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The Strange Maid: Book 2 of United States of…
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The Strange Maid: Book 2 of United States of Asgard

by Tessa Gratton

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Signy Valborn has fire in her veins. Anger over a devastating childhood incident led her to climb the New World Tree where she met and was claimed by the Alfather, Odin, for his own.

But being a Valkyrie in training is not what she expected. The current Valkyries are tame compared to their history. They are the consultants to kings and presidents, and Signy longs for, burns for, the old ways.

The final insult comes when she wakes to find a riddle on the day she is supposed to become a fully realized Valkyrie. It's a question she must answer. One she cannot find a solution to. It keeps her from rising to the full position of Alfather's fierce servant, and it sets her on a dark, dark journey to find herself.

~~
Dark, dark, dark. If you have read THE LOST SUN you will likely not be prepared for THE STRANGE MAID. This is a story about fate and death and longing. Its a story that explores 'the glory' of revenge and unlike the previous book, there is more truth to the world-building here. These people seem closer to what I would expect from those descended from Vikings, from those who live and worship the old gods. There are fewer Christian sensibilities in this book. We get new insight into the Berserker battle lust, and we get animal sacrifices.

I love this book because it's more adult (and possibly not YA any longer), and because there's less dancing around the violence.

I love this book because there's poetry in the writing. The use of words isn't frothy and light, but dense and evocative. And Tessa Gratton is afraid to let her characters take sex casually or lose themselves to what we might consider madness.

--review copy ( )
  PamFamilyLibrary | Mar 29, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 030797751X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 08 Dec 2013 05:32:43 -0500)

"In order to be come one of Odin Alfather's Valkyrie, Signy Valborn must solve a riddle. With the help of Ned the Spiritless and Soren Bearstar, Signy embarks on a journey in search of her destiny"--

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