The what-if premise of Gratton’s (Blood Magic) first book in the United States of Asgard series has the gods of Norse myth thriving in 21st-century America, not as divinities so much as celebrities: the gods walk openly among humankind, hosting charity events and resurrecting on national television. It may sound like the setup for a spoof, but it isn’t—Gratton’s 17-year-old protagonists are dead serious in their goals. Soren, a destined berserker whose father was a mass killer, wants freedom from his violent heritage; Astrid, a seer, seeks her dead mother, whom Astrid believes is alive. The teens join forces in a road-trip quest à la American Gods when Baldur the Beautiful fails to rise from the dead on schedule, prompting Odin Alfather to offer a boon to any who bring word of Baldur’s whereabouts. Soren is occasionally too noble, Astrid too gnomically lovely, and with so many portents flying around, things can get, well, portentous. But on the whole Gratton avoids the risk of parody to pull off a moving and original romance. Ages 12–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/2013 Release date: 06/25/2013 Genre: Children's
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