"Black Ice" is the second book in Susan Krinard's "Midgard" series about the confrontation on Earth between Loki, the infamous Norse traitor, and Mist, a Valkyrie and daughter of Freya. http://www.amazon.com/Black-Ice-Midgard-Susan-Krinard/dp/0765332094
It will be in stores on August 12, 2014. It is a fresh look at ancient Norse gods and characters, who are often absent from the urban fantasy landscape. For that reason alone, it's a welcome diversion. However, Krinard's story askews a straightforward narrative, adds in two major characters and muddies the general story line set forth in the first book in this series. The resultant story, while original in parts, is so robust that its hard to follow all of the various plot lines. I am not a big believer in adding major elements of the story in the second volume, that have nothing to do with the first book.
As we know from the first novel, Mist is using magic and the aid of Dainn, a legendary elfin traitor, to try to thwart Loki's plans for world domination. Mist is gathering her various Valkyrie sisters to her side to fight Loki and save the humans from Loki's foul plans. However, Mist's side is plagued with traitors, Odin's sons turn against her, Dainn is not trustworthy, and even a lawyer hired to help find homes for orphan children may not be acting in Mist's best interests.
Then there is Anna Stangeland, who seems to have a remnant of Odin, in the shape of a raven masquerading as a parrot named Orn, who wants to find Mist, but seems to have plans of his own.
There is so much going on that its sometimes hard to keep it all straight.
"Black Ice" is certainly eventful and full of action, which are good elements in this complex story. But the Orn element, Dainn story, Danny story, Ryan story and the various betrayals and subterfuges all compete for attention in this swollen volume. The Orn element and the Danny story are new elements just added to story. It makes sense to switch points of view in a second book, but Krinard switches between several major characters, so that the Mist story sometimes takes a backseat.
Krinard has bitten off so much, filling the novel to the breaking point, and then in the last few pages gamely tries to set up for the next book in the series. It is not clear that she succeeds.
While again enjoying the Mist story line, one has to wonder --w as it necessary to add in the Danny story? Who is Orn and what does he want with Mist? How will Dainn ever escape Loki and Freya's plans for him enough to help Mist?
Maybe the third volume in this new adventures of the Norse gods will be more structured and not bursting at the seams with new characters, new confrontations. Let us hope so.