The epic conclusion to the thrilling Valkyrie duology by New York Times bestselling YA author Amanda Hocking, From the Earth to the Shadows.
While dealing with dark revelations about her life and her world, Malin finds herself with new alliesand new enemies. Her quest for the truth leads her to places she never thought possible, and she's never been one to shy away from a fight. But for all her strength and determination, will it be enough to save the world before it's too late?
About the Author
Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.
Read an Excerpt
The air that fogged around me was thick enough that I could taste it — earthy and wet, with a trace of salt. It stuck to my skin, which was already slick with sweat, and that only seemed to attract more insects. They buzzed around me, leaving burning little bites in my flesh. I wanted to swat them off, but I couldn't. I had to stay perfectly still, or the Kalanoro would spot me too soon.
The oversaturation of green in the jungles of Panama had been a strange adjustment from the smog and bright lights of the city. Out here, it was an endless emerald sea: the plants and trees, the rivers, were all varying shades of green — even the sky was blotted out by a thick canopy of leaves.
This wasn't where I wanted to be, crouched motionless in the mud with a giant millipede crawling over my foot. Not when Asher was still gone, held captive in Kurnugia by the underworld goddess Ereshkigal and her mad centaur boyfriend, Gugalanna. Not when the fate of the world felt heavy on my shoulders, with Ereshkigal attempting an uprising that would unleash the underworld on earth.
It had only been three days since I'd gone to the Gates of Kurnugia, along with Oona, Quinn, Asher, and Atlas to aid me. I'd wanted to avenge my mother — and I had killed the draugr that had killed her — but all of that may have set off a chain of events that would bring about the end of days.
And I had lost the guy I ... well, not loved. Not yet. But I cared about him. All I wanted to do was rescue him. But I couldn't. There was too much at stake. I couldn't let my heart get the best of me. I had to hold it together, and follow my orders.
After Gugalanna had pulled Asher down into the underworld where I could not follow, the rest of us had gone to Caana City in Belize. It was the safest city near the Gates of Kurnugia, and Oona needed medical intervention to survive. She was on the mend now, and that's why I had left her behind, with Quinn and Atlas.
I didn't want to risk losing them the way I had Asher, and I was on a special assignment, coming directly from the Valkyries' highest authority — Odin.
Odin had found me outside of the hospital where Oona was being treated. I had never met him before, and, like most of the Vanir gods, he changed his appearance to suit his needs, so I hadn't recognized him.
He towered over me in his tailored suit, with his left eyelid withered shut. He had a deep rumble of a voice, with a softly lilting accent, and a grim expression. His large raven, Muninn, had been watching over me, but when I tried to press him for a reason why, he had told me that there wasn't time to explain.
"I need you to go deep into the heart of the jungle, where no man dares to live," Odin explained, as we had stood in the eerily silent parking lot in Caana City. "You must retrieve something for me."
"Why can't you retrieve it yourself?" I asked bluntly. I wasn't being rude, but the reality was that Odin was a powerful god, and I was just a young mortal Valkyrie-in-training. He had far more knowledge and power than I could ever hope to have.
"I'm not allowed to meddle in the affairs of humans or any of the other earthly beings," Odin clarified.
"But ..." I trailed off, gathering the courage to ask, "What is thisyou're doing now, then? Isn't directing me to get something for you the same as meddling?" A sly smile played on his lips, and he replied, "There are a few loopholes, and I think it's best if I take advantage of one now. If you want to save your friend, and everyone else that matters to you, you need to act quickly."
"What is it that you need me to get?" I asked, since I didn't seem to have a choice.
"The Valhallan cloak," he explained. "It was stolen centuries ago by a trickster god — I honestly can't remember which one anymore — and he hid it with the Kalanoro of Panama."
"The Kalanoro?" I groaned reflexively. Having dealt with them before, I already knew how horrible they were.
If piranhas lived on land, they would behave a lot like the Kalanoro. They were small primate-like creatures, standing no more than two feet tall, and they vaguely resembled the aye-aye lemur. The biggest differences were that the Kalanoro were tailless, since they lived mostly on the ground, and they had razor-sharp claws on their elongated fingers and a mouth of jagged teeth they used to tear apart the flesh of their prey.
