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Literature / Valhalla

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2014 2nd Edition Cover

" Don't Fuck Shit Up "
—The Geki

Valhalla is a 2010 novel by Ari Bach set in the year 2230. The novel covers the adventures of Violet Macrae as she joins an elite team of spies dwelling in a ravine near the North Pole. The novel is the first in a trilogy, followed by Ragnarök and Guðsriki, all of which are currently published by Harmony Ink Press.

Valhalla focuses on the nature of its protagonist as a misfit, a vicious girl in a peaceful society. Too violent even for the military, her introduction to Valhalla reveals that it's outcasts like her who keep the world running. What follows is one part spy story, one part action, one part futurism and one part comedy. Ragnarök, covers a world-saving mission by Violet and her team, and delves into darker, more bizarre material in its second half. Guðsriki was released in October of 2015.

Valhalla and its sequels are heavily based on characters and events from Norse Mythology.


  • Abnormal Ammo: Aside from the robotic knife insects, microwave weapons and Gatling shotguns, Valhalla mentions drill-shot, flesh eating bacteria injectors, grinding needle disks, deep-tissue spaz-razors, chainsaw launchers and more bizarre weapons.
  • Action Girl: Violet Macrae, the novel's main character (And pretty much every other woman in the novel) is a vicious, near psychopathic badass.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Wulfgar loses his brother Hrothgar at the hands of Violet in the first scene, and spends the rest of the novel seeking revenge.
  • Badass Bookworm: Vibeke is the brains of the group, but is as tough a warrior as the rest.
  • Badass Creed: The Valkyries are subjected to only one rule and treaty which they must all memorize and exemplify: "Don't Fuck Shit Up."
  • Behemoth Battle: In Ragnarök, the first sequel to Valhalla, an internet sequence features a fight between a colossal crab with a mountain for a shell and a gargantuan arctic fox. The battle wrecks half the Nikkei site, throwing the world into economic turmoil for the rest of the book.
  • Black Cloak: The Geki always appear as black cloaks, and as of Book 1 may in fact not have anything inside.
  • Blood Sport: Pa Tappan (King of the Hill) functions as a vicious, limb snapping form of recreation for the Valkyries. Even among the toughest of them, attempts at taking the top spot are generally brief and end in severe injury.
  • Brain/Computer Interface: "Links" are common in 2230 to hook users directly into the internet. Most citizens have small antennae behind their ears that facilitate immersion or consultation of the internet.
  • Color Motif: The color coded gangs of which the Orange Gang is the most predominant.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Violet finds herself about to be hazed by her fellow military recruits. She doesn't understand that she's supposed to lay back and take the abuse, and instead fights the entire barracks with all she's got. After she's punished the instructors have her apologize to her former mates. She fails to apologize and says simply, "You were uncoordinated and weak. I should have killed you all."
  • Cute Giant: Valhalla is subject to constant invasion by giant adorable mutant walruses. New teams are often assigned to escort them back to the surface.
  • Cult: The Unspeakable Darkness have all the hallmarks of a cult, though they may also qualify as the Eldritch Abomination most cults worship.
  • CyberPunk: The novel treats its cyberpunk elements as a matter of course. The world is firmly rooted in a brain-linked net where everyone is constantly online, and possesses advanced web skills they learn in grade school. The sequel Ragnarök includes an entire chapter online showcasing what becomes of the internet in the 2230s.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Subverted in the opening scene when the protagonist's father is about to be crucified by the gang that killed him. As the gang hoists the dead man, his daughter uses the opportunity kills them all.
  • Death as Comedy: After a serious and intense climactic chase sequence, the novel's main villain is accidentally smashed to death by a giant rolling walrus.
  • Death Faked for You: All Valhalla's recruits have deaths faked for them to remove them from the common world and rid them of any lasting obligations or relationships. The move also has symbolic application, as Valhalla was, in myth, where dead warriors go.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Violet is utterly aimless until Valhalla finds her and gives her a purpose.
  • The Don: Wulfgar is the archetypal Don, first with his brother and then alone.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The Sergeants Cameron all exhibit cliches of the nasty drill sergeant, shouting speeches on toughness and the like.
  • Emotionless Girl: Violet finds herself curiously devoid of emotion when her parents die. Despite the finest in psychiatric software she never manages to mourn their deaths.
  • Flying Car: The Pogo. Pogos are flying cars that bounce along gently based on the ground effect principle, but with forcefield wings that extend ad infinitum.
  • The Fundamentalist: The novel's main antagonist is a religious fanatic bent on converting Africa to Christianity.
  • The Future: The novel takes place in the year 2230.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Violet and all Valkyries are required to kill someone to prove their willingness to carry out assassinations. In a subversion of the trope, it's the good guys who make her, and she does so efficiently and without remorse.
