A Journey of Power and Vengeance in Medieval Norway

The Norse Queen takes readers to ninth-century Norway, a time of fierce battles and fractured kingdoms. The protagonist, fifteen-year-old Åsa, is the daughter of a Norse king with dreams of becoming a shield-maiden. Her world shatters when she spurns a powerful warlord who then decimates her family, killing her father and brother and taking her captive. To save her people, she must marry her father’s killer and, to exact her revenge, she must rise to become his queen.

I am of Norwegian heritage and have a working knowledge of the culture. The novel’s depiction of ancient Norse society feels authentic, reflecting meticulous research. For instance, the burial rituals are vividly described: “Far below lay her mother, buried with the baby who killed her. They lay together in the timber burial chamber, tucked into her mother’s bed made up with down-filled linen, surrounded by treasures. Åsa remembered her father performing the rites of death. In a grief-fueled killing frenzy, he’d sacrificed his favorite horses and two dogs along with mixed livestock to accompany his wife and child into the afterlife.”

However, the book loses momentum about halfway through. The battle scenes, while frequent, lack intensity. The excessive detail sometimes feels like the author is showcasing her knowledge, which can detract from the story’s flow.

Despite these flaws, The Norse Queen offers an interesting portrayal of a young woman’s struggle for power and vengeance in a brutal era. It’s a solid read for those interested in Viking history and Norse mythology.

4 stars.

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