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Ikepela Ives #1

Ragnarok Unwound

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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?

254 pages, Kindle Edition

Published October 1, 2020

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About the author

Kristin Jacques

33 books266 followers
Mother of two, caffeine addict, sleep deprived book eater.
Kristin Jacques writes primarily speculative fiction, dabbling with dark adventures, monsters, mayhem, and the occasional sarcastic zombie.
When not at her computer spinning tales she is generally herding cats or snuggling with her gremlins.

A Multi Award Winning Author of Fantastical YA & Adult Fiction.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 68 reviews
Profile Image for Candace Robinson.
Author 49 books996 followers
December 18, 2018
This is the second book I've read by Jacques, and her writing is so much fun! When I saw there would be a brownie, Valkyrie, and more, I was in!

This book was very character driven, and I loved it! Ives was a smart and awesome character who felt like a real person, a person I'd want to be my friend! Where can I find some cool people like her at?

The descriptions were vivid, plenty of action, and so much quirk that this is another book that this is another one that I wish were a movie. Plus I think you'll be familiar with a certain character in this book! Need another book in this world!
Profile Image for Fiona.
89 reviews1 follower
October 3, 2018
This is a mythological story that follows our main character Ikepela Ives, who has the ability to change fate, as she tries to discover who has changed the Fate regarding Ragnarok and how she can put it to rights.

I really enjoyed this story; I don’t recall ever reading a book that uses mythology as a tool for writing a fictional story rather than just re-telling the actual myths themselves (and if I have, they clearly didn’t resonate with me), so I am very glad that I had the opportunity to read this book.

I have read a fair few books on various mythologies, so I did go into this knowing the basic premise of Ragnarok, however I did find the first few chapters a little confusing with all the different characters being introduced and trying to remember who was who. But when it finally clicked I really got into the story and I loved every moment of it!

I found it really interesting how the author, Kristin Jacques, wrote some of the relationships between the characters and I am hoping that we will get to see more of these develop in any future books which I will certainly be reading. I also sense that there could be future spin offs with certain characters, there is so much possibility in the world that Kristin has created here.

This book is due out on January 8th 2019 and I am very excited to see it in all its finished glory! I will definitely recommend this to all of my friends!
Profile Image for Laura.
178 reviews68 followers
March 3, 2020
ARC provided by NetGalley for reviewing purposes.

As much as I ended up enjoying this story, I really struggled in the beginning, mostly because it was hard at first to keep up with who the characters were and what powers they possessed and to whom they were related, but once the plot started developing the story took a turn for the better. Furthermore, the melding of both Norse and Hawaiian mythology was something I did not expect to happen (as the summary leads us to believe this story is about Norse Mythology) but loved.
The story was fast paced, leaving no time for the reader to come up with theories of what might come next or to have time to assimilate the plot twists. While the plot and the characters seem to be in need of being polished, and the text had several flaws and grammatical mistakes, I’m certain this has to do with the test being an ARC, and that those things will be corrected before publication date.
Profile Image for Nicole Bea.
Author 21 books122 followers
October 15, 2020
I've been a fan of Jacques' books for a long time now, coming across her stories a few years back. I am regularly impressed with the world-building and character development that is encapsulated in her words and the creativity that comes from her storytelling abilities. This newest version of Ragnarok Unwound is a fantastic read and supports the qualities I've come to know and love from Jacques' books. If you like reads that are filled with wonder and intrigue, I definitely recommend picking this one up!
Profile Image for Hannah.
1,999 reviews29 followers
October 15, 2019

An Urban Fantasy where all the pantheons of Gods exist. Ikepele Ives lives with her best friend and tries to ignore the power flowing under her finger tips. Her mother left her with her father and with no knowledge how to control her power. Until one night she has only once tried to use her powers and it didn't work very well now she has a young Valkyrie asking for her help if not then the end of days for the Norse pantheon is coming. Even though Ragnarok is a prophesied event Hildr, the Valkyrie is telling her otherwise and she needs Ives powers to untangle fate and stop Ragnarok. Together with her best friend Jules she sets off with Hildr to find Loki.

