The Sea Queen

The Sea Queen

An exhilarating Viking saga filled with the rich history, romantic adventure and political intrigue that have made Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, as well as Phillippa Gregory’s historical fiction and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology popular bestsellers. Six years after The Half-Drowned King, Ragnvald Eysteinsson is now king of Sogn, but fig...

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Title:The Sea Queen
Author:Linnea Hartsuyker
Rating:

The Sea Queen Reviews

  • Laure

    Brilliant! Heartbreaking! Magnifiscent!

    This outdo by far the previous volume and I can but marvel at the intricate story, the depth of the characters and their ambitions crossing what they want. I feel like I know them better and Svanhild owned the show throughout the book like a true sea queen! Ragnvald seems to have become a complicated man instead of a boy and I got to say I squealed when reading about Rolli and any of Ragnvald's sons, knowing what they would become next.

    This was a wonderful

    Brilliant! Heartbreaking! Magnifiscent!

    This outdo by far the previous volume and I can but marvel at the intricate story, the depth of the characters and their ambitions crossing what they want. I feel like I know them better and Svanhild owned the show throughout the book like a true sea queen! Ragnvald seems to have become a complicated man instead of a boy and I got to say I squealed when reading about Rolli and any of Ragnvald's sons, knowing what they would become next.

    This was a wonderful wonderful book!

  • Will Byrnes

    In volume two of

    trilogy, Ragnwald, (the glug-glug royal of book 1, henceforth referred to as Rags) is off engaging in battles to secure as much of Norway as possible for King Harald, and suffers a bad oopsy when he is tricked into attacking Hara

    In volume two of

    trilogy, Ragnwald, (the glug-glug royal of book 1, henceforth referred to as Rags) is off engaging in battles to secure as much of Norway as possible for King Harald, and suffers a bad oopsy when he is tricked into attacking Harald’s men. Although he quickly recovers, damage is done that will inform the rest of the story. Some guy named Atli, and his armed associates, stroll into Sogn, Rags’s property, and take over. Definitely bad optics for King Harald’s right hand man to lose his own turf so easily. Of course it is tough to defend your turf when you are away so often at war.

    - image from her site

    Svanhild, to be referred to here as Svan, is an attentive student of her husband, the raider (inspired by Loki) Solvi, and has become a fine seawoman. But their son does not share their aqueous inclinations. Svan wants to have some land on which to raise him, so off to Iceland, a place many turned to as an escape from the constant warring in Scandinavia, and the taxes imposed by new rulers. Sure, it has some issues with volcanism (don’t know if the early settlers were beset by fairies yet), but it was possible for any enterprising Viking to claim a plot of land (that was not already claimed, of course) by measuring out the turf he (or she) could walk a bovine in a set period. (Run, Elsie, run!) Domestic bliss does not ensue, as Solvi would prefer to win back his ancestral land in Norway, and is insensitive to his son’s needs. Svan is faced with some pretty serious choices, however much these crazy kids are drawn to each other. By being part of Solvi’s company, Svan is put into the position of having to make war on her brother, Rags, and a very hunky guy who has the hots for her, King Harald. What’s a budding

    , a vivacious

    to do?

    Complications are present everywhere, helped along by a polygamous society, assuring competition, overt and concealed, among the not-always-so-sisterly wives, for benefits (better lodging, food, clothing) for themselves and their children (a high place in the hierarchy of who will inherit the most from papa), not to mention concubines, and

    rug rats. There is plenty of family feuding as well, among brothers mostly, for who deserves daddy’s approval (land, army, and throne). As one might imagine this leads to some bad decisions. And kings being kings, and princes being princes, feeling that they can do whatever they want without consequence, there are some feckless, cruel deeds committed, which, according to Newton’s laws of physics, entail opposite reactions.

    Not all the bi-horned raider sorts are the same. Some trust to fate and feelz, while other players are more strategic, able to see entire chessboards instead of only single moves. This perspective leads to using people as pawns in the larger game. Does that make them bad people? Or just smart ones? Sometimes the pawns resent being used.

