Well, There’s Your Problem. You’ve Got a Sword Up Your Nose.
By Rick Riordan
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 barely knows-a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph 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.
I am a massive, massive fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series, so when I discovered he was working on a new saga rooted in the tales of the Norse Pantheon, I was stoked.
Unfortunately, my hype didn’t exactly line up with the delivered product, though that is not to say I was disappointed. It was an enjoyable romp, but it has a lot of room for improvement if it’s going to dethrone Percy and his gang as my Demigods of choice.
The novel, narrated by and starring Annabeth Chase’s 16-year-old cousin Magnus (himself the child of a god- that Chase family!), reads like a blistering primer of the Norse fundamentals. My issue is that it moved a little too quickly, and covered so much ground at a lightning speed that the world (or worlds in this case) didn’t seem as fully formed. The same can be said for characters within them. Riordan spends so much time bouncing us around between people, realms, supernatural siblings, strange creatures, talking weapons, and a myriad of races, that the plot barely gets a chance to settle and breathe.
I have high hopes for book #2 though. Now that the introductions have been made I have confidence that the characters will grow, the realms will find better distinction, and the already well established humor will only continue to improve (it’s even family friendly, as Magnus censors himself several times while narrating).
The Sword of Summer wasn’t the greatest YA book I’ve ever read, or even the best my it’s author, but it was a fun diversion from a lot of my normal reading fare, and the series has potential. The second book, titled The Hammer of Thor will be dropping in early October, and you can bet it’ll be on my bookshelf soon after.