The Lost Sun

Bk. 1. 352p. (The United States of Asgard Series). Random. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97746-5; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97747-2; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97748-9. LC 2012027695.
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
In this fantasy series opener set in an alternate United States, the beloved sun god Baldur has mysteriously disappeared, and young warrior Soren Bearskin and prophetess Astrid Glyn slip away from school to find him. As the country grieves for Baldur, Astrid and Soren make their road-trip quest through an iconic American landscape made strange with caravans of gypsy-like Lokiskin, troll-haunted mountains, and volcano goblins. Narrator Soren battles his growing feelings for Astrid for fear of waking the raging beserker fever lurking inside him, a curse inherited from (and which claimed the life of) his father. Aided by Astrid's visions, they find Baldur, weakened and amnesiac, and set out to reunite him with his father, Odin, as well as restore his memory and immortality. Soren and Astrid are joined by Vider Lokisdottir, a slight but fierce young woman troubled by her own demons. While dedicated to Baldur's safe return, the three young guides are also following their own threads of fate, leading them inexorably to a moment of both great revelation and formidable choice. Gratton's world is an unexpected blending of the contemporary United States with ancient gods and traditions: disputes are settled by honorable yet bloody sword fights, popular pagan rituals are televised, and Norse gods rule alongside Congress and the president. The climactic final chapters set the scene for further adventure and (somewhat tediously overheated) romance ahead. lauren adams

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