Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Reading on a Theme: Vikings and Norse Mythology

Vikings sure are having a moment right now. If you are a fan of the TV show Vikings, Rick Riordan's Magnus Chase series, or Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology, here are some books recommendations especially for you. 


The Vikings and the Celts:
Beyond a Darkened Shore is about the clash of two cultures. Ciara is the daughter of an Irish king. With her unnatural power to control minds, she is more suited to battle than she is to domestic duties. Ciara's people live in fear of the Northmen who raid and pillage their villages, but a supernatural threat will compel Ciara to band together with Lief, a young Northman leader. Jessica Leake's novel was such a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed this blend of Celtic and Norse inspirations. This book brought together history and  mythology and romance and adventure in a perfect balance. Beyond the Darkened Shore is out April 10, 2018. Review copy from Edelweiss. 


The Vikings and the American West:
Long ago the Norse gods bestowed gifts of strength, power, and skill on a few humans. Hanne's family is heir to these gifts, but in the 1880s these gifts feel more like a curse. After a tragic event resulting from the suspicions of their neighbors, Hanne and her brothers and sister are forced to flee to America in search of their long, lost uncle. Berserker is clever blending of Norse mythology and the Old West. Emmy Laybourne's book is filled with sympathetic relationships. I really loved the bond between Hanne and her brothers, and Owen is so solid. I'm excited to see that Ms Laybourne has a sequel coming out in 2019. Berserker is out October 10, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley. 


The Vikings and Many Mythologies:
Once she completes her training, Malin will be a Valkyrie. As one of Odin's female warriors she is tasked to end the lives of the immortal beings when their time on earth is up. To be a Valkyrie is more than a job for Malin; it is her destiny and identity. But everything changes when Malin learns that her mother let one of the immortals she was sent to kill live. Now, like it or not, Malin is learning the consequences of disobeying orders. Amanda Hocking's new series combines Norse mythology with the mythologies of many other cultures. The result is a paranormal setting that I found quite enjoyable. Between the Blade and the Heart is out January 2, 2018. Review copy from NetGalley.


The Vikings in Battle:
The Aska and the Riki clans are enemies locked in a long-standing feud. Eelyn is an Aska warrior whose life is upended when she sees the brother she thought was dead fighting with the Riki against his own clan. Captured by her brother and his friend, she is taken up into the snowy mountains with the Riki warriors. Adrienne Young's debut novel is rich with Viking imagery; the setting, the clans, the clothing, the weapons, the rivalry, the religions. It's a book that creates striking visuals in the imagination of its readers including some nail-biting battle scenes. Eelyn is such a strong female protagonist--both mentally and physically. Sky in the Deep is out April 24, 2018. Review copy from NetGalley.


The Vikings in Present-Day America:
The Lost Sun is an alternate reality where the Norse gods are real, and the present-day culture of the United States is embedded with Norse myth and legend. Soren Bearskin and Astrid Glyn embark on a quest to find the lost sun god, Baldur. There are a lot of books out there where the main characters are fated to be together, but fate in this novel is almost a tangible thing that you could pick up in your hands and devour. Baldur is unlike any god I've ever read about--both so supernatural and so human. The tone of this book is a bit gritty with overtones of melancholy and lots of atmosphere.
It definitely hit a sweet spot for me, and I fell hard for Tessa Gratton's novel.

All books reviewed by JoLee.

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