Several moons ago I read this book by Greg van Eekhout, published in 2009 by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House. Fortunately, I took detailed notes.
I give this title full points for cleverness, and the concept is alluring. Unfortunately, for me the novel never realized the concept well. There are enjoyable elements: Greg van Eekhout is clearly well versed with Norse mythology, and I enjoyed many of the scenes that pulled details from the depths of Norse mythology. Some examples include the three wolves, the world tree, Odin’s two ravens, and scenes where the relationships between the Norse gods are on full display. However, where van Eekhout alters the classic Norse mythology to merge it into the modern world, the story often stutters. Several of the mythological characters bring very little of the feel of the gods they are adapted from, and the connection between the two realms is always tenuous.
The story also suffers from strange pacing and flow. The plot always felt confused and drifting to me, with characters motivations and actions having little to do with what actually transpires, which is one of my pet peeves. The transitions between characters and transitions between scenes were frequent and often jarring, and action scenes / description within scenes often left me wondering exactly what had gone on. I also did not find the main protagonists particularly interesting.
While Ragnarok seems a fairly common trope in fantasy worlds, NORSE CODE does a good job at painting its own version while providing some great authentic mythical Norse flavor. Unfortunately not all elements are integrated so well, and the plot and main characters are less interesting than the concept as a whole.
Cover Art Review: Very well illustrated and meshes well with the actual story. Bonus points for an excellent depiction of gorgeous, luscious hair.