The Strange Maid (The United States of Asgard #2)
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The Strange Maid (The United States of Asgard #2)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  44 reviews
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 car...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Pamela ☼where's my aspirin☼ Tee
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 reali...more
Christopher McKitterick
I love Gratton's United States of Asgard books. Because I have to read so much for the Campbell Memorial Award and student writing, her US of A books (THE STRANGE MAID and book 1, THE LOST SUN) are the first novels I've read for fun in months. And what a perfect pleasure these are!

THE STRANGE MAID kept me up until 3am - I had to finish it! It's exciting, beautifully written, wonderfully structured, and a real pleasure to read in all the ways both readers and writers enjoy books. It demonstrates...more

THE LOST SUN ended up being one of my favorite books last year. The romance, the loyalty, the world - it all combined to form a delicious reading experience. But I was not prepared for the sequel. THE STRANGE MAID starts before THE LOST SUN, and is the story of Signy Valborn, a disgraced Valkyrie who couldn't be more different from Soren. Soren longed to escape his violent destiny. Signy would like to bring back human sacrifice.

Signy is a delightfully unique heroine. She dances on the edge of ma...more
Lizzie Andrews
The Norse gods are by far some of my favorites, so I was super excited to come across The United States of Asgard series. In my opinion, they Norse gods don't get used often enough in the Paranormal/Fantasy genre. It is a genre dominated by the Greek and Roman gods and it was really nice to take a break from that. Not that I don't love them either, I just love the Norse gods a little bit more.

Tessa Gratton did an amazing job writing a book that combined a captivating story with enough danger, t...more

I enjoyed "Lost Sun" well enough, and while I wasn't actively looking *forward* to the next book, I was keeping half an eye out for it. And I'm glad I did 'cause, wow!

At first I found "The Strange Maid" tough to get into: Signy is a complex character who embraces traits that can come off as pretty distasteful: death, madness, selfishness, and rage. When she is a child and her parents die she leaves her foster family to become a child of Odin and join the Valkyrie. Flash forward several years...more

Complex, dark, and evocative tale – Gratton’s best book yet, 4.5 stars

Tessa Gratton has penned her best book yet with Book 2 of her United States of Asgard series: The Strange Maid. I stayed up late into the night, with goosebumps raised on my arms, to finish this book. The story, the writing, and the characterization are all beautiful, deep, and complex. I love a book like this that prioritizes character development over plot, but The Strange Maid still manages to combine the two well. Most of...more

The Strange Maid was definitely one of my top waited for releases for 2014, the first book remains in my top favourite books ever.

This book was no let down to my above normal expectations. However it did take me a while to get into the main frame of the book, but after that point (When Soren came back in) the book picked up.

This is not in any way your usually YA book, for a start the idea and world is something never seen and so well build up, in this book we learn more about the Norse links and...more
Jessica (Just a Booklover)
After immersing myself into Tessa Gratton's imaginative world in The Lost Sun, I was looking forward to jumping into book two. I figured I'd be entertained and get lost in the beautiful writing. What actually ended up happening was way more than that. I ended up absolutely LOVING this book. I enjoyed the first book without a doubt, but this sequel just blew me away.

The Strange Maid is told from the POV of a girl named Signy, and I am such a fan of this chick. She's strong, she's smart, and she h...more
Joy (joyous reads)
Truth be told, Tessa Gratton is one of those authors whose work I feel is beyond my capable understanding; highly intimidating, to say the least. I’ve always associated her name with the likes of Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff, both brilliant, if I may add. So when I was approached by Random House to join the blog tour, there was a bit of trepidation.

Lost Sun, the first book to this series was freaking amazing. I just knew that I was reading a brilliant reinterpretation of Norse Mythology...more
I went into The Strange Maid knowing that I probably wouldn't love it as much as I loved the first book in the series The Lost Sun, which I loved with an almost inexplicable fervor, and I was okay with that.

Tessa Gratton's newest book in The United States of Asgard series follows Signy Valborn. Signy was chosen by Odin the Alfather himself to be a Valkyrie when she was a child. Now grown, she must prove herself before she can take her place on the Valkyrie counsel by solving a riddle. Its answe...more
I enjoyed part 1 of this series, although I felt that the story and characterization was weak in places, like a fabric partly stretched too thin. But this is a very different tapestry: the language is fierce, beautiful and original without being construed, the heroine wins you over with her impatient, stormy nature, brave, moody and quick to throw herself into a fight for what she thinks is the right path forward.

Tessa Gratton knows the world she has built well by now and takes her reader seaml...more
Mary Kyle
Thanks to Netgalley for providing this book a bit early for me.

This is a continuation of the book The Lost Sun and I highly recommend this series in order. It does need the first book to help you understand what is going on and to keep things straight as it begins before that story but does have a lot of references to the first. It is engaging though I still have a few issues with the naming of things and there is a rather unnecessarily descriptive sex scene that doesn't really help the story...more

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar

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 – cha...more
Yes my use of caps is ABSOLUTELY 100% justified.

The Lost Son (USofA Bk1) blew me away, like Neil Gaiman's American Gods blew me away with its sheer depth, quality, detail and genius imagination - in The Strange Maid, where Tessa focuses on my favouritist Norse mythical character of all time VALKYRIES - I am officially in space with pure awe and respect for how one person can create such a realis...more
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The Strange Maid is the perfect bookend to The Lost Sun: contrasting the tight control of the first book's main character against the wild uncontrolled passion of the second book's protagonist. Author Gratton doesn't rest on her laurels here, resisting putting different characters in the same setting; instead, she builds the mythos of the United States of Asgaard even further. In the process, the worldbuilding is even ric...more
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I really enjoyed The Lost Sun so I was excited to start the new book in the United States of Asgard Trilogy and I was not disappointed. I actually might have even liked this one more than the first, but I'd have to re-read them both to say for certain.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I like the overall concept, but the girl is not how I pictured Signey. It's shiny though ;)

Characters: Signey Valborn is probably one of the few Valkyrie characters I have really liked. Mainly becaus...more
The first book in Tessa Gratton’s The United States of Asgard, The Lost Sun, completely wowed and captivated me, so I was super stoked to read book two, The Strange Maid...and Gratton has done it again! Once again Gratton has written an utterly engrossing and smartly crafted tale full of Norse Gods, war, history, romance, and compelling characters.

