Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lost Sun

The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton case you haven't noticed, I have this trend for reading books based on mythology.

However, I don't think I've come across any that have made such a melting pot of semi-modern culture with old traditions.

To say in a few words, I was kind of impressed but wish it had been taken further.

That being said, an amazon summary, "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." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Let's begin with the world.

The world of in the United States of Asgard has a government that rules alongside a court of Valkyrie, there are very real elements of magic at work that are attributed to the Norse gods (who are alive and run rampant (much like in Percy Jackson's world) cough, not sorry) while also supernatural beings (such as trolls) being a very real threat to the world.

There are people who are consumed by the magic they are born with, there are people who rule the magic they are born with, and people who do everything to escape the magic.

Introducing Soren Bearskin; born a Berserker, is haunted by his Dad being gunned down after going berserk in a mall, and is forever trying to run away from the Berserker blood that resides in his veins.

Enter Astrid Glyn; daughter of a powerful Seether, a Seether herself who entices Soren to accept his Berserker side with a very firm, whimsical hand.

Then comes Baldur, the one Norse god who dies every year only to be reborn again, yet this year he did not appear where he normally does.

In fact he's quite missing.

Astrid convinces Soren to set out on the quest for Baldur as Astrid knows they will find him and help him be where he needs to be.

The book then sets out and becomes this beautiful weaving of Astrid and Soren's friendship, the quest to understand heritage over personality, and a coming of age story. It was pretty sweet.

However, I wish the author had gone the extra length to change fundamentals about the world itself if it were shaped by Norse traditions.

I highly doubt it would have wound up as 'The United States of Asgard' or without as much emphasis on communication. If they were still prone to attacks from the wilderness (trolls), then it seems as if they would have a higher need for communication devices of a greater nature.

I understand that the culture needed to be modified and relate-able to appeal to a younger audience; but that's a crap excuse to get away with flimsy world building.

I think the premise was great, but this came across as the first draft of a story rather than a refined draft. It seems as if the author/publisher/whoever looked at it first were just hoping no one would peer into the corners of the story and wonder what was there.

YET, I loved Soren's voice. I loved his struggle, but I was bored with the mini-restrictions of the world.

I was also bothered by the brief mention of another faith (an allusion to Christianity) because it never did anything with it. It seemed to me that the story was pointing a finger at it's chest shouting, "LOOK, I CAN BE TOLERANT AND COMPASSIONATE FOR EVERYBODY!!! LOOK AT IT!" doesn't really make it's own case. To me, it seems unlikely that if given proof of the existence of Gods, people would naturally follow them yet perhaps use different forms of religion to do so.

But, it is only one book. Maybe there will be further world building/explanations in the future books.

I'm kind of liking the 'no clear "bad" person' vibe the book has going on. There are a lot of shrugs and nods in directions, but no trumpets of HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED nature.

All in all, I liked it. I'll probably nab the second one and go from there.

Happy reading!

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