The Lost Sun (United States of Asgard Series #1)by Tessa Gratton
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.
"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.
Meet the Author
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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.
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!
"My mom used to say that in the United States of Asgard, you can feel the moments when the threads of destiny knot together, to push you or pull you or crush you. But only if you're paying attention." Soren Bearskin has been avoiding his destiny for years. He can feel the berserker fever burning in his blood but he refuses to give into the rage; to let himself become what his father was before him. People fear him and what being a berserker actually means. Astrid Glynn is everything Soren is not: wild, free and completely award of who and what she is--a seethkona dedicated to the goddess Freya, a girl who can travel beyond death to retrieve answers to the questions of others even though she cannot find answers for herself about her missing mother. Baldur the Beautiful is the most popular god in the country; his resurrection each year marked by a festive celebration and a live television broadcast. He returns to the United States of Asgard every year just in time for summer. When Baldur instead disappears, the country is thrown into chaos as citizens fear the worst. Astrid has dreamt of Baldur and knows where to find him. With Soren's help. Together the two set off on a road trip to find the lost god and bring him home. But in finding Baldur, Soren and Astrid may have to give up everything they've come to hold dear in The Lost Sun (2013) by Tessa Gratton. The Lost Sun is the first book in Gratton's Songs of New Asgard/United States of Asgard series and it is awesome. As the series title suggests, this book is part fantasy, part alternate history as Gratton imagines a world where the United States are imbued with Norse traditions and mythology as well as populated by the Norse gods themselves. What could have been a confusing or alienating world instead becomes immediately fascinating and evocative in Gratton's hands. (Readers of her short stories in The Curiosities may also recognize a few passing references to a female berserker mentioned in that anthology.) It's hard to know exactly what to say about The Lost Sun because it has so much going for it. Soren is a likeable, convincing narrator. Astrid is essentially one of the best female characters around. Having these two characters together in one book makes for an electric story that is as beautiful as it is thrilling. Gratton seamlessly builds a world of gods, magic and modern life around her characters as readers are introduced to this compelling world with an utterly original story imbued with old mythology. The Lost Sun is, at its core, a intricate story of love and friendship. Soren and Astrid do a lot of different things throughout the plot but those threads are never far from the core. Sacrifices are made, surprises are revealed, but through it all there is a very strong meditation on what really being love (or loving) a person means. Good books draw readers into the world of the story. Great books keep readers thinking after that story is finished. The Lost Sun is a great book. Possible Pairings: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, The Curiosities by Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff, Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell, The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
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!