Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard, #1)


The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard, #1)Author: Tessa Gratton
Series:The United States of Asgard,#1
Release date: June 24th 2013
Publisher: Random House
Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Fans of Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Holly Black's The Curse Workers will embrace this richly drawn, Norse-mythology-infused alternate world: the United States of Asgard.

Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood--the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd's Academy. But that's hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That's not all Astrid dreams of--the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities.
When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they've been told they have to be.
What would it be like if gods were actually around to govern our lives? Can you imagine the United States under the rule of Norse deities? Even if you could, you really don’t have to –Tessa Gratton has already done it with great success.

Every person in the United States of Asgard is a devotee of some Norse god, depending on their talents, convictions and just general attitude towards life. They pray to their gods knowing that the deities are real and involved in state affairs. There is no need for faith, although they often proclaim it, there is only absolute certainty.

However, knowing the gods are real doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to love them. That is the case with Soren. He has nothing but contempt for Odin the Alfather and refuses to worship him or wear his insignia. Soren is unwilling to accept his destiny and become a full berserker. His whole life is focused on avoiding the fate of his father who murdered numerous people in a berserker rage.

When winter ends and Baldur the Beautiful fails to rise from the ashes, the world is in an uproar. Talk of Ragnarok terrifies people all over the USA so Odin offers a boon to the person who finds his son and brings him back. Soren, desperate to be free of his legacy and his friend Astrid who wants to find her missing mother, leave school with the intention of finding Baldur. With her seer abilities and his berserker strength, they might just stand a chance.

In her distinctive writing style, Tessa Gratton created a remarkable, fascinating and memorable story. Her worldbuilding is imaginative and bold and her sentences a beauty to behold. That’s not to say, however, that her book is without faults. While I appreciate Gratton’s somewhat subdued writing style, I wish she’d approached characterization a bit more openly and freely. As it was, Soren’s voice left a lot to be desired. As hard as I tried, he always remained just out of grasp and I haven’t quite managed to figure him out.

By law, Soren is required to have a spear tattoo on his left cheek that marks him as a berserker. He is not allowed to conceal it in any way so when people see it, they respond with open hostility. I admire Gratton for using Soren to explore the position of someone permanently marked as something that is perceived as unwanted and dangerous to society. We have a great many examples of this in our history, be it the scarlet A or the Star of David.

Like everything else, the romance in The Lost Sun is beautiful, but subtle. Soren and Astrid are an odd pair, one that would certainly benefit from a lengthy conversation or two, but that is not Tessa Gratton’s style. By the end, I grew attached to both of them and I can’t wait to see how their story will unfold in future installments.


26 comments:

  1. HUH. Sounds really interesting! I do love mythology and Norse mythology is very intriguing. Plus, I do like Tessa Gratton quite a bit.

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  2. A subtle but beautiful romance sounds great. I need to think about this one more, but think I am adding to tbr

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  3. I've really been looking forward to this one. It's sounds like it's a bit overly subtle, but I do prefer that to being hit over the head with anvils.

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  4. I did really like this story, but I do agree with how the characters are a bit subtle in getting to know them. You can check out my review HERE.

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  5. Berserkers are such fascinating creatures, I've always pinned them as being very similar to werewolves but with extra rage. I haven't heard of The Lost Sun and I'm so glad you reviewed it, this is definitely going in my tbr. Great review, Maja!

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  6. How is it I haven't heard of this book before Maja? Norse gods involved in the ruling of the United States? Um, yes please. I definitely want to see how different things would be with gods calling the shots (and if I happen to picture Chris Hemsworth as Thor while reading, so be it), and while I'm a little bummed you never quite connected with Soren, everything else sounds fantastic.

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  7. I haven't heard anything about this one before, but it seems like a promising start. I'll probably wait till the entire series - or at least more of it - is out before picking this up, but I'm quite excited. Also, I'm so excited you're reading Shadows! I think I'll be starting Haze in July so I'm hoping the sequel is as good as Book 1 and I hope you enjoy it! :D

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  8. I saw this one somewhere recently and now I can't remember where! I was hoping it would be a good read. I am glad you enjoyed it. I have just recently gotten into Norse mythology and I am liking it!