    Faroe Islands - shot from LH’s Tumblr

    Between the sundry family and military battles, the back-stabbings, the plotting, and the double-dealing, you might be reminded of

    . One difference, though, between, this and tGot, as well as a difference between this and the prior volume in the series, is the absence of magic. Sorry, no dragons, white walkers, queens giving birth to eggs, no people or other creatures returning from the dead, et al. This is not a fantasy novel, but a historical one. The series tells of the creation of Norway, using real, historical characters, with a few made-up ones included to smooth the story-telling. The first volume dipped into the vision thing, for a bit of fantasy, based nicely in the religious beliefs of the age. This time, not so much. Although it is not entirely clear whether Harald’s mother, Ronhild, a respected healer, might not be adding a dash of witchery into her herbal potions. And Harald does still seem blessed by the gods. Hartsuyker even mentions in an interview that he was so unrelentingly successful that he became too boring to use as the main character, leading her to look elsewhere for focal points.

    The first novel split its attention between the two siblings, Rags and Svan, with a preponderance of ink given to the Ragstime. This time (and the title should clue you in to this) more attention is paid to the ladies, although Hartsuyker maintains a pretty reasonable balance between the hims and hers. Hartsuyker is interested not only in how Norway came to be, but in the roles of men and women in the struggle for its creation.

    Replica of a 9th century Viking ship – image from Ancient-Origins.com

    She talked about this in an interview for The Qwillery:

    Svan is truly Svan in a million, sustaining the independent spirit she demonstrated in volume 1, absorbing knowledge like a sponge, standing up for what she believes is right, and having the courage to make extremely difficult choices. She is referred to by both Solvi and Harald as a

    , and makes good on the title.

    In the Genre Bending Interview, Hartsuyker talks about the ancient world as offering the same appeal as dystopian, post-apocalyptic tales, as the people had minimal tech, and kinetic conflict was primarily physical as opposed to technological. No drone strikes or programmed viruses in ancient Norway.

    Pimngvellir, site of the ancient Icelandic Parliament – image from Icelanmdmonitor.mbl.is

    Gripes are few here. I hoped for more of the fantastical element, which was more overt in the first book, but more undercover here. Being an adult male, I would have liked to have seen more of the kinetic conflict from an immediate perspective, instead of having so much of it reported after the fact. There is also the eternal problem of second books in a series. One of the great joys in reading any series is getting to know the characters as they are introduced. Once we know them, that tingle is gone. The shininess of book one is maybe a shade less sparkly the second time around, but there is certainly enough going on to keep one interested, and enough new faces and situations to add extra depth and color.

    This guy might make a pretty good Solvi - image fr0m apple mania.co

    On the other hand, I really enjoyed the palace intrigue and exploring the characters’ palette of thoughts and feelings about the challenges they faced. Rags’ continuing struggle to do right by his family and his king, could echo any 21st century man’s challenge in balancing work and family. The themes that permeate the novel, while well-grounded in this ancient time, resonate with life today.

    Not to mention eternal themes of love and passion, which figure large here. Be sure to stay away from Wikipedia or Viking history sites if you want to keep the conclusion of it all from spoiling your enjoyment of these novels. They

    based on actual history. But if you can manage that, you are in for a treat.

    is a worthy successor to

    , and an intriguing bridge to the final book in the series,

    , due out Summer 2019. Hop aboard. You will enjoy the ride, and take off that silly hat.

    Review posted – August 17, 2018

    Publication date – August 14, 2018

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    Links to the author’s

    ,

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    ,

    , and

    pages

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    -– Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    ----- Fantasy Literature -

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    - video – about 10 minutes

    -----The Harper Book Queen included a look at this book in her

    FB live broadcast from 8/14/18 - it's the first book covered

  • Travel.with.a.book

    Hartsuyker creates an incredible background of Norway and melts family drama, alliences and Viking fights in a perfect way like no-one else!

    When I finished the first book THE HALF DROWNED KING, I never thought that the second book can be that interesting and enjoyable, but it turned that The Sea Queen was even more thrilling and beautiful, I really love the sorting of acts the Author has written, and the details are perfect!

    My biggest wish is to see these books in a big major picture, it really

    Hartsuyker creates an incredible background of Norway and melts family drama, alliences and Viking fights in a perfect way like no-one else!

