The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
By: Rick Riordan
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
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 . . .
Okay I’ve been eyeing this series for some time now, ever since it was announced that Rick Riordan’s newest series was going to feature Norse mythology. Because I love Norse mythology and I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series (the Heroes of Olympus series too, but not as much as Percy Jackson; sadly never got around to posting my thoughts here though). So I eventually caved and picked up the first two books in the trilogy last year (and ended up reading them during NaNoWriMo because I needed something light to read) 😛
Well the first page of the book certainly had me intrigued and lmao (case in point: please see my Litsy account) 😉
Magnus Chase’s introduction was really interesting, and different for me in a sense that I haven’t quite read a character in this genre to date who lived on the streets. Magnus has had a tough two years, which informs much of his character in terms of what he’s seen (weird and otherwise), what he’s willing to do, and his level of trust with those around him. He’s also a smart-ass, which adds a bit of humour to some grim situations, but other times it can be a bit too much; sometimes it came off as a bit too much for me, which then became irritating. I wished Annabeth had a larger cameo but nonetheless it was cool to see her here, connecting the world of the mythological gods and the other book series together.
Along with Magnus Chase, the reader is introduced to a large cast of characters involved in his quest and larger events at play. The Norse mythology bits were super cool and possibly my favourite aspect of the novel, of course. It also highlighted how there’s so much more to the mythology than just the Norse gods of Asgard–there’s the Ratatok of the World Tree, the Aenir and Vasir, how interconnected the species are and the lesser gods. It was all quite informative. The plot itself was all right, but I did feel like it ran just a bit too long with all of the side quests and pit stops to almost all of the Nine Worlds, visiting all the major players and having to pick up one thing or another: it just went on for too long before going back to Surt and the impending danger of Ragnarok. Things certainly got a lot more intriguing in the epilogue though, which has me a bit more excited to read the second book.
Overall The Sword of Summer was a good introduction to Magnus Chase, the Norse gods and mythological creatures living in the same world as Percy Jackson, the Greek gods, etc., and to the quest before him. Not quite up there with the Percy Jackson books (it’s hard not to make the comparison here) and definitely dragged at some parts, but it was nonetheless entertaining. I look forward to reading the second book and see how the larger set pieces play out 😉