They met his daughter Hel and then Fenrir and Jormungand, who like their father have the ability to shapeshift. With each of them the ties that bind them to Ragnarok get stronger and the more energy she needs that her mortal body can barely contain. By the time she finds Loki, who has escaped from his prison, he is so entwined in Fate's threads she almost kills herself to separate him from Fate's thread. Meanwhile Hel, Fenrir, Jormungand, Hildr, and Jules are fighting off the Frost Giants. Back on Ives home island of Hawaii her father and, unbeknownst to Ives, her Great Aunt the Goddess Pele are fighting off the giants as well.

Overall, it was a fantastic story. I love mythology retold stories and I really enjoyed this version of Loki and his giant children. I love how Pele was thrown in the mix too, as a lover of geology and if I had been smarter I would have gone into volcanology; Pele was the first Hawaiian God I had ever heard of, years ago. I loved all the characters. Ives is a strong female protagonist who is at first trying to avoid her own fate but is thrown into it without warning or a choice. Ives also learns everything her father never told her about her mother. There is a hint of romance for future books but mostly it's character driven and story strong. I love the idea of a Fate Cipher a woman who untangles fate when it gets a little to fubar. I really hope there are going to be more.

Profile Image for Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen.
2,037 reviews113 followers
December 16, 2018
(I received a free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

I love that mythologies besides Greco-Roman are on the rise (Norse, APIDA: Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi - in this case Hawaiian, etc), but it also means the market is starting to become oversaturated and I need to stop leaping for books because of their premise. (Plus, the diversity is limited to "bronze-skinned" characters on the Hawaiian side and "inhumanly pale and attractive" on the Norse side.) I especially appreciated the strong female relationships, particularly since they took precedence over the too-convenient heterosexual romances.

This one had an interesting idea, but I found it generally underdeveloped. I wasn't quite sure what was going on in terms of worldbuilding - it's implied that all the mythologies are true, a la Riordanverse, but besides a couple of exceptions it's limited to the Norse pantheon and Hawaiian deities - and the Fate Cipher role itself seemed to be defined as "whatever keeps the plot on track," with far too many instances of perfectly-timed divine intervention and frankly illogical developments, leaning heavily on the "main character doesn't know her own strength but will somehow manage to save the world through good intentions and sheer force of will and convenient magical abilities" trope. In addition to the unnatural progression of Ives' powers, the plot development seemed a little contrived, hinging on offhand comments and random remembrances, and it was far too easy to figure out what was happening because the POV jumps gave the reader much more information than the characters could know - the villain and their plot were completely obvious.

While I've found that excellent prose can make up for a formulaic plot, that unfortunately wasn't the case here. The action was bogged down by an excess of description, ominous statements, and a lot of cliched turns of phrase; the characters were pretty archetypical and lacked nuance. I also found the attempts at modernization a little jarring, and not altogether relevant to the story.

So with all that said, it definitely wasn't for me, but if you like modern mythology with strong female leads and you're less nitpicky than me, it's probably still worth a try.
Profile Image for BadassCmd.
181 reviews40 followers
April 16, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The idea of this novel is really cool, the cover is nice too and I always love a mix of mythology and modernity in books, so I was very excited for the book.
The book is mostly focused on the adventure and the 'quest' or 'hero journey' with some modern bits, some magic, some strange creatures, gods, giants, family issues, intrigue and mischief and Las Vegas.

I love the concept and I liked some of the characters, like the Valkyrie and Loki's children, especially Hel.

But still it took me ages to read it. At first it bothered me that the point of views changed without warning. I feel like it could have been resolved with just stating the perspective in the beginning of a chapter and such a small detail can change the reading experience drastically. For me personally it would have been better if I didn't have to question whose perspective I was witnessing from chapter to chapter when the story was new to me anyways.
Then the descriptions also didn't draw me in and the plot didn't keep me focused as much as I thought it would. There is a lot going on and partly I felt like it was too much to keep straight what exactly was happening and what it meant.
Profile Image for Janelle.
271 reviews17 followers
December 21, 2018
Don’t you hate when you sit down for a drink at a bar and a Valkyrie approaches you to ask a favor? Ikepela Ives can relate. Ever since her parents dropped the bombshell that Ives is the world’s designated Fate Cipher--whatever that means--Ives has been trying to keep off the radar of everything supernatural. Unfortunately, Ragnarok is about to kick off and Ives might be the only one who can stop it.

Ives starts to track down Loki and his children (the central characters in getting Ragna-rocking and rolling), but the deeper she digs, the more something just doesn’t seem right. Hel, Fenrir, and Jormungandr don’t seem out for revenge. And Loki appears to be fighting it altogether. So who exactly wants this?