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  9. I haven't tried this author, but I want to. I love books that incorporate Norse mythology and for some reason I am getting a Gameboard of the Gods vibe reading this review. Happy weekend, girl!

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  10. I seriously love the sound of this one. I love Norse mythology. The writing style sounds very unique, I'm not sure if I would like that or not. Seems like it is more plot focused than character driven? Thanks for an honest review!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

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  11. Mythology and the psychological exploration aspect of a visible mark. Oh yea, this sounds like one I would enjoy. I'm surprised I haven't heard of this one... but now that I have it is going on my long wishlist! :D If I get buried in the list, I'm blaming you... ;)

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  12. This sounds really interesting, the mythology and the different classification of people who follow different gods. Looking forward to this. Wonderful review Maja :)

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  13. Yes yes, we've heard the usual controlling government, but ruled by GODS? I'm definitely intrigued now. I'm pleased to hear that Gratton's world that she's created is vivid and bold, but the fact that the characters fell a little flat has made me wary. The concept is just so interesting that I think I'll just have to pick it up though! Lovely review, Maja.

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  14. Huh, I don't think I've seen this one before, however the title seems a little familiar. The writing seems like a shining point here!

    Lovely review, Maja! <33

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  15. Lovely review, Maja! Although that subtle, subdued style generally tends to work for me, I haven't really been too interested in this one. I guess that's mostly because Blood Magic failed to wow me. Still, now that you've reviewed it, and now that I'm actually paying attention to what it's about, I'll definitely give Gratton another try. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. :) Lovely review!

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  16. I think from the cover and series name alone, I'll definitely read this!! Awwww I love how the romance is beautiful but subtle! You have no idea how many times I've cursed while reading because the plot somehow changed direction halfway through the book to focus entirely on the couple's relationship. Glad you enjoyed this Maja<333 Fab review!!

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  17. I'm usually skeptical when I see things like "Fans of Neil Gaiman will love this" because it is so rarely true. But this sounds absolutely fascinating! Plus if you loved it, I am more inclined to trust that it is well worth reading. Wonderful review as always!

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  18. Beautiful review, Maja! Despite lower rating it makes me still want to read it, because this sounds absolutely fascinating!

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  19. I have read a few books with Norse mythology but you can't have enough of these. But then I'm not a huge fan of Neil Gaimen's writing. I mean I like his creativity and imagination but it's not working for me. Great review Maja :)

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  20. This certainly sounds like an interesting concept, Maja! I love Norse mythology and any kind of historical-ish connection, so I'll definitely be checking this one out.

    Lovely review! :)

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  21. Wonderful review Maja! I barely know anything about Norse mythology but I'm intrigued to learn. Like before Percy Jackson, I was clueless on greek mythology and now I feel like an amateur expert. This sounds like an imaginative book and its always nice to see the "marked" caste point of view.

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  22. I have this one (I have been carrying it everywhere while on vacation thinking I will read it) so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, even if it wasn't perfect. I have heard that its a little weird so I was concerned but I feel better about it now. I do enjoy her writing and stories so I grabbed it for that reason.

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  23. Ooooo, now I'm liking the sounds of this one. Thank you! It's all new to me. :)

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  24. I really like Norse Mythology and this sounds fascinating.This is actually the first time I have seen this and you have my interest piqued!

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  25. Well, now that is an interesting premise! Yup, I love it. I'm surprised this is the first I'm hearing of this. Because I'd be all over a plot involving Norse Gods controlling the US. I am not familiar with Tessa Gratton's writing, but it sounds lovely. Sounds like other aspects of the story could've be more developed, but otherwise sounds good. I'm curious how the sequel will fare in reviews. Really great review!

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  26. I really love when authors take on the Norse gods, and this sounds like an interesting world! I like Tessa's Blood Magic books, but occasionally the writing got on my nerves. It's a shame you couldn't connect with Soren, but I'm glad you were able to enjoy the book overall, and find enough to latch onto to keep with the series. I'll have to give this a try! Lovely review :-)

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