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Ransacker

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Rare powers. Precious metals. Deadly greed. Sissel Hemstad 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 -- James Peavy, the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy. The Hemstads possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their famil Rare powers. Precious metals. Deadly greed. Sissel Hemstad 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 -- James Peavy, the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy. 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. If James discovers her secret, he will undoubtedly report back to his boss, the ruthless Baron Fjelstad who wants desperately to control the Hemstads. But James is not the only person interested in Sissel. She’s also caught the attention of a local mine owner, Isaiah McKray. He is convinced Sissel has a lucky touch when it comes to finding gold. Sissel is torn between the two men, both determined to have her secrets. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could summon great fortune… or doom them all.


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Rare powers. Precious metals. Deadly greed. Sissel Hemstad 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 -- James Peavy, the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy. The Hemstads possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their famil Rare powers. Precious metals. Deadly greed. Sissel Hemstad 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 -- James Peavy, the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy. 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. If James discovers her secret, he will undoubtedly report back to his boss, the ruthless Baron Fjelstad who wants desperately to control the Hemstads. But James is not the only person interested in Sissel. She’s also caught the attention of a local mine owner, Isaiah McKray. He is convinced Sissel has a lucky touch when it comes to finding gold. Sissel is torn between the two men, both determined to have her secrets. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could summon great fortune… or doom them all.

30 review for Ransacker

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. 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 se This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. 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. Initial Thoughts Maybe 3.5 stars? I am going with 3 for now but may round up after I get the chance to think about it for a while. I liked this one but not nearly as much as I liked the first book in the series. Sissel wasn't nearly as easy to relate to as Hanne was and I have to admit that I liked the parts of this book that followed Hanne more than Sissel. Unfortunately, this is really Sissel's story so that was a bit of a problem. I didn't hate Sissel but I never felt connected to her and I thought that a lot of the decisions she made were poor ones and she spent way too much time feeling sorry for herself. I did enjoy some things quite a lot in the story and there were a few surprises along the way that I did appreciate.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult, Historical *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* Ransacker, by author Emmy Laybourne, is the finale to the Berserker duology. This story takes place 2 years after the events of Berserker. The Hemstads (Hanne, Stieg, Knut, and Sissel) possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their family by the ancient Norse Gods. Sissel Hemstad, the youngest at 16, will finally discover her Nytte gift, She's a Ransacker. She can find gold and other precious metals and pull them to her. He *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult, Historical *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* Ransacker, by author Emmy Laybourne, is the finale to the Berserker duology. This story takes place 2 years after the events of Berserker. The Hemstads (Hanne, Stieg, Knut, and Sissel) possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their family by the ancient Norse Gods. Sissel Hemstad, the youngest at 16, will finally discover her Nytte gift, She's a Ransacker. She can find gold and other precious metals and pull them to her. Hers is an awesome and dangerous gift and the only one like her in the whole world. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicole (FearYourEx)

    4/5 Stars This book gave me everything I was hoping for after reading Berserker. You get to learn more about everybody else involved and a better understanding of the world, and their Nyttes. And the story starts back up not long after the end of Berserker. Now we get to learn more about Sissel and her nytte of being a Ransacker. The action starts up pretty early on! I will say I did not connect with Sissel as well as I did Hanne, BUT I think I'm a very different person than Sissel so that's under 4/5 Stars This book gave me everything I was hoping for after reading Berserker. You get to learn more about everybody else involved and a better understanding of the world, and their Nyttes. And the story starts back up not long after the end of Berserker. Now we get to learn more about Sissel and her nytte of being a Ransacker. The action starts up pretty early on! I will say I did not connect with Sissel as well as I did Hanne, BUT I think I'm a very different person than Sissel so that's understandable to me. Also we still get to read Hanne's POV in this book so it worked just fine for me!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Misty