Ragnarok Unwound is a first entry in a fantasy series centered around a young woman of color. The writing and flow are a little rough around the edges, but it reminds me a lot of The Iron Druid Chronicles in that it’s a fun take on mythology-heavy fantasy. It’s less polished, though.

I struggled with some of the elements of the book. The author doesn’t spend a lot of time in exposition, which means that I am unsure if I completely grasp what, exactly, a “fate cipher” is supposed to be in the context of the story. Ives (never Ikepela!) seems to be able to undo the threads of Fate? She’s supposed to be a balancing force in opposition to the Fates, though it’s not clear if she’s attached to a particular belief system in this role--she seems like a free agent?

The pacing doesn’t quite work. The scenes often change to other characters just after I’d forgotten that there was other action. Terribly jarring. And I think I was supposed to care more about the mystery of the best friend character, but I wasn’t interested in her at all.

So, three thumbs up. The things that I didn’t care for aren’t insurmountable. I look forward to seeing where it goes.
Profile Image for Stephanie E. Donohue.
Author 2 books25 followers
March 22, 2022
First of all, I love Norse mythology, and this book is chock-full of all things Norse. So I was in heaven, lol. It’s also a super-fast-paced story. There were times it was hard to put it down because I was ripping through the pages to find out what happened next!

And there’s such a unique cast of characters here! Ives (never call her by her first name!) is a fantastic, strong heroine to carry the story. And I loved the strong relationships/friendships that these characters formed with each other. But my favorite was definitely Hel… and I don’t want to spoil anything by going into detail. But, yeah, she was special.

The only ding I’ll give this story is at times it felt a smidge too fast. The characters almost never got a breather (nor did the reader!) so there were a few times I would’ve liked to see it slow down a tad. But that’s really a minor quibble and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story.

So, if you like Norse mythology, or if you’re just looking for a fun read with a kick-ass group of characters, give this one a go!
Profile Image for Izzie.
239 reviews105 followers
February 7, 2019
Firstly, a huge thank you to Netgalley, Kristin Jacques, and the publishers, Broad Universe, for an advance copy of Ragnarok Unwound.

Ragnarok Unwound is a compelling clash between mythology and urban fantasy.

Ikepela Ives, known simply as Ives, is drinking away her sorrows in a bar one evening when a Valkyrie straight out of legend approaches her and asks for her help in stopping Ragnarok - the twilight of the gods, the apocalypse, whatever you want to call it. As the Fate Cipher, a role passed down from her mother, Ives is the only one with the power to stop it, but it's a power she doesn't - and doesn't want to - understand.

Ragnarok Unwound is honestly just tremendous fun, from the characters, such as Jules, a brownie who is also Ives' best friend, to Hel, the Norse goddess of death who loves video games and was such a badass, to the mythology itself - it seems that in this world, all mythologies are real, though this novel focuses on Norse and Hawaiian mythology. I found that Jacques' version of Norse mythology, while simplified and updated, was actually more accurate than most (eg Marvel) and it was awesome to learn about Hawaiian mythology.

The characters and their relationships with one another, as well as Ives' eventual acceptance of her powers, were strong points for me. We had strong female friendships aplenty, which is something I always like to see, and I loved how close Ives and her father were. The third-person POV dotted from character to character, but rather than being a hindrance or annoyance, it actually helped to see how Ragnarok was progressing (or otherwise!) from different perspectives.

I would definitely recommend Ragnarok Unwound to any fans of mythology and/or urban fantasy, as there is much to love in both genres. 

In the end I gave Ragnarok Unwound 3.5 stars, because to me the pacing was a little off, but overall I really did enjoy it!

Ragnarok Unwound is released on August 9th 2019, so please check it out when the time comes!
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,524 reviews60 followers
January 30, 2019
I'm not much into Norse mythology, so I didn't enjoy Ragnarok Unwound. I tried but the story didn't intrest me enough to keep reading. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lou Wilham.
Author 31 books141 followers
March 17, 2022
I'm disappointed in myself that it took me so long to read this one!

