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(Berserker #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  695 ratings  ·  218 reviews
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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Feiwel Friends
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
oh, to have been a fly on the wall during the author’s pitch for this book series:

“so, it’s like x-men in the wild west, only the x-men are a family of norwegian teenagers on the run in the american west in the late 1800s after some regrettably bloodbathy berserking back home and there’s only a few different kindsa powers you can have, so it won’t be like ‘shit, it’s book three and i'm out of ideas - meet jubilee and her sparkleworks’ or something.”

“huh. that’s certainly an unusual mashup.”

Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was an excellent book! I was really quite surprised by just how much I ended up liking this one. I try to go into books as blindly as possible so I didn't read the summary of this book too closely and as a result, I was really quite surprised by some of the turns the story ended up taking. This was the kind of book that I found myself reaching anytime I had a moment to spare. I am so glad that I took a chance on this gem of a bo
Emmy Laybourne
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm so excited for my fans here on Goodreads to discover my new book, Berserker. While Berserker has a very different setting from my Monument 14 trilogy, both series share the same fast pace and breathless, visceral action sequences.

I've invented a new kind of Norse mythology for Berserker -- the teens in the book have a gift called the Nytte and they are a new type of Viking superhero.

The Nytte is an ancient blood-gift given hundreds of years ago to three Viking kings by the god Odin. The Kin
Jay G
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel:

Hanne and her siblings were gifted with the Nytte, an ancient ability from the Viking Gods. Hanne is a Berserker, meaning that when someone she loves is in danger, she will stop at nothing to protect them. After her father was attacked one night, Hanne finds herself unable to control her killing tendencies, causing the siblings to flee Norway. On their journey to find their Uncle, anoth
Lilly (Lair Of Books)
3.75/5 Stars review to come on Lair Of Books (Link is in the bio)

Full review can also be viewed on Lair Of Books:


Berserker wasn’t at all what I was expecting & for a minute there I wondered aloud what exactly I was reading? the answer took me by surprise & intrigued the hell out of me enough for this frightful bookworm to read through the bloody scenes. I can only describe Berserker as Norse Mythology meets the American Frontier with hints of the cla
Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)
4 Stars

*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 an
4.5 Very quick, really enjoyed this one, review to come closer to the release.
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

I was very excited to get to this book, because did you read the synopsis? Sounds amazing, right? And yay, it really was! I am quite a fan of historical fiction, and I think you probably need to at least like it to enjoy this book, because it definitely fits that genre. But there's a lot more to it, of course! So, let's get to it.

What I Enjoyed:

Oooh, this book is dark. I really d
Best Character: Daisy the dog cattle-herding-extraordinaire

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group Feiwel & Friends
Setting: Norway & Montana
Source: I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

Plot: 3.8/5
Main Characters: 3.8/5
Secondary Characters: 4/5
The Feels: 3.5/5
Addictiveness: 3.8/5
Theme or Tone: 3.5/5
Flow (Writing Style): 3.5/5
Backdrop (World Building): 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Ending: 3.8/5 Cliffhanger: Sort of
Total: 3.8/5 STARS

Cindy ✩☽♔
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, western
At first I was so surprised by how quickly I finished this, but then I checked and saw that this book is only 288 pages lol

Anyways, this was a really quick, easy and rather entertaining read. Though, it could probably use a little more world building. And while I certainly have some unanswered questions, I am not sure if they warrant another entire book. The conclusion of this one felt rather solid, but I suppose we'll have to see how the rest of the series goes I guess.

*Review to Come*
Jennifer Strand
Started strong, went "meh" in the middle and then went into NO territory for me by the end. Disjointed plot (this was an ARC, so maybe things were fixed?). I felt no connection to any of the characters. ...more
LAPL Reads
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Berserker is the first novel in a new series that follows the Hemstad family from Norway to the United States after a horrible event catapults their lives on a new course. It’s 1883, and the family, made up of two brothers and two sisters, live and work with their father on the family farm. Their lives are hard and difficult. In addition sixteen-year-old Hanne and her family are a bit different from others. Hanne and her two brothers are Nytteson, meaning they have different gifts bestowed upon ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!

This was really good and I'm so glad I took a break from my YA fast to enjoy it. I've always had a fascination with Vikings and Norse history, but I haven't found many fiction books that explore the culture or time period. I won't name names, but those that I have read were mediocre at best.

Berserker is a fascinating blend of fantasy and historical fiction. We visit historical Norway and the western frontier. We experience a family immigrating to the United States and their journey ac
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs:**


Berserker is a young adult norse fantasy novel by Emmy Laybourne. Emmy Laybourne is an author with such diverse skills. She has written apocalyptic stories, fantasy stories, monster stories and I have to say I am a huge fan of hers. My favorite book of hers is Sweet, but Berserker was a good read as well. The description of Berserker immediately caught my attention. I love anything having to do with mythology, a
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This was a pretty good book, although it was missing that special something for me to bump it up to the 4 star level. I really like the background of the kids' powers and the Norse mythology in this and it blended with the old west setting better than I was expecting it to. I think that for me the plot just moved a little bit too slowly and also I thought the big fight at the end was a little bit anti-climactic. A
I don't want to say too much about this one because it is a future book club book and a lot of my book club members follow my reviews. Keeping this short, sweet, and vague, which actually rather fits this book.

I've been bouncing off of YA as of late, but I did enjoy this one. It was nice to read something that clipped along, kept the action moving, and followed a predictable path. The narrative falls into some standard teen pitfalls, but I enjoyed the rest enough to not become too annoyed. I lik
Aj Sterkel
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I wanted to read some historical horror, and this book definitely fits that description. It’s about a group of siblings who flee Norway after committing several murders. They travel to America to find their uncle, but since the siblings have strange, murderous superpowers, they’re pursued by powerful enemies.

