YA Book Reviews

Ragnarök Unwound by Kristin Jacques – Book Review

Ragnarök Unwound by Kristin Jacques – Book ReviewRagnarok Unwound (Ikepela Ives) by Kristin Jacques
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 328
Published by Sky Forest Press on January 8, 2019
Format: eBook
ISBN: 1949665003

Prophecies don't untangle themselves.

Just ask Ikepela Ives, whose estranged mother left her with the power to unravel the binding threads of fate. Stuck with immortal power in a mortal body, Ives has turned her back on the duty she never wanted.
But it turns out she can’t run from her fate forever, not now that Ragnarok has been set in motion and the god at the center of that tangled mess has gone missing. With a ragtag group of companions—including a brownie, a Valkyrie, and the goddess of death herself—Ives embarks on her first official mission as Fate Cipher—to save the world from doomsday.
Nothing she can't handle. Right?

Disclaimer:I have received this copy from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

A young woman tries to out run her fate by simply ignoring her family connection to her gods-lineage until a Valkyrie seeks her out and tells her Ragnarök (the Norse version of an apocalypse) will destroy the world if she does not intervene. The catch? She’s a mere mortal with an immortal power.

As I read this, three specific images came mind from the following sources:

1) Hercules

2) Moana

3) The Secret of NIMH

Roll with me for a moment…

Ikepela Ives has been bestowed with the fate of a Fate Cipher: a counter balance to the Fates, or the Norns as the Norse mythology refer to them as.

Enter my first image:

The Fates in the movie Hercules. They weave the lifelines of all beings into stories with their smug little attitudes.

Ives knows little of her own family’s history only that her mother abandonded her and father, leaving her this cursed fate and no knowledge of how to use her “gift.” She is ambushed by a Valkyrie named Hildr, who is relentless in ensuring Ives sticks to her own fate: to save the world from Ragnarok.  Ives is peeved, and her and her fae friend leave, hoping to escape the Valkyrie. About this time, the rest of the world starts to unravel, and the three of them are on a quest to stop the mass destruction. They believe Loki, the Trickster and brother to the All-Father Odin, to be behind the while Ragnarok mess. That’s what all the stories say, right? However, as Ives begins to befriend and save Loki’s “monstrous” children from their doomed fates, she starts to wonder who is really behind Ragnarok…Loki? The gods themselves? The Norns? The Polynesian gods she finds out ALSO runs in her blood?? You find this out as you start paying attention to all the character’s names.

Enter the second image:

Te Ka from Moana. And while Te Ka is not quite the same, she is similar to another goddess of Polynesian culture: Pele.

And our last image, which in truth, came to me before the other images did because of it weaving (this word just makes the most sense, sorry) throughout the entire story: Jeremy the crow from The Secret of NIMH.

The motif throughout these Fate-fighting stories tends to be thread intertwined around a person or through a tapestry. And as the author explains Ives’ gift of seeing the fate-threads around a person, I cannot help but wonder if they are all as jumbled up as the poor, goofy crow who cannot seem to untangle himself from the red yarn. And a crow! Keep a watch out for that one too.

This story blends Norse AND Polynesian mythology into one seemeless story that I quite liked.  Many cultures have plenty of the same or similar gods, just usually with different names and a different backstory.  I have been discovering and doing a bit of research on this myself, and was pleasant surprised to find in this story too. Jacques does a great job of weaving between the two that you don’t feel like you missed something. Rather, that you want to pause reading so you can find out a bit more to the backstory of it all.

And to end it all, the last line says there will be another book! Not really a spoiler because it gives nothing away. 😀 I’ll have to brush up on mythology, not unlike Ives, to tackle the next prophesies.

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