Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
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 Canada to hunt the mother of trolls and claim Signy’s destiny.
With the change of the seasons comes chaos and decisions. Yes or no, right or wrong, light or dark, and life or death. But the Valkyrie, the maids of Odin Alfather, death is what they are, or used to be.
For the fans of Tessa Gratton and the United States of Asgard series, the Strange Maid takes place before, during and after the events of Stolen Sun, and we also see characters of the first book.
“I let my hand wander – chaos chaos chaos changes the fate-strings of any life, we the death- born in years gone by walk out gold-adorned, walk in tinged with blood. We rest in stone under the sun. Hear the bear star be born, the seether fall into darkness. Lost sun answer me when the sky is cold, and fate unravels-”
Like Odin Alfather, god of madness, war, and poetry, this book has it alike. We read poetry of Signy Valborn, the soon Valkyrie of the Tree, which she writes to calm herself or to leave a print of something she wants the world to never forget. We see Madness of berserkers and a war with a great mountain troll Mother. I really like Signy’s poetry, and even though it is my first time reading old poetry, I would like to read all of the Beowulf’s poem.
I like books that change or make legendary heroes into more human characters with flaws.
I also like the interaction between the gods and their subordinates, and people. The combination between the public media and the gods was interesting but like Signy I also thought that there are some events that should be held in privacy.
Something that I like about this world is the idea that a Valkyrie can see runes in a person and tell what lies in their heart. Also how the author changed the name of important cities like Chicago to Chicagland, Colorado to Colorada, Vermont to Vertmont, and New Orleans into Port Orleans, etc. Tessa Gratton turns the United States of America that we know into the United States of Asgard where not just the government has power over us but the gods, too.
If you like old English Gods, poetry, and madness I recommend you to read The Strange Maid. The poetry is beautiful and strong, there is war, and even some romance; like the love for somebody that betrayed you by omitting the truth, love for somebody that chose the world over you, and love for the gods.
What do you think are the runes that appear in your eyes?