Title: the Half Drowned King

Author: Linnea Hartsuyker

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ in exchange for a honest review.

Star rating:★★★★


Since the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson’s father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family’s land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather’s betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising.

But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It’s not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather’s cruelty comes at the hand of her brother’s arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom.

Drawing from the Icelandic Sagas, The Half-Drowned King takes inspiration from the true story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.


the cover for the half drowned king is so bloody beautiful wtf.

i have some mixed feelings about the half drowned king. i was so excited for this book – i love norway and norse mythology, so i found this really exciting. then i got a message from a friend about how disappointed she was about it (and of course i trusted her opinion and lowered my expectations for it).

all in all, the only things i disliked about this book was the slow pacing (i mean, seriously!!) and the horribly sexist characters. i’m no historian, but i’m pretty sure women were treated with a decent amount of respect back in those norwegian days.

aside from that, i quite enjoyed the half drowned king. i didn’t feel any connection to the wars or the characters hate for one another, but i liked each individual character (for their own reasons). ragnvald started to annoy me towards the end with his controlling clinginess over svanhilde. i really enjoyed svanhilde’s character and wish we got to learn more about her. she reminded me a bit of lada from and i darken, but a more likeable version of her.

fans of norse history will absolutely love this book and i urge you to pick it up right away.

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