October 10, 2013

Thorsday Review: The Lost Sun by: Tessa Gratton

The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard #1) by: Tessa Gratton (2013)
350 pages
Publisher: Random House
Genre: YA/Mythology
Source: The Library
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Goodreads 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.
My Review

I wanted to love this book with every fiber of my being. I love mythology, I love quest novels, and the synopsis sounded so promising. Alas, it was a disappointment. I still enjoyed it and I will probably read the next book, but the idea behind The Lost Sun wasn’t really well executed.

I want to mainly tackle the world building. I want to give you a big heads up that The United States of Asgard is an alternate world – not set in the future. I was a little confused by this at first. I found The United States of Asgard to be unique and fun and pretty darn cool. The big problem, I was utterly and totally confused for a good while when reading. I will say that I really don’t have any background on Norse mythology except for the movie Thor, so that may have contributed to my confusion. I just felt like things were not explained that well, sometimes not at all until mentioned later in the book, and this to me was frustrating and turned my reading into a chore, which I really didn’t want it to be. I seriously think that if the author is going to be vague about a lot of the background of Norse mythology then there should have been a glossary. Percy Jackson has one, nothing wrong with that and it is helpful when I can’t remember a certain character.

The main characters were fine and likeable but not overly memorable. They were just kind of there for the most part. I did however enjoy getting the male POV in this book. Those seem rare in young adult novels. The Norse Gods didn’t have a lot of page time but when they did they didn’t disappoint, Gratton described them with great detail and they were drastric and over the top, it worked.

The plot stuck to the basic quest novel outline, but that was fine by me. There were some predictable scenes but some not so predictable so they evened out. It was a good adventure story, but it could have been more complex. I will say that I am a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series, and maybe I’m comparing this one to that just a little too much. The Lost Sun is more serious than Percy Jackson and a little more gorwn-up.

The Lost Sun should be approached with caution. I’m sure many of you won’t be as confused as I was when reading, which is good, but I just wanted to warn you in advance. This book had so much promise. Sigh. I’m hoping now that I have read the first one and understand the world better that I will be able to enjoy the second one more, because I do plan to read it.

I say get this one from the library just in case you don’t love it. If you do love it than that is awesome and I’m jealous because I wanted to love this one.

RATING 3.5/5 


  1. I'm about 150 pages into this one now, and I'm loving it. I'm not super-knowledgeable about Norse mythology, although we did Norse mythology units in both freshman and sophomore years at my high school, so I have a background familiarity with the major gods, myths, Ragnarok, etc. I'm a giant word nerd, though, so I love that Tessa Gratton's scholarly background is in Old English and she's familiar with the ancient sagas in Old English and its ancestor languages. So far I feel like she's doing a nice job of weaving saga elements into a contemporary story.

    1. I'm glad you are enjoying it! For some reason I was just so confused for a lot of it, but also very entertained and it was unique, which was a nice change of pace. I think I'll enjoy the second book more now that I have a better understanding of the world.

  2. This is probably another series that I will wait for the sequels to decide if I should start it or not. I do like male POV and quest stories but my knowledge of norse mythology only goes so far as the Thor movie as well so I may experience the same confusion. It also sounds good but not great. So I will wait :) (didn't mean for that to rhyme).

    1. That is actually a really good idea to wait. You are just so smart sometimes. ;)

  3. I'm not too well-versed on Norse mythology, but I do enjoy stories that use mythology in a more modern sort of universe. Unfortunately, it sounds like this one did not pan out so well. The trick with using mythology is that it needs to be something that virtually everyone already knows OR, if not, it needs to be explained concisely. When you don't do that, you risk losing the reader to confusion. Plus, it takes a STRONG contender to compare to Gaiman's American Gods (which is why I hate it when publishers try to play the compare game). I think I'll take a pass on this one.

    1. I don't blame you if you pass. If only the book was better executed then I think I could have loved it. :/

  4. I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you as well as you'd hoped! I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one out there, so I'm not totally sure what to expect. Maybe I'll take your advice and wait for my library to get it in so I don't have to spend money on a book I might not end up liking. I'm glad you enjoyed the male POV though, as that's one of the things I'm really looking forward to in this book. Great review! :)

    1. If your hesitant I would definitely get it from the library, just in case. I did really enjoy the male POV and it was a pretty good story, for some reason the world building just didn't click. Good luck and happy reading!

  5. If you decide to give Norse mythology another try, another one you might read is 'The Gospel of Loki' by Joanne M Harris. I haven't read it, but it got a good review in The Guardian.


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