In The Strange Maid, we meet Signy Valborn who, at just seven years old, climbed the New World Tree and met Odin. Signy must solve a riddle to become...more
jv poore
A wizard is that person who is outstandingly clever, the person of amazing skill and accomplishment; she who practices magick, also known as a conjurer and enchanter. Ms. Gratton epitomizes this definition, she is a true wizard and The Strange Maid confirms it.

As the second in The United States of Asgard Books, I assumed that Signy’s saga would pick up where The Lost Sun left off. (Ms. Gratton throws back her head and wickedly laughs at my basic expectation.) Of course she would never do somethi...more
Emma (Miss Print)
"In a week and a half I'll be seventeen. It's a decade since I climbed the New World Tree, since Odin Alfather, god of the hanged, named me the next Valkyrie of the Tree, and still I have not won my place on the Valkyrie council."

Signy Valborn dedicated herself to Odin when she was seven years old. She was told one day she would join Odin's Valkyrie council and fill the long vacant place of the Valkyrie of the Tree. That was before she read the riddle. Before she left her Death Hall and her sis...more
Ange (MarmaladeLibby of Libby Blog) Schmelzer
Signy Valborn dared to climb into the highest branches of The New World Tree when she was a young girl just to rage against it about the death of her parents...and who should be there but Odin Alfather himself. He told her that if she could solve his riddle she would become one of his fierce Valkyrie forevermore. Signy trains with all her might from one Valkyrie to another around The United States of Asgard, until she strikes out on her own once again raging against all that she knows because sh...more
Zachary Flye

Protagonist: Signy Valborn is also known as the child Valkyrie. After the tragic death of her parents she wants vengeance and tries to take her anger out on the gods, climbing the New World Tree in the process of getting to them. On her way up the tree she meets Odin, king of the gods, and he offers her the title of Valkyrie of the Tree. However she doesn't quite meld very well with the other Valkyrie and one day after receiving a riddle from presumably Odin himself she leaves her Valkyri...more
4.5 stars.
I REALLY enjoyed this book, and found it hard to put it down. Vividly and viscerally written. The worldbuilding is amazing. The romance is nice. The mystery is compelling. I don't know what to say except... wow. Beautiful and fierce. SO looking forward to the next book.

Just knocked half a star off because I'm getting frustrated with how little history is included... I mean WHY is the USA centre of the universe? It isn't explained and doesn't seem to need explaining... there's very litt...more
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. Un...more
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 5/9/14:

Tessa Gratton is one of my favorite YA writers and I have been craving this novel since I finished the first one. The combination of Norse mythology in an alternate contemporary society is highly addicting reading material. The amount of creativity that has gone into creating this universe awes me.

The Strange Maid and its predecessor are reminiscent of the Greek epics. Each story focuses on the journey of a hero or he...more
I have to admit, I had a hard time getting into The Strange Maid. Signy, our main character and half cast out Valkyrie, is a difficult and dark personality to relate to...when you add in her pension for poetry and gruesome death...well you get where I'm going. But I carried on and was glad I did.

Signy goes on a quest (to solve her riddle) that is questionable at best and risks not only her life but the lives of her friends. She is totally committed to her quest, making her into a kind of anti-he...more
So good. A little slow-moving at first, but it builds like a snowball rolling down a mountainside. This is one instance where the "read-alike" authors mentioned in the review (particularly Neil Gaiman and Maggie Stiefvater) are supremely accurate -- this series is like a little cousin to Gaiman's American Gods, and as someone who LOVES Norse mythology the best of all, it makes me extremely happy.
I really enjoyed this one, but I would have liked a different ending. Not major, but just a little more information. Tessa Gratton doesn't give a perfect HEA and that's okay. I just wanted a little more confirmation as to the future of two of the characters. Hmm.
I've been so immersed in this story-world for the past few days that I'm neither interested nor fully capable of shaking its spell. This book is that good.
The Strange Maid is an excellent read. The story is rich and full of Norse mythology. The author has put so much detail into the United States of Asgard, it is easy to believe it exists. Signy Valborn is as strong main character who is full of fire and determination. It is refreshing to read a female lead who doesn't try for lovable, but instead for power.
I loved the "The Lost Sun" and was happy to find Soren makes an appearance in this title as well. You don't have to have read the first book,...more
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Tessa Gratton has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. Alas, she turned out too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for a someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. She now...more
More about Tessa Gratton...
Blood Magic (The Blood Journals, #1) The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard, #1) The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals, #2) Crow Memory (The Blood Journals, #1.5) An Infinite Thread - A Merry Sisters of Fate Anthology (Vol. 1)

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“My friends love me terribly, and their grief will be a screaming storm if I die.” 2 likes
“There is no poem I know to describe it.
Like sunlight and kisses...
I close my eyes, let my head fall back.
This is the line between death and life, the line between fire and air. It whispers to me as the Tree whispered to me: here is the first heart, forged by elf-queens, by Freya herself, the goddess of magic and dreams. It whispers that we will be glorious; together we will transform the world into anything I like.”
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