Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Me on The Lost Sun
Author: Tessa Gratton
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
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.
The Lost Sun is a magical and dangerous journey across a land covered in sadness and loss, a coming of age taking place in a land both wholly different and very similar to our own. Soren and Astrid face a number of challenges on their search for Baldur and the reason for his disappearance, but the most important search happens inside themselves as they are forced to decide if they're willing to accept what fate has in store for them.
Soren is afraid of what fate may have in store for him. He's afraid of becoming his father, a berserker who lost control, killed innocent people, and was then gunned down in order to put a halt to his rage. After witnessing that as a child, Soren has spent years calming the fever inside of him, searching for a way to keep it buried where it will harm no one. When Astrid comes along with a proposition, Soren sees a chance to remove the part of himself he fears, the part he hates, but no one can escape the ties of fate for long.
Astrid can't, or won't, let her mother go. She believes her mother is still out there, somewhere. The journey with Soren is also a journey of discovering answers, but will they be the answers she seeks? Will they tell her what she wants to know or will she instead find something unexpected and unwanted? There's a fair amount of Astrid the reader doesn't see, her deepest thoughts and feelings, but that's because she's seen through Soren's eyes. The reader only gets Soren's opinions and assumptions of Astrid and her goals.
Soren and Astrid are kindred spirits, holding themselves back because of the past and fearing what the future may have in store for them. They think they're running from it, escaping it. They don't realize they're heading straight for it. What a curious and fickle creature fate is. Inescapable, fate is what binds each person in this book, especially Soren and Astrid.
The world-building is so spot on in this book, so creative. Norse mythology is rather underused in YA, what with Greek mythology being so popular, and I was pleased to read something new and different. What if the Norse gods existed? What an interesting concept. And because they exist, the history of the world is different, which means certain terms are different, like names, holidays, and days of the week. I imagine it must've been hard for Gratton to re-write so much history in order to create this world.
Tessa Gratton still astounds me. She's very much a storyteller, in my opinion, as well as an author. It's the telling of the tale that gets to me, the recounting of events and emotions, the revealing of what the reader needs to know slowly over the course of the story. This book has a different tone than her previous books, but I feel that's because the magic there was hidden, darker, more dangerous. Here it's not, it's very much out in the open for all to see, and it feels more immediate.
The journey is so important. It's rough, deadly, complicated. It can spin you around in all directions, make you dizzy, make you go backwards. But every journey has its end. Will the end be the one Soren and Astrid want? I'm very much looking forward to the next book and an entirely new journey.
(I own a finished copy of this book.)