Author: Tessa Gratton
Genre: Alternate Universe, Norse Mythology, Coming of Age
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Source: print ARC via Amazon Vine
Synopsis: 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.
☆: 1.5/5 stars – Hard to put my finger on exactly why this novel was so bad, but it was bad.
Mmm, no. No no no no no. My coblogger has been dying for this novel and loved the chapter sampler I found and sent to her, but this was not a book for me. Something tells me Tessa Gratton is an author whose style won’t work with me at all. There are some great ideas here that could be implemented a little better and that’s the kindest thing there is to say about this book from my point of view.
This novel’s style and the way it’s written is… Disjointed? Choppy? Disconnected? Maybe some mix of the three. It’s difficult to put words to what put me off about the way The Lost Sun was written. My coblogger tells me this is Gratton’s style and she loves it, so I guess this may be a personal thing. But to me, the events of the story feel like events put next to each other instead of a natural sequence of things happening.
New Asgard is supposed to be the United States if founded by the Norse Gods and their people, and there are plenty of parallels between our states, days of the week, etc. and theirs. There’s still a president, but he gets elected by Congress and rules alongside Valkyries–or is supposed to. We see the Valkyries mostly in servant positions except for one that delivers a message from the gods at the start. Some of the parallels involve renames that are ridiculous and at times are impossible to figure out.
Stoneball, for instance. I think that’s soccer, but there’s no solid confirmation of that. Vinland is a state that borders Canada (called Canadia here; yes, really, because renaming it something people call it as a joke all the time was a grand idea), but which state it is? You’ve got a better idea than I do. Also, figure out which days are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and one other day from Tyrsday, Thorsday, Freyasday, and Freyrsday. The middle two are probably Thursday and Friday, but they sound so similar to another given day that I can’t be sure.
Then there are states and cities. Omaha and Washington stay, but Nebraska is Nebrasge, Ohio is Ohiyo, Idaho is Idahow, and Florida is Laflorida. Spain apparently still named and discovered Florida n this universe because Laflorida is just La Florida (the field of flowers) smushed together. Idahow and Nebrasge tie for most ridiculous renames that threw me out of the story most quickly. However, they lose the overall most ridiculous award to “Freya’s tits.” Not even “holy crow” proved to be a more ridiculous exclamation of surprise, fear, etc. than that.
Gratton plays fast and loose with Norse mythology. REALLY fast and loose. Fenrir the apocalypse-starting male wolf becomes Fenris the apocalypse-starting female wolf who likes to flirt with Soren and whose two major roles are to tell her side of her origin and to help Soren get back to his friends when they get separated–which happened because Soren called Baldur by his true name in public. Dummy! Baldur’s and Fenris/Fenrir’s origin stories are ninety to one-hundred percent inaccurate. There’s probably more I missed!
Is it weird of me to be ticked off that Gratton can rewrite all that mythology decides to stay true to berserker mythology and not let women be born berserkers? Really, picking and choosing like that is ridiculous. That Fenrir, the Big Bad of Norse mythology, got turned into a woman for no real reason bothers me too. Why make a woman the villain when it’s been a man in myths for a long, long time?
Soren and the friends he makes on his journey to find Baldur and return him to Odin in exchange for a boon? They all fall flat as paper. Soren’s only real traits are his baseless, ridiculous love for seethkona Astrid and his worries about becoming like his father, who went superberserker and got killed by SWAT team guys’ guns. By page 124, he’s willing to give up all his ambitions (y’know, the ones he DOESN’T HAVE) to be with Astrid and protect her. She inexplicably comes to love him too and I’m left wondering what these kids see in each other. Like Soren, Astrid’s only traits are her devotion to the gods and her love for her mother.
I very nearly DNFed The Lost Sun multiple times, but I decided to finish it because the people who get on me for DNFing books annoy me and I wanted to have the full picture of the novel. If I leave with anything good, it’s that Gratton is not an author for me. Problems developing romance seem to be a problem that pervades most of her writing, if not all of it. Well, what’s done is done. If you’re already a fan of Gratton’s, you’re going to love this. If not, there’s no telling how you’ll feel.