    God, Emmy Laybourne has created such a great world and characters with this series. Full review to come.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I loved the first book in the BERSERKER duology and RANSACKER certainly does not disappoint! This book is a whirlwind of an adventure filled with increasing intensity! The world-building is unreal and the evolution of these characters stunned me. I did not expect to connect with Sissel so deeply, but I'm so glad the author allowed us to get to know her better! A must-read for sure! (Note: I received an early review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    If you haven’t read the first book in the Beserker series, er, Beserker, then its sequel, Ransacker won’t make a lot of sense. So, maybe you should go read Beserker. Or you could read about it in the review that I wrote a while back! It’s got Henrik Ibsen references... Go ahead, I’ll wait. So its two years after the events of Beserker and now we're focusing on now 16 year old Sissel. Sissel is sick and tired of being treated like a little weakling, with Hanne hovering over her all the time and ev If you haven’t read the first book in the Beserker series, er, Beserker, then its sequel, Ransacker won’t make a lot of sense. So, maybe you should go read Beserker. Or you could read about it in the review that I wrote a while back! It’s got Henrik Ibsen references... Go ahead, I’ll wait. So its two years after the events of Beserker and now we're focusing on now 16 year old Sissel. Sissel is sick and tired of being treated like a little weakling, with Hanne hovering over her all the time and everyone else making decisions that directly affect her without her input. The Hemstads and Owen, now engaged to Hanne, live in a timber house on a farm outside Carter Montana. Unfortunately, and I'm not sure if you guys are aware of this, but during the summer, the entire Western half of the United States catches fire. Like, all of it. So a giant fire sweeps through the community, destroying the Hemstad's farm - with no hope of enough income to afford to marry, Hanne and Owen take off to join a cattle drive, Knut goes off to work as a laborer on an unaffected farm, and Steig, now the local schoolteacher, and Sissel go to live in the town hotel, managed by the hunky 20-year old Isaiah McKray. While the Hemstads are enjoying these relatively normal 19-century-Western-immigrant life problems, they have no idea they're under constant Pinkerton surveillance, led by Mr. Peavy and a kid he hired to pretend to be his son, James. The Pinkertons were hired by the evil Baron Fjelstad from the first book and he seems obsessed in knowing about Sissel. James's one job is to woo Sissel, be her suitor and get her to spill her secrets. But the thing is, of course, James actually likes Sissel and is a bit wary of the intentions of the Baron and the Pinkertons. Poor James has zero idea about the whole Nytte thing, by the way. At first it seems like Sissel has no Nytte, until a funeral after the fire when she starts to feel something in the Earth calling to her... turns out Sissel is a ransacker, a very rare nytte in which a person can sense metals and draw them to themselves. Like gold. Gold is good. Have I mentioned that Isiah McCray also owns a gold mine outside of town? Yeah, he would very much like someone of Sissel's talent to work for him. And so would the Baron. Sissel has to keep her new gift a secret, but her family needs money and she can sense gold so...what could possibly go wrong? Lots of things, as it turns out. Beserker and Ransacker are both the sorts of book that I just start reading and then just breeze through - again, I’m a slow-ass reader, I take breaks, get distracted easily, have to work while at work and do housework while at home...I’m lucky if I can manage 1 book per week (maybe 2 if I have an audiobook on-hand), but with both Beserker and Ransacker, I’d start and then find myself having to drag myself away. Nooo, I don’t want to do dishes, I want to read more about magical 19th Century Norwegian immigrants! That’s way more fun than scrubbing bits of cat food off the cat dishes. You know who’s really good at getting the bits of dried cat food off the cat dishes? The dog. Why can’t he just do those dishes and don’t say it’s because he doesn’t have opposable thumbs... I was going to have this review done sooner but I'm currently at ALA midwinter, drowning in all the books they just give out for free. FREE. the two sweetest words in the English language: free books. Either way: though it may not work as a standalone book, Ransacker is an excellent sequel, and gives a highly satisfying conclusion to the story of the Hemstads. I’m not sure if this series is meant to be a duology or a trilogy or what, but I do know that Ransacker delivers one hell of an ending. I cried. It was great.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tiana

    Musings: Ransacker is the empowering sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2018 Berserker. The horror was dialed back in Ransacker to make way for a whole different sort of story. The story of Sissel. The sister who was known for being Nyette free and weak. But the sister who would not be set back by her perceived weaknesses any longer.What I Loved: Sissel's strength. This is 100% Sissel's story. She grows in this story. She finds her worth. She finds her strength. She decides for herself to tak Musings: 
Ransacker is the empowering sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2018 Berserker. The horror was dialed back in Ransacker to make way for a whole different sort of story. The story of Sissel. The sister who was known for being Nyette free and weak. But the sister who would not be set back by her perceived weaknesses any longer.
What I Loved: 
Sissel's strength. This is 100% Sissel's story. She grows in this story. She finds her worth. She finds her strength. She decides for herself to take the path that she desires. Sissel shines in Ransacker and I'm all here for it.
The western feel. I am usually completely uninterested in western novels, but this one uses the western setting in a great way to tell a totally unique story and I'm all for it.
The Norse Mythology. I love a good fantasy with magic, but this sort of magic in particular is really intriguing to me. Using your powers eventually leading to some sort of physical punishment like the possibility of hearing loss is intriguing. Especially when the call to use these powers is always very strong.
Love beyond the flaws. McKray the mine owner is a swindler. He is fundamentally a flawed human being. He lied to increase his own wealth and yet Sissel saw more in him. Saw him in his totality and loved him for him completely. Though they did have their struggles love won out. That's the kind of love that I'd like to share.
The other Beau. I may not hold any love for James, but I do love how Sissel grew from her courtship with him. Sissel knew that she didn't want this boy. They had a friendship and James always acted like he wanted more (for not the best of reasons) and Sissel eventually chose for herself what she wanted and she did so with great respect for herself and I greatly admire that.
The continuation of Hanne's story. I like that Hanne had her own little storyline within Sissel's story. I loved seeing her and Owen together and seeing their relationship evolve more deeply. I always loved them together and seeing them live and grow together was a beautiful addition to the novel.
The imagery that the powers of a Ransacker creates. The way that Sissel connected with metals was so cool. They were characterized with different personalities and gold being of the most brilliance. It created this really beautiful and totally unique layer of description that I adored.
All in all: 
Ransacker was brilliant and empowering and beautifully written. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to read it. It's a worthy sequel to Ransacker with its own very unique vibe. I enjoyed every moment of reading it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nannette Demmler

