Friday, November 6, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': the sword of summer

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan


synopsis: 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 . . .

full review under the cut!

I think that this book just seals the deal that I will literally read anything that Rick Riordan writes. I already thought that, considering I love the Kane Chronicles, and also Riordan's ten Greek mythology novels are perhaps some of the most important in my life, but it is always scary for me when Rick goes to write something new, because I always have such high expectations. HOWEVER, Uncle Rick has never disappointed me, and with this new addition to the canon, I am assured that he never will.

It took me like a week to read this book, which on one hand makes sense because it is LONG, way longer than I expected; but also doesn't really because these books read like a movie: quick and fun the whole way through. I think that it took me longer because I'm so used to and familiar with the Greek mythology of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series', that this new Norse mythology took me a little bit to get a handle on. Once I was used to it, it read much more easily, but the initial jump into the new stories took me a minute to get used to. So I would be prepared if you love the Greek mythology for a period of adjustment when you start this novel.

That being said, there are a lot of similarities between the layout and execution of this novel and a Percy Jackson novel, especially the first couple books of the PJO series. Magnus Chase has been homeless for two years, ever since two wolves with glowing eyes broke into his apartment and killed his mother. When he finds out that his family, including two uncles and a cousin (a very familiar Annabeth) is looking for him, he decides to take matters into his own hands. The moment he decides to get involved, aka his 16th birthday, he finds himself being attacked by a fire giant in the middle of Boston. Which is how he dies.

Now obviously this is a problem, because our hero can't die within the first few chapters of the novel named after him. Turns out, in this Norse mythology, a hero can be deemed worthy by a Valkyrie, and then can be brought to Odin's warrior hall/hotel Valhalla to live and train for Ragnarok, or doomsday. This is where Magnus finds himself, though he isn't the son of a warrior god and his status as a worthy hero is contested because the Valkyrie that brought him to Valhalla is a daughter of Loki whom no one trusts. Following? Magnus is the son of Frey, who, among many other things, is the god of summer. (sword of summer, god of summer, etc.) When Magnus' friends, a dwarf and an elf named Blitzen and Hearthstone respectively, come to tell him that he must retrieve a legendary sword before the enemy does, he manages to escape Valhalla with the help of his hallmates, angering the Valkyries and especially Gunnilla, daughter of Thor. He and Blitz and Hearth meet up with Samirah, daughter of Loki, and set off on a quest throughout the nine worlds, searching for the sword and then for a way to bind the legendary rope Fenris, thereby delaying doomsday. Simple right? 

I don't know much about Norse mythology. Or, at least, I didn't before this book. The majority of my knowledge comes from Marvel movies, and I think we can all agree that those are not the most accurate portrayal of the myths. I think it was the whole nine worlds concept that confused me at first, and I'm really glad the book includes a glossary and diagram of the nine worlds, or else I would've gotten a lot more lost than I did. Once I sort of got a grasp on which world was which, it was easier.

I really fell in love with this new cast of characters, which I didn't necessarily expect, but I am glad for it. Magnus reminds me a bit of Percy in that he's hilarious and they have a similar tone, but Magnus is more sarcastic than Percy, and I absolutely loved it. I was cracking up for 50% of this novel, half from Magnnus' snarky comments and half from Rick Riordan just being so clever in the way he incorporates his mythology. Magnus is my new homeboy. I loved how he accepted that he isn't a great fighter at the end, and that is what helped him succeed. He is caring and loyal and protective, and I liked how he didn't have any bravado and wasn't afraid to admit when he was scared shitless.

As for the rest, Samirah al-Abbas is someone I want on my side of any fight. She's straight up scary when she wants to be, and determined. She wants to be a good granddaughter and do the things that her grandparents expect her to do, but she also has all of these dreams and aspirations of her own, which I respect so much. Petition to see Sam fly her own plane! Blizten is everything I could ever want in a dwarf friend. Son of Freya, clothes-conscious and amazing with a hammer? Beautiful I loved the description of his hats that keep out the sun, I was cracking up. Hearthstone and his entire life and backstory was making me so emotional. He was tugging at my heartstrings, what with his discouraging parents, his hearing disability, his brother's death, giving up everything for magic, and still opening himself up to Magnus and the rest, accepting them as his new family. I love him!! I LOVE HIM!

This book has everything that we have come to expect from a Rick Riordan novel, with some new twists thrown in. Kickass heroes, amazing cast of characters, hilarious moments, non-stop plotlines, and an ingenious weaving of mythology and modernity together. I cannot wait for the rest of this series, I'm just so happy that Riordan keeps bringing his special brand of magic to these stories.


No comments:

Post a Comment

80% Read the Printed Word!