    When I finished the first book THE HALF DROWNED KING, I never thought that the second book can be that interesting and enjoyable, but it turned that The Sea Queen was even more thrilling and beautiful, I really love the sorting of acts the Author has written, and the details are perfect!

    My biggest wish is to see these books in a big major picture, it really deserves it, and some parts were even more interesting than GOT!!!

    .

    Second book is more different in many things, the Author has explored lots of topics and has menaged to sort them so good as you'll love it while reading it!

    If I can describe The Sea Queen in three words it would definetely be: Heart-breaking, Powerful, and Magnificent!!!

    THE SEA QUEEN is focused more at Svanhild which I really love her, she is a brave and strong woman which the Author has created a very lovely character!

    .

    Ragnvald is Svanhild's brother and he is a great man too, all his power id dedicated to save his grandfather's land which is super detailed in the book! Svanhild is now free from her step father and she's married with Solvi, but not everything is perfect after a tragic moment within the family which the book takes another turn and it really becomes more interesting!

    .

    And there is King Harald who wants tu control all Norway, and keeping Svanhild and Ragnvald close is better for him to win the battles he has in front of his eyes! The manipulations of the novel are so unexpected, for me it seemed an astounding thrill as every character has a mission and all of them plays a major role inside the book! I really am honoured to read Hartsuyker's books, she is the most talented person to write in this genre, you wouldn't want to miss these wonderful and epic Viking historical fictions!

  • Amy Imogene Reads

    4.5. stars

    Vikings, Norse origin stories, swashbuckling sea epics, intrigue, betrayal, love, hate, brotherhood, suspense, surprises, death. And a dash of women's oppression/agency to make your emotions extra confused.

    is such a large concept I don't even know how to break it down.

    ★★★★★

    ★★ and ★★★★

    ★★ 1/2

    ★★★★★

    is the second book in the Half-Drowned King trilogy, which is

    4.5. stars

    Vikings, Norse origin stories, swashbuckling sea epics, intrigue, betrayal, love, hate, brotherhood, suspense, surprises, death. And a dash of women's oppression/agency to make your emotions extra confused.

    is such a large concept I don't even know how to break it down.

    ★★★★★

    ★★ and ★★★★

    ★★ 1/2

    ★★★★★

    is the second book in the Half-Drowned King trilogy, which is

    . Enter the most interesting and fantasy epic-esque historical fiction novel that I have ever read.

    This series is something special. Following multiple POVs at the heart of this multi-year epic story, it's occasionally hard to keep everyone's plot line straight. Maybe it's because Norse names are so hard to pronounce and remember. Or because so many of the character arcs are more convoluted than fantasies. Who knows. Either way,

    takes the political maneuverings of its characters to the next level.

    However, be prepared for some pretty significant time jumps. With the amount of action

    has,

    This isn't an exact number, but the entire novel spans what feels like almost 10 years. And it jumps from year to year randomly—for example, a character finds out she's pregnant at the end of one chapter, and then the next page she's had her baby several months ago. But then, there will be three chapters in a row where the action is happening back to back. Excuse me, but what?

    Ragnavald's complicated viewpoints on honor and loyalty, Solvi's deviousness, Svanhild's sense of strength—even if I wanted to shake her at times, and the lush worldbuilding. Oh, and

    of the novel...

    The random jumps in time (see above).

    . Svanhild's storyline broke my HEART, and I kept wanting to reach into the story and shake the woman and tell her to do something—anything—to push back on these terrible ideas of womanhood and coerced sexual situations. It's a testament to this story's epic world building and emotional range that I continued to read, as this topic is one that usually leaves me with an automatic DNF.

