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Christmas in Iceland

Nordic Fantasy – The Successor of Nordic Noir?

Snuggling up on the couch and reading a book is a nice way to spend your day. Especially when winter is raging outside. Why not try Icelandic fantasy novels? Perhaps less known than its crime novel counterpart Nordic noir, you may expect a rise of Nordic fantasy in the coming years. As an introduction to the genre, we will list Icelandic fantasy authors you should keep an eye on.

Emil Hjörvar Petersen

Emil Hjörvar Petersen has published five novels, and three poetry collections. His most recent novels Víghólar and Sólhvörf (The Shroud and Solstice) are the first two books in fantasy crime series The Survivor’s Saga, a mix between Nordic noir and urban fantasy. The Survivor’s Saga takes place 7010 years after Ragnarök, the great battle described in the Poetic Edda. In a parallel version of the modern world, the exiled brothers Höður and Baldur survived the final battle. While searching for ways to extend their youth, they notice that dark forces, led by other survivors of Ragnarök, are on the rise.

Alexander Dan

Alexander Dan’s first novel, The Shadows of the Short Days, is coming out in 2019. After self-publishing it for the Icelandic market, the novel is set to be released in English at Gollancz Publishing. The story takes place in an alternate version of Reykjavík, with a mix of contemporary culture, history, and folklore. In the novel, Reykjavík is home to not only humans, but also otherworldly creatures and phenomenon. And moreover, wild and industrial magic rage through the city. In this setting, the characters try to forge a revolution against an oppressive government.


Hildur Knútsdóttir

Hildur Knútsdóttir has published many novels, among which the two popular novels, Vetrarfrí (Winter Dark) and Vetrarhörkur (Winter Frost). The first book tells the story of a normal family in modern Iceland when all of a sudden, the plague breaks out. Day-to-day dealings are not important anymore as everybody tries to stay alive. To make everything worse, aliens are responsible. In the sequel, the story centres around what the aliens want. Will life ever be normal again?

Snæbjörn Brynjarsson and Kjartan Yngvi Björnsson

Another example of popular fantasy literature is the trilogy Hrafnsauga (Raven’s Eye), Draumsverð (Dream Worth) & Ormstunga (Worm Tongue) by Snæbjörn Brynjarsson and Kjartan Yngvi Björnsson, telling an epic fantasy story starring a group of children – Ragnar, Sirja and Breki, and their friends. Evil forces that covered the land into darkness 1,000 years ago have awoken again and the children are unknowingly part of a much larger tale.

Ragnhildur Hólmgeirsdóttir

Ragnhildur Hólmgeirsdóttir studied history, specialising in the Middle Ages. Her debut is called The City of Bronze. The City of Bronze is set in a European city steeped in magic and tells the story of a society under threat of a deadly epidemic. We follow a boy called Pietro. He survived the plague and is looking for a group of orphans in the city who have taken over an abandoned stock market building. The children have built a community of their own in order to survive.

Do you want to know more about Icelandic literature? Then check out this article listing five Icelandic books you should read and this article naming the best contemporary Icelandic novels.

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