Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Sword of Summer: Where the MCU is Blown Away

Title: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy, Mythology
Source: Penguin Australia

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 an uncle he's never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle 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 . . .
Review by Nara

I am honestly in awe of this man named Rick Riordan. Sometimes I cannot even believe that his books are written by a fifty-something year old, because they sound so convincingly like they're written by a teenager. The voices and the humour are seriously some of the best I've ever read (for example, please take the time to read the chapter titles. They're hilarious).

Magnus is a bit older than Percy, and so this series definitely tends more towards YA rather than MG, and I think that's a good thing. It makes Magnus quite different to Percy in terms of his darker humour, although they're both pretty snarky. I can't actually say I liked him more than Percy to be completely honest (because, seriously, Percy is my favourite), but he's a close second. Definitely like him more than all the other POV characters in any of Uncle Rick's books, even Annabeth.

I can definitely say I learnt a lot more about Norse mythology through this book. My knowledge basically all came from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is pretty flimsy at best (speaking of which, the portrayal of Thor in this series is so different from the MCU I can't even. You literally cannot picture Chris Hemsworth while reading about Thor, they're that different). The Sword of Summer goes into all the different gods and worlds of Norse beliefs, and thankfully helps with the pronunciation of new terms like "einherjar".

Surprisingly, there is no romance. Which I actually thought was a good choice because this book was there to set up all the Norse mythology and Magnus dealing with his death and all that. On the other hand, we're introduced to fantastic characters like Jack (which I won't go into because you need to meet him yourself) and Hearth and Blitz (an elf and a dwarf respectively, who help Magnus during his homeless days) and Samirah, a Valkyrie who's a Muslim and is surprisingly not the love interest.

Honestly, there's not much more I want to say about this book, because you should go read it for yourself. There is basically no flaw in it, barring the fact that Percy doesn't show up in it, and all of the sequels are most definitely on my auto-buy list. Do get yourself a copy.

Overall: 10/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 3/5