Ragnarok Unwound has a very like Dresden Files, Iron Druid, Toby Daye vibe, with it's unlikely heroine who is 100% done with all the suped up powerful magical creatures in her life, and I'm here for it. Add in a kawaii-loving gamer goddess of death, a fae bestie, and one "battle barbie" and I'm sold. The characters and world building in this are simply amazing, and I would highly recommend it for anyone who loves urban fantasy.
Profile Image for R.J. Garcia.
Author 8 books327 followers
January 19, 2022
As a fan of mythology, I really loved this book. It was full of Gods, mystery, and mayhem. Ives was the perfect relatable protagonist to go on this journey with.
Profile Image for J.L..
Author 8 books44 followers
November 11, 2018
3.5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an advanced electronic copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This novel starts with a bang and hooks you right from the start. Despite what the title implies, this is a story about more than just Norse mythology. It's a world where every pantheon of gods is real, and while Norse and Hawaiian gods seem pretty antithetical, Jacques pulls it off and then some.

Each of the characters, from the main hero Ives to such deities as Loki, Hel, and Pele, are fun to read. Jacques relies on just enough general knowledge of the deities to set up reader expectation before then making a wide turn that makes them unique to this story. Hel, in particular, is a fantastic character.

The action and description in this book are also top-notch. I adore the way that Jacques employs a literal interpretation of the threads of fate. How Ives sees them are an evocative and effective at communicating to the reader how the magic works without unnecessary over-explanation.

Unfortunately, the action itself tends to jerk the reader along with. There are few chances for breathers, and it feels like some more intimate family scenes might have been deleted in favor of jumping to the next conflict or battle. 

A more minor quibble on the writing side are some recurring point-of-view errors. The author also occasionally employs one of my biggest pet peeves, which is when the narrator of a scene hides information they know from the reader for the sake of a reveal later (though Dan Brown is still the worst offender in this regard).

Part of me wishes that this book had all been from Ives' perspective so that it would have been a more intimate story, but I suppose there's nothing intimate about Ragnarok. This tale had a satisfying ending that left just enough threads loose (pun not intended) to set up further adventures. Despite my criticisms of this book, I look forward to reading more!
118 reviews2 followers
September 8, 2018
Pretty good! A typical YA paranormal / supernatural fare with focus on the Norse mythologies.

It suffers some of the typical flaws of the genre, ie, an overpowered (minimally flawed) protagonist, who is not nearly as scared as she ought to be.
I often find that nonchalance amusing in these novels - it is never explicitly stated the the novel is set in the supernatural world. We have to assume it is set in the mundane; and yet the protagonist often shrugs off the mind blowing information of gods and deities and magic, something that is so unbelievable. Its a tried and true cliche of the genre, but it never fails to amuse me. Ives was told on her eighteenth birthday about her magical heritage, we assume she was brought into the supernatural world then, having lived all her life as mundane. So two years later (we are told she 'avoided her responsibilities'), she is remarkedly unawed by a literal immortal Valkyrie just dropping into the bar to see her. It's one of those things that you just have to suspend your disbelief for, and, to be fair to the author, she manages to make it relatively easy to do that.
However, it's always a niggle at the back of my mind the lack of these protags just freaking heck out!

I did enjoy the fact that the author blends two very different mythologies. Whilst Norse mythology is pretty rife in popular fiction, Hawaiian is not. So it was nice to have an indigenous protagonist, and some cultural exploration of Hawaiian myth. It was an unusual blend that I enjoyed.

I'd recommend this book easily for a quick pleasant read. It's very much of its genre, but is not badly written and I would expect the author to only get better as they progress. I'll even keep an eye out for future releases.
Profile Image for Jule.
809 reviews9 followers
October 12, 2018
I simply love the Norse mythology and all the interpretations of it that our culture brings forth. This one is another unique one. With great humor, sass and wonderfully flawed characters, Kristin Jacques tells the story of an unusual heroine: a fate cipher, whose job it is to unravel people from the unjust threads of fate laid onto them. But then she is asked to unravel the biggest fate of them all, Ragnarok itself, and needs a ragtag team of friends to help her tackle this task.

