Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die…
This review is spoiler-free!
Rick Riordan’s newest book – The Sword of Summer – was published today! This book is the first in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy.
And this morning, I WAS DISTRESSED. I was (and still am, although I’m going to cancel the request) nineteenth on the Iowa City Public Library’s waitlist for The Sword of Summer! I was anxious to read it because A) Rick Riordan is awesome and B) I really, really wanted to avoid spoilers.
SO. I was having a sad.
And then I remembered that this town is bursting with bookstores. And that I have leftover birthday money. Soooo… shout-out to that one employee at the Prairie Lights Bookstore for digging through stacks of books to find one of the few copies they had left. You’re awesome, dude.
And now, on to the review.
This book is an incredibly fast read.
I mean, I read really quickly, too, but OMG THE PACE OF THIS BOOK IS JUST. OMG. IT’S AMAZING. The plot zips around and… well, that’s important. I do read more slowly if the material is boring! (So, my textbook assignments take forever.) But this book? I read five hundred pages in four hours. THIS BOOK IS ONE NON-STOP ADVENTURE AFTER ANOTHER.
Like, neither of the pictures above do it justice. The colors are just so INTENSE. I may have freaked out in the bookstore because The Sword of Summer is JUST. SO. PRETTY. I may have stroked the cover gently and
lovingly carefully carried it home.
(Also, look at me, doing bookish photography! Whoo! This was on the way home from the bookstore – the building with the shiny gold dome in the background is part of campus.)
It really reminded me of the Percy Jackson series!
UGH THIS WAS SO AWESOME. I mean, I enjoyed the Heroes of Olympus series, but… not as much as Percy Jackson. Reading The Sword of Summer was like reading about Percy for the first time, which is an experience I never thought I’d have again.
The humor was ON POINT.
And by that I mean that it was there, but not overwhelming. I do love Riordan’s sense of humor, but at the same time I sometimes feel that he, um, overdoes it? I don’t know. This book struck the PERFECT balance between humor and seriousness, and none of the jokes felt over the top. They didn’t feel forced – they felt like what like real (read: sarcastic) teenagers would say.
(And that’s one of the things that made me think of Percy Jackson – I don’t find the humor in that series nearly as overpowering as that in Heroes of Olympus. Anyway, I think this is probably Riordan’s most… mellow? book, humor-wise. Does that even make sense? Do people even describe humor as mellow? I DON’T CARE. I’M GOING TO. I think it made the funny scenes even better BECAUSE they were a little more rare!)
I don’t even know whether this is MG or YA.
I mean, it’s being marketed as MG, but… I always feel this way about Rick Riordan’s books. I think they can be a little bit of both! And I think the toned-down amount of humor made this book feel a little more grown-up.
I mean, I know the basics of it, but I’ll need to check out that glossary! Sometimes I couldn’t keep track of the relationships between all the characters, and I don’t have that problem when it comes to Greek or Roman mythology.
But yeah. I loved the interpretation of Thor, and I cheered for ALL of the Valkyries (because Skulduggery Pleasant is the best), and basically I spent soooo much of the book internally screaming “HE IS AWAITED IN VALHALLA” and “HE LIVES, HE DIES, HE LIVES AGAIN” whenever Magnus did, well, pretty much anything.
I’m so happy that this series didn’t focus much on Thor, Loki, Odin, et cetera.
I mean, they were definitely in the story! And they played an important role when they did interact with the main characters. But I love that Rick Riordan focused on other gods and goddesses, and especially the jötnar (giants). I think it would’ve been very easy to focus on the mythological figures everyone knows, but he didn’t.
This isn’t a spoiler! IT’S NOT. Rick has said it so many times! Annabeth is in this book, briefly, and it was amazing, and I love the scenes with her and Magnus – she’s his cousin. I love love LOVE the scene at the end where neither of them know the other is a demigod, and they’re trying to one-up each other about their lives. That was amazing.
Also, in my review of The Blood of Olympus, I mentioned how sad I was that we were leaving Percy and his friends. But we didn’t, not really! UGH I’M SO GLAD WE STILL HAVE ANNABETH.
SO MUCH DIVERSITY UGH I’M REALLY PROUD OF YOU RICK.
One of the Valkyries – and Magnus’ friend – is Arab American and Muslim! I loooved Samirah. I love that Rick Riordan has gotten so much better at including diverse characters. Also, I loved Sam’s magic hijab. SHE HAS A MAGIC HIJAB. IT’S GLORIOUS.
And and and Hearth – an elf who protects Magnus – is deaf! I love that he was such a major part of the book.
THAT ENDING SCENE THOUGH.
I don’t want to give too much away, but IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. And I just. I love that whole thing about Magnus and light/warmth/sun/summer/healing/et cetera.
I haven’t had time to read much this fall, so I’m glad that I was able to make time to read The Sword of Summer – and that it was such a good book! I honestly wasn’t sure what it would be like, because…, well, Riordan IS ridiculously fond of the “this kid is a demigod” story, and I wasn’t sure if it would be more of the same.
And, well, it was. Kind of. The Sword of Summer cannot escape the fact that it is, in fact, another story about a demigod teen, but it wasn’t THE SAME as reading Percy Jackson, it was only LIKE reading Percy Jackson. I loved spending time in this new world he’s adapted for us, and I loved the understated humor, and the diversity, and Samirah. I can’t wait to read the next books in this series!