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Elsker by ST Bende
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Not quite the deep novel I was hoping for

I’ll give a book 5 stars if I can’t think a thing I’d change.
I rate in a few different categories. (Idea stolen from another reviewer.) Among the four below, I rate according to the general overview for sections of the book. I found myself constantly staring at the percentage read. Not a good thing. Pacing was excruciating slow. A novel with slow pacing could be engaging, if done right. Pacing for the first 50 % of the novel. 1 STAR.

Diving into the novel, we are greeted with Kristia having a discussion in a café with her best friend about what she wants to do in life. Uh, not the best entrance. No excitement. No conflict. No reason to read on. Ever heard of GMC? You won’t get that in the first chapter. Oh, except Kristia has visions. So? What of it? That’s all you learn from the first chapter, and I knew that much already from the blurb. Honestly, I would have started the novel from Kristia meeting a stranger in London.

Characters 2 STARS
Kristia is a static protagonist. Nothing changes for her. She drools over Ull for half the novel, moping about how she wants him to kiss her. That’s pretty much all she’s about. Pretty whiny. I don’t really know what she wants in life. She doesn’t know. And how much she is annoyed and irritated with Ull before she really gets to know him…I thought I was in the mind of a twelve year old.
Ull is rather flat too.
I couldn’t bond with either of the main characters.
The only fascinating guy was the one in Kristia’s dreams, and the novel really didn’t even get into that. Nothing happened with that storyline. It was just a lingering threat. And quite frankly, I wasn’t threatened by him, because we never really learn what he’s all about.

Voice 2 STARS
No connection with me as a reader. I wasn’t compelled to “listen” to the tale. I pretty much read this novel as a learning experience. The author tries to convey personality in the metaphors she uses about every ten pages, but they were just so corny it was like a slap to the face, pulling me right out of the story. Comparisons to things like a fish in bear’s claws, hog in the mud, few pies short of a picnic. In fact, the opening line of the novel is, “I moved faster than a salmon down a chute in bear season.” That truly set the tone for the entire novel. I should have set it down immediately. But see, learning experience. And truly, after reading a three star novel, when I come across a five star one, it’s like heaven!

Mechanics 3 STARS
A bit overuse of adverbs. Basic writing. No glaring grammar issues. An easy, clean read.

Imagery 3 STARS
I wasn’t grabbed by the descriptive scenes. Excessive scenes about picking out outfits because one of her flat mates is a fashion expert. Nothing that made me say, wow, “The author really gets me. It’s as if she’s seeing into my soul.”

So there was this absence of a strong plot until about 70% of the way through. I had no idea of the motivations or goals of the characters. Boy likes girl, and we don’t really know what the stakes are except that Ull wants to protect Kristia. Sigh. This felt a lot like Twilight. Immortal. Awkward human. Immortal protecting girl from her own stubbornness. Actually, this mirrors that exactly.

A subtle story with very little action. The elements didn’t fall into place to pull this one off.

A decent chicklet for others, just not me. ( )
  LisaRector | Sep 28, 2017 |
This is one book in a compendium of 14 fantasy books. It appears to be aimed at the Young Adult market. Our heroine, Kristia Tostenson, lives in a small town in Oregon, and has visions. They are not welcome visions, and many are too fantastic to be true. She is shy and looking to try something new when she decided to go to Wales for a year of college. She has cool roommates, and becomes interested in a Norwegian student, Ull, who is in here Northern Mythology class.

The story concentrates on her budding romance with Ull, set against a background of college and Norse myth. It was well-written, and we care for our heroine. A fun, quick read. ( )
1 vote EowynA | Sep 8, 2016 |
Elsker is a difficult novel to review. Its writing was consistent enough, even if not terribly accurate in its portrayal of life in the United Kingdom, and it didn't do anything that especially frustrated me as a reader. My problem with it was purely that it was instantly forgettable.

There is no action in this story at all. No tension or sense of urgency. While Ragnarok is mentioned throughout the novel, it is always a distant thing. There is no sense that it will happen urgently, as the divine characters are idling their way through University and planning their winter break. While a dark elf occasionally appears in Kristia's visions, he's really no more than a mild annoyance. Not once did I feel that the protagonist was in any danger and the biggest cause of stress in her life is that a handsome boy in her class is ignoring her.

