Review – Ransacker by Emmy Laybourne

Posted February 6, 2019 by Carole in 2019 New Release Challenge, Book Reviews / 10 Comments

Ransacker by Emmy Laybourne
Series: Berserker #2
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Date Read: January 27, 2019
Length: 448 pages
Source: NetGalley

The gripping, heart-wrenching companion novel to Emmy Laybourne’s much acclaimed historical fantasy Berserker.

Rare powers. Precious metals. A final showdown.

1886. The Hemstads possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their family by the ancient Norse gods. Now Sissel, the youngest at 16, discovers her gift: she is a Ransacker. She can find gold and other precious metals and pull them to her. Hers is an awesome and dangerous gift.

Sissel and her siblings have been living peacefully in a small town in Montana, trying to blend-in and escape the violent events that haunt them, but they’ve all been tricked—the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy, reporting to the man who wants to control them, the Baron Fjelstad.

Sissel’s beau is not the only one interested in her new talents. She’s also caught the attention of a local mine owner who’s convinced Sissel has a lucky touch when it comes to finding gold. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could bring great fortune . . . or cause the powerful Baron to come hunting her and her siblings down for once and for all.

My Review

I did like this book even if I didn’t love it.  I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Berserker, so I was pretty eager to see what the Hemstad family was up to.  While I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the previous book, I did find it to be a worthwhile read and enjoyed the story overall.

The set up for this series is really quite interesting.  The book takes place in the Old West and focuses on a family with a unique set of abilities.  These abilities are linked back to the Norse gods and each member of the Hemstad family has their own unique power, which the exception of the youngest, Sissel.  Sissel feels like she is the weakest member of the family since she always seems to be in poor health in addition to lacking a gift.

I think that the main reason that I didn’t connect with this book quite as much as the previous book in the series is the fact that this book is largely told from Sissel’s point of view.  Unfortunately, the bulk of this book is really just about Sissel instead of the family as a group.  I think that one of the strengths of the first book was the relationships between the siblings but in this installment, the family went in different directions and not really a part of the bigger story for much of the book.  We do occasionally check in with Hanne and Owen while they are away and I must admit to enjoying those brief segments much more than Sissel’s story.

Sissel had been the only member of the family not to be blessed with a gift but that changes shortly after the start of this book.  She quite literally stumbles upon her ability to detect metals and learns that she is a Ransacker.  There hasn’t been a Ransacker for a very long time and Sissel isn’t exactly sure what she is capable of so a lot of the story is spent watching her practice and test her new found ability.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find her ability nearly as exciting as that of her sister even though it would be really nice to be able to locate gold with ease. 

The book does get a lot more exciting as it progressed and there were a few pretty intense scenes before everything was over.  I think that I liked the final sections of the book much more not only because there was a lot of action but also because the family was reunited.  There is a bit of romance that pops up before the end of the book and I hate to say it but I just wasn’t feeling it. 

I would recommend this series to others.  I do think that it is best to read this series in order and overall it is a really solid story.  I wouldn’t hesitate to read more from Emmy Laybourne in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Feiwel & Friends via NetGalley.

The Series – Berserker
Book #1 – BerserkerMy Review
Book #2 – Ransacker – Now Available!
About the Author

Emmy Laybourne, author of Sweet and the Monument 14 trilogy, is a writer and actress. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two kids, and a flock of six nifty chickens.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

10 responses to “Review – Ransacker by Emmy Laybourne

  1. Sophomore slump, huh. I can see where the overall world would be a big enough draw even if Sissel wasn't that interesting of a character. I love family dynamics so I'd probably be more drawn to book one, too. Cool worldbuilding for sure.

  2. Ah, a shame that this sequel wasn't as good as the first one and failed to encapture you so much because of the point of view shifting to a character you weren't able to really love. It sounds good enough for reading, and I am glad it got better the further in you went. But I am hoping that if you do pick up the next book will be able to be one you could enjoy more.