The characters really shine in this modernized fairytale. From the very beginning, the voices are fresh and funny. Despite their various powers and godly pedigree, the characters are very human, down to earth and therefore relatable. This book tells its story with the usually overlooked heroes, instead of the same old Thor and Odin. Nevertheless, it is everything but boring. From the sass to the magic to the story telling and colorful world building to the truly epic action scenes, to the many unusual budding romances and friendships, his is a great book. I loved the message of the dangers of messing with fate and the interesting concept of the physicality of the threads of fate literally binding people to be unable to speak or act in ways that go against their fate. The only tiny problem I had with this novel was the ending, which was a little too much of a set-up for the sequel and takes to story out of the Norse realm of myths. And I don't know if that works out as well as this book did, but I am willing to give it a try.

~ I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all opinions expressed above are my own.
Profile Image for Queen of  Kings.
41 reviews
November 4, 2018
Finally a Ragnarok story I can get into! This is a great tale that the taps it's toes into many different cultures mythos, in a respectful manner. I love the change of pace one she is sent to Hel. The tale was woven like a fine tapestry (pun intended). I hope this book goes beyond book one, and two, crossing many myths from around the world. The character development was fast for many, or so you think, until you read on. Most are deeply developed in the end. Some are left with bits of backstory, I hope to find in book 2. There was one small error in the end where LoKi is giving into the threads of Ragnarok and close to ----. The word 'lost' is jumbled. Other than that I enjoyed the story, and saw no glaring errors. For those that love a good Norse story, this one is worth a read. Keep in mind, Gods do die, some are alive somewhere, lost, and betrayal that I though came from one, was actually another.
Profile Image for Sinamile .
378 reviews7 followers
February 14, 2020
ARC Review: Received for free via Netgalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

CW/TW: vomiting, animal death, inappropriate touching, sex work shaming, blood, fire

I— I like it actually. I don't even know why it took so long for me to get into it. But maybe the reason I finally decided T on give it a proper chance and actually read it is because if Netflix's "Ragnarok" (amazing show, must watch!) and I must say I'm glad I finally read it!

Despite the few spelling errors here and there (and the weird setup of the ARC) this was a really enjoyable read and I'm excited for a second book (I hope there's a second book because Artharian legends, ma'am!)

I love Hel, Fenrir and Jorm so much and I want them all succeed in life and they deserve the world after the way they've been treated. I also love Jules and Hildr and Lavi Ives and yerp, I guess I'm going to liat all the chacarters because I love them all. And Ives gang, we stan Ives because she kind of a mess but she's the kind of mess that I can route for.

The one thing that pinched is how I kept hoping and praying that Hel/Ives would happen but then woooop no. Like I wanted that so badly. The book is very hetero if we're being honest and with the way Hel and Ives were set up I really thought we were going to get that Sapphic goodness. But ke, nope. And truth be told I'm not crazy about the idea of Ives and [redacted]. But maybe Hel is still going to get a girlfriend *crosses fingers*, so.

But anyway, I love Norse mythology and I enjoyed this book very, very much!
Profile Image for Pam Sartain.
500 reviews5 followers
September 30, 2018
I recently joined NetGalley, where you can receive books for free if you review them, and that just sounds like heaven to me, and this is the first book that I've received!

On her 18th birthday, Ikepela Ives gained the power to unwind the fates of gods, goddesses, and other demi beings, she lost the woman who could have taught her how to use the power, her mother. She has only used her powers once since then, and resisted every other attempt to get her to use them.

Ragnarok has begun, and Ives is called on to help stop it, and so begins a mission to save the world, with Ives gaining allies as she goes.

This was an enjoyable fantasy mystery story, with good pacing throughout the book, a good plot, with twists and turns, and Norse mythology liberally sprinkled throughout.

Ragnarok Unwound is due to be published on 8th January 2019, and I would really recommend you have a read!

If you'd like to read more of my reviews, you can either have a look at the label of Book Reviews on my blog (https://certainlygeeky.blogspot.com/), or look at my GoodReads profile!
Profile Image for Janet Newport.
471 reviews85 followers
December 9, 2018
Thank you NetGalley and Broad Universe for this arc.

This was a fun read! It's been decades since I was last familiar with Norse mythology, and I can't claim to have ever been familiar with Hawaiian myths, so understanding the "real stories" behind the story line of this book are not necessary for enjoyment. What great characters! A great fast moving read! Loved the Los Vegas part! What an imagination Ms. Jacques has!. Mayhem and foolishness.... fun, fun, fun. A great read for a rainy weekend. When will book 2 be ready??
104 reviews1 follower
October 4, 2018
This work is an exciting and surprising amalgamation of Norse and some Hawaiian mythology. Jacques uses a simple main character that anyone can relate to as the center of real apocalypse avoiding story. She does not utilize the tired understanding of Norse mythology to advance her story but instead introduces a story around and through the typical story.

