YA Gets Nordic: Seven Stories with Roots in Norse Mythology.
I have a soft spot for Norse mythology, and believe it or not, said affection DOES predate Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston's respective portrayals of Thor and Loki. Maybe it's because our childhood dog was named Loki? Or because of all of the shenanigans in Douglas Adams' Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul?
Wherever and whenever the affection stems from, it's made me happy to see more and more of it trickle into the YA section.
So, here are a few that are on my radar, some that I've read, some that I'd like to read:
These—or at least Loki's Wolves, I haven't read Odin's Ravens yet—are geared more middle-grade, but they're totally crossovers, so I'm including them. Despite being natural enemies, a descendant of Thor teams up with two descendants of Loki to roadtrip around South Dakota, looking for other young descendants of the gods in order to prevent Ragnarok. Understandably, Loki's Wolves gets cited as a Percy Jackson readalike pretty often, though it's worth mentioning that it doesn't have nearly as much humor as the Riordan books. While I found Matt's Must Protect Laurie Because She's A Girl mentality grating, it was in keeping with his personality and upbringing and worldview. (Less explicable was this line—He supposed if a girl that pretty was checking Baldwin out, the guy must be good-looking.—because, come on. Just because someone is straight doesn't mean that he is incapable of gauging whether or not another dude is conventionally attractive.)
There's lots of action, though, the full-page black-and-white illustrations complement the text well, and I loved how Armstrong and Marr incorporated historic spots (Deadwood) and other landmarks (Mount Rushmore). I'll be reading the second one at some point.
The Lost Sun, by Tessa Gratton
If this book hadn't been by Tessa Gratton, I'd have never picked it up due to the atrocious cover art. So here's hoping it gets redesigned at some point. (Oh, look, I got my wish. Still not great, and the model is either at a really weird angle or the image was created by just Photoshopping Matt Bomer's disembodied head onto someone else's shoulders, but it's an improvement over straight-up Skeet Ulrich. I think?)
Fans of Gratton's work—if you haven't discovered her yet, you're in for a treat—have probably already read this one. It's another roadtrip story, this one about a berserker and a prophetess searching for Baldur, who's gone missing. While the relationship dynamics and the family secrets are totally compelling, and while Gratton does a great job of integrating familiar myths but keeping the plotting unpredictable, for me, this one was all about the worldbuilding, which was FANTASTIC. I'm really looking forward to the sequel.
And that does it for the ones I've actually read! But there are so many more...
A young fencing champion teams up with her new love interest, the Fennrys Wolf, and discovers that her family has ties to the Norse gods.
Black Helicopters, by Blythe Woolston
Despite having bought it ages ago, I'd been putting this one off because I'm a little bit afraid of it—I've heard that it's gut-wrenching—but no one told me that the faith system of the characters is based on Norse myths! So that, combined with my love of Catch & Release, means I'm bumping it waaaay up the TBR pile.
This trilogy sounds pretty light-hearted, which is understandably unusual in books dealing with Norse mythology. A girl moves from LA to Minnesota and discovers that she's a 'stork': a woman who pairs unborn souls up with their mothers-to-be. Bonus: In addition to the Norse stuff, there's some Snow Queen action!
I know, I know. I can't believe I haven't read these, either. I FEEL LIKE SUCH A FAILURE.