanent battle fury.
But Naya doesn’t want to be found...and he’ll do anything to find her. Because they’re both running out of time.
(Releases November 3rd)
Leif strode toward her, stopping a few paces away, concern on his face. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” she croaked. The air between them crackled, making the hairs on her arms stand up. Was she the only one feeling this?
He took a step closer and cupped her cheek in his palm. “Are you sure? You look a little pale.”
She resisted the urge to rest her head in his hand. “No, I’m fine.” She took a step back.
“We found one more bug in the game room.” Her voice sounded rough.
“Ulf told me.” He stepped toward her, eyes blazing.
“We’re working on the computers tomorrow,” she whispered, taking another step back. He crowded her. His body heat confused her, making her want impossible things. She cleared her throat. “It shouldn’t take us long to improve your firewall and install a few security checks.”
Leif watched her silently.
“You want to sit down?” She gestured toward the arm chairs.
“Sure,” he said, but didn’t move.
Naya had to step around him. Her skin sizzled when her arm accidently brushed against his. Relieved, she sank down in one of the blue chairs. A small table created a barrier between her and Leif. “So,” she said. “You were going to explain what makes you different from regular humans.”
He sat down in the empty chair, elbows on knees, studying his clasped hands. After a few moments he tilted his head and looked at her. “I’ll try to answer all of your questions, but some of this may sound a little crazy.”
“I’ll keep an open mind.”
Leif’s eyes met hers. Whatever he saw in them seemed to satisfy him. “I died in 1050.” He paused, watching her reaction.
Naya kept her gasp from escaping and instead nodded encouragingly.
“In the Norse culture, warriors who die in battle or die a heroic violent death are sent to live with the gods in Asgard. The men spend their time training in Valhalla with Odin. The women are schooled by Freya.”
Naya’s mind reeled. What he described didn’t seem possible, but he was so sincere. Obviously he believed his story to be true. “I thought there were only male warriors in the Nordic tradition.”
“Most stories are based on the old Icelandic sagas. They describe Valkyries as leading the men to Valhalla.”
“And that’s not the way it is?”
Leif smiled. “The sagas were all written by men long after the Viking age ended. They didn’t know what happened in Freya’s meadow and took some poetic license.”
“So, typically male, instead of just saying ‘I don’t know,’ you make up shit instead.”
He smiled, his dimples stealing her breath. Again.
She looked away. “So, this place where the gods live, this is the Nordic heaven?”
“Not exactly. It’s the warriors’ reward for dying an honorable death. They are allowed to live on, to fight again.” He studied his hands. “I don’t remember much of Valhalla. Time flows differently there. All my memories run together as if they happened the same week.”
She looked up to find him watching her. “I’m sorry, I’m trying to follow what you’re saying. But—”
“It is a little crazy?” He smiled.
“A little.” A lot.
“Is it any crazier than being abducted and kept in a camp? Any crazier than enhancement injections?”
About the Author
Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Viking and Valkyries in the Viking Warriors series. She came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student and liked it so much she never returned home. Asa holds an MFA in creative writing and an MS in Medical Physics. She lives on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with her British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. Visit her at www.AsaMariaBradley.com
This November Asa Maria Bradley releases the first in her exciting new Viking Warriors series, Viking Warrior Rising! To celebrate, Asa’s here to play a game of Marry, Kiss, Kill with three names we provided. For this round we gave her Jason Momoa, Charlie Hunnam, and Idris Elba.
“Mmmmmmm, Jason Momoa. I'll marry him, please! He's so good looking it's hard to look away. And whatever he's wearing, however he styles his hair, or doesn't style his hair--it all looks good on him.
I'd kiss Idris Elba because he too is so very handsome--and that accent! (My husband is also British, that's probably why those clipped tones turns me on.) However, sometimes Idris comes across as arrogant in interviews, so that's why I wouldn't marry him.
That leaves poor Charlie Hunnam to be killed. Oh no! He too has that charming British accent in real life, but since he's played bad-ass Jax for so long, I'm sure he'd survive my attempt to end his life. At least I hope so because I'm really looking forward to see him as the new King Arthur. From the pictures released so far, he makes leather pants and swords look very sexy!”