  • Kim McGee

    Ragnvald the half-drowned king is still fighting battles to keep his kingdom and fight for Harald who will be the King of all Norway. This powerful sequel to THE HALF-DROWNED KING features more tough Viking women - none more fierce than Svanhild, dubbed the Sea Queen. While most women were passed from family to family for political alliances or survival, Svanhild knew better than most men how to play to win. She was a superior sea captain and understood the politics better than most men. Linnea

    Ragnvald the half-drowned king is still fighting battles to keep his kingdom and fight for Harald who will be the King of all Norway. This powerful sequel to THE HALF-DROWNED KING features more tough Viking women - none more fierce than Svanhild, dubbed the Sea Queen. While most women were passed from family to family for political alliances or survival, Svanhild knew better than most men how to play to win. She was a superior sea captain and understood the politics better than most men. Linnea Hartsuyker takes the old Norse legends and breathes new life into them with these remarkable characters. Her research is first rate and she creates a very believable picture of what the Vikings were like - all the drama, politics and violence. This is the book to read if you have never missed an episode of VIKINGS or love the family drama of GAME OF THRONES. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  • Truman32

    The Half-Drowned King viking trilogy has been compared to the

    books and in some ways this is understandable. Both consist of a series of assembled pages of mushed wood fibers bound with heavy covers and spines. Both are rectangular in dimension and portable. And both make top-grade spider crushers if you happen to stumble across a particularly aggressive arachnid scurrying across the kitchen floor. Yet in other ways this is unfair.

    is such an established, popular

    The Half-Drowned King viking trilogy has been compared to the

    books and in some ways this is understandable. Both consist of a series of assembled pages of mushed wood fibers bound with heavy covers and spines. Both are rectangular in dimension and portable. And both make top-grade spider crushers if you happen to stumble across a particularly aggressive arachnid scurrying across the kitchen floor. Yet in other ways this is unfair.

    is such an established, popular series that these comparisons can lead to disappointment, frustration, and (according to Web M.D.) even oozing boils. It reminds me of a past experience of mine, from back in high school. I was at the big Rydell dance with Cha Cha, but I could not stop comparing her to the girl I already really liked – Sandy Olsson, this sweet Australian girl I met over the summer break. Sandy was great and I was smitten with her from when I first saved her life (she had a cramp and nearly drowned). But in her own way, Cha Cha was great too. She was sultry, a great dancer, and, unbeknownst to many a leading philanthropist: tirelessly working to replenish Bluefin Tuna populations in northern Atlantic waters, purchasing school supplies for needy students unfairly cursed with red-hair (the silent gingers), and even donating a kidney to famed actor Ed Asner. Even my good pals Kenickie and Rizzo agreed that I should have valued Cha Cha on her own merits, rather then comparing her to some blonde angel who resembled the stunning Olivia Newton John. And the same should be said for the Half-Drowned King series.

    out of it.

    is the second book here and it moves just as fast (with the same thrills, chills, and Norwegian mayhem) as the first one. Author Linnea Hartsuyker brings the characters to life in such vibrancy you can practically smell the pickled herring and hear the screams of agony as battle-axes sunder limbs and phalanges. Our hero Ragnvald is waging war for King Harald as his sister, Svanhild sails the turbulent seas with his greatest enemy, Solvi Hunthiofsson. But these situations are bound to change. As any educated reader of

    knows, Vikings are a proud people and they get their noses bent out of joint easily. This means before you can shout, “Valhalla, I am coming!” there will be many betrayals, double-crosses, and unadulterated skullduggery. The plot is sharper than the tapered points atop a horned helmet and the pages run by quicker than Adrian Peterson charging towards the end zone at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

    is a worthy sequel to a fine series that even Odin, ruler of Asgard, would give two hearty thumbs up.

  • Lekeisha The Booknerd

    Much of what I loved about The Half-Drowned King is repeated in this sequel, only much more enhanced. I've always loved Svanhild's character, but she has grown even more here. Her ambitions are much appreciated because if there is one good thing that comes from history, it is that women are determined not to be walked over. While Ragnvald is fighting his own battles concerning Harald, Svanhild is fighting an even bigger battle. It's no spoiler that she is a mother now, but she wants more for the

    Much of what I loved about The Half-Drowned King is repeated in this sequel, only much more enhanced. I've always loved Svanhild's character, but she has grown even more here. Her ambitions are much appreciated because if there is one good thing that comes from history, it is that women are determined not to be walked over. While Ragnvald is fighting his own battles concerning Harald, Svanhild is fighting an even bigger battle. It's no spoiler that she is a mother now, but she wants more for them. Solvi is a Viking to his core, and he and Svanhild butt heads more often than not. While Viking men are hard, Svanhild proves that women can be just as fierce.