"What is the Valhallan cloak, and how will I find it?" I asked Odin.
"You'll know when you see it. It's an oversized cloak, but the fabric looks like the heavens. The rumors are that the Kalanoro were attracted to the magic of the cloak, though they didn't understand it, so they took it back to their cave," Odin elaborated. "They apparently have been guarding it like a treasure."
"So I have to go into the treacherous jungle, find the man-eating Kalanoro, and steal their favorite possession?" I asked dryly. "No problem."
Which was how I ended up in the jungle, alone, in the heart of Kalanoro country — at least, that's what the nearest locals had purported. In front of me, on the other side of a very shallow but rapidly moving stream, was the mouth of a cave. The cave I hoped was the home of the Kalanoro, but I was waiting to see one for official confirmation.
Sweat slid down my temples, and a large dragonfly flew overhead. The trees around me were a cacophony of sounds — monkeys and frogs and birds and insects of all kinds, talking to one another, warning of danger, and shouting out mating calls.
Back in the city, beings and creatures of all kinds lived among each other, but there were rules. The jungle was not bound by any laws. I was not welcome, and I was not safe here.
I heard the crunch of a branch — too loud and too close to be another insect. I turned my head slowly toward the sound, and I saw movement in the bushes right beside me. Tall dark quills, poking out above the leaves, and I tried to remember if the Kalanoro had any quill-like fur.
I didn't have to wonder for very long because a head poked out of the bushes, appearing to grin at me through a mouthful of jagged fangs and a face like an alien hyena. The leathery green skin, mottled with darker speckles, blended in perfectly with the surroundings, with a mohawk-like row of sharp quills running down its back.
It wasn't a Kalanoro — it was something much worse. I found myself face-toface with a Chupacabra.CHAPTER 2
The Chupacabra — much like dolphins, dogs, and quokkas — had the uncanny ability to appear to be smiling. Unlike those contemporaries, there was nothing adorable or friendly about this Chupacabra's smile. It was all serrated teeth, with bits of rotten meat stuck between them, and a black tongue lolling around his mouth.
"You don't want do this," I told the beast softly, even though he probably didn't understand English.
I kept my gaze locked on the Chupacabra, but my hand was at my hip, slowly unsheathing my sword Sigrún. The name came from my ancestors, as had the blade itself. It had been passed down from Valkyrie to daughter for centuries.
Sigrún was a thick blade made of dark purple crystal, so dark it appeared black, but it would glow bright brilliant purple when I was working. It was short and angled, like it had been broken off in battle. Maybe it had — the full history of my blade was unknown to me.
But the handle was a black utilitarian replacement. It had been my mother's gift to me on my eighteenth birthday. Her final gift to me, well over a year ago.
The Chupacabra stared at me with oversized teardrop-shaped eyes and took a step closer to me, letting out a soft rumble of a growl.
Valkyries weren't supposed to kill anyone or anything they were not specifically ordered to kill. The one exception was self-defense. Since I was on an unsanctioned mission into territory I had no business being in, this would all get very messy if I had to kill a Chupacabra.
But the hard truth was that I was beyond worrying about my career as a Valkyrie. I would do whatever I needed to do.
When the Chupacabra lunged at me, I drew my sword without hesitation. Since this wasn't an official "job," my blade didn't glow purple, but it sliced through the leathery hide as easily as I knew it would.
I didn't want to kill the creature if I didn't have to — after all, he was merely going about his life in the jungle. So my first blow was only a warning that left him with a painful but shallow cut across his shoulder.
He let out an enraged howl, causing birds to take flight and all sorts of smaller animals to go rushing deeper into the underbrush. From the corner of my eye, I spotted several Kalanoro darting across the stream back toward their cave. They had been watching me.
The Chupacabra had stepped back from me, but by the determined grin on his face I didn't think he was ready to give up yet. He circled around me, and I turned with him, stepping carefully to keep from slipping in the mud.
"This is stupid," I said, reasoning with the animal. "We should both go our separate ways, and you can go back to eating ... well, I think you mostly eat the Kalanoro and birds."
