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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Claimed by Gods is the first book in Their Dark Valkyrie series by Eva Chase. Aria Watson will do whatever it takes to protect her little brother. Her plans change when she dies and is brought back to life by four gods as a Valkyrie. Not just any gods, but the Norse gods Thor, Loki, Baldur, and Hod. They brought her back for only one reason: to find Odin. The gods are stuck on earth and the longer they're here the more their powers diminish. Their only way back to Asgard is if Aria can help them find Odin and he can open the bridge to send them home. Each god must train her in her new abilities to become the Valkyrie they need her to be. When dark elves threaten whom she loves most, she must decide where her loyalty lies.
Eva Chase puts a modern twist on Norse mythology with new spins on well-known characters and a strong heroine. Thor has a few of his usual characteristics which include a large appetite and strength, but Chase gives him more of a mellow personality which grounds him. The aspects most loved about him are brought out, often with humor. Loki maintains his trickster qualities, but he's also more grounded in his mischievous nature. Chase explores the calmer qualities of the character, keeping him mischievous and playful but more considerate and fun loving. These are the Norse gods everyone loves but each are fitted to Chase's world, answering what these gods would be like after an extended trip on earth which has grounded them with humanity. The story is told through the rotating perspectives of Aria, Baldur, Hod, Thor, and Loki, which gives insight into each character as well as Aria's connection to each of the gods. She has a connection to each since they summoned her, but her bonds with them slowly grow throughout the story.
Baldur is seen mostly through his connection with music and has a harmony about him that comes into play when he trains Aria. His gift of light is a vital part of his character and is a balance to his twin brother, Hod, who is darkness. Hod has a serene presence and the person Aria first opens up to about her family life and her brother. The tests she has to overcome incorporate Norse mythology into the story in the fights she has against wargs and dark elves. The wargs bring out more of the typical Loki as he leaves out information in order to fully test her abilities. Chase has charm and humor in the writing but includes more serious issues underneath the surface which are subtly addressed and will leave an impression. Claimed by Gods is a brilliant read with action and sharp wit, charming gods and a strong heroine, mythology and magic.