In a way, San Francisco was lucky. The City by the Bay had an honest-to-goodness Valkyrie for a guardian angel. Her name was Mist Bjorgsen and she was the daughter of Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, war, and death.
Mist took her responsibilities as a Valkyrie vigilante seriously. San Francisco was a city in crisis and it needed her help desperately. Says author Susan Krinard: “The city was suffering from political corruption, housing shortages, rising unemployment, and a correspondingly steep decline in social services. The rich were getting richer and the poor were sinking at a much faster rate than anywhere else in the country.” Plus, a cup of yak butter coffee cost $12. Outrageous!
You could try and pin these problems on ineffective civic leadership, gentrification, entitled millennials, or the new rich of Silicon Valley. But you’d be wrong. All the drama in San Francisco was actually the result of Loki Laufeyson, the tricky trickster god.
Loki had plans to take over Earth and he was using San Francisco as his private amusement park. “I really am fond of this city,” he confessed. And why not? His adoptive home was filled with money, sex, and drugs. It was the perfect place for a guy like him. And best of all, it was free of any interference from Odin and his bothersome Aesir brood.
The only thing giving him stress was Mist and her Valkyrie sisters. While Loki was wooing the city’s elite in his Pacific Heights mansion, Mist was in the Dogpatch building an army of shield maidens, rowdy ruff boys, oracles, healers, and elves.
She even had a Japanese Shinto spirit on her team. This revelation doesn’t come until late in the novel, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially Loki. Did he presume to think that Norse gods were the only deities coexisting with mankind? He might be able to banish Odin and Thor to a Negative Zone-like prison. But wait until he starts butting heads with ancient Native American gods, Chinese gods, and Egyptian gods. If he wasn’t careful, his hubris would spark a war of mythological pantheons.
Mist, of course, was the nexus to everything. She possessed a mysterious power culled from the universe itself, but in the first two volumes of the series (read our reviews here and here) she was afraid to embrace her full potential. Finally in this third book she accepts her divine heritage and puts Loki and his frost giant minions on ice. In the end, the trickster god may be gone, but the crisis in San Francisco remained. Maybe in the next novel Mist can do something about the city’s other problems – like providing shelter for the homeless and squashing annoying Uber drivers.
[Battlestorm / By Susan Krinard / First Printing: March 2016 / ISBN: 9780765332103]