Apparently growing tired of my attempts at talking, the Chupacabra snarled and jumped at me again. I dodged out of the way, but he kicked off of the tree behind and instantly dove at me. I didn't move quick enough this time, and he knocked me to the ground.
Fortunately, I fell on my back, with one of his feet pinning me and his claws digging into my shoulder. I put one hand around his long, slender throat, barely managing to hold him back as he gnashed his teeth.
With one of my arms pinned, he was too strong for me, and I wouldn't be able to throw him off. As his thick saliva dripped down onto me, I knew there was only one thing I could do if I wanted to survive.
I drove my sword up through his breastbone, using all my might. He howled in pain, but only for a second, before falling silent and slumping forward onto me. I crawled out from underneath him, now covered in mud and his thick green blood, along with my own fresh red blood springing from the wounds on my bare arms and shoulder.
In the mouth of the cave across from me, two dozen or so beady little green eyes glowed. The Kalanoro were crouched down, watching me. So much for the element of surprise.
My hair had come free from the braid I'd been wearing, and it stuck to my forehead. I reached up to brush it back, and the Kalanoro let out a squawk of surprise, and one darted off into the woods.
That's when I realized the Kalanoro were afraid of me. I glanced over at the Chupacabra — the Kalanoro's number-one predator, and I had left it dead and bleeding into the stream. They were right to fear me.
I tested my new hypothesis and stepped closer to the mouth of the cave, and the Kalanoro screeched and scattered. Most of them ran into the woods, but a few went deeper into the cave. My fight with the Chupacabra had left them far more skittish than I had anticipated, and I doubted that I would need my sword for them, so I sheathed Sigrún.
I unhooked my asp baton from my hip and pulled my flashlight out from my gear bag. I took a deep breath and walked toward the cave, hoping that this wasn't a trap where they would all pounce and devour me the second I stepped inside.
As I walked into the cave, I heard them chittering and scurrying, but it reminded me more of a rat infestation than man-eating primates. Once my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, I shone the flashlight around the narrow cavern. The beam of light flashed on a few pairs of eyes, but they quickly disappeared into the darkness.
The entrance of the cave stood well over eight feet, but as I walked, the ceiling height dropped considerably. Very soon I had to crouch down to venture farther.
The ground was slick with Kalanoro droppings and bat guano, and it smelled like a musty cellar that doubled as a litter box. Tiny bones of partially digested meals crunched underneath the heavy soles of my boots.
My flashlight glinted on something, and I crouched down to inspect it. It was an old pocket watch, the face broken and the gears rusted, but it had once definitely belonged to a human. Near the watch was another trinket — an old walkie-talkie.
That's when I realized it was a trail of treasures, piling up more as I went deeper into the cave. Old car parts, a titanium hip replacement, and even what appeared to be a wedding band. The Kalanoro apparently loved hoarding shiny things.
On the ground a few feet ahead of me, I spotted something particularly sparkly. It looked like stars, shimmering and glowing from a puddle on the floor. By now I had to crawl on my knees, since the ceiling was so low.
As I reached for those stars, a Kalanoro leapt out from the darkness. Its rows of teeth dug painfully into my right arm, and I beat it back with my asp baton. It took three hits before it finally let go and ran off screaming.
I grabbed at the stars, picking up a satiny fabric. The way it glimmered, it looked exactly like the night sky, and I now understood what Odin meant by looking "like the heavens." This had to be the Valhallan cloak. I hurriedly shoved it into my gear bag. The Kalanoro couldn't be happy about me stealing their treasure, so I had to get out fast.
I raced out of the cave and gulped down the fresh air. Around me, the trees had changed their tune, from the normal song of the jungle to something far more shrill and angry. I could hear the Kalanoro growling and screeching at each other, sounding like high-pitched howler monkeys. They were enraged, and they were chasing after me.
It was a ten-kilometer hike downhill, through thick forests, to the nearest village. There I would be able to clean up and catch the hyperbus back to Caana City. Back to meet Odin. The Kalanoro were now alerting the entire jungle to my presence, and even as I hurried ahead, deftly moving through the trees, I could hear them following me.
