cover image Berserker


Emmy Laybourne. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-05520-0

In this supernatural Wild West adventure, 16-year-old Hanne and her siblings— Nytteson who are cursed with a Viking “blood-gift”—flee their home in Norway after their father’s sudden death triggers Hanne’s berserker ability, and she slaughters three men. As the four children head west across America to find their uncle, aided by a lonesome cowboy named Owen, they are trailed by the minions of a Norwegian baron who collects Nytteson like them. Laybourne (the Monument 14 trilogy) deftly brings together three disparate storylines in a climactic moment aboard a cross-country train, then peppers the rest of the family’s arduous journey with new dangers and suspense, including encounters with other Nytteson, wild beasts, winter storms, and the long arm of the law. The love story between Owen and Hanne feels perfunctory, rather than a necessary plot point, but her internal struggle with her brutal nature as a berserker is intensely real and will resonate with readers who feel beset by forces outside of their control. A bloody and fast-paced genre mash-up. Ages 13–up. Agent: Susanna Einstein, Einstein Literary Management. (Oct.)