Top critical review
My first foray into urban fantasy
Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2009
The NorseCode genome project seemed to be a global corporate undertaking to gather DNA samples in hopes of tracing down Odin's descendants. But college student Kathy Castillo finds out the truth the hard way when she is murdered and resurrected as the valkyrie, Mist. It turns out that NorseCode is actually the Old Gods' front for recruiting soldiers to fight in the apocalyptic battle of Ragnarok.
Greg Van Eekhout's debut novel Norse Code was my first foray into urban fantasy, so I'm admittedly out-of-my-element. I did find Norse Code to be entertaining enough, but it really wasn't my cup-of-tea.
Along with the characters being a little hokie, there seemed to be a few holes in the story. I'd think using a cover like "searching for Odin's descents" would raise questions, rather than allow secrecy. A few times the blind god Hod didn't seem very blind (but, then again, I guess he was a god). I never figured out how to be sure that someone was really and truly dead and, for lack of a better word, unresurrectable.
Also I was rather disappointed in Mist. I realize she hadn't been at it very long, but when I read in the blurb that she was a valkyrie, I was hoping to read about a bad-ass angel-winged babe. In fact, that was the major downer for me. I'm no expert in Norse mythology, but what I think of (and what I like about it) is the whole warrior mentality thing. Instead, for me, Norse Code just came across as a little too campy.
However, I do appreciate what van Eekout was getting at. Despite that these are all-powerful Gods -- well, most of them anyway -- who've been around long before anything else, the nitty-gritty of it is that they're just like us (or maybe we're just like them). I commend him for his story's perspective. And even though I wasn't particularly crazy over it, Norse Code really is an impressive first novel.