I ran down the hill, skittering through the mud and branches, swatting back giant bugs and the occasional surprised snake. My legs ached and my lungs burned but I pressed on, running as fast as I could. I had to make it to the town before dark, because I doubted the Kalanoro would let me out alive.CHAPTER 3
The sign above the driver on the hyperbus read AFORO MÁXIMO 100 PERSONAS, but there had to be at least twice as many people cramped on the old bus as it lumbered through Central America. A hyperbus was like a regular bus except slightly larger, and it hovered, so it could go much faster than a regular bus, especially through the uneven, wild terrain here.
Since this one serviced primarily rural areas, its passengers included humans, immortals, more than a few chickens, and even a very pregnant goat. For the first three hours of my journey I was forced to stand, holding on to the grip bar and squished between a woman and large Cambion.
There were fewer immortals here than there were back in the city, which was a great big melting pot, with people and beings from all over the world living side by side. Nearer to the Gates of Kurnugia the population was ostensibly diverse and overwhelmingly supernatural. But out here there weren't many immortals that weren't indigenous to the area.
The Kalanoro themselves had been an exception. They'd actually become somewhat of an invasive species after being brought over on a boat from Madagascar, and if it weren't for the native Chupacabra and jaguars, they could have devastated the Panamanian rain forests.
Because of this, and other stories about humans and immortals like this, locals around here tended to distrust outsiders. For once, that worked in my favor, since they gave me a bit of a wider berth than they did for everyone else, which meant I had an extra inch or so to breathe.
Eventually I managed to get a window seat all to myself. I rested my head on the window and clung to my gear bag on my lap. It contained my one chance at stopping the underworld uprising and getting Asher back.
If there even was an Asher to still get back.
I'd been trying not to think about it, but the bus ride was too long, with nothing to keep my mind busy except the blur of the rain forest as we sped by it. I closed my eyes, willing the exhaustion of the last few days to overtake me, and finally, thankfully, I fell asleep.
My dreams were filled with images of a cloak made of the stars. I wrapped it tightly around me, but it couldn't keep the cold out. There was something chasing after me, but I could never quite see it, and I knew that I could never get away from it.
I awoke with a start, gasping, and immediately put my hand to my chest, over my heart. My seatmate — who had apparently joined me while I was sleeping — glanced over at me.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "From the Earth to the Shadows"
Copyright © 2018 Amanda Hocking.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
From Earth to the Shadows begins shortly after the events in Between the Blade and the Heart. Malin and her team are recovering, slowly healing while trying to figure out their next steps. I liked the first book and was hoping this one would more fully develop the characters and the world. Unfortunately, this one just wasn’t for me. The problems I had with the first book were amplified in this one. The pacing varied between ploddingly slow and lightning fast. Major plot points would be dropped in out of nowhere and then instantly resolved or never mentioned again. This was particularly problematic at the end, which felt a bit like a hot mess. While the characters were still likeable, there just wasn’t a lot of character development in this book. Overall, From Earth to the Shadows wasn’t the book for me. If you enjoyed the first book though, consider checking this one out! *Disclaimer: I received this books for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
"Life very rarely comes down to heroes and villains. It's usually just everyone doing what they can to survive, and the best of us will help more than we hurt." Thank you to St.Martin's Press, Netgalley and Wednesday Books for an e-arc in exchange for my honest review! May Contain Spoilers if you haven't read the first book. From the Earth to the Shadows starts a few days after the first book ended and we jump right back into having to save the world. This one has all the same characters as the first one with a few new characters add in. With Valeska being one of the most important new characters, as well as being one of my favorites. She's someone that is so valuable in this book, and I loved how skeptical she was about certain things. Malin and her friends are still jumping into things head first, and not asking questions about things and just doing what they are told. Which leads to a few scuffles at times, and some near deaths happening because we're dealing with the underworld! From the Earth to the Shadows was also full of so many surprises. Not only did we get to see a whole new world, and WOW it was terrifying! We also get to see characters back stories and really learn why certain things have happened. (I'm not going to say more, because I don't want to give anything away.) "Everything can be stopped. Even death. That's the problem, isn't it?" Overall I loved this duology! I'm someone who struggles with fantasy at times, for different reasons. Hocking does such a good job of giving just the right amount of description and letting the characters really help you see the world through their eyes. Malin and the other characters grew so much from the first book and I loved them all by the end. I also really liked how Hocking still made this feel like a Young Adult to New Adult age range book. She never made it so the core group of characters were suddenly all-knowing about what was happening. Older characters were brought in and it was explained how the main characters knew the older characters and why they were asking them for help. It made to feel very natural and I really appreciated that. I also really liked how definitions of things were included in the back of the book. This really helped me remember certain things from the first book, and was just really nice in general in case I found something confusing. This duology kept me hooked that I had to know what was going to happen next. By the end of this book, I was so invested in all the characters and this world that I was sad to see it end. I cannot wait to read more of Hocking's books in the future! "Now do I see heroes anew. The motherless children rise together." *All quotes are from an unfinished arc and are subject to change.
