This is a fantastic YA urban fantasy story that sets Norse gods in contemporary America. Throw in a teenaged berserker, a seethkona, and a few trolls, and other mythical creatures that are not-so-mythical and you’ve got yourself one heck of an adventure in the making. I finished reading this book about a month ago and I still think about it. That is always the sign of a good story to me. I won this book in a blog contest giveaway. It was actually my first ebook win, too. Woohoo! I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading a book by Ms. Gratton before, so this book was one of those total surprises. I just opened it up and gave it a shot.
It was amazing!
The mix of Norse gods functioning within the present day political structure was fascinating and Gratton makes the balance work. The characters at the center – what fantastic emotional connection! That to me is always the crux of what makes or breaks a story and Gratton is a master at this. The whole struggle Soren goes through with suppressing his berserker rage to avoid the fate of his father and Astrid tempting him to give in to it – ah!
Love, love, love this!
A berserker as a teen character? How apropos is that? What teenager can’t relate to warring with their own emotions? The difference with Soren is that if he even gives into his rage once, he feels that his life will be over. He’ll end up just like his father; losing complete control and killing innocent people. His father was finally taken out by a SWAT team. Soren is a pariah at school, with other students steering clear of him. The mark of the berserker on his face – the tattoo of a spear – is a warning to others of his potentially volatile nature.
And then Astrid arrives. She can’t seem to stay away. Astrid is just as well written and poignant. She dreams about Soren and needs him to help her on her quest.
Haunted by unpredictable berserker rage, he distances himself from other students at school.
A prophet by blood, she dreams the weave of fate and sees Soren changing the futures.
BALDUR THE BEAUTIFUL
The most popular god in the States disappears in front of TV cameras, and the country erupts in chaos.
THE DESTINY IS SET.
Astrid and Soren must save Baldur. But in saving a god, will Soren destroy himself…and everything he holds dear? (Plot summary from author’s website.)
This unlikely trio set off together on quite an adventure and the chemistry between them is just brilliant. I absolutely loved Baldur’s character as well. I’d say so much more about this beautiful storyline, but SPOILERS! Here’s an excerpt from the very beginning of the book to get you hooked and make you want to rush out and get your own copy:
My mom used to say that in the United States of Asgard, you can feel the moments when the threads of destiny knot together, to push you or pull you or crush you. But only if you’re paying attention.
It was a game we played during long afternoons in the van, distracting ourselves from Dad’s empty seat. Mom would point out a sign as we drove past – WELCOME TO COLORADA, THE CENTENNIAL KINGSGATE, bright green against a gray backdrop of mountains – and she’d ask, “Here, Soren? Do you feel the threads tightening around you?”
I would put my fingers to my chest where Dad used to say the berserker fever stirred. “No,” I’d say, “nothing yet.”
And Mom always replied, “Good.”
We both dreaded the day Dad’s curse would flicker to life in me.
LEAVING WESTPORT CITY – COME AGAIN!
“I hope it wasn’t back there, little man!”
“No, Mom, I doubt it.”
CANTUCKEE: HOME OF BLUEGRASS
“Soren, do you hear the clacking loom of fate?”
“I couldn’t hear anything over the banjos.”
But I have felt it, four times now.
When I was eight years old, standing in a neon-lit shopping mall, and my ears began to ring. My breath thinned out and I ran.
Again five years later, when Mom stopped the van for gas and we happened to be across the road from a militia station. The sun was just barely too bright, cutting across my cheek. I knew what I was supposed to do.
Six months ago, I was in the dining hall about to take a long drink of honey soda when the air around me turned cold. I had time to get to my bedroom before this jagged hot fever began to burn.
I could not stop reading this book.
Book 2, THE STRANGE MAID, comes out next month and if you read Book 1, you will be waiting in line for the new book’s release. I guarantee it. I can’t wait for the next book.
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