Friday, October 6, 2017

ARC Review: Berserker by Emmy Laybourne

Author: Emmy Laybourne
Series: Berserker (Book 1)
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (October 10, 2017)

Description: 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. Now, Hanne and her 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, they 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 can teach her how to control her drive to kill?

My Thoughts: BERSERKER is historical fiction with a magical twist. Owen Bennett is a young cowboy in the wilds of Montana in 1883. He is a bastard and his only inheritance from his father is a horse and his loyal cattle dog. After being robbed of his entire wages at the end of a cattle drive, he is left looking for work.

Hanne Amundsdottir is one of four kids on a farm in Norway. They are descendants of Vikings and have some magical gifts. However, each of the gifts has consequences. Steig, the oldest brother, wants to emigrate to the United States and become a teacher. He is eighteen and his gift lets him bring storms but will also eventually cause blindness. Fourteen year old Knut is an Oarbreaker. He's big and strong but he is still a child at heart. Hanne is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she becomes fast and strong and a killer. Sissel is the youngest child. She is weak and scrawny and a whiner who doesn't have one of the Nytte gifts.

When men come to the farm and threaten their father, Hanne goes Berserker and kills them all. The kids flee first to an aunt who gives them some money and then they take off for the United States. The aunt is sending them to their uncle who is also a Berserker and who lives in Montana.

Meanwhile there is a baron who is collecting the Nytte and who dispatches his librarian and another man to track this family down.

Needing a guide once they reach Montana, they hire Owen. The kids have all sorts of adventures as they travel through Montana looking for their uncle and trying to stay ahead of the law who have sent out wanted posters for Knut thinking he is the one who killed the men. They also need to stay ahead of the baron's deputies.

This was an entertaining story. I liked that Hanne was so conflicted about her gift and took quite a while to come to terms with it. I liked the romance between Owen and Hanne.

Favorite Quote:
He still wanted her to be alive, and it rankled Hanne, because the only way she had survived her mother's departure and their father's rapid descent into cruelty and drunkenness was to go dead at the heart.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure I would necessarily gravitate to this one but it sounds interesting!


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