Title: Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer
Author: Rick Riordan
Page Count/Review Word Count: 498
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
This is the second Rick Riordan book that I’ve read, the first being Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus, and both of them have been sent to me for review purposes. It’s kind of strange, because I’m under the impression that these books are huge, and that they’re well-loved by the generation that came after me, the millennials. I don’t really understand why they’d need to look for reviewers – there’s a lot of love for Rick Riordan already!
Still, I’m not complaining, and this book takes me to extremes – the last book that I read was the last in a series, and so I wasn’t particularly involved in the story line. This book, by contrast, is the first in a series, and it’s certainly an interesting start. Loosely speaking, it follows the story of a homeless teenager called Magnus Chase, who dies and promptly appears in Valhalla. There’s a heavy focus on Norse mythology here, because that’s what Riordan specialises in, but it’s well executed and it’s a pretty cool structure for the story – the main character is dead from the outset, but he returns as an einherjar. In Norse mythology, an einherjar is a warrior who died in battle and was summoned to Valhalla by the Valkyries – spoiler here: Magnus escapes.
I don’t want to give too much away about the story line, but I can say that Chase finds himself tasked with finding the sword of summer and trying to stop Ragnarok, the Norse equivalent of Armageddon, from happening. Along the way, he’s joined by a diverse cast of characters who either want to help him or to kill him – interestingly enough, whilst the two extremes remain the same, the motivations often change, and you can’t deny that this is a well-crafted page turner. The problem that I had with Riordan before was that it felt too much like a Dan Brown novel – it wasn’t like that this time, and because it was the first book in the series, I actually got quite excited about it. I’d certainly be interested in reading book two, when it comes out.
Overall, then, this book comes recommended from me – I suspect that if Riordan had been around ten years earlier then I would’ve read most of his work and grown up with him. As is, I feel like I can look at his books objectively – he’s a decent writer, and the Nordic feel to his work lends a certain something that other writers can’t really compete with. Besides, in The Sword of Summer, you’ll get to meet all sorts of famous folk, from Odin and Thor to Loki and Ratatosk, the giant squirrel that lives on the world tree. Fear the squirrel.