Signy Valborn was seven years old when she climbed the New World Tree and met Odin Alfather, who declared that if she could solve a single riddle, he would make her one of his Valkyrie. For ten years Signy has trained in the arts of war, politics, and leadership, but the answer finally comes in the form of enigmatic poet Ned the Spiritless, who tells Signy she must kill a Greater Troll Mother and claim its heart.
But when you follow the god of sacrifice and poetry, everything is a riddle, and nothing is safe. Unfortunately, Signy is running out of time. Accompanied by an outcast berserker named Soren Bearstar, she and Ned take off across the ice sheets of Canadia to hunt the mother of trolls and claim Signy's destiny-as monstrous as it may be.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
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"In a week and a half I'll be seventeen. It's a decade since I climbed the New World Tree, since Odin Alfather, god of the hanged, named me the next Valkyrie of the Tree, and still I have not won my place on the Valkyrie council." Signy Valborn dedicated herself to Odin when she was seven years old. She was told one day she would join Odin's Valkyrie council and fill the long vacant place of the Valkyrie of the Tree. That was before she read the riddle. Before she left her Death Hall and her sister Valkyrie behind. The Valkyrie of the Tree will prove herself with a stone heart. Signy knows that is her riddle. But after traveling far and wide through New Asgard for years, she is no closer to finding an answer. Until a mysterious troll hunter named Ned Unferth appears with a proposal. Ned speaks in riddles as well as ancient poetry and truths that feel more like lies. But he promises Signy that a greater mountain troll holds the answer to her riddle and offers to train Signy to hunt them. Signy has never been so close to her future and has little choice but to accept Ned's help. Their winding journey will take Signy to the wilds of Canadia and beyond. Along the way she will cross paths with a lone berserker named Soren Bearstar, a monstrous troll mother, and the truth behind the destiny she was promised so long ago in The Strange Maid (2014) by Tessa Gratton. The Strange Maid is the second book in Gratton's Songs of New Asgard (United States of Asgard) series. It is preceded by The Lost Sun. Both books function very well as stand-alone titles however, because of timeline and character overlap, The Strange Maid does include some spoilers for The Lost Sun if you choose to read the books out of order. Gratton once again delivers a perfect blend of myth and fantasy in this engrossing tale. Signy is a sharp, wild narrator with strong opinions and a vibrant love of poetry that comes through in every word of her frank narration. Ned, Signy's mysterious companion for much of the novel, is a perfect foil as Signy is forced again and again to re-evaluate what she knows (or thinks she knows) about her chosen path. The Strange Maid is a vivid story about the power of choice as well as an ode to the strength of well-chosen friendships. References to Beowulf and other Norse tales will bring these older myths to life for new readers. Ideas of causality as well as free will are also artfully explored in this remarkable second book in a trilogy that promises even greater things to come. 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, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley, Clariel by Garth Nix, 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, Beowulf
A few months ago, I finally read book 1 of Tessa Gratton’s United States of Asgard series, The Lost Sun. (Yeah, I don’t know what took so long either.) Liking it was a no-brainer; a Norse influenced United States, complete with berserkers, Odin, Thor, trolls, and everything else that makes Norse mythology fantastic. It was extremely well-written, and the characters are so likable that I find myself thinking of them when I’m reading other books. Strange Maid is even better. I have to admit, it took me a second to warm up, but that’s because we were really getting to know Signy, the main character. I mean, really. After reading this book, I feel like she is someone I truly know, someone I know which book to buy for their birthday, what not to make her for dinner. The characters are fantastically developed, and Signy is the example. The plot is well paced, and doesn’t give itself away. And, I have to tell you…the feels smacked me in the face. The high point of the plot sang to my heart, and I wanted to simultaneously hug Tessa and yell at her for not warning me I’d hit an emotional high finishing this book. Exclamations of exultation over lunch whilst sitting in your cube provide for some odd looks. :) Read this. I recommend it for anyone who likes alt history, fantasy or Norse mythology.
This twist on Norse myth-meets-United States is probably my favorite alternate world EVER. I LOVED Signy's story! She's both BAMF and vulnerable, and I absolutely loved reading how her mind worked as she sorted through Odin's riddle. Becoming a Valkyrie is all-important to her, but as her character develops so do her priorities. I absolutely loved seeing Soren again!!! This action-adventure is both hilarious and riveting, and I couldn't put it down. Can't wait for Tessa to publish Golden Apples!