Top 8 Norse YA Fantasy Books (For 2023)
The Viking Age is officially known to spread over three centuries in the Middle Ages, when warriors from the North raided, colonized, and conquered pretty much anything they could, reaching North America as well.
Norsemen, like Vikings are often referred to, are considered barbarians with nothing but war in their heart. The truth is there are many real stories that showed they had more to offer. And based on these stories, there is plenty of fiction as well.
I won’t go into small details and debate what Vikings were like, but if you're into some great stories about war, action, and history, these are some of my favorite Norse fantasy books. Trust me, it's not all about war and murder, but also about family, drama, and love.
What Are the top Norse Fantasy Books for Young Adults?
The Reckling (Northern Lights Book 1), by V L Shanholtz (2022)
This is not just one of the best Norse fantasy books of 2023, but one of the most impressive releases ever. I know what you’re thinking, there’s probably lots of blood and murder, but you’re wrong. It’s a story about love and family with a dash of war and action.
Anyway, the story begins just before Falko’s 12th birthday. At 12 years old, young boys become warriors. It's his big night, and just like for everyone else before, the whole community gathers around to welcome a new warrior and celebrate his new destiny.
Ready to take the world by storm, it feels like everything is falling apart from Falko before it even starts. The next day brings in an unimaginable drama. His grandfather and grandmother are murdered. And without any witnesses, the guilt falls on his eldest brother.
A whole drama begins, with the village elders trying to identify the killer and make a fair judgment. There's a big problem, though. One of these elders hates Falko's family and will do anything to destroy it, with or without evidence.
Falko’s path in life as a warrior starts with a terrible problem. Now, he has seven days to prove his brother’s innocence. And to do it, he’ll also have to find the real killer. Get ready for action, plot twists, and a storyline that will hook you in straight away.
Blood Eagle (The Whale Road Chronicles Book 6), by Tim Hodkinson (2023)
This is one of those Norse fantasy books that feels a little like actual history. It’s written like fiction, but it’s realistic, so you’ll find it difficult to tell what it is. Let me make it clear for you, it’s historical fiction. In other words, it’s based on a few real things, but the actual storyline is fantasy.
This is the sixth book in The Whale Road Chronicles series. Obviously, reading the previous ones would help a little and give you a few hints about the characters. But even if you haven’t read them, you’ll get the story without too much hassle.
All in all, the action follows Einar and the so-called Wolf Coats. They’re on a new mission. This time, they need to go to France, which is already torn apart by internal wars. At that time, France and England had a different type of relationship. Many French nobles were seeking refuge in England.
One of these nobles is Louis, the potential king of France. One thing leads to another, and everyone ends up in England, at King Aethelstan's court. Louis decides it's time to reclaim the throne with Aethelstan's support. The English king knows that if he succeeds, he'll have an incredibly powerful ally for the future.
And that’s when the action begins. Aethelstan knows he has the right people there, and that's when the Viking mission begins. It’s a battle where everyone has an objective. It’s a secret mission, indeed, but things are about to escalate pretty quickly.
The Oath of Bjorn (The Vinland Viking Saga Book 3), by Tamara Goranson (2023)
I don’t know what’s with me and series, I just find them more attractive. I believe once you fall in love with a story, you want more of it. And when there isn’t, you feel like there’s a gap in your heart, a gap that you need to fill. That’s probably why I like the series, there’s always a bit more to add to the story.
The Oath of Bjorn is the third book in The Vinland Viking Saga. I’m not sure how to describe it, it’s Viking action, but a lot of fantasy and perhaps a bit of romance too. There's something for everyone, and while reading the first two books is a good idea, it's not mandatory. However, you'd get a bit of history.
Anyway, the story follows Anja and Bjorn. They have started a new life, and they're trying to establish a family in Leifsbidur. But then, there’s a Beothuk warrior out there with a different plan, seeking revenge for the past. Now, the couple’s future depends on the helmsman.
The problem is the helmsman Karl has a series of dealings with the Beothuk warriors. Many of them are made in personal interest, so he’s only making life hard for Vikings, without worrying about potential conflicts that may arise later on.
Things escalate pretty fast, and Anja and Bjorn find themselves threatened. Bjorn is ready to risk everything to protect his new life, but Anja must join him. The story follows two peaceful souls with warrior blood, trying to survive in a world of war and despair. Get ready for plenty of plot twists and action!
To Calm a Storm (Tavland Vikings Book 2), by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore (2023)
This is one of those Norse fantasy books that take everything in a different direction. Sure, we all imagine Vikings as heartless warriors looking for blood, but no, this book goes further. It’s a saga based on women who actually rule the hearts of Vikings. Unusual, I know, but definitely worth a read.
Again, this is part of a series. It’s the second book in the Tavland Vikings series. This time, I believe you should actually read the first part because personal history is important to understand the connections. However, this second book is by far the best in the series.