  • Illegal Religion: Religion is banned in 2230, forcing religious groups underground and toward violence. The villains of the first book are colonialist missionaries.
  • I Love the Smell of X in the Morning: The military, in lieu of showers, uses a corrosive cleaning agent called "napalm" which the recruits must slather on, painfully. A drill sergeant slaps one of the recruits after his 'bath', stating "Smells like victory" in reference to the famous line.
  • Lemony Narrator: Valhalla is narrated in a slightly snarky, irreverent and at times oddly stilted manner. It's almost as if the story is being told by an elderly British professor with a snide take on the events. This is very subtle and only fully comes across when the novel is consumed fully, though a few lines stand out:
    The bridge’s destruction by explosives was marked by great celebration and pageantry, though it could have been accomplished at less cost by hiring a four-year-old to kick the thing.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: Tikaris are a new body part, an insectoid robot that lives in the chest of its user. When Violet gets hers, she explores having the new part by flying, looking through its eyes and more.
  • Logic Bomb: When Violet encounters the highly intelligent and unemotional Valkyries for the first time, she suspects they're A.I.s and tries to logic bomb them. The Valkyries ridicule the suspected robot for acting so cold someone tried to logic bomb them.
  • MegaCorp: Everything in 2230 is owned by something larger. Even The Unbuyable Consortium is really a joint venture of Consortium Buyers, LLC and Unocal. The entire planet is divided up between UNEGA and GAUNE, who own the west and eastern hemispheres, respectively.
  • Military Science Fiction: The novel features a chapter in the military of 2230 and eleven more chapters in a pseudo-military more militaristic than the main military.
  • Mr. Exposition: Sgt. Cameron, Balder and Alf all have moments of prolonged worldbuilding description.
  • My Parents Are Dead: The novel opens with the death of the main character's parents.
  • One-Man Army: Violet finds herself alone against overwhelming forces three times in the story- The opening with the gangsters, the hazing scene with the recruits, and the climax. In all three moments, out of the lack of creativity to do anything else, she takes on the opposition herself and cuts through them like a tornado.
  • Police Are Useless: The police who investigate the murder of Violet's parents refuse to give her any information on their deaths, under the guise of 'protecting her'. A hint at their ineptitude comes in the form of Officer Lochroch, whose name is a play on Keystone (As in The Keystone Cops).
  • The Prankster: Veikko is constantly playing practical jokes on everyone in the ravine. His sense of humor is his most defining, endearing and dangerous characteristic.
  • Ray Gun: The most common weapon in the novel is the microwave gun, which as the name suggests, is a gun that fires microwave beams. Described as having invisible beams and no sound, this stands as somewhat of a subversion to the common ray gun trope.
  • Reference Overdosed: The amount of Science Fiction and Extreme Metal references in Valhalla is incalculable. Nearly every character name is taken from a metal band. Nearly every piece of hardware is named for the author of the sci-fi novel or show it was invented in. References even include old sitcoms, obscure occult literature and more.
  • Revenge: Within pages of her parents' deaths, Violet has killed their murderers.
  • Rite of Passage: Violet has recently completed the "adulthood tests."
  • Sensual Slavs: Mishka, a Valkyrie from Russia, is generally described as the most sensual and seductive character in the novel, and as an exceptional spy.
  • Shout-Out: Violent personalities are measured by the VVPS (Verhoeven Violent Predilection Score).
  • Spider Tank: Sasha's fleet consists of a walking aircraft carrier with eight legs and several walking tanks, each with four legs until one is modified to have eight. This is partly in reference to Sleipnir, Odin's eight legged horse. The legged vehicles are necessary in the book for armored jungle travel, where wheels wouldn't work.
  • Spoiler Title: The title of the sequel is "Ragnarök." As anyone who knows their Norse Mythology can tell which character is based on which god, the sequel title also suggests which of them are about to die.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Violet quickly bests her drill instructors. One is even proud when she breaks his arm during an attempted flinch test.
  • Team Pet: Though the walruses are described as a nuisance, they've become one of the series' most recognizable assets, and are half celebrated by the ravine. Umberto in particular is associated with Valknut team, and even the fandom and official blog of the books is called "The Walrus Squad."
  • Training from Hell: Most of the novel is concerned with Violet's training, first in the military, and then in Valhalla itself. Training there includes pain training, in which trainees are subjected to every form of pain known to humankind, including death.
  • Übermensch: Varg fits the description as a golden boy with a flawless body and mind who excels at everything.
  • Valkyries: The warriors from the Valhalla ravine call themselves Valkyries regardless of gender. The novel contains numerous references to the mythological Valkyries, and the main characters at one point resemble their physical description.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Valfar speaks in an incredibly thick accent that resembles no known accent and causes headaches. It's never explained where he's from.
  • X-Ray Vision: Dr. Niide has implant eyes that can X-Ray patients.
  • Yakuza: The Yakuza are one of the main antagonists of Ragnarök.