Hanne is a Berserker, meaning she goes into a killing trance any time someone she loves is in danger in order to protect them, and she's unable to control it. When her father dies and she murders numerous men trying to protect him, Hanne and her family flee Norway for the American Old West, hire cowboy Owen as their guide, and head out on a treacherous journey to try and find their uncle, the one person who might be able to help.
Vikings and Norse mythology plus cowboys and the Old West---such an interesting combo, right?! And that's exactly why I couldn't pass up the opportunity to join the blog tour---courtesy of Emmy Laybourne, Macmillan, and JeanBookNerd---for this book. I really enjoyed it, and I hope you all will too, so keep reading for more information, my review, and a giveaway at the end, and be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops here!
About the Book
Are Hanne's powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?
Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It's not Stieg's fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn't commit.
No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous "gift"--she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.
Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.
Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.
What People Are Saying
Praise for BERSERKER
"Emmy Labourne deftly melds Viking lore with the American West and creates something wholly new, a journey filled with heart-pounding suspense and surprising tenderness. Loved!"―Danielle Paige New York Times-bestselling author the Dorothy Must Die series
"Berserker combines the magic of Norse mythology with the thrill of the American West with staggering results. Startlingly original, unputdownable, and electrifying." ―Kass Morgan, author of New York Times bestseller The 100
"A completely winning, romantic, and heart-wrenching historical fantasy. Your pulse will race from page one of this rich, rugged adventure of a book."―Alyson Noel, New York Times-bestselling author of The Immortals series
"Berserker embraces the beautiful brutality of both Viking lore and Frontier tales, and it does so without resorting to tired tropes or toxic masculinity. This is a brilliantly unexpected fusion of cowboys and old gods―intense and gritty and yet surprisingly tender―but the real strength of Emmy Laybourne's writing is that, for all their superhuman abilities, her characters are so very human."―William Ritter, author of the New York Times-bestselling Jackaby series
Praise for EMMY LAYBOURNE
“Simultaneously terrifying, hilarious, and action-packed, Sweet is a wild ride that holds up a warped mirror to our society. I loved it from the first line to the last.” ―Marie Lu, author of Legend and The Young Elites on Sweet
“Frighteningly real . . . Riveting.” ―The New York Times Book Review on Monument 14
“A tense, claustrophobic, and fast-paced thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review of Monument 14
“Pretty darn breathless.” ―Booklist on Sky on Fire
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and JeanBookNerd. This has not influenced my review.*
I was super excited for this book because I’d been craving some fantasy books set in the Old West, and I’m happy to say this Old West/Norse mythology mash-up did not disappoint.
One of my favorite things about the book was how well the settings were portrayed, both Norway and the American Old West. The book was a little slow-paced, but in a good way because I found the settings and the struggles inherent to them to be so interesting, and the writing/tone of the book seemed to match them perfectly in a way that drew me in. And the author sure wasn’t afraid to get into the violence and grittiness at times when it suited the situation.
The Norse/viking mythology was interesting as well. Some people have what’s called a Nytte, which is a special kind of power, but each Nytte has its own consequence (for example, Storm Rends go blind if they use their power too much, and Berserkers starve to death if they don’t eat enough after using their ability). Hanne is a Berserker, which means she goes into killing trances to protect the ones she loves. Her father could build amazing ships. Her younger brother has incredible strength. Her older brother can control wind/weather to an extent. And seeing how they all used their powers, as well as how they felt about them, was neat.
Speaking of Hanne’s siblings, that was another thing I really liked—the family relationships. I liked how the siblings all worked together, how their individual personalities meshed but also sometimes clashed, and most importantly how they loved and tried to protect each other.
Individually, main characters Hanne and Owen were both very serious, but I could understand why they were that way—I probably would be too if I had the tough lives they had—and they were still characters I liked and felt sympathy for. As for the rest of the characters, some of them were a little stereotypical (like Knut, who was big and strong but sweet and not very bright), but others were complex (like Stieg, who was sweet and kind and tried really hard to balance being a good big brother and taking care of his family with pursuing his own dreams). And Daisy, Owen’s dog, was a sweetheart!
There was also a tiny bit of romance between Hanne and Owen, and while I would’ve preferred they not use the word ‘love’ so quickly since it didn’t seem like they knew each other well enough for that, their interest in each other was cute in a shy kind of way. I look forward to seeing more of their interactions with each other since it seems that relationship will probably be more prominent in the next book.
So overall, I thought the Old West setting and the viking/Norse mythology aspects were both interesting, I thought the family relationships were sweet, and I really enjoyed this book!
Anyone who likes young adult, sweet family relationships, the Old West, and viking/Norse mythology.
About the Author
Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, screenwriter and former character actress. She is the author of the upcoming release BERSERKER ("You will love Emmy Laybourne's vision of an American west studded with Viking glory." - Hypable.com), as well as the MONUMENT 14 trilogy ("Frighteningly real… riveting" - NYT Book Review, Editor’s Choice) and the novel SWEET (“A gripping action-adventure survival story” – VOYA, rated Perfect Ten).
Before her life as a novelist, Emmy performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1; and acted in the movies "Superstar," "The In-Laws" and "Nancy Drew," among others. Emmy lives outside New York City with her husband, two kids and a flock of 9 nifty chickens.
Photo credit: Kit Laybourne
4 Winners will receive a Copy of BERSERKER by Emmy Laybourne
Giveaway is open to International | Must be 13+ to Enter
ENDS: October 31, 2017
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