Anyway, Kadhrin is now ready to get married to Vikarr. It's like everyone's expecting it. Vikarr is the second in command of the king. As they get married, she realizes that her new husband is a more serious ruler and would make an excellent king. Therefore, she pushes him to plan overthrowing the current king.
To Vikarr, getting married to a noble is something to be proud of. He loves the passion growing between them, but he can't really understand why she's so motivated to overthrow the king. Tension builds up, and Vikarr finds himself stuck between the love of his love, his loyalty to the king and his desire to rule.
At this point, it looks like the kingdom is exposed to wars from all directions, both internal and external. The couple ends up in a web of betrayal and intrigue, not sure who to trust and who to fight. But things will settle toward the end, so get ready for a twisted ending.
Of Ravens and Wolves, by M.K. Robert (2023)
No one’s really bothered about the battle of Doncaster. Well, everyone is, but no one is actually talking about it. It was a failed battle, with many wrong tactics and terrible leadership. It was a massive loss for everyone, but life goes on.
Things go from bad to worse after losing Elwyna too. It feels like there’s no hope for the community, but two people decide to keep pushing. War is quickly spreading around Mercia and Wessex, despite the numerous calls for peace from King Edmund.
And as if all these were not enough, it looks like a witch is about to come over from Wales. Known as The Dark One, she spreads chaos wherever she goes, and she wants to take everything over. Her powers are renowned, causing even more despair among people.
At this point, there's only one thing that could bring peace, and that's capturing The Dark One. She's the only one that can break a spell put on the queen by someone else. And this is when the action begins, as it seems everyone is motivated by the same thing.
Get ready for plenty of action, betrayal, and plot twists in one of the best Norse fantasy books in The Vikings Saga series.
Promises of the Runes, by Christina Courtenay (2023)
There are so many legends and fantasy myths about Vikings that there’s always room for more, and no matter what you come up with, people will accept and embrace it. I thought the same when I started the Runes series. This is the fifth book and probably the best.
The action begins in our times. Ivar Thoresson loves adventure. He’s an archaeologist who’s absolutely obsessed with Vikings. His dream? Traveling back in time to learn more about those fascinating times. And he knows he’s adopted, so maybe he could find one of his real ancestors, such as warrior Thorald
It’s an idea that’s less likely to become a reality, but others have done it before, so he gets ready for the adventure of a lifetime. However, he finds an amulet that shows him a vision, a vision about a woman with golden red hair looking for help.
Ivar knows he has a mission now, and he decides to take the journey. He goes back in time, trying to find his ancestors, uncover his destiny and find the woman he fell in love with. It’s an amazing story based on the fascinating idea of traveling back in time. It is crazy for a Norse fantasy book, but it’s extraordinary.
The Valkyrie, by Kate Heartfield (2023)
This is an epic story based on Northern folklore and legends. It follows Brynhild, a Valkyrie. She has a destiny, but like others before her, she has fallen in disgrace. She's now in exile, and there’s nothing she can do to become who she was.
Meanwhile, Gudrun is a princess. She rules over Burgundy, and despite her power, it looks like her destiny has already been sealed. Promised to a king seeking conquest, she holds the key to peace and the union of two kingdoms.
And then, there’s another character. Sigurd is one of the most respected heroes in the world for his fighting abilities and honorable behavior. It sounds like they have nothing in common, but their stories will soon lead to a common point.
Destined to be enemies, they're proof that legends can often be lies. They're proof that a simple decision can change everything, especially with so many factors around.
No One's Viking, by Megan Formanek (2023)
The second book in the Viking Trading Lands series brings in a few historical details, as well as plenty of fantasy and unique characters. The action takes place during the Rurikid Dynasty and tells Astrid’s story, with a plethora of turns and twists.
Astrid is a textile merchant with a reputation. She's discovered a new life after becoming successful, and it's now time to expand her business. Besides, she wants to give her daughter more support too. There's only one problem, her husband has finished his trade mission, but he’s not back home yet.
Without any answers, she starts asking gods for answers. Out of nowhere, random gifts appear at her door, without any clues whatsoever. And then, her world collapses when someone from her past turns up in the community.
Astrid is drawn into a battle she has always tried to avoid. She realizes once a war begins, people suddenly turn into monsters. I won’t give you too many spoilers regarding the story, but trust me, there’s plenty of unexpected drama in this book.
Astrid embraces her Viking destiny, whether she wants it or not.
Final Thoughts on Norse YA Fantasy Books
I think there are quite a few other Norse fantasy books worth being mentioned, but the above mentioned list will take you through everything, from love and passion to drama, time traveling, action, and adventure. No matter what you're into, you'll find it in this list.
If you are seeking for more, check out more books from norse mythology.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has its unique value.