I received this for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton
Series: The United States of Asgard #2
Published by Random House Children's Books on 2014-06-10
Fans of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Maggie Stiefvater will embrace the richly drawn, Norse-influenced alternate world of the United States of Asgard, where cell phones, rock bands, and evangelical preachers coexist with dragon slaying, rune casting, and sword training in schools. Where the president runs the country alongside a council of Valkyries, gods walk the red carpet with Hollywood starlets, and the U.S. military has a special battalion dedicated to eradicating Rocky Mountain trolls.
Signy Valborn was seven years old when she climbed the New World Tree and met Odin Alfather, who declared that if she could solve a single riddle, he would make her one of his Valkyrie. For ten years Signy has trained in the arts of war, politics, and leadership, never dreaming that a Greater Mountain Troll might hold the answer to the riddle, but that’s exactly what Ned the Spiritless promises her. A mysterious troll hunter who talks in riddles and ancient poetry, Ned is a hard man to trust. Unfortunately, Signy is running out of time. Accompanied by an outcast berserker named Soren Bearstar, she and Ned take off across the ice sheets of Canadia to hunt the mother of trolls and claim Signy’s destiny.
Okay. So, I listened to the audiobook of book one in the United States of Asgard series and it was instalove…. the story, the narration, all of it! Perfection! (My review) I could not wait for The Strange Maid. Since I loved the narration of book one so much, I decided to do The Strange Maid on audio as well. While the story was just as amazing as the first, I didn’t love the audio. It was well done but I just couldn’t get into it as much. I ended up picking up the book to read instead. For me, this was a much better choice.
I am simply head over heels for the idea of The United States of Asgard. I love the way that it’s not a big secret that the Norse gods and goddesses exist (a la Greek gods and goddesses in the Percy Jackson books – which I also love!) The are real and influence everything about the world. It’s just so cool to think about! And all the details Gratton adds in… the little everyday things that show which god/goddess people dedicate themselves too and such. I. Love. It.
In The Strange Maid we follow Signy Valborn, the child Valkyrie. I admit…. I was a bit worried I would be all, “NEEDS MORE SOREN BEARSKIN!!” Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. As much as I love Soren, Signy is freaking awesome! I mean, child Valkyrie… yeah, that’s going to be a story.
And, oh, what a story! Revenge, love, loss. Also, fighting, road trips, riddles, and trolls. Yeah. So many awesome things. I was so impressed by the way Gratton wove all the threads of the story together. I especially loved the way it was tied to the history of the world. As an added bonus, characters from The Lost Sun make a reappearance!
If you haven’t started the United States of Asgard series yet I highly suggest you do. It’s way at the top of my list of underrated books.