Summary: Junk food for the mind
Comment: I really like Holt's writing - his best is hilarious. I can't say that Valhalla is his best. It has its moments, such as the predatory agent auditioning to be himself. I found it uneven, though, and slack about following its own internal illogic.
Still, it's a fun read, and better than going without any Holt at all. If you already like Holt, go ahead. If you're new to Holt, though, another title might make a better first impression.
Summary: Subtly hysterical
Comment: This book has many threads seemingly all going in different directions. You find yourself waiting for Holt to tie them together in the bizarre unforseeable way that only he can. And he delivers.
The cast is a fabulous mix of modern day Joe's with issues, Joan of Arc who hears soap commercials between messages from the angels, a sleazy Hollywood-style agent finding gigs for gods, et al.
There is a great deal of humor in this book that can easily be overlooked. A character meets a headhunter (the executive recruiting kind): "the way he'd said headhunter . . . brought to . . . mind a mental image of a violin-maker rattling a spoon against a saucer and calling out 'Here, kitty, kitty!'" If that doesn't make you laugh, and/or you don't know squat about mythology you're probably going to miss a lot.
If you're up for a book that's totally ridiculous and whose punch lines you may not catch 'till you're three sentences past, check this one out. Be careful where you read it though. I laughed out loud . . . often.
Comment: I read this entire book, and I can honestly say that the most interesting part of the entire thing was watching paint dry. I'm serious on both counts; there's over a chapter on people watching paint dry, and it's the best part of the entire book.
If that didn't scare you off.. The main characters are people you couldn't care less about, the flow of the story's broken up too much by there being way too many characters, who never quite come off as being even half human because we're barely even introduced to any of them, and the author seems more interested in name-dropping than giving us a decent story. (I'd say plot, but that would be giving him too much credit. Every time we get to a point where it seems like something's finally going to happen, and we'll actually see something real in the main characters, the author pulls another god out of the closet to write himself out of that corner.) Overall, the best thing I can say about it is that it comes off feeling like a very bad Star Trek: Voyager rerun.
The only reason I'm giving this book two stars, rather than one, is because of the scene involving watching paint dry.
In summary? Look elsewhere for your mythological fantasy fix.