Jacques leaves us with a story that can easily continue and expand to other mythologies and people. I look forward to what I hope is a series of mixed mythology fiction.
Profile Image for Rachel.
85 reviews2 followers
September 17, 2018
I really loved this peppy little adventure story. The characters are fun, the plot is interesting, and the world that Jacques created, melding Hawaiian and Norse mythology together, was really fun to explore. I already can’t wait for book two!

I got this book for free to give my honest thoughts. Read my full review here:

Profile Image for Cate Turner.
Author 6 books84 followers
November 4, 2019
This story had a different take on Norse mythology, with a fascinating, unique blend of Hawaiian. The characters were all well developed and relatable (yes, even the gods and goddesses!). I loved how Ives grew throughout the story. Looking forward for the next book!
324 reviews1 follower
January 31, 2022
Great book about a derivation of Viking mythology. Ives, is the Fate Cipher, but is born mortal. She uses her limited power to try and stop Ragnarok. It's a well written book, thoughtfully laid out. It is fast paced and a very enjoyable read! Can't wait for sequel!
Profile Image for Zoë.
186 reviews20 followers
December 24, 2018
I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ragnarok Unwound is a fun romp of a story that blends Norse mythology into an urban fantasy setting. It follows Ikepela Ives, a human girl with the superhuman ability to see and change fates. One day, she is confronted by a Valkyrie, who needs Ives for the one thing she has been trying to avoid: her powers. But Ives quickly realizes she can’t avoid this situation, for something terrible has been set into motion - Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse. Only Ives has the power to keep the world from ending.

This was a fast-paced, lighthearted, and fun read. Ives’s mission is to stop the apocalypse, yet this was not a serious or heavy story. After Ives meets the Valkyrie - Hildr - she finds out she must locate the god Loki and his children Hel, Fenrir, and Jormungand because they are directly tied to the success of the apocalypse. In her quest, she finds that there is more to this Ragnarok story than meets the eye.

This is very much an urban fantasy - there are gods, goddesses, and other fantastical beings - but most of the action plays out in recognizable places. From Hawaii to Las Vegas and New York. One complaint I had was that it wasn’t immediately clear what the setting was in the beginning - it took me almost half the novel to realize that Ives was from Hawaii.

Despite these qualms, the locations were lush and beautifully described - I could feel myself in these places. I especially loved the descriptions of Vegas, which I thought perfectly captured the place:

“... Vegas was the city where the party never stopped. The air was constantly aglow from the flashing lights of the casinos, beckoning the tourists with the scent of stale smoke, sweet perfumed sweat, and the lulling laughter of women with lipstick-stained teeth.”

Writing is definitely not one of the flaws of this book, in fact I was continually impressed by it.

I thought the use of Norse mythology was unique and entertaining - I liked that the author used some of the lesser-known Norse gods. There is also the inclusion of Hawaiian mythology, which made for an interesting mix. I did wonder why exactly Norse and Hawaiian gods were chosen, of all combinations? Do the other pantheons exist in this world?

The characters were equally as fun as the story. I enjoyed the majority, but there are also a lot of characters - some we get to know better than others. Ives, Jules, and Hel are the most well-developed, and we get to know their motivations the best. But I really loved the characters - even the ones that weren't as developed as others. I hope that if there are sequels, some of these characters are explored more. 

Overall though, I thought this book was a delightful surprise! It wasn’t perfect, but I had a lot of fun reading it. I was excited following Ives’s story, and all that she discovers about herself and her powers along the way. The story is set up for a sequel, and honestly I am excited for that possibility. There is so much that I still want to explore in this world. I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for a lighthearted, well-written fantasy read.

Review also posted on my blog.
Profile Image for Anne Morgan.
689 reviews15 followers
January 2, 2019
Unraveling fate might sound like a good job, but Ikepela Ives has been ignoring her own fate since her absentee mother dropped that surprise on her three years ago. Until now Ives' closest contact to the supernatural has been her best friend, the brownie Jules. Now an insistent Valkyrie is claiming Ives needs to use her abilities as the Fate Cipher to help stop the Norse apocalypse, Ragnarok. Seeing outside the box and possessing high-level snark may be two of Ives' biggest talents, but will they be enough to help her survive her first day on a new job?

