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.