Book: The Sword Of Summer (Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
I’ll have to admit, I was slightly worried when I heard about this book. I’ve never read anything by Rick Riordan that wasn’t Percy Jackson (for some reason I’ve never read his Egypt series, nor have I ever had the desire to), so I was worried that this would either feel like a weird carbon copy or would never live up to the series and characters I love so much. I am happy to say however, that I really, really enjoyed this book! It made me laugh, I loved the characters, I loved the world and I’m really excited for the sequel in October. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
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 an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle 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 . . .
So, first off, what I loved about this book was the return of the funny chapter titles. If you’ve read Percy Jackson, you’ll remember that each chapter was titled after something funny that happened in the chapter. Rick Riordan didn’t do this for Heroes of Olympus and I missed it, so I was happy that this returned in Magnus Chase, it felt nice and familiar. The writing style reminded me of original Percy Jackson, without it feeling like a total carbon copy which I loved. It didn’t feel like I was just reading Percy Jackson with different characters, it felt like it’s own book which I appreciated.
Magnus was a great character, he was funny and snarky (like Percy but a slightly darker sense of humour) but he’s a lot tougher than Percy (having lived on the streets) and a little less goofy, but they share the wonderful loyalty and kindness towards their family and friends. He kind of felt like a mix of Annabeth and Percy to me but he had enough of his own personality quirks that he didn’t feel like a carbon copy and he’s such an unlikely hero (his battle with Surt may be one of the funniest battles I’ve ever read) that it’s really fun to follow him on his adventures (He’s kind of a hapless hero which is quite endearing). I also really loved Samirah, I’ve never actually read a book with a Muslim character before, let alone one that was smart, kick butt, loves to fly planes and is happy about her arranged marriage because she actually likes the guy. The first moment Samirah appeared on the page I was like “I like this chick” and that feeling remained through the whole book. I really liked reading about her family history too and I like to learn more in future books.
I liked the small links and references to the PJ Universe in this, every time I saw one, I smiled and did a little happy dance inside. I also loved the small Annabeth cameos throughout the book, she wasn’t there a lot but she was there and I really liked seeing the relationship between Magnus and Annabeth, and through Magnus, being able to learn more about the Chase family history (all of the Chases are seriously smart, I mean Magnus and Annabeth’s uncle is a professor and so is Annabeth’s dad, plus you have Annabeth, there is some serious brains going on in that family, Magnus is maybe not as much but he still doesn’t seem to be completely dumb) and I can’t wait to find out more about the entire Chase clan in the next two books.
The chapters were pretty short for the most part, but I liked this though because it kept the pace moving at a relatively quick speed and I never felt like I was getting bogged down when reading, which I love.
I got ridiculously excited when Magnus mentioned one of my favourite authors (Neal Shusterman) which has absolutely nothing to do with this book and more to do with me loving it when fictional characters like the same authors that you do! Speaking of references to other books, whenever the Valkyries were mentioned, all I could think of was Valkyrie from Skulduggery Pleasant and I know she probably got the name from Norse mythology, but I still thought of her every time the Valkyries came up.
I loved Blitz and Hearth, Magnus’ sidekicks (along with Sam), a dwarf and an elf respectively. I think Blitz was my favourite of the two (fashion conscious dwarf is all I’m going to say) but I really loved Hearth too, he’s a deaf elf that can do magic, and he’s funny even without ever saying anything (as he signs everything). I really liked that he was deaf because you don’t see many deaf characters in books and yet his deafness wasn’t the most important thing about him. I definitely think Rick Riordan has got so much better at including diverse characters through the years and in a way that feels very natural (did I mention that Blitz is a black dwarf?). I loved the camaraderie between the group, they all were so different and yet they fitted so well together (kind of bonded by the pain they’ve all been through I think) and I think this may be my favourite group of characters Rick Riordan has put together yet.
I learned so much about Norse mythology through this book! I knew about Loki and Thor because they’re pretty famous, but I didn’t know anything about any of the other gods and I was worried this would mean I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as Percy Jackson (where I had some knowledge of Greek mythology before I read the book) but it was exactly the opposite, because I went in knowing nothing, I learned so much and that was really cool. I loved all the gods, as usual, Rick Riordan does a great job at giving them unique and distinct personalities. I think my favourite was Thor (his obsession with TV shows was hilarious) but I also loved Utgard-Loki (technically a giant and different to Loki), his scenes with Magnus were hilarious.
I was worried Magnus’ powers would not be as cool as Percy’s because his dad (not saying who it is as that would be a spoiler!) didn’t sound as cool as Poseidon, but luckily his powers were awesome! Sam’s powers were also really cool, I think if I had to pick a power from any of Riordan’s demigods, I would like hers.
There were so many hilarious moments through the book, I spent most of it laughing out loud. I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite moment, there were so many and I feel like I much prefer it when Rick Riordan writes in 1st Person POV than 3rd Person (like in Heroes of Olympus), I mean I found the Heroes of Olympus books funny but they were not as bust a gut funny as this book. There were also some great pop culture references in this which I really enjoyed.
Also the Sword of Summer……without saying too much because I don’t want to give spoilers, there are very few authors who could make me like and laugh at an inanimate object, Rick Riordan is one of them. That is all I’m going to say, I’d like you to discover the wonders of The Sword Of Summer for yourselves.
I also loved Otis the goat, simply because my dog is called Otis, so every time Otis appeared on the page, all I could think about was my dog and I was like “Yes, Otis!”.
I really liked that we got to see most of the different realms (we don’t get to see Alfheim, Muspellheim, Helheim or Niflheim) but we saw enough of the Nine Worlds that you get a good sense of the Viking Realm and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see the other 4 worlds in the next two books. Each of the worlds was really unique and I loved the idea of the World Tree as a way to transport the characters from one world to the next.
Despite Magnus being nowhere near as good a fighter as Percy (being a warrior, really not his thing) we do still get some pretty cool battle scenes in this book, all of which I really enjoyed. The villains (I’m not sure if I should say who they are, I don’t want to give spoilers!) were all really cool and worthy adversaries.
I loved that even though Magnus’ mum is dead (revealed within the first few pages so not a spoiler), we get to see through the book how much he loved her and how close they were when she was alive and I loved that, I kind of have a soft spot for guys who are close to their mums (probably one of the reasons why I love Percy so much). I also loved all of Magnus’ hallmates in Valhalla (Viking afterlife, Magnus is an einherji, essentially a dead warrior, again not a spoiler, it says this on the blurb) and I hope to see them a bit more in the next book.
It was interesting comparing Magnus’ first meeting with his dad to Percy’s, I feel like Magnus was a lot more chilled and less angry than Percy (which is strange because of the two, Percy strikes me as the more chilled) and far more willing to accept his dad, which has nothing to do with why I liked the story, I just found it interesting.
There were a few cool twists that I didn’t see coming, especially at the end and now I’m not sure how I’m going to wait to find out what happens next! At least the new book release is only two months away, not a whole year away like it would have been if I read this book when it first came out!
So basically, this book has a great cast of characters who are diverse and very different to the characters in Percy Jackson, a great plot, great new mythology, great world and the trademark Rick Riordan humour that we all know and love, so basically you should go out and get it right now because it’s amazing!
My rating: 5/5
My next review will probably be of 13 Minutes, the e-ARC I am currently reading as I am almost at the end of that.