Sunday Reads & Book Review: YA Berserker

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About the Book

A Norse teen and her family are forced to flee to the American West to escape the effects of an ancestral Viking curse in this jaw-dropping fantasy novel from the author of Monument 14.

“Berserker is a triumph, introducing a wholly-new breed of Viking superhero.”Alyson Noël, New York Times- bestselling author of The Immortals series

“A brilliantly unexpected fusion of cowboys and old gods…” – William Ritter, New York Times-bestselling author of the Jackaby series

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Hanne’s 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.

Now the siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by Owen Bennett, 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.

The thrills of the journey sweep Hanne and Owen together in romance, but their new love means nothing unless they can escape the ruthless men chasing them down.

Can they reach Hanne’s uncle, the one man who can teach her how to control her drive to kill?

My Review

This is a really unique book that I first got interested in because my oldest daughter is an absolute nut for Norse mythology – this book is a great mashup between mythology and American History.  It is definitely something that is unexpected and unique, which is a GREAT thing in YA literature.   There have been a lot of mythology spinoffs lately, and this one is unique. The leading character, Hanne, is a Berserker, which means that she flies into a killing rage when her loved ones are in danger.   Forced to leave Norway, Hanne and her siblings head to 19th century America, where danger and adventure wait. 

One of the great things about this book is the historical aspect – it’s a supernatural/mythological take on an immigration story.  The bond between Hanne and her siblings was also really great to see.  The characters were well-developed and interesting, and I think the book will hold my daughter’s interest.   Some negatives that I saw was that it was a little bit predictable in the ending.  It is also pretty violent, which isn’t an issue for me with my daughter, but might not be appropriate for all families or age levels.  

This is definitely a book that I would add to my gift list for a mythology-obsessed teenager, or a TBR pile for adults!

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