- Ransacker by Emmy Laybourne
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-250-13414-1 $18.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-250-13415-8 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-12
When a fire all but destroys their Montana ranch, the family splits up, with sister Hanne and her fiancé joining a cattle drive and sixteen-year-old Sissel moving to town. Once there, Sissel feels the awakening of her Nytte (a supernatural power gifted by the Norse gods), which enables her to find and pull metals to her, a valuable gift in her 1886 town where men are affected by gold fever. Soon there’s even more trouble from Sissel’s former beau, who isn’t who he seems to be, and the family finds themselves in danger from a group of Pinkerton detectives in the employ of the Norwegian baron who has designs on the entire family. Though this is a sequel to Berserker, necessary information about the Nyttes is given quickly and seamlessly, and the occasional references to the previous book will intrigue more than confuse readers who haven’t read the companion novel. Amidst a strikingly original premise, Sissel’s journey from feeling like a burden to embracing her strong but dangerous legacy, compromised as it is with credibly naïve mistakes, is set against a richly imagined historical setting and augmented by some surprising but satisfying character twists. There is certainly girl power here, but also family-and-friends power and plenty of action adventure, making for an absorbing read that will appeal to a broad range of tastes.