Viking Warrior Rebel (Viking Warriors #2) by Asa Maria Bradley

This is second book in this series, following Viking Warrior Rising (previously reviewed here). In this installment, Valkyrie Astrid finds her soul mate…and fights it all the way through the book.

Viking Warrior Rebel Front Cover (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Viking Warrior Rebel Front Cover (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

SPOILER WARNING: There will be some spoilers for the first book in the series.

THE PLOT: Astrid’s human life ended a thousand years ago, but Odin and Freya sent her back as part of a group of warriors that fight Loki’s minions on Earth. Astrid feels that she failed her Viking brothers and sisters before, when her berserker, her inner battle warrior, got out of control. Now she’s on a lone mission to bring Queen Naya’s brother Scott back from a remote medical facility to the Viking’s base.

But things start to go wrong almost from the start. First, she runs into nightclub owner Luke Holden, with whom she had a one-night-stand. Then she finds out that Scott has already checked himself out of the facility and left. Before she can even get on his trail, she’s attacked by Loki’s wolverines, who in 2.0 version are faster, stronger, and less easily dispatched.

It may be lucky, then, that Luke was tailing Astrid and helps save her life. Luke has his own secrets, some of which involve being undercover for the FBI. He also may not be as shocked by the supernatural as Astrid would fear.

Even as they resume their affair, Astrid has no thoughts of Luke being her official soul mate. After all, they already had a fling and her serpent tattoo didn’t complete (it’s a magical Viking thing). But the more they’re together, the more Astrid’s berserker starts acting all possessive of Luke, and also gets harder to control. That’s something Astrid doesn’t need when King Leif is already annoyed at her past behavior.

MY TWO CENTS: I’m not normally a big fan of modern romance, but sometimes a paranormal twist will add enough intrigue for me to enjoy it. That’s what I’ve found with this series. I’m intrigued by the Norse mythology, and I’m happy that this volume’s viking hero was a woman. Not just any woman, but one who fought her way out of slavery during her mortal life. That’s a pretty good setup for “hero.”

The romance between Astrid and Luke is a nice follow-up to the first book, where we first met Luke working with Naya. He was definitely intriguing enough to need his own book, and he fulfilled the male lead role nicely. This is one where up until the last 10% of the book, you’re wondering HOW the couple is going to end up together (maybe instead of killing each other).

Do you need to read the first book before reading this one? In this case, yes, I’d recommend it. First of all, it sets up all the activity of this book. You meet the main characters in Viking Warrior Rising, as well as all the supporting characters. And since this one leads up to Leif and Naya’s wedding, you’re going to want to read about them anyway. So start with book one, then follow up with this.

COVER NOTES: I freely admit that I chose the first book for the hot guy on the cover (heh heh), but I’m glad this one features the female Viking hero. She looks pretty badass! Also, I’m always grateful when series covers look like they belong together (hint to publisher: please don’t change it for book three. A series should look like a series.) The color is striking, too.

BOTTOM LINE: Really enjoying this series, and had no problem buying Astrid as a kick-ass Viking warrior. Luke was a good match for her.

WARNING: Strong language and pretty graphic sensuality.

TEACUP RATING: Four out of five teacups.

ON SALE DATE: Available October 4, 2016, in paperback and eformats.

NEXT UP IN THE SERIES: As-yet-untitled Book 3 will be published Fall 2017. I think this volume will finally feature Naya’s brother Scott, along with the medical officer, Irja. I hope the series doesn’t end with book 3…jerky Ulf needs his own book, and a heroine to straighten him out! and Irja’s twin, Pekka, needs a book too.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Viking Warrior Rising (Viking Warriors #1) by Asa Maria Bradley

I have to admit it: I was drawn to this book solely based on the hot guy on the cover. I know, TERRIBLE. Don’t judge a book by its cover, etc., but come on. Look at this guy. How can I not read his book? Honestly, I was so pulled in by the guy that I didn’t even know what genre of book this was when I chose itI was thinking historical, but it’s actually a contemporary/paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

Viking Warrior Rising Front Cover (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Viking Warrior Rising Front Cover (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

THE PLOT: This is a modern world in which Norse gods exist and super-soldiers are genetically created in labs. Leif Skarsganger has been sent to earth by Odin to battle minions of Loki. Because of political maneuvering in Asgaard, Odin and Freya can’t confront Loki directly, so they send Leif and his team of warriors in their place. Leif’s berserker, or warrior spirit, almost controls him he goes into battle.

Naya and her brother, Scott, spent 10 years as prisoners in a laboratory being experimented on. She finally manages to escape with her brother, but while the experiments have given her enhanced intelligence and fighting skills, Scott remains in a coma. She creates a new life for herself while leaving Scott in a safe place with medical attention, but nothing seems to help him.

When Leif and Naya meet, he is being beaten pretty badly by Loki’s wolverines. Naya saves him, and a magical connection is formed between Leif’s berserker and Naya. Now, Leif must make Naya his bride or lose all control of his berserker and be summoned to the afterlife . But Naya has spent too long running and has too much to lose to believe what this viking is telling her about Norse gods. What will it take to earn her trust? Will she ever fit in with immortal vikings? And while she looks for a way to save her brother, she finds that she may have to save herself as well.

MY TWO CENTS: Even though my first reaction was “Wait, so this isn’t a historical?”, I slipped pretty easily into this story…and once in, I didn’t want to put it down. (Plus, you throw in words like “viking,” which makes me think of Alexander Skarsgard, and “Loki,” which makes me think of Tom Hiddleston, and I’m all in. And consider that Loki has tormented Alexander Skarsgard’s father…but that’s another story.)

Leif is likable and attractive even when he’s infuriating to twenty-first century sensibilities. Naya is a strong heroine, but the reader roots for her to find the support system/family she so desperately needs. She and Leif are a good couple, very well matched, and there are some steamy love scenes.

There is also plenty of supernatural adventure too, though, which is what makes me categorize the book as urban fantasy. There is a great cast of supporting characters…Leif’s warriors are well-defined, and the author’s website shows that future books are planned for several characters. It’s easy to become invested in this cast of characters and look forward to their next adventures.

 BOTTOM LINE: Despite not knowing what I was getting into, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to its sequel, Viking Warrior Rebel. If you like Richelle Mead’s “Dark Swan” or “Succubus” series, for example, then this book (and series) will probably appeal to you.

TEACUP RATING: I give Viking Warrior Rising four teacups out of five.

ON SALE DATE: Viking Warrior Rising will release in paperback and eformats on November 3, 2015.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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