Mist - Susan Krinard While I love mythology, I have to admit that I don’t know much about Norse mythology. I am far more familiar with Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods and goddesses, so when I saw Mist, I thought it would be the perfect way to learn more about Odin, Freya, and the rest of the gang. Did I learn more about them? Yes, but a lot of the details about them, as well as the background information on Ragnarok, felt too much like info dumping, and often left me confused.

Mist believes she is one of the only survivors of Ragnarok, or the end of the world. She has been entrusted by Odin to guard his spear, but as the years dragged by and still the god did not appear to take back his mighty weapon, Mist lost hope of ever seeing him again. Turning her back on her Valkyrie duties, she’s decided instead to make Midgard her home. She believes Asgard has been closed to her forever, everyone she knew dead, so she settles down in San Francisco and tries to make the best of things. After she’s attacked by a frost giant, however, she realizes that she isn’t the only one to survive the final battle. To her great dismay, she learns that her boyfriend is actually Loki, and he’s been fooling her in order to get his hands on Odin’s spear. Now with the real end of the world approaching, she has to put her trust in a battered elf and learn how to make use of the magic she didn’t realize she possessed.

While I found the info dumping in the first half of the book trying, I loved Mist when something was happening. The heroine is strong, brave, and determined to save her adopted, even if it means standing up to Loki and his ruthless plans to take over the world. She has a handful of allies, and she’s not even sure she can trust them. Odin’s sons, Vidarr, and Vali, are hardly dependable allies. Vidarr is aggressive, selfish, and quick to rage, and Vali is a drunk who always caves to his brother’s whims. Dainn, the tattered elf she found in the park, is hiding terrifying secrets, both about himself and Freya’s plans for Mist. I liked Dainn, too. He’s one step away from losing himself to his inner beast, and he has to ceaselessly fight the curse he’s been burdened with. He’s old, but that doesn’t necessarily make him wise. A fool to one of Loki’s tricks, he has a grudge the size of California against his tormentor.

I kept seeing Tom Hiddleston as Loki (not a bad thing, right? And what’s this about Loki NOT being in the next Avengers movie??), which gave him a strong image in my mind every time he appeared in the book. He’s such a fun character, what with his love of causing chaos for his own sick amusement. Better yet, he has the power to back up his bad boy behavior. There aren’t many who can oppose him, and Mist’s attempts to track him down and get the spear back seemed hopeless at first. As she was forced into one deadly encounter after another, though, her powers grew, along with her desire to take Loki down. I enjoyed the conflicts and confrontations as they clashed time and again. He’s the kind of character you love, love, love to hate, so I wasn’t overly upset when Mist come out on the losing side more than once. Like Mist’s, my dislike of Loki had to fester so that when Mist got the best of him, the victory would be that much sweeter.

I thought the pacing was slow at first, and that most of this book was set up for the series. However, after the giants attack Mist in her home, the story really took off, and it was hard to put down after that exciting sequence of events. The battle scenes were a blast, and the plot was starting to take off when the book ended. While Mist didn’t always work for me, I am invested in the characters now and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Grade: This book is hard to grade. C+/B-