I went into Ragnarok Unwound not entirely sure what I was getting into, or if it was a good idea. One chapter in and I knew this book was going to be a winner! Ives (don't call her Ikepela!) is a heroine full of snark, courage, and a fantastic ability to roll with weirdness. Completely unprepared for her job and in total denial of her heritage, Ragnarok forces Ives to confront her destiny. Like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, Ives has no clue what she's doing, but before long is fully committed to doing it anyway and trusting that luck and fast-talking will help her stall until she's figured it out. And it works. She's completely believable, and absolutely who you'd want at your side for an impending apocalypse.

Ives comes at Ragnarok thinking that it doesn't make a lot of sense and that Loki and his children got a pretty lousy deal through it all. What if they aren't the monsters the legends have turned them into? On meeting Hel, goddess of death, Ives knows there is far more to the story than what's on the surface. She becomes determined to figure out her abilities, to save Hel's family and to stop Ragnarok. Things are complicated since Hel's brothers are a giant wolf and the World Serpent; they've lost Hel's father; there are frost and fire giants destroying Las Vegas and Hawaii; the Hound of Asgard protecting Ives' father is completely incompetent; and it turns out that using her Fate Cipher abilities too many times will kill the mortal Ives.

I can only hope we get more of Ragnarok's cast of secondary characters in future books. Hel and Loki in particular are wonderfully entertaining and scene-stealing. There were enough touching moments to see that Jacques has talent for emotional depth as well as humor and is good at doling those moments out just when they are needed. Unexpected twists and turns, surprise allies and enemies, characterize a book full of non-stop action that you won't be able to put down once you've started!

Full knowledge of the mythology isn't needed to enjoy Ragnarok Unwound, but is always a good excuse to re-read Neil Gaiman's magical Norse Mythology.

Norse and Hawaiian legends meet in a way that Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Xena & Hercules/Marvel fans will love in this first book of a new and delightful series!
479 reviews4 followers
January 19, 2019
Ragnarok Unwound (Ikepela Ives Book 1) Kindle Edition
by Kristin Jacques
I received a review copy from NetGalley and am choosing to leave a fair and honest review.

A book for fans of Neill Gaiman's American Gods and Norse Mythology, RU drags you into a sassy, funny world of Gods and Immortals.

Ives, as Ikepela Ives prefers to be called, has a secret fated role in the Ragnarok! It is a role passed down from her Goddess mother. Ives can stop the Norse version of the Apocalypse, Ragnarok if only she can get control of her power before the world falls out.

With an amazingly well-researched book, Ms. Jacques leads us into a world were Hel speaks like a Millennial and Loki gambles in Las Vegas. Her characters are both funny and compelling. The bad guy? Well, thank goodness for Wiki! I used it to guess the bad guy and why!

This book is filled with word-games. Tons of some of the best metaphors and similes I've ever encountered! Plus glorious lines like “Apparently, fae chicks dug scars” and chapter titles like “Lady Death is a Level-60 Mage.

It is nice to read Norse mythology after years of Celt-influenced stories... And the author reaches past the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Her use of real mythology reminds me of Amy Sumida's amazing Godhunter series (my own personal literary crack)!

All in all, a fun read, if you are a fan of Gaiman. Even Terry Pratchett fans might find something to love!

This looks like the birth of a fun series.

4 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Melanie.
Author 11 books9 followers
January 4, 2019
There's a lot to like about this book. First and foremost: it's different. Where else would half the Norse pantheon combine with Pele and the very modern humans inhabiting places like Las Vegas and Hawaii? Many of the characters are well developed. And their interaction is often hysterical. It never got old for me to hear the Norse goddess of death slinging shade. I happily suspended disbelief to enter this weird world of shape-shifting gods and goddesses, Valkyries, humans with divine powers, and one brownie. But the plot just never came together for me, largely because it was hopelessly unclear what powers and limits the various characters had, what rules governed their behavior. So there was no suspense about how close any given character was to extinction, as they battled the onset of Armageddon. At one point character X would be close to ... death? Does an immortal die? The next minute wounds would magically heal, which made me wonder why I should bother worrying about any character's plight to begin with. The book was entertaining enough for me to finish it. I just wish it had more structure.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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