If you’re searching for a supernatural horror read with a well-developed setting, this book might satisfy your craving. It has some action, some gore, a few twists. I enjoyed it, but I don’t
Jillian (PidginPea's Book Nook)
I mean, I was sold at "American west studded with Viking glory," but I loved this one! Really well done historical fiction, making the small frontier American towns come alive with all their dust and dirt and hard-scrabbleness. ( that a word? meh, I like it, I'm keeping it.) There's also a lot of wild west type stuff - shootouts! saloons! loyal horses! dog companions! And with Norse mythology mixed in! I loved it all!!

It was so interesting to see how the siblings used their "gifts" and how
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book courtesy of Netgalley and boy, am I glad I did. Can I have some more please? I'd love for there to be another book in this series.

Berserker is a fairly short book (less than 300 pages), but it packs a lot in. It's about a family blessed/cursed with physical "gifts" than manifest at puberty. Each of them has a different gift and they also come with some pretty harsh downsides. Hanne is a berserker which means that she flies into a killing calm if she or someone that she loves
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Got a copy of this from netgalley and I really really enjoyed it. It actually pulled me out of a book slump where I started 5 other books and just couldn't get into it. I managed to fly through this one and then finished 3 of the others since. I would definitely recommend this one ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
“She was a Berserker, cursed to fly into action whenever anyone she loved was in danger. A killer who would be compelled to murder elegantly, viciously, and without remorse.”

Berserker is the story of a family blessed with the Nytte. Or cursed with it. It depends on who you ask.

The story is told through the alternating narration of Hanne, Owen and Rolf. Hanne is the oldest daughter in her family. Her older brother Stieg, and her younger brother Knut all have a variation of the Nytte. The youngest
Paige Green
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I bought this book!

Book Series: Book 1 of Berserker

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: Octoebr 10, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 15+ (suicide, mass murder, semi forced breeding, destruction, and slight gore)(trigger warning for suicide scene, just the aftermath shown)

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 352

Amazon Link

Synopsis: 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
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This was an enjoyable YA fantasy about 4 Norwegian siblings, 3 of whom are gifted--or cursed--with a special ability. Due to a crisis at home, they set sail for America to find an uncle who they think can help them. I really liked the elements of Norse culture and mythology and then being set (for most of the book) in the American West in the 1800s. Unique combination and one that worked for me! There was a bit of a romance, but no insta-love, and I thought it was more realistic than most. The o ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very much Norwegian teen X-Men: A Pioneer Story and I really enjoyed it.

Content warning: the book opens with the killing of a pig, but I'm not sure how else the author could've imparted the character information we needed from that scene for a book set in that time period.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Berserker" was an interesting and unique story about four brothers and sisters who possess Nytte. Nytte were "gifts" given from the Norse gods to select bloodlines, and they show themselves upon puberty. A Berserker is one of the Nytte where the person is compelled to protect their loved ones by attacking whoever threatens them and murdering them. When the gift takes over, the Berserker is unaware and unusually skilled. Hanne is a Berserker, and she resents her gift- unsurprising, since it was ...more
Deborah Bond-upson
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this book!

Evoking Norse mythology, diving into historical Norway, revealing the experience of immigration to the U.S., and exploring the cowboy west creates a delicious, rich mix of environments, perspectives, and characters. I could not put this down once I began reading.

This is a YA book. But I am 68 and I love it. Does that mean I am immature? Or v. v. up-to-date. I will go with up-to-date.

Hope a sequel is coming!
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

I finally got around to reading Berserker and loved it! It wasn't quite what I expected in some ways, but I really enjoyed the experience of this book. Berserker feels kind of like Little House on the Prairie, except with Norse powers and a lot more violence. The Nytte are powers gifted by Norse gods to certain human bloodlines. Hanne is one of those gifted. More specifically, she is a Berserker and turns into a killing machine when people she loves are threatened. Her br
Llyr Heller-Humphreys
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Berserker is the first novel in a new series that follows the Hemstad family from Norway to the United States after a horrible event catapults their lives on a new course. It’s 1883, and the family, made up of two brothers and two sisters, live and work with their father on the family farm. Their lives are hard and difficult. In addition sixteen-year-old Hanne and her family are a bit different from others. Hanne and her two brothers are Nytteson, meaning they have different gifts bestowed upon ...more
Sam Laybourne
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A completely terrific novel that combines Viking badasses with a YA coming of age story in the old west. SO GOOD it's crazy! And yes, I am a Laybourne devotee but that doesn't make my review any less emphatic! READ THIS BOOK! ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
**Originally posted on The Fandom**

There are some books that– based on the description alone– don’t feel like they should work. Admittedly, Berserker was one of them. Deadly ancient Norse powers and an Old West immigration story? How the heck would that manage to come together cohesively? Now I’m humbly prepared to eat some crow because Emmy Laybourne blends those two elements together so well!

In the days of old, the Norse gods gave the Vikings with fierce gifts to employ as they explored an
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EMMY LAYBOURNE is a Young Adult novelist best known for her Monument 14 series, an internationally best-selling trilogy that has been translated into 9 languages. Her standalone book Sweet won a Junior Library Guild Award, was a YALSA Quick Pick and got a Perfect Ten rating from VOYA. Her latest books, Berserker, and Ransacker tell the story of a family of Norwegian teens with ancient Viking power ...more

Other books in the series

Berserker (2 books)
  • Ransacker (Berserker #2)

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