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 it—I was thinking historical, but it’s actually a contemporary/paranormal romance/urban fantasy.
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.