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WesternSFA
Mist
by Susan Krinard
TOR, $9.99; 382pp
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Mist is a Valkyrie. Yep. One of those maidens with the winged helmets and breast plates who took warriors from the field of battle to Valhalla .

However, it is current day and Mist lives in San Francisco . She has lived in Midgard (our world) for centuries. Mist and her sister Valkyries were sent by Odin all-Father to keep the Treasures of the Aesir safe before the chaos of Ragarnok.

Well, everything has changed. Ragnarok failed and the Aesir have been exiled to a shadow world.

And Loki the Slanderer, the godling of chaos is still free and scheming.

So, Mist must keep Loki from controlling/destroying Midgard. She must find the treasures and her sister Valkyries to form a defense against Loki’s plans.

By the end of the novel, Mist has secured one of the treasures, the spear Gungnir. She has also begun to bring together a rag-tag army including two homeless teenagers, one of whom has visions.

This will be a long, interesting fight. (And I am not sure how many Treasures or other Valkyries there are).

The characters helping Mist are fascinating. Two of Odin’s sons, Vali and Vidarr who own a bar are pulled into the scheme: Vali reluctantly wants to help (he’s good with computers) but Vidarr wants nothing to do with it.

But it is Dainn an alf (elf) who is really compelling (and sounds rather hot): Long, dark hair, aloof, pointed ears….why, he sounds kind of familiar….Mist discovers him as a homeless bum in Golden Gate Park .

Dainn has many layers and his soul is tainted by a curse, a ravening beast locked away in his psyche which Dainn must keep under strict control else it slaughter everyone in sight. He is not always successful in controlling the beast, either.

Dainn reveals to Mist she is Freya’s daughter, Freya being the goddess of lust and love among other things. And Dainn also helps Mist tap into the deep power that resides in her; the ancient magic of the Vanir.

While Dainn helps Mist come to grips with her new place in the magical scheme of things, Loki is an urbane creep intent on constantly harassing Mist as he pulls a mostly human army together. Humans who are just as creepy and morally corrupt. He does use the Jotunar—frost giants—as his muscle. An interesting tidbit: apparently neither side can use modern weapons and must rely solely on magic, muscle, swords, etc.

Most of the other Norse gods are trapped in the shadow world between Asgard and Midgard and, at least so far, can do little to aid either Mist or Loki. Though Dainn seems to be able to occasionally channel Freya when the need arises….

All this does get confusing---especially if you have no clue about Norse mythology. And I kind of wish Krinard had given us a pronunciation guide because some of the words/names are real mouthfuls.

Nevertheless, Krinard has woven an intricately layered tale of ancient magic in the modern world. Who is related to whom and even more important—what kind of past these characters have with each other: Old alliances, old feuds and old romances add a lot of flavor to the story.

The tale is the set up for another Ragnarok but this time it will take place here and no doubt begin in San Francisco . ~~ Sue Martin

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