Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer – Book Review

Author: Rick Riordan

Characters:
Magnus Chase
Blitzen
Hearthstone
Samirah Al-Abbas
Fenris Wolf
Surt

Contrary to most Riordan books, there’s a limited number of main characters. Also, the picture above shows that this books is called Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer, and I named it differently in my title. My copy of the book reads the way I titled it, so I’ll stick with that. Also, this is more than just Asgardian gods, it’s about Vanir gods, fire giants, dwarves, elves and so much more. 
This book series (And I know this is a series because Riordan already announced Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor) focuses on Norse Mythology, another branch of historical myth and legend that Riordan is delving into. He’s already touched upon Greek, Egyptian and Roman mythology, and the ways of the Pagans are finally met. The only thing I knew about Norse mythology before this came from Marvel, and let me tell you that that adaptation is incredibly inaccurate. 
Spoiling nothing except the blurb: Magnus Chase is a homeless sixteen year-old living in the streets of Boston. Boston, for those of you who don’t know, is kind of like a hub for the nine realms: Midgard (Earth), Vanaheim, Jotunheim, Helheim, Asgard, Muspellheim, Alfeim, Nidavellir, and Nilfeim. Magnus finds out from his uncle that his dad is a Norse god, and Magnus has to find a sword that could hasten or delay Ragnarok, which is the Norse version of Doomsday. Not the Kryptonian monster Doomsday, but literal Doomsday. 
It’s also stated in the blurb that Magnus dies. That’s true. Forty-five pages in, he actually dies. Of course, the story advances, but that was a step over the edge for a supposed children’s book. And  I loved that. 
Okay, no more about the plot. 
This book is, like all of Riordan’s books, incredibly fast-paced, and at times it was a little difficult for me to keep up with occurring events. But that pace was really gripping, and every character often went to a different world and back (not even metaphorically), which meant it was really eventful. One thing that books have that movies can’t is the depth that each character can have, and all the main characters in this book are so fleshed out. A lot of points there. 
My one issue with this book is that Riordan used the same formula again. Norse god/goddess falls in love with a human, has a child who discovers his parenthood and powers, blah blah blah. Sure, the Kane Chronicles were different, and that’s why I liked it. This would have been much better if Magnus was sort of like a chosen hero by one particular god, who acts as a parent to him and trains him to develop powers. Magnus’ origin story was kind of stale for me. And the Sword Of Summer and turn into a pendant, so that it’s easier to carry around. Just like Percy’s Riptide can turn into a pen. All of that felt sort of unoriginal.
But origin story aside, this is a great book. I already mentioned the pace. But outside of that, there are a few parts in this book that I really like, and those are the long exchanges of dialogue at some points. A few that spring to mind are between Magnus and Samirah, Magnus and his father, Magnus and… I’m just going to say his cousin, without spoiling anything. Hardcore Riordan fans would know what I’m talking about. Also, I’ll spoil that at the end of this review. Sure, all the ones I mentioned involve Magnus, but that’s because it’s a first person narrative from his view. They have to involve Magnus. Those conversations really helped establish those characters’ motivations. 
I also won’t mention Magnus’ father, because that’s an important part of the story. 
Magnus’ relationship with his mother, which I will not delve into, is pivotal for this entire book. It’s the premise, the motivation and the will for Magnus. I thought that was beautifully captured. 
Finally, this book is funny. Genuinely funny, without cheap humour. I mean, just look at some of the chapter names. Yes, this is how it is with every Riordan book, but they’re so good:

‘My Blooper Reel Goes Viral’
‘Come To The Dark Side. We Have Pop-Tarts’
‘Hearthstone Passes Out More Than Jason Grace (Though I Have No Idea Who That Is)’

That last one is so great. It’s a reference to the Heroes Of Olympus, and it’s so random, yet relate-able for me.
Also, just for the humour, one last one (This seriously isn’t a joke):
‘No Spoilers. Thor Is Way Behind On His Shows’
I think I’ve highlighted the humour in this book pretty well. 
Well, it comes down to this. On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:


Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer: MIHIR

One last thing, which I mentioned earlier. Before I read this book, I knew Riordan’s books were all in the same universe, for two reasons. The first was that the Heroes Of Olympus and Percy Jackson books follow on the same plot, along with the crossovers with the Kane Chronicles. 
The second I caught in the Blood Of Olympus, with this dialogue from Annabeth. Considering Magnus’ last name, I knew exactly what she was talking about. Also, in this book, there’s a plot element that confirms this. 



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