Friday, October 16, 2015

Title:       The Sword of Summer [Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, book 1]
Author:   Rick Riordan
Rating:   ★★★
Availability: Fully Booked | National Bookstore | Google Play | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

As someone who has read all three (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lost Heroes of Olympus, and Kane Chronicles) series by Rick Riordan, I clearly see that his writing just kept improving since The Lightning Thief. There was no question, then, as to my reading his latest series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.

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 . . .

I didn't know the synopsis of The Sword of Summer before I bought it. I saw that it was a new book by Rick Riordan and it's about the Norse gods, and I bought it. It did not disappoint at all. True to what I now deem to be Riordan's style, The Sword of Summer is filled with young adult-appropriate language, kick-ass action, weird but lovable characters, talking animals, self-absorbed gods, several plot twists, and heart-breaking family issues.

Magnus Chase is an orphaned teenager living on the streets, when he is forced to fight the Norse god of fire, Surt, and accidentally plunged to death. His soul was brought to Valhalla by the Valkyrie Sam. And what's a hero story without a quest? To save the world from the early coming of Ragnarok, Magnus sets out to fight the wolf of his nightmares.

Unlike in Percy Jackson where the kids must be trained to fight, Magnus' physique was upgraded when he died.

Another factor I enjoyed in The Sword of Summer is that Valhalla sounds awesome. And while reading, I couldn't avoid but imagine my beloved Tom Hiddleston whenever Loki's character appeared in the story.

I don't know much about Norse mythology (and learning about new things is part of the reason why I love to read) but by the end of The Sword of Summer, I have a newfound appreciation for it. Unlike in Percy Jackson, where I was pretty familiar with Greek gods because we studied the Iliad extensively in college and we were made to understand the Greek god psyche, the Norse gods were wholly new territory for me. So thank you, Rick Riordan, for challenging me to explore a whole new topic.

I'm excited to see how Odin will be, if he will be depicted differently from Zeus. I guess the challenge for Riordan in continuing to write about heroes and along this vein, is how to differentiate each series and primary character from one another. I'm seeing a lot of Percy Jackson's characteristics in Magnus Chase (recklessness, thirst for adventure, ignoring the rules) but the persona of the latter character works out for me so far because of the different scenarios and challenges. I hope this will not turn out to be a tiresome repetition of character, events, and locales, as it does for some writers I've since stopped reading.

Did anyone else realize that Magnus Chase is the cousin of Annabeth Chase of Percy Jackson? That thrilled me so much! I couldn't figure out the timeline, though, if this Annabeth was pre-Percy Jackson or after? I'm thinking after?

*As of this writing, the link to Fully Booked's Magnus Chase copy is unavailable, but I bought my copy from them.