“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 . . .” (Goodreads Synopsis).
“Yeah, I know.” (Sword of Summer, Page 1, Sentence 1)
To begin, the chapter titles were probably my favorite part about this book. For example: Chapter 1 is titled “Good morning! You’re going to die.” They pretty much all hold up to this snappy, upbeat tone. For all of the fans of the Percy Jackson series, you will be surprised by how un-Percy Magnus is. Don’t get me wrong, Percy is great, but he can be a bit angsty at times. Magnus is ALWAYS cheerful…so I guess that’s a little annoying at times, too.
This plot moves briskly…so be ready to sit and read nonstop until it’s finished. There are tons of fight scenes to keep fight-scene-loving people (ahem, teenage boys) happy. There are so many fight scenes I can’t even keep them straight in my head. One thing I would advise (and only because I failed to do so) is to do a little research on Norse mythology BEFORE reading the book. I didn’t know who most of the characters were. Thankfully, I’m familiar enough with the new Marvel movies to know who Thor and Loki are and was familiar with the concept of Valhalla and Valkyries.
Magus’s best friends (by the end of the book) are a dwarf, an elf, a Valkyrie, and a sword–Blitz, Hearth, Samirah-al-Abbas (Sam), and Jack. Blitz, Hearth, and Sam are all interesting, round characters. Blitz is an outsider to his own people because he prefers to follow his dream of opening a fashion store. Hearth is not only deaf, but a sorcerer (which is frowned upon by other elves). Plus, his parents were terrible people who blamed him for the death of his brother. Sam is probably the character that I am the most thrilled with. We don’t get a lot of Arabic characters in YA literature, and I’m glad Riordan made her a main character who overcomes other people’s biases (some because of her Arabic heritage and others because of being the daughter of Loki). Sam is also betrothed to a guy in an arranged marriage…and she’s THRILLED with it. No, seriously, that’s not sarcasm. She’s got a huge crush on her betrothed. So Magnus and readers’ stereotypes of arranged marriages always being horrible things gets corrected.
Jack (aka The Sword of Summer) is definitely a character. I’m not sure I’d classify him as a rounded character because he’s a sword and he’s SUPPOSED to be flat. However, I will say that he’s not a very flat sword. Jack’s dialogue in the book is always amusing and his creativity in killing giantesses was most (ugh) interesting. I imagine Jack’s dialogue is what Excalibur (from the television series, The Librarians) would sound like if he was given a voice.
Overall, the book follows the same recipe of the Percy Jackson books. Serious topics are discussed, but in a lighter tone. All fans of Riordan’s other works will enjoy this new series starter.