The_Valkyries_Book_Review

The Valkyries by Paulo Coehlo – Book Review


About the Book

  • Written by: Paulo Coelho
  • Genre: Love, Mystery
  • Originally Published: 1992
  • No. of Chapters:  54
  • No. of Pages: 243
  • Price: Nepali Rupees 560

The book “The Valkyries” is written by the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, who is well known for his books like “the alchemist” and “the fifth mountain”. This is one of his books that is not as well known as his other books and is different from almost all of his other books. The main reason why this book is different is that most parts of this book is not fiction at all is just him recalling his days in the Mojave (Mo-ha-vie) Desert. Although some parts have been exaggerated quite a bit, some parts are realistic. Along with being somewhat close to his real-life book, this book also gives us insight into how the thinking process of Paulo works to some extent. This book in it’s whole is written in the form of the third-person narrative so and the main theme of this book can be a bit hard to determine as there is no significant way to see it apart from reading the whole book itself and trying to find the core which comes in the form of a poem shown to Paulo by his master “J”.

Plot Summary

In this book which is more of an autobiography rather than anything else, Paulo and his wife set out on a journey to find his Spiritual awakening. If one has followed his work and him for some time, they know that Paulo is on a spiritual journey to find his inner peace and a place where he can return to even after his life ends and his this desires have been showcased in many of his works including the fifth “the alchemist” and “Aleph” as well but while in those books he showed them in fiction, here he tells about the time when he went on a 40 day journey to the Mojave desert where he encounters a gene young man who lives in a trailer and has been converses with the Angels. Paulo tries to learn the way of the angels from him but becoming somewhat unsuccessful due to some spiritual restrictions, they depart from Gene.

Gene, however, teaches Paulo’s wife Chris to open the 2nd mind and explore the senses and by doing this she will be able to know the path that her husband is following. This shows that there are some issues between Paulo and his wife due to his way of life. After they depart from a gene, Paulo finds a group of 8 strong women collectively known as the Valkyries, wearing leather jackets in the heat of the Mojave desert. As any biker gang (which they act like one and technically qualifies to be one) they are hated as well but they strongly believe in their way and believe that there is an angel for each of them. This is just what Paulo is like and they seem to get along well for the most part. Valhalla, the leader of the gang, tells Paulo that in order to see their angels, a person must break the pact, ask for forgiveness and make a bet, essentially meaning that a person has to let go of what is holding one back, forgive the inner soul for abusing it and then make a deal that the same thing won’t happen again.

The Valkyries by Paulo Coehlo - Book Review

In this book, he also mentions his teacher as “J” and inserts some lines said by him time and again as a way to interpret what the Valkyries are saying in a way he can understand which is one of the things that he does right as along the way the Valkyries tell him things that he cannot express easily to the readers and along with this Valhalla, the leader also tells him to fully accept his thoughts be it both good and bad and take it inside him and only by doing this he will be able to forgive himself and the negative thoughts. Valhalla then performs a series of rituals each getting progressively bizarre and weird and at the end of all the rituals, she leaves Paulo alone by saying that if he wants to meet his angel, he has to do it alone. He finally meets his angel in the end and after a weird and tiring journey in the middle of the desert, both he and his wife return to their home.

Lessons Learned from the Book

The Valkyries by Paulo Coehlo - Book Review
  1. One of the major lessons hidden in this book is that through the metaphor of meeting the angel and the journey as well, this book lets us know that we are never truly alone. It uses the term “the guardian angel” as a metaphor for our inner conscience which is our core.
  2. Another message or the lesson in this book is that we don’t truly understand ourselves nor accept ourselves until we forgive our past mistakes and learn to accept them for what they are – a mistake.
  3. A hidden lesson that this book share is that as long as you are happy with what you are doing and where you come from, the rest of the world does not matter. This is not the most highlighted part of the book but plays a significant role as the main characters “The Valkyries” are the ones who represent this message.

Best Part of the Book

The Valkyries by Paulo Coehlo - Book Review
  1. The best part of the book is how Paulo shares his secret that he has not shared in any other books and how he combines reality with fantasy and fiction in a seamless blend.
  2. It can be said that this book contains the best of both worlds as the readers are presented with both real-life issues and are entranced by the magic and fantasy within the seemingly real storytelling.
  3. One underlying fact may be that the whole experience can also be interpreted as a journey within the mind of Paulo and how he sees the world which is not something anyone can express.

Worst Part of the Book

The Valkyries by Paulo Coehlo - Book Review
  1. One of which is the lack of backstory for any of the side characters including the rest of the Valkyries.
  2. Although we do see some of their stories and Valhalla does say a few things about her past, the rest is shrouded in mystery which can be a good point if this was meant to be a mystery book but this is not so it is a bit of a drawback. Now it is understood that this is not the focus of the book and the focus is on Paulo and Chris, this lack of history does disappoint some of his regular followers.

Conclusion

To conclude, this book is a good book. It is quite enjoyable and is focused well on a few characters. The lessons are great as always with his books and I recommend that if you are to read this book, you should get some info on what the Valkyries are outside this book as you will understand why these women are so important and why the leader is so well known in the ways of the angels. The rituals are a bit nonsensical on the surface so it can get a bit boring at that point for some as well. Overall this is a good book and in my personal opinion a bit underrated as well.