Burkhead, David L. The Chooser: A Tale of Modern Valkyrie (Kindle e-book, 2019)
[cues up Crüxshadows “My Valkyrie”]
So, I was looking for something light, fun, and unrelated to anything I need to be reading. I’d been perusing David’s blog, The Writer in Black, and saw he had some short fiction out. Sounded perfect, and it was on sale (even more perfect) so I clicked the link and started reading.
A Valkyrie is sent to a modern house, to collect someone who died in battle. She found a boy. She’s a bit nonplussed, but she does her duty, and takes him to the one who decides the destination of the dead. That’s when the mystery and fun really begin. What is the boy supposed to do in Odin’s war band? And who will teach him how to fight as Odin’s warriors do?
Then it gets complicated.
David does a wonderful job with both the mythological elements and the modern fantasy elements. I could see everything clearly in my mind’s eye, and the violence was appropriate but never excessive. The characters, major and minor, are well drawn and believable, and fit their roles. Hel is terrifying, as she ought to be.
It is a short story, and a fast read, but one worth going back to for more detail. David takes Norse religion seriously, and it shows in the characterizations.
Part of me wanted the story to be longer. The rest of me nodded at the length – it fit the story, which is exactly how long a story ought to be – no fluff, no missing bits (or chunks).
If you want a short, fast read with adventure, character development, and an unusual fantasy combination, I highly recommend “The Chooser.”
FTC Notice: I purchased this work for my own pleasure and received no remuneration or consideration from the author or publisher in exchange for this review.