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5+ stars for Beyond the Dragonhead by @MindToEducation #yalit #histfic #vikings #bookreview

Title: Beyond the Dragonhead: A Viking Adventure (Viking Refugees Book 1)

Author: Kelly Nichols and Alyn Rockwood

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

Her life was largely idyllic. Then a tyrant came for her family…

Northern Europe, 1000 AD. Thyra Andersdotter has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Spending countless hours in the forest learning archery and foraging for herbs, the fifteen-year-old healer is happiest in nature. But a routine walk with her father turns tragic when they return home to find their village burned and most everyone killed or taken.

Fleeing with their wounded kinsmen, Thyra despairs that her modest skill won’t be enough to save a handsome young warrior. And with her father the target of a wicked king’s vengeance, she fears nowhere they can go will be safe.

Can Thyra and her clan reach refuge before the barbaric ruler cuts them down?

Beyond the Dragonhead is the page-turning first book in the Viking Refugees YA historical fiction series. If you like valiant characters, epic adventures, and rich period detail, then you’ll love Kelly Nichols and Alyn Rockwood’s sweeping tale of Norse bravery.

My Review:

A child of nature, Thyra Andersdotter's life changes forever when a blood-thirsty king hunts down her father and thrusts them to flee their homeland. Thyra Andersdotter loves nothing more than spending her day in the forest learning archery and herbs. But all that changes when she and her father return from a walk in the forest to find their village burned and everyone either brutally murdered or taken hostage. On the run with those wounded in battle, she worries her limited knowledge won't save them. Can she and her father outrun a barbarian bent on vengeance or has the enemy infiltrated their ranks and only death awaits them?

Beyond the Dragonhead is a brilliant young adult Viking historical fiction I couldn't put down. For the first time in my reading life, the Vikings are not portrayed as barbarians but a close-knit community who are trying to outrun their enemies. I connected with Thyra right away. She's such a wonderful character and her POV gave the reader an in-depth reading experience. The descriptive narration is historically accurate with a fantasy vibe I really enjoyed. The stakes are extremely high for young Thyra and how she handled it all impressed me. The sense of foreboding is interwoven throughout the plot which had me whipping through the pages until the very end. Beyond the Dragonhead is written by two authors yet the story flows so beautifully, you'd think it was written by a single author. If you're a fan of Viking historical fiction, pick up Beyond the Dragonhead. If you love all things Nordic, you'll want to read Beyond the Dragonhead. I can't wait to read the next installment in this series. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5+ stars

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Author Biography:

Originally from Michigan, Kelly Nichols moved to Colorado with her husband in 1994 and started a private tutoring business the following year. Before homeschooling their five children, she earned bachelor’s degrees from Hope College in exercise science and educational psychology. When she isn’t tutoring math or science, she’s probably playing volleyball, reading, spending time with family and friends, attending a concert or bible study, cooking, gardening, skating, traveling, or learning something new. Her favorite places are libraries and tropical beaches.

Alyn Rockwood grew up on a bucolic farm in Utah, tending fruit and chucking hay. He has also worked in a hard rock uranium mine, taught school in Hamburg, Germany, and attended Cambridge University where he pestered a Fellow of the British Royal Society until they finally awarded him a PhD in applied mathematics. From there he alternated between industrial research and teaching college students. His mother instilled a love of literature, a fascination with history, and an interest in his Swedish ancestry, which all conspired in the creation of this book.

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Reviewed by: Mrs. N


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