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The Lost Sun (United States of Asgard Series #1)

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Overview

   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 ...

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The Lost Sun (United States of Asgard Series #1)

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Overview

   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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The what-if premise of Gratton’s (Blood Magic) first book in the United States of Asgard series has the gods of Norse myth thriving in 21st-century America, not as divinities so much as celebrities: the gods walk openly among humankind, hosting charity events and resurrecting on national television. It may sound like the setup for a spoof, but it isn’t—Gratton’s 17-year-old protagonists are dead serious in their goals. Soren, a destined berserker whose father was a mass killer, wants freedom from his violent heritage; Astrid, a seer, seeks her dead mother, whom Astrid believes is alive. The teens join forces in a road-trip quest à la American Gods when Baldur the Beautiful fails to rise from the dead on schedule, prompting Odin Alfather to offer a boon to any who bring word of Baldur’s whereabouts. Soren is occasionally too noble, Astrid too gnomically lovely, and with so many portents flying around, things can get, well, portentous. But on the whole Gratton avoids the risk of parody to pull off a moving and original romance. Ages 12–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
When the god Baldur the Beautiful vanishes, can two teens rescue him and win their hearts' desires? In a country very like a modern America populated by Norse-descended followers of Odin and his pantheon, 17-year-old Soren struggles against his berserker heritage and the disgrace of his father's having lost control in a shopping mall. At his school, Sanctus Sigurd, he meets seethkona Astrid Glyn, a prophetess who's sure her world-famous mother's not dead. The two set off across the United States of Asgard in hopes of finding Baldur, who did not rise from his ashes as he does at the end of each winter, and thereby winning a boon from Odin Alfather. Finding Baldur turns out to be the easiest part of their quest; the duo must find a way to return him to the gods without drawing attention to themselves, as no one knows who orchestrated the god's disappearance, and the rest of the country wants him back too. Gratton's series opener is a wordy, languid adventure dotted with slightly twisted retellings of Norse myths. The breathless internal conflicts and easily overcome external conflicts never quite ignite. It's chock-a-block with cornball plays on American cultural and place names made slightly Norse-y. When gods other than Baldur finally appear, things get interesting; maybe future installments will begin there. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
"A moving and original romance." --Publishers Weekly

"Strong writing and an inventive recasting of mythological characters combine to create an evocative, romantic adventure. The novel wisely allows its characters to revel in their mythological underpinnings rather than trying to make them seem like authentic contemporary teens, yet Soren and Astrid’s struggle to understand their place in the larger world will still resonate with readers, while their intense, moving romance will elicit plenty of sighs. Reading like a slightly older sibling to Armstrong and Marr’s Loki’s Wolves, this rousing narrative offers all the best elements of a mythological quest while giving unfamiliar readers a thorough but not heavy-handed introduction to the traditional tales." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Gratton sets up an alternate universe where Norse gods are juxtaposed with typical American life in this first novel in a new series. While Astrid dreams of apples and Soren battles the berserker rage inside, they forge new alliances and a bond of friendship that puts them squarely in the path of a cat-and-mouse game played by gods." --Booklist

From the Hardcover edition.

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Soren Bearskin and Astrid Glyn meet for the first time at a boarding school in an alternative America with places called Nebrasge and Colorada. Soren is a berserker who wants to resist his destiny to be a fighter. Astrid is a seethkona, a seer, whose famous mother has recently died. Everyone in the country is watching the television when the god of light, Baldur, does not rise from the dead for his yearly renewal. Astrid decides to seek him out, and she enlists Soren for the mission. They find him, and the journey to return him to his father without being followed is where most of the action takes place. The protagonists learn that the gods are manipulating the annual ritual to suit their needs. Soren and Astrid become romantically attached, and many sacrifices have to be made for them to deliver Baldur safely to his home. The mix of contemporary living and technology with mythology and fantasy is jarring at first, but readers will quickly get a hang for the unusual names and attributes of the characters. Hand this to fantasy lovers who might be ready to branch out of their comfort zone.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307977465
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Series: United States of Asgard Series , #1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 357,925
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Tessa Gratton

TESSA GRATTON has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. She was too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in gender studies, and then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. You can visit her at TessaGratton.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2013

    Immediately I was thrilled to be reading a book that was unique.

    Immediately I was thrilled to be reading a book that was unique. Certainly it had some familiar elements, but it was so vastly different from the typical fare that I was ecstatic. I loved the world building, which was subtle and shocking at the same time. As a constant reader, I am always delighted to find a new world created in an original way. I loved the way the Norse mythology was woven into a modern world. I love being surprised and often found myself thinking..."ohhh, now that's clever!" The road trip, the Hero's Journey, is simple but compelling. And the writing is colored with myth and poetry.

    The characters are full of mystery and personality and keep me guessing throughout the book, which is also a pleasure to not know what is going to happen. I admire the connections and emotions that draw me into their stories. And Tessa Gratton writes young men so very well. I think I love Soren best. While he struggles, he is never annoying in his angst. 

    I am inspired by the larger themes here too. These kids are strong, and fierce and are not completely self absorbed. When challenged, they rise to it and become better for it. And the romantic love does not require them to give up who they are but supports them as individuals.

    The entire story here is interesting and rather brilliant and yes, by Chapter 15 I am crying. Love and hope, sacrifice and nobility.
    Nothing is more apt to bring me to tears. 

    It is a beautiful book. And already I can't wait for the rest of the series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I¿m completely loving this resurgence in mythology books! Especi

    I’m completely loving this resurgence in mythology books! Especially Norse mythology because I don’t know too much about it and am eager to learn. The Lost Sun most immediately talks about Baldur and I loved hearing how he and all of the other gods interact with each other and the human world in this modern setting. The United States of Asgard is obviously the U. S. only with Norse mythology thrown everywhere. Whenever Soren travels into different states, I liked the little parody of all of the names being slightly changes because of all of the Norse things thrown in.

    I liked the plot and it wasn’t until almost the end of the book that I knew for certain that this book could be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The last half of the book really picked up in the plot and I liked where it was going. The only thing that kept me from enjoying this completely was probably the characters and character development. I don’t think that I really ever related to any of the characters. They all felt distant from me for one reason or another. Not because of the berserking or magic, either, because I’ve read more fantastical books before with more relatable characters. Because I loved this book so much, I’m hoping that the next one will be a lot better and impress me so much more.

    I liked how I couldn’t predict everything that was happening in this book. When I thought things would drag out they were solved quickly and more surprises and problems were in store. I loved how the plot twisted and turned and I really can’t wait until book two comes out when I can see what’s happening! There isn’t any cliff hanger here and I really feel like anything will be possible in the next book.

    I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading adventous tales that involve myths, magic, and lots of great plot twists. This is a book that’s easy to get into for people of all ages, so even if it isn’t your typical book that you read, you should give it a try!


    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Sharp, clever, and an unbelievably awesome mashup of Norse myth

    Sharp, clever, and an unbelievably awesome mashup of Norse myth with modern United States, I fell into this story and had a book hangover for days when I finished it. Thank god book 2 is already out! I adored Soren's character, he was heroic, but flawed, and so much fun to root for. He reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson--while also being completely different. They both tried hard to do the right thing, no matter the cost, and were willing to fight for what they believed in. 

    I'm so happy to have read a YA book that isn't all-angst-all-the-time. It's got nuanced characters, funny dialogue, and really clever worldbuilding. The plot--a simple Hero's Journey--was fast-paced and let us explore more of the United States of Asgard. 

    I loved this book. You can bet someone is getting it for Christmas this year!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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