Monday, June 3, 2013

The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard #1) by Tessa Gratton

First, let me say that I got this ARC for free at the RT Convention Teen Day party at the beginning of May.  And second, let me say that if you are looking for an original teen book, I think this fits the bill.  Now, this book is quite a change from the other books I've read by this author, Blood Magic, and The Blood Keeper. While those were pretty much about magic, as you'd guess from their titles, this book is about viking mythology.  With the new Viking show on the History channel, that I hear is pretty good, this is the right time to bring out a book like this.
The main character is Soren Bearskin, and he was born to be a berserker like his father.  His father is famous for when he berserked in a crowded mall.  Soren doesn't know what set him off, and never will, because his father immediately ran into the guns of the police that were there when it happened and died.  So Soren tries to do what he can to keep the beserking from ever actually taking hold in himself.  Exercises, meditation, etc.  Even though he is now marked with a tattoo on his face so that everyone knows who he may become, he still wants to fight it.  A new girl comes to his boarding school, her name is Astrid Glyn and she is able to see the future, thanks to her gift from the goddess Freya.  And for some reason, she immediately connects with Soren.  Tragedy strikes their country when Baldur the beautiful, one of their gods, does not resurrect from his ashes as he is supposed to do every year.  But Astrid has a feeling, actually a dream that night, that made her believe he is alive somewhere.  And when the scientists find the evidence that those ashes were not Baldur's, a search begins.  And so Astrid takes Soren with her, to help ground her as she seeks the lost god.
I loved the take on this country that is basically America, but I'm guessing it is a bit of history retold, with the Vikings settling here and being more of the majority of people.  The names and sayings that are changed to fit the theme.  For example, the days of the week named after their gods, Tyrsday, Thorsday, Freyasday.  Instead of English, it is called Anglish.  And the names of places, South Lakota, Kansa, the White Hall instead of the White House.  Some of these were so clever I chuckled to myself as I read them.  There was even Christianity snuck in to the story/society in what was a very believable way in my opinion.  But along with the basic changes, there were still magical things.  The berserking, and future telling, and the fact that the gods were kind of real people, as well as that there are trolls in this world, those things kept it a magical new type of place to be, and kept the story interesting.
The only thing I kind of didn't like, is something I will agree with others on Goodreads about.  The cover.  I'm not a fan.  I'd rather see it more like the author's other cover for The Blood Keeper.  Maybe some kind of viking symbol or something.  But hey, the cover isn't horrible, just not what I'd pick first.  And even though I saw the author at the RT Convention, and got my book signed, I don't have a picture from then.  So I'll just share the picture of the autograph.