Book Review: The Helheim Princes by Tiana Warner. null
The Helheim Princes by Tiana Warner. null
Category:
Author:
Series Number: 1
Published: January 4th 2022
Page Count: 400
Publisher:
For as long as Sigrid could remember, she's wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she's a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she's so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she's leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go. Too bad that the only one who can help her get there is Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who begrudgingly agrees to lead her to Helheim but who certainly can't be trusted--even if she does make Sigrid more than a little flustered. As they cross the nine worlds, battling night elves, riding sea serpents, and hurtling into fire to learn the truth about Sigrid's birthright, an unexpected but powerful bond forms. As her feelings for Mariam deepen into something fiery and undeniable, Fate has other plans for Sigrid. What happens when the one thing you think you were meant to do might end the nine worlds?

I have always been drawn to books based on mythology and folklore, and the gorgeous cover for The Helheim Princess drew me in just as much as the title did. I’ve become quite familiar with the goddess Hel and Helheim through various fictional interpretations, and I was curious to see what this one was like!

This book was provided for free by NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Entangled: Teen for the opportunity to read this book.

Content Warnings

Spoiler

There is a death of a horse and some moments where horses are handled badly, bordering on being mistreated.

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Book Review: The Helheim Princes by Tiana Warner. null

The Review

I wanted to like this book more than I did because it has a beautiful sapphic love story, some great characters, and wonderful Norse world-building, but the sad reality is that it is chock-full of YA tropes. The first problem straight out of the gate is that the title and the synopsis gives the plot away immediately. You’re probably thinking, hold on a second, The Helheim Princess is for teen readers, and you’re a thirty-something year old woman. Of course, it seems obvious to you! Sorry, but teenagers aren’t idiots. This novel is listed as being for 12 to 17-year-olds on Amazon, and while I can see readers of the younger end of that age bracket not piecing things together, I can tell you from experience that older teens definitely will.

Despite the predictable plot, The Helheim Princess was an enjoyable read. I feel that it suffered from what I call ‘first book syndrome’, where the author sticks to a very basic plot to get the protagonist’s original story out and get them in position for book two. In this book, Sigrid finds out who she is, follows her destiny and decides who she wants to be, while falling in love, making friends and learning a few hard lessons along the way. It is a very typical coming of age story, so what made The Helheim Princess different enough for me to give it a decent rating? Well, that would be the world-building.

Warner has created a unique and magical interpretation of Norse mythology and the nine worlds, and offers an insight into her creative process at the end of the book. It was interesting to see where her path took her from original sources and academic texts as she explained how one of the few two sources we have of Norse folklore was written by a Christian, and the other, a primary source, is filled with gaps. The world she has created in The Helheim Princess is her interpretation of these sources and an attempt to fill in some of the gaps, creatively. The result is a fantastic world where baby Valkyries are born at the exact same time as a winged mare, rather than them being the traditional “chooser of the slain”. Instead, they are guardians, who protect the nine realms. For the most part, the nine realms are the same, with a few changes here and there.

This is also a book for horse lovers. Warner is a lifelong rider, and it shows in every scene. She brings all that experience to provide authentic, fast-paced action scenes with the horses, and they are probably the best I’ve seen in a fantasy novel.

Book Review: The Helheim Princes by Tiana Warner - My book review for The Helheim Princess by Tiana Warner the first book in a new  romantic #OwnVoices LGBTQ fantasy series inspired by Norse mythology.. null

Conclusion

An easy read with lovely characters and a great romance, The Helheim Princess might not have scored high for me as an individual book, however it definitely put The Helheim Prophecy series, and it’s author Warner on my radar. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for book two because I want to see where Sigrid and Mariam’s story goes, and spend more time in the world Warner has created.

About the author: Tiana Warner
Meet the Author

Warner

Warner is an LGBTQ+ author from British Columbia, Canada, best known for her critically acclaimed “Mermaids of Eriana Kwai” trilogy and its comic adaptation. Tiana is a lifelong horseback rider, a former programmer with a Computer Science degree, and an outdoor enthusiast who loves to explore nature with her musician boyfriend and their hyperactive rescue mutt, Joey.

You can find out more about her over at her website. You can browse her books on Goodreads. Or connect with her on social media; she’s on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok!

Books by Warner

Interested in more books by Warner? Check out a selection of titles in my store.

Over to you

Thanks for reading my review for The Helheim Princess. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book, so let me know what you think about The Helheim Princess in the comments 🙂

The Helheim Princess by Warner is due to be released on January 4th 2022 and is currently available for pre-order from any of the links in this post!

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my reviews if you’re looking for some more book recommendations 🙂 You can also now sign up for my newsletter to get an email each month with a list of my new reviews!

 

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