    ARC provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review. Wow, this one was just as good as the first. I really enjoy the setting and characters and the mix of the old west with Norse mythology. Plus a strong family that loves each other and will do anything to keep each other safe. This is Sissel’s story. She is the youngest of the four siblings and in the first book she was the least likable. I could relate to Sissel though, I’m the youngest of four too and know how ha ARC provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review. Wow, this one was just as good as the first. I really enjoy the setting and characters and the mix of the old west with Norse mythology. Plus a strong family that loves each other and will do anything to keep each other safe. This is Sissel’s story. She is the youngest of the four siblings and in the first book she was the least likable. I could relate to Sissel though, I’m the youngest of four too and know how hard that can be. She also did not have a talent, which made her feel left out. But now her talent has manifested, later than the others, and it is one that could lead to disaster for the family. Sissel does grow quite a bit in this story, although her choices sometimes are questionable. She still isn’t as likable as her siblings, but she does kind of grow on you. Hanne and Owen are still involved, although why they were waiting to get married is beyond me. They spend some of the book working on a cattle drive, which was interesting again to read about. This time Hanne was working with the cook and so we got a different perspective of what a cattle drive is like. Her berserker instincts were still strong and important, but for the most part she can control them. Some of the sweeter parts of this book was when her and Owen had some time alone together. James Peavy and Isaiah McKray are the two men vying for Sissel’s attention. James is the Pinkerton spy, but I do believe he genuinely had feelings for Sissel. He didn’t really know why he was spying on her and her family, and he didn’t completely trust the Pinkertons. But I liked him much better than Isaiah. Isaiah was a bit of a swindler, and he started off just wanting Sissel for her ability. But I think by the end he really did start to care for her. Steig story unfolds a bit more and I am hoping that the next book is the one that focuses on him. He spent most of this book being exasperated by Sissel, but really wanted to help her with her gift. He is a strong character with a lot of potential for his own story. Knut was not in this book much, but he also would make a good story for another book. The plot of this book was just as good as the first, although it does start off a bit slow. The ending really makes up for the slow start though. The threat of the Baron is at the forefront of the families issues as is the old warrant for Knut arrest. Keeping Sissel’s Nytte a secret is also a main part of the plot. Can you imagine how hard that one would be to hide? I don’t blame Sissel for wanting to use it either. It could solve all of the families money issues. I will warn you that there are some pretty brutal violent scenes concerning berserkers and their violent ways of killing. Not quite as bad as the first book, but still disturbing. I really enjoyed this duology and highly recommend it not to just historical fantasy aficionados, but any one who enjoys historical fiction as well. The detail of the setting will really draw you in. https://elnadesbookchat.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. I read Berserker last year and was so excited to see that Laybourne was going to continue the series. This story focuses mainly on Sissel and her discovery of being a Ransacker (this is the Nyette gift of finding and manipulating metals). The only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars is that it started a bit slow, and even though it was mainly focused on Sissel, the storylines also diverged every Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. I read Berserker last year and was so excited to see that Laybourne was going to continue the series. This story focuses mainly on Sissel and her discovery of being a Ransacker (this is the Nyette gift of finding and manipulating metals). The only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars is that it started a bit slow, and even though it was mainly focused on Sissel, the storylines also diverged every other chapter early on to cover Sissel, Hanne, and James (a secondary character that wasn't as developed in the end as I would have liked). Besides all of these things, this ended up being a great follow up to the first book. The action is there and I found myself comparing it to the hit Outlander at the end. This idea of romance, set in a whirlwind adventurous/rugged setting, with magic, seems to fit that bill. This is completely appropriate for grades 7 and up. There is some violence, but nothing worse than in other science fiction/fantasy tales. Also, there is no sexual content-just some kissing (and that is sporadic). There is little to no language (only a random "goddammit" throughout). Highly recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Hastings