The romance in the novel also happens staggeringly fast. After a couple of dates, Ull is already sending Kristia daily bunches of flowers and planning a weekend break away. Within weeks, Kristia has decided that she would give her life for Ull. In less than a semester, they are engaged to be married. This is possibly the fastest escalation of events I've ever read and it felt incredibly unbelievable.

The characters in the story are also fairly typical. Kristia is the perfect Mary Sue with incredible powers. Ull is the over-protective viking who would die to protect her. The thing that was most jarring about their relationship is that they never seem to listen to each other. Ull is convinced that Kristia should remain a human, despite the fact she wants to be a god. Kristia is adamant that Ull should remain a god despite the fact he insists to her that he'd be happier as a human. I really couldn't see any future in a relationship where the two participants have goals that are polar opposites.

All in all, I wouldn't recommend this novel. While it didn't make me angry like some paranormal romances, it was pretty bland and felt like it borrowed a little too much from Twilight in places. There are far better novels in this genre out there. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Jun 30, 2016 |
This book is about a mortal or human that has a challenging problem with her so called visions and dreams she sees things that may be from the past, present or future and she can generally tell which area but they are so mundane that it really should not matter. Until she starts having the reoccurring nightmares from her childhood that have haunted her since she was eight and her grandmother or Mormor told her stories of the gods of old. Kristia Tostenson is but an eighteen year old that is satisfied in her life until her best friend challenges her take risk which will turn her life around and spin it out of control. Very good read cant wait to go forward with this read. ( )
  lcsdr60 | Aug 15, 2015 |
GENRE: Paranormal Romance

SETTING: Modern-day; Nehalem, Oregon to Cardiff University in Wales

SEXUAL EXPLICITNESS: Kissing; No euphemistic "code words; No profanity; Emotional attraction

CENTRAL FEMALE CHARACTER: KRISTIA TOSTENSON; age 18, not successfully sociable, loves Art History and Mythology

CENTRAL MALE CHARACTER: ULL MYHR; muscular, an emotional enigma, mysterious, kind and attentive

SYNOPSIS: She has visions so most people in her hometown think she's weird. Her best friend says, "Go see the world". In Wales she catches the attention of the hottest guy on campus.

WHAT I LIKED: Spending time at his place seems enchanting and divine.

WHAT I DID NOT LIKE: Jump on the "TWILIGHT" (the book) bandwagon shall we? (I should know. I have read the book only 8+ times and have the movie). ( )
  Chandra-of-Red | May 3, 2015 |
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Epigraph
The Prophecy of Ragnork
With the death of Balder, the powers of darkness will burst from their tethers.  Jotunheim shall crack open; a terrible frost shall suffocate all things good.  The great beast will attack, the wicked ship sail, and the light of Asgard will dim evermore.  Fire shall consume the earth and Darkness shall swallow the sky.  No one, God or Mortal, can survive the travesty of Ragnorok.
--Prophecy of the Norns
Dedication
To my three boys ----- I wished for you upon a star, and all my dreams came true.
First words
I MOVED FASTER THAN a salmon down a chute in bear season.  It was my only option.  If the giant wolf biting at my heels didn't kill me, then the treetruck of a snake twining between my feet was going to finish the job.  I pumped my legs harder, exerting every modicum of strength I had left, and in the process, I stepped on the snake's head.
Quotations
Oh, Kristia! It's so nice to meet you! ...  I'm Emma, we're going to be flatmates.
Victoria's a fashion student.  As her flatmate, you are officially her pet project.
Mythology....The study of folklore....Early cultures used myths to make sense of a confusing world, to explain the origin of mankind, and to create a sense of history and belonging.  We will be focusing on three primary mythological studies:  the Norse, the Greek, and the Eastern.  We begin with the Norse.
Your stepdad's named Thor?  Like God of Thunder Thor?  Who names their kid that?
The gods were divine--giants, dwarves, and dark elves wanted to see them fall.  So Odin developed an intricate series of defenses to preserve his world.  Today we're going to discuss the Warriors of Asgard and how they relate to Odin's bloodline.  As heirs to the realm, Thor, Sif and their descendants played a vital role in Norse myths.
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