Blog Tour + Book Review: Berserker (Berserker Book 1) by Emmy Laybourne


Berserker Blog Tour

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

Berserker by Emmy Laybourne

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.

More Info:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Book Depository

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


“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

My Review

Book Review + Blog Tour: Berserker (Berserker Book 1) by Emmy Laybourne | reading, books, book reviews, young adult, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, historical fantasy
Title: Berserker
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 352
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*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!


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About the Author

Emmy Laybourne

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." -, 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

Connect with Emmy Laybourne Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram


Berserker Giveaway

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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41 thoughts on “Blog Tour + Book Review: Berserker (Berserker Book 1) by Emmy Laybourne

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  1. Greg

    Ooh Berserker- been wondering about this one. 🙂 Norse mythology and old west? Wouldn’t seem to mix, at least for me, but maybe that’s why it sounds so cool. Norse mytho always seems to have that fatalistic vibe to it, which I like. Glad this worked. The idea of something as a gift from the gods but the person having it sees it as a curse appeals to me as well.

    Oh I took the quiz I saw on Twitter and I’m a Storm Rend apparently lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it’s an odd mix, but that’s what makes it interesting! I actually don’t know much about Norse mytho other than what I learned about the Nytte in this book lol.

      I think I got Storm Rend as well! I feel like that would be the coolest one since you could control wind and stuff 😀

        1. Kristen Burns

          I’ve only seen like half of one episode of Firefly, so I can’t say if they’re at all similar or not. But I do that too, a book will remind me of something else and I’ll want to read it for that reason lol.

          1. suzanna

            OMG, you’ve only watched half an episode of Firefly!!!! You must do it immediately. Sadly, there were only a few episodes before it got cancelled. And the film they made afterwards killed off some of the characters, which was a stupid move. But it is still one of my favourite series 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I haven’t read any of her other books, but I think Monument 14 might be on my TBR already. Old West/Norse myth was a unique combo, or at least I thought so!

  2. verushka

    I’ve seen this around for a bit, and as much as I liked what I read, I also had to be realistic: the Old West is not my favourite setting… but then old Norse mythology AAAHHHH, I still don’t know if it’s completely my cup of tea, I think I need to mull over your (wonderful) review a wee bit longer

    1. Kristen Burns

      I didn’t realize how much I loved the Old West as a setting until I tried it, and now I just want all the SFF Old West books lol. But that’s understandable if it’s not your thing!

  3. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I’m so glad to see your review of this because I’ve been really curious about this book. It sounds like a really unique mix of genres. I’m definitely going to check it out now. (Oh, and for the giveaway, the question is “What do you think about before going to sleep? Um, the million things I didn’t get done that day?)

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s definitely a unique mix! I hope you like it too 🙂

      I’m so glad you mentioned the question thing because someone else also commented to say what they think about before sleeping, but I didn’t make this giveaway since it’s part of the blog tour, so I didn’t know it had that question, and I was so confused as to why someone was commenting about that, haha. You have just solved the mystery for me 😛

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  5. Bookworm Brandee

    I saw this title on your Sunday Post, right? Wherever I saw your mention of it, I was intrigued. Berseker? Yessss! And that this story not only takes place in Norway but also in the Old West?!? Now I’m even more excited to read it, Kristen, since you were impressed with the settings as well as the side characters. I’m always thrilled to get good family dynamics. 🙂 I’m happy you enjoyed this and I look forward to experiencing it for myself.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I shared a photo on Twitter and my Sunday Post, so you saw it in one of those places lol. There’s actually barely any that takes place in Norway, so it’s mostly Old West, but I thought both were interesting anyway! And I like family dynamics in books too 🙂 Hope you like it!

  6. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

    This books sounds so good Kristen! I love books with family relationships and their powers sound intriguing and I imagine the traveling allows for plenty of opportunity for her berserker state to go off… I think I’ll enter the giveaway! ♥️

    1. Kristen Burns

      I like family relationships in books too! And you’re right, the traveling did bring up a scenario or two in which her berserker power was triggered. I hope you like it too if you get the chance to read it!

  7. Olivia Roach

    Wow, this book sounds like such a cool mash up. I love the sound of Vikings and Norse being mixed together. And there are two things I look out for when I read it. That’s characters/development within them and then world building/setting. So knowing the setting was done so well makes my heart really happy. 🙂

  8. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    After your pic with this one I couldn’t help but stop in to see your post! And this book sounds so good! I’m glad you enjoyed it so much and it’s definitely right up my street. I like that it’s an Old West book and that there is an interesting draw from a lesser known mythology.

    The only thing that bothers me is the instalove… Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I hope you like it too if you read it 🙂 I had never read about any Norse mythology, so I thought that was cool too.

      Exactly, I didn’t like the instalove, but no book is perfect. Thanks!

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