Book Review: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book One)

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Title: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book One)

Author: Rick Riordan

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Summary: “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 . . .”

My thoughts: 

The book starts off with Magnus talking about how he died, which is always an interesting start to a story. By starting the book off like this, I was pulled into the story, because not many books start with death. Additionally, the beginning was funny and sarcastic, which is an element I always welcome in books. After the initial introduction, The Sword of Summer continued to move along at a fast and compelling pace. It doesn’t take long for the action to start, which keeps the book going and kept me interested.

As I mentioned a little bit before, one of the best parts of this book, and Rick Riordan’s books in general is the sarcasm. He writes witty and clever characters so well, and I really love it. The humor often lightens the situation or just makes the situation even funnier than it already was. For example, here is an example of Magnus being sarcastic:

“That way if we fall,’ Sam said, ‘We’ll fall together.’
‘Sold,’ I said, trying to tamp down my anxiety. ‘I love dying with friends.'”

But not only is there a lot of good humor in the text, even the chapter titles are super funny! The first chapter is called “Good Morning! You’re Going to Die,” and the 50th is titled “No Spoilers. Thor Is Way Behind on His Shows.” I just thought they were all so creative and fun to read.

Although the book was very funny, I think there was still a good balance of seriousness, given that some hard things do happen to the characters, and it would be unfair to make everything a joke.

Like all of the Riordan books I’ve read, the characters in The Sword of Summer were interesting and interacted in ways that added to the book. (For example, from the quote above, you can tell the characters are funny together). All of the characters feel different and like real people. Magnus and everyone he interacts with feel like I could meet them on the street (if they were all actually humans, not things that exist in fantasy). And not only were the new characters great, but there were a few old ones too! Annabeth Chase from both Percy Jackson and the Olympians as well as The Heroes of Olympus is in the book. I won’t tell you where, so you’ll have to read to find out! (Or spoil yourself elsewhere on the internet). And Jason Grace from The Heroes of Olympus is mentioned during the book. I liked both of these characters (I loved Annabeth), in the other series, so I liked them popping up in this Riordan book as well.

Something else I really appreciated about The Sword of Summer was the diversity. Magnus is homeless, and showing a poor person doesn’t always happen in novels, unless it’s the point of the story. There is also a deaf person and a Muslim woman in the story, which adds to the diversity. Representation is so important, because it helps everyone feel included in literature and writing. Additionally, it helps young readers (and readers in general) relate to the story easier.

My last point is quite short, but being a Nirvana fan, I felt the need to include it: the Kurt Cobain references in this book make me very happy.

If you liked Riordan’s other books, I think you will also like this one. And even if you haven’t read any of his other books, I think you’ll like this. (But do yourself a favor and go read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and then The Heroes of Olympus series).


Comment Below: Have you read The Sword of Summer? If so, what did you think of it?

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