Review: THE SWORD OF SUMMER (Magnus Chase #1)

MagnusChase1By: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Rating: 4/5
Buy it here! (UK)
Buy it here! (US)

Official Description
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 . . .


 

Spoiler-Free Thoughts

I don’t know why, but when this book was announced, even right up until after it was released, I never really had any intention to get it. To be honest, I wasn’t even that fussed about reading it. It’s not that I dislike Rick Riordan’s books–evident by my love of Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus–I just didn’t really feel like I’d be interested enough in the world of Norse mythology. Plus, over the past few years, I’ve read ten Rick Riordan books. I think that  part of my mind was probably ready for a breather.

Then I saw the book on sale for £8 in Tesco one day. And I bought it.

To cut it all short; I really enjoyed this book. Probably not as much as the Percy Jackson books, or the first few Heroes of Olympus books, but it’s highly enjoyable nonetheless. In between the heavy reading I’ve been doing for university over the past few months (including way too many Shakespeare plays), it was such a relief to be able to just sit down and spend an hour or two every night reading such a fun, wacky, action-packed Rick Riordan book. As with everything he writes, the mythology was so interestingly explored throughout the entire book, the cast of characters were all interesting and likeable, and it’s so typically funny to read about Gods and Goddesses in ridiculous Rick Riordan ways.

Full Review

When I first went into The Sword of Summer, I really didn’t know much about it other than it would follow the child of a Norse God. Like I said, I wasn’t really that hyped for it, so by the time I actually did get to reading it, the fact that Magnus is 16 and that he’s homeless in Boston was a massive surprise to me. The fact that he literally dies within the first few chapters was sort of a big, unexpected deal too. Not that I would be bothered by it, but going in I had no idea if it would follow a similar pattern to the Percy Jackson books or not. I think it’s unavoidable that there are some similarities, but honestly they are all done in fairly new and loveable ways. I loved when Magnus arrived in Hotel Valhalla, this series’ equivalent of Camp Half-Blood. Hotel Valhalla was such a cool, interesting place to read about, from the fact that every activity is played ‘TO THE DEATH!’, to the World Tree, and to the fact that everyone in the Hotel was brought because they died heroically. If anything, I would have really liked to spend more time in HV, but that’s just a personal preference and I wouldn’t say the story suffers at all for not having more of it set there.

I don’t want to get too much into the story, because as with all Rick Riordan books, there’s a lot going on. The gang–Magnus, Sam, Hearth, and Blitz–go so many places, meet so many people, and evade death so many times. All in all, their adventures were extremely fresh, even if they weren’t 100% unique from Percy & Gang’s adventures. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments–especially when Magnus and Blitz travel to the dwarf world, where we get to learn that Taylor Swift is a dwarf, and in the fact that the Sword of Summer can talk and is called Jack. There are so many witty, hilarious moments in the dialogue involving the sword, too many for before we learn that he can really talk: when Magnus is asking the sword if it can turn into something inconspicuous to avoid raising attention, and he suggests a pen before the sword says, A pen-sword? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Come on, we all laughed at that. #PercyJacksonReferences)

The beginning was so much fun, especially considering that Annabeth Chase–Magnus’s cousin from our beloved Percy Jackson series’–shows up in the first chapter looking for Magnus. I loved that she was in it, and that she didn’t play a massive role. She shows up a few times, but she isn’t a main character. When she appeared at first I was a bit worried that she would be, and this feels ridiculous to say, the Annabeth of the story. I thought that she’d be the one to guide Magnus into his new life as an einherji. At the end she re-appears and chats with Magnus about the fact that her life is more incredible and unbelievable, but we never find out if Annabeth knows about the Norse Gods situation, like we know that Magnus has no idea about Annabeth being a demigod.

Conclusion

I honestly can’t wait to read the next book in this series (I’m sure it’s a trilogy?). This book laid a lot of foundations, as can be expected from the first of any series, and I know that Rick Riordan is more than capable of taking Magnus’s story to great levels. This isn’t a book without it’s flaws, and I definitely wouldn’t say that it’s even close to being my favourite Rick Riordan book, but as expected, it’s a highly enjoyable ride, and one you won’t regret picking up.

MichaelSig

 

 

 

 

PS: Would it have been so difficult to put in a pronunciation guide? Jeez Louise, there’s a lot of difficult words in this one!
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