From the Earth to the Shadows by Amanda Hocking is Valkyrie #2. It continues the story of Malin, now on a mission to avenge her mother's murder. There have been consequences from the events we learned about in the first book, when her mother didn't return an immortal she was supposed to, and the world they live in is starting to come apart at the seams. Her boyfriend Asher getting pulled into the underworld and the growing revolution there is part of it. Malin and her other friends go on a quest to find a weapon that will save humanity and those she loves. The world that Ms. Hocking creates is as complex and intriguing as I remembered from the first book. Malin's choices have complex repercussions and her relationships with her friends and lovers creates a dynamic all itself. During both books I felt that the world was very grey and murky, seeming to represent a futuristic place that is dirty and cluttered and the characters have to navigate the complicated places they find. Malin is a tough character, as you would expect from a Valkyrie, but also more than just her heritage and job. Overall, I liked the return to this world that Amanda Hocking gives us in From the Earth to the Shadows. I enjoyed digging deeper into the shadows and the underworld as well as more details about these complex and intriguing characters. (I voluntarily reviewed an advance review copy of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
Title: From The Earth To The Shadows Author: Amanda Hocking Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Mythological Format: Ebook - NetGalley Pages: 336 Rating: 4 Heat: 2 Thoughts: What an unexpected ending, not at all what I thought was going to happen. I knew the good would win but there were so many twists that I did not see coming. I’m bummed that it’s over, I was really enjoying the characters along with the world. It’s hard to call this fantasy since it takes place in Chicago but most everything else was very much fantasy with a bit of sci-fi. It’s definitely a must read! Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work and chose to write a review.
This book is the second part to the Valkyrie series and you do need to read the first one before you read this one. Overall the book was good. The book did lag a bit in some places. I am happy the whole triangle between Mal, Quinn and Asher was put to an end at the beginning of this book. A lot does happen in this book so the world doesn't come to an end. It does make you wonder if we really have free will or if we are predestine to live the lives we do live. The book does have a satisfying ending. *Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this for my honest opinion*
"From the Earth to the Shadows" is the final book in the Valkyrie duology. Here, valkyries are mortal humans that are somewhat stronger and more durable than typical so that they can accomplish the task set for them by the gods- return immortals to Kurnugia/the underworld. They never know why an immortal is chosen, but if they are not returned as tasked, there can be terrible consequences (as we learned in the first book). Here, Malin, a young valkyrie, receives special orders from Odin to retrieve objects of importance in order to prepare for the upcoming battle. Erishkigal is set on breaking out of Kurnugia with other bad immortals and wreaking havoc on earth. Malin and her friends may be the only ones capable of stopping this apocalypse. Although I had some mixed feelings about the first book and was considering skipping this second, I found it to be so much better than the first! The story is really fleshed out here- we spend more time on the different creatures, places, and people that were skimmed over (and made it hard to follow) in the first book. This was quite the journey, and it really captured my attention as we journey with Malin and her group of friends to save the world. I also really enjoyed some of the new characters who show up in this book plus got to know/like some of the old characters even better. I highly recommend this second book, especially if you were on the fence about it after reading the first- it's a really fun adventure into this interesting alternate reality. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.