    I adored Berserker so I was hoping this sequel would be just as good...and it is! Ransacker is predominantly told by Sissel the youngest of the Hemstead family and the only one without a Nytte—a special power from the Norse gods. Until she discovers that she can sense gold and other metals in the ground. But her new found abilities could lead to their discovery... What I loved 🖤🖤🖤: 1. The western setting and gold rush with a Norse mythological twist. 2. Lots of action and adventure from cattle sta I adored Berserker so I was hoping this sequel would be just as good...and it is! Ransacker is predominantly told by Sissel the youngest of the Hemstead family and the only one without a Nytte—a special power from the Norse gods. Until she discovers that she can sense gold and other metals in the ground. But her new found abilities could lead to their discovery... What I loved 🖤🖤🖤: 1. The western setting and gold rush with a Norse mythological twist. 2. Lots of action and adventure from cattle stampedes to wild fires to kidnappings to shoot-outs. 3. Sissel’s 2 beaus: James and McKray, both who are hiding secrets about who they really are and why they are interested in her. 4. The devotion of the siblings to each other and their willingness to sacrifice for each other. 5. Two satisfying romances: Hanne and Owen (who are engaged), and Sissel and ? (No spoilers). A unique, unforgettable adventure that I couldn’t put down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I read this ARC via NetGalley. This is a very unique YA series. I loved how the first book, Beserker, infused Norse mythology and Norwegian culture into a family story of settlement in the US, 1880’s. The characters were well developed and I felt attached to each of the 4 siblings as well as their guide Owen. Three of the siblings have a Nytteson gift that gives them fantastical abilities. Since this book focused on Sissel, who was the least likable sibling from the first book, it was hard to adj I read this ARC via NetGalley. This is a very unique YA series. I loved how the first book, Beserker, infused Norse mythology and Norwegian culture into a family story of settlement in the US, 1880’s. The characters were well developed and I felt attached to each of the 4 siblings as well as their guide Owen. Three of the siblings have a Nytteson gift that gives them fantastical abilities. Since this book focused on Sissel, who was the least likable sibling from the first book, it was hard to adjust to liking her. However, the story unfolded well and the intensity of the story increased as you read. I really wanted more backstory for the secondary characters with the Nytteson gift, maybe in a 3rd book? If you enjoyed Beserker, definitely pick this up. Hanne and Owen go on a cattle drive, Sissel has two suitors, and plenty of untraditional beserker fight scenes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    What is better than an origin story of a person gifted with incredible powers? As much as I loved Berserker, I loved Ransacker even more because we see Sissel's evolution from weakness to strength, in ways that are compelling, thrilling and emotionally satisfying. What's more: we are able to spend more time with the rest of the family, as they make their way through their new circumstances, as well as dealing with the repercussions from the trail of bodies left behind in Berserker. The story mad What is better than an origin story of a person gifted with incredible powers? As much as I loved Berserker, I loved Ransacker even more because we see Sissel's evolution from weakness to strength, in ways that are compelling, thrilling and emotionally satisfying. What's more: we are able to spend more time with the rest of the family, as they make their way through their new circumstances, as well as dealing with the repercussions from the trail of bodies left behind in Berserker. The story made me want to keep reading, because I truly didn't know what would happen next - and that's the best kind of book to read. It's exciting, scary, fun, and quite a ride!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Burlew

    Very interesting book. After reading and enjoying Berserker I looked forward to this book. The story is about 4 siblings from Norway. They each have a power gifted from the old gods. After some trouble they flee to America looking for an uncle, their last living relative. Unfortunately he is also dead. This is mostly about the youngest girl Sissel who just learns about her power. She is a Ransacker and able to sense and manipulate metals. I won this in a goodreads giveaway- thank you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lynette Murphy

    I didn't expect to like this book before I read kit but was very pleasantly surprised. I loved it and hated to see it end. The old West I like reading about but this book is more about the Norse mythology but I liked it, too. A most unusual book that is very good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jana (HokuGirlReads)

    Defiantly worth the read! I liked that this being the continuation of Berserker had a dual perspective from both sisters points of view which offered a redeeming quality to some of the characters. I thought the author did a great job keeping your invested in the story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    4.5/5 Full review to come

  17. 5 out of 5

    T. Jackson

    Great story. Loved the characters

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    4.5

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lanning

  20. 5 out of 5

    BookClub Bestie

    This was a 3.5 book for me. The book just started out a bit slow for me. It did pick up and I ended up enjoying it by the end, but it took a while to get there. I also was not a fan of the main character, personally so I think that played a part of my lower rating. The author builds a great world and has great character development. I enjoyed the writing style as well.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    Riveting conclusion to the Hemsteads adventures in Montana. I love the mix of Scandinavian mythology and the Wild West.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

  23. 5 out of 5

    Iany Mcgrawn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charlie O.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Irina

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindi

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jena

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