The Hall of the Fallen: A Review of Valhalla by Ari Bach

Rebecca Hunt, Staff Writer

Valhalla by Ari Bach is filled to the brim with ultraviolence, incredible technology, and three-dimensional characters. The 300-page novel, first in a trilogy, keeps readers on their toes  as they adventure with Valknut team. Set more than three centuries in the future, in the year 2330, Valhalla by Ari Bach centers around Violet MacRae, a seventeen-year-old girl who is constantly getting into trouble. Her violent nature has blocked many opportunities for her, including her dream job, being on the police force like her father.

A series of horrific events lead Violet to finding the Valkyries, a group of people just like her. Before long, she’s living in their base on the island of Kvitoya, just south of the north pole.  She joins a team of other new recruits, known as Valknut team: Vibs, Veikko, and Varg become her best friends, and they become inseparable during their time on walrus duty.

Violet loves the community in Valhalla; there is no real hierarchy, so everyone gets a say, and there’s no shortage of dangerous tasks to perform. Sparring often ends in broken bones and bloodshed, but that doesn’t even matter because Valhalla has an incredible doctor.

As the story continues, V Team begins to uncover a conspiracy involving  a member of the ravine. They have to prove to their seniors that something is  really going on without revealing that they know to the culprits.

The  worldbuilding in this novel is honestly incredible; from the vivid descriptions of Valhalla and the VR cyberspace, to the insane amount of technology that’s all described vividly to the reader. It may be set in the future, but this story isn’t about a dystopia. It’s just a world and culture very different from our own. That doesn’t make it ignore our world today, though; it comments on plenty of aspects of our own society.

One of the most interesting aspects of the world is the fact that the doctors are able to bring people back from the dead (provided they have their brains). They can be brought back to life, using just a brain, and their body parts will be replaced with robotic prosthetics. It’s such a cool concept, is executed well, and eliminates a lot of stress and suspense for the reader (don’t worry though, it will just be added somewhere else!). Characters are effectively immortal, so feel secure in the knowledge that your favorite character can’t die permanently unless their brain is melted by a microwave!

In addition to the whole “you can’t die” thing, the members of Valhalla have Tikari, which are literally robot bugs that live in their chests. They’re controlled with their thoughts. The closest thing I can think of to the Tikari are  the daemons from Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass.

Valhalla is such a unique  novel as far as characters, plot, and world go, but it’s also got a really big positive for people like me. Roman

ce, at least in the first in the trilogy, is practically nonexistent. Sure, Violet may have a huge crush on a certain member of V Team, but they don’t fall in love after three days. Human interaction feels a lot more authentic than in some other young adult novels.

The first book flies by; a lot happens in a really short amount of time. It doesn’t feel horribly rushed, but the pace is really fast. Valhalla is the first book in a trilogy, so you can always get more of the story.

I’d heard a lot about this book through Twitter, so I was really excited to get my hands on a copy. Unfortunately, the book is print-on-demand at Barnes and Noble, so the best place to get it is online (since it will have to be shipped to you anyway). If you read ebooks, though (which is what I ended up doing), this is obviously not a problem.

The author runs an incredibly humorous blog about the book, even running a fake campaign to ban Valhalla in as many places as possible because of its violence (yes, it’s that violent).

I would definitely recommend reading this trilogy. It’s  one exciting, can’t-put-the-book-down adventure after another and will definitely be a unique reading experience.