I chanced upon this book after reading one of Tessa Gratton’s short stories, and I’m so glad I did. I have never even heard of it, and that is pretty shocking, considering how well written it is. If you enjoyed but outgrew the Percy Jackson books, you need this book on your radar. The setting is so well constructed and truly feels like an alternate but believable contemporary world populated by Norse gods and Viking warriors. It is magical and almost dream-like. The characters, too, are so carefully crafted and impressive in their depth. Don’t get me wrong – you can read this and just enjoy it for the action and adventure, but it has a sophistication that will appeal to those who like a little more complexity in conflicts and characters. There is something here for readers of both genders, and I think it is one that YA readers of all ages can enjoy.
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.
I particularly enjoyed the narrator in this book. Soren had a complex internal conflict that was so clearly developed. I actually liked all of the characters, and that is a true rarity! The world building was engaging, and the way the author introduced aspects of Norse mythology without info dumping was pretty impressive. It was nicely paced to create the feel of a quest, and I appreciated how it had goals that were met along the way so that I wasn’t left waiting foreverlong for an event to happen. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I don’t have a single complaint.
This book is available in our classroom library.