Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)/ My rating: ★★★★★
One sentence summary: Magnus, sixteen year old son of a Norse god, goes on a quest to keep the wolf that killed his mother from going free and setting doomsday into motion.
“You sacrificed yourself to save a lot of people.” Her words sounded like a compliment. Her tone sounded like she was calling me an idiot.
Genre: Middle grade/Fantasy/Mythology
Plot: I just gotta say it. I’m a long time lover of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books and Heros of Olympus series, about Greek and Roman mythology, and…I liked Magnus Chase better. I didn’t go into this book with the intention of comparison; Riordan’s books have always been fun, with good characters and humor and adventure, and that’s about what I expected from Sword of Summer. Sword of Summer, the first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, delivered all of that, and more. To be honest, I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but I’m delighted that I did- this is the first book of Riordan’s that I’ve given five stars. Sword of Summer was so much fun, and with Riordan’s other books I would, admittedly, grow bored at some of the adventures and battles, but I never found myself bored in this book. It was a fully developed, even paced story that always left me bargaining with myself for just just 0ne more chapter every time I had to set it down. While it is a middle grade book, most of that lies in the writing style. It’s definitely geared toward children, but this book does have some darker, mature themes, and most of all it’s simply an adventure for anyone to read. It’s also a great introduction to Norse mythology- I feel like I learned so much! Not to mention, this book is hilarious. Riordan always manages to make me laugh out loud.
Characters: The reason I loved this book so much definitely lies with the characters. They were diverse, they warmed my heart, and they were so much fun. I didn’t expect to like Magnus so much- perhaps because I had some impression of his books overshadowing Percy’s. But I ended up liking Magnus, if not more, simply in a completely different way. His character was pleasant, he was kind and softer and on the less temperamental side – which is a refreshing change in a male protagonist – but he was snarky and sarcastic. It took me no time at all to love Magnus, and I loved reading the story from his point of view. I also loved his companions. Samirah al Abbas, his Valkyrie and adventure companion, was lovely and tough and loyal. My favorites, though, were Blitz and Hearth, the fashionista dwarf and magical, deaf elf. They were hilarious, loyal, so lovable, and had fantastic backstories that intertwined with the plot. My heart grew so fond of all of these characters, and they were the reason I had to give this book 5 stars.
Writing: The middle grade genre of this book most definitely lies with the writing, and I always find it takes a little while for me to get into it after going a while between books. To be blunt, the writing style is quite cheesy, but it definitely wasn’t written for a 24 year old woman’s critical eye, and I can roll with it for the sake of the story. That, and it can be very funny and make me laugh out loud.
Was I satisfied? Yes. I had so much fun reading this book and falling in love with it’s characters. On to the second book!