Review of “Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer”
I must admit off the bat this was a hard review to go into unbiased. The author Rick Riordan is one of my childhood favorite authors. I loved the Percy Jackson books, “The Kane Chronicles” and even enjoyed his contributions to the “39 Clues” series.
When I heard he had started a series on Norse mythology, I knew I had to get my hands on it. You see, Norse mythology is the hardest of the pantheons to tackle. So far, the Norse didn’t have a huge cast of quirky characters with strenuous relationships, much like the Greco-Roman pantheon, or the epic adventure story between Osiris, Isis, Horus, and Set that is ready made for a fresh take.
Luckily, Riordan continues to prove that he knows how to please his audience with a fresh cast of faces and names you’ve probably heard of before, to the fairly unknown deities whose appearance makes a myth geek like me squeal with joy.
The protagonist of the novel manages to feel different enough from his past heroes, with a quick wit and devilish charm but still seem like a real teen who could use a chance and a hug. Longtime fans will revel in Riordan’s unique talent of making the fantastic believable, taking legends long dead and plopping them straight into Boston as if it were the most obvious thing. New fans will be drawn in by the book’s charm and kept on the edge of their seats by the constantly evolving plot.
My one real gripe with the book is that certain small bits of the novel feel like they were put in to pay fan service to Riordan’s fans while not serving the larger plot. But these moments were few and far between. While it isn’t ground-breaking, “Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer” is another solid piece of evidence that Riordan has mastered the art of YA fiction. Riordan’s knack for making what normally would be vaguely menacing super beings and turning them into an evil you can understand is on full display.
The book is available as a hardcover, audiobook, or e-book. It came out Oct. 6. In its print run it is 491 pages. The audience ranges from sixth grade to college-age.