Tag Archives: mythology

ARC Review – Berserker (Berserker #1) by Emmy Laybourne

Title: Berserker (Berserker #1)

Author: Emmy Laybourne

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: 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.

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Emmy Laybourne writes some fast-paced novels, and her latest,Berserker is not exception. I’d even argue it’s her most unique book to date given it is a Western-meets-Norse Mythology-meets-Historical Fiction. It’s a cluster of so many genres, a mish-mash that is though very fun, doesn’t entirely work together as well as it could.

I’m all for a genre mash-up, but Westerns tend to be always a difficult genre to mash given it has very specific tropes that it follows. Weirdly, I loved the Western-y bits of this story, but mixing it with Norse Mythology is a bit of an odd choice given how rich Viking culture is. This book has so much in it and at times it can feel very overwhelming, and yet it is also such a compulsively readable book where you want to know what is going on. There’s so much action and insanity, it makes for an entertaining read. Laybourne is great at bringing fun and disaster to her stories and Berserker doesn’t disappoint in this regard.

While I loved the action, gore and just utter insanity of the story, I wish I had enjoyed the characters more. Henne is a fun character who is troubled by her powers of murder, but if I am being frank, a lot of the characters felt very interchangeable for me and didn’t feel too distinctive on their own. Mind you, I’ve always felt that as a writer, Laybourne’s characters are not always the starring attraction (unless we are talking Max from Monument 14 aka the best character), but it’s the worlds that she creates which are truly the draw.

Berserker is a book where I need to explain to readers going into it before hand to just “go with the flow.” It’s a fun, delightful romp, but it’s also messy in that it’s trying to do a lot at once creating sensory overload. I still think it’s a great read for those who love a fast-paced story full of crazy and murder. I definitely am still curious as to where the next book in the series is going to go as well.

Advertisements

ARC Review – Transcendent by Lesley Livingston

22042962Title: Transcendent

Author: Lesley Livingston

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis:  On a terrace high above the streets of Manhattan, Mason Starling kneels beside her beloved Fennrys Wolf, who lies in a pool of blood, his life hanging in the balance. Even if he lives, their future is far from certain as chaos swirls around them. Has this unstoppable heroine-smart, savvy, deadly with a blade-reached the limits of what her sword can vanquish and her soul can survive?

Huge thank you to HarperCollins Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I am so sad this series is officially over! However, it really did have quite a hell of an ending, if I must say. Transcendent is a book that keeps you entertained from the get go and it immediately begins where Descendent left off. Mason is now a Valkyrie, and she must learn to harness her new found, if super sucky power (though personally, I think it’s kind of nifty, if morbid). Mason gets a ton of growth and what I enjoyed about her in this particular instalment is that she gets crap done.

Was this last book perfect? No, it definitely has a few problems. There were so many mythologies crammed into the story, and I wished that story had main focused on one or two. I mean, I get that it’s an epic battle of the gods, but it did become a bit overwhelming at times to keep all the names straight. Still, this is a long sequence of battles, chaos and absolutely craziness, with many of the characters facing tough decisions and attempting to figure out what is truly “right and wrong.”

Poor Fennrys Wolf though, he takes quite the kickin’ in this story, and I really felt for him at times. I probably shouldn’t have, but I did. I don’t really want to embark on spoiler territory, but this book packs continuous punches, each more furious as the story progresses. Plus, the writing is snappy and it’s so easy to just become absorbed in this world and the story being told. I’m said this trilogy is over, but I cannot wait to see what new shenanigans Lesley Livingston will come up with next.