    I absolutely love how much more of this Viking-era that Hartsuyker reimagined. It is filled with politics and war, which is an exhilarating combination when reading historical fiction. If you appreciate thorough research - which is evident in this Viking saga - then I highly recommend this trilogy. I can't wait for the final book!

  • Maja

    As I said in my review for the prior book, this sort of thing isn't my usual style at all, but it shares a lot of qualities with the sort of sprawling epic fantasy I tend to really enjoy, so I'm ultimately so very here for it. The plot is dense but never moves too quickly; the characters are engaging, compelling, and complexly intertwined in super delightful ways. The writing is gorgeous, and the worldbuilding (if you can call it that in historical fiction??) is so intricate and lovely. I really

    As I said in my review for the prior book, this sort of thing isn't my usual style at all, but it shares a lot of qualities with the sort of sprawling epic fantasy I tend to really enjoy, so I'm ultimately so very here for it. The plot is dense but never moves too quickly; the characters are engaging, compelling, and complexly intertwined in super delightful ways. The writing is gorgeous, and the worldbuilding (if you can call it that in historical fiction??) is so intricate and lovely. I really, really enjoyed this, just as much as the first one if not more!

    I loved checking in with all of the characters I loved so much, and seeing how much has changed, how the relationships and connections have shifted and keep shifting. The stakes feel so much higher, as does my investment; I love how much Svanhild, especially, has grown and matured, and how much of a badass she remains in pretty much every capacity. The world feels so much bigger, here, both in scope of the characters (so many POVs!) and the story itself. I really, really enjoyed it, and am so glad this series is continuing.

    Biggest complaint about it, though -- even though a great deal of it is more enjoyable to me than book one! -- is the giant time skip between the books (and the smaller one mid-book!!), which is mentioned in the summary here but WITHIN THE NARRATIVE DOES NOT GET EXPLAINED AT ALL!! At least give me an aside at the start or something, Linnea, what the fuck!! It confused me SO INTENSELY at the beginning, and it took me a long time to try to gauge just how much time must have passed, and it just... threw me all off, in a series that's already so dense, with such difficulty keeping track of both plot and characters. No need to make it so much worse for no reason when it could all be cleared up SO BRIEFLY!! You shouldn't expect that readers are definitely going to see the summary and be prepared (especially since I think the inside jacket flap doesn't spell the length of the skip out like this one does??), and things in this series are already complicated enough without adding meta complications to the pot!!

  • Reggie Kray

    I preferred the first volume in this series. Although this sequel was a pretty decent read. If a bit flat and anticlimactic. The author did extensive research while compiling this story. Which I really appreciate when reading historical fiction.

  • Catherine

    1)

    ★★★

    I feel pretty much the same about this book as I did about the first novel of this trilogy. I absolutely love the amazing historical part the author put so much dedication into. She deserves a lot of praise for this, because it's not easy. The plot follow the end of

    of course, so we have our two siblings, Ragnvald and Svanhild, each fighting their own battl

    1)

    ★★★

    I feel pretty much the same about this book as I did about the first novel of this trilogy. I absolutely love the amazing historical part the author put so much dedication into. She deserves a lot of praise for this, because it's not easy. The plot follow the end of

    of course, so we have our two siblings, Ragnvald and Svanhild, each fighting their own battles.

    Now, my issue with the first book was that I didn't feel much for the characters. While I'm still not in love with this series, I did like Svanhild and I felt more invested in her arc in this second novel. It's not that I don't care about Ragnvald, and his character is very well-written in both books (if you read my review for the first novel, you also know that I love siblings relationships and it was also well done). But I honestly don't feel much invested in his character. I can't relate to him and feel for him, which once again was my main issue with the first book. In this one, I felt more for Svanhild and she's definitely my favorite character.

    However, while I like this series, it's still a three stars ratings because there's something missing for me to love it. I still recommend to everyone who has an interest in Vikings Era (maybe that's also why I don't feel that much invested?), historical fiction done with a lot of research and good writing to give a chance to those books who seem underrated to me despite the personal rating I gave. I truly believe more people would love those books if they read it.

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