January 21, 2016
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
The Sword of Summer
Book 1 in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
by Rick Riordan
Life isn’t easy on the streets but Magnus has been homeless for two years. He knows who will give him food, where to find a mostly safe place to sleep and how to avoid the cops. Then one of his friends hands him a missing person flier. Magnus can’t believe it. After two years, his uncle is looking for him.
Magnus spies on his uncle and his cousin Annabeth but his mother told him to avoid her brothers. He doesn’t really know why but he decides that he needs to know what is going on and breaks into his uncle’s house.
Uncle Randolph catches him in the house and starts to tell him about their family’s history. They are descended from Vikings. There is a missing sword. The only one who can find it is Magnus and, fortunately, the sword is in the Boston area, just a few blocks away.
Soon Magnus finds himself on a bridge holding a corroded piece of metal. His uncle claims it is an ancient sword and it is all Magnus has to fend off the deadly fire giant that is standing right in front of him. When his attempt to dice up the giant fails, Magnus’ soul is snatched up by a Valkeyrie who takes him to Asgard. If he can prove he is a hero, he will have a place there. If not . . . he doesn’t even want to consider the alternative.
If this sounds a lot like Percy Jackson, don’t be shocked. Riordan has found his niche and young readers love him for it. Although Percy Jackson is all about the Greek gods and Magnus Chase is about the Norse, the two worlds overlap. Annabeth, Magnus’ cousin, is Annabeth daughter of Athena from Percy Jackson. If you’re expecting the book to be 100% original, you might be disappointed. Instead, go into it understanding that the two series overlap.
As always, the story is full of Riordan’s quirky brand of humor. His secondary characters especially seem to be designed to make us laugh. My favorite? Half Born the Beserker. Or maybe Loki. His Loki is very bit the amazing trickster that I expected — alluring, coniving and just a little scary. Riordan has done an admirable job in creating a full range of characters so that both boys and girls will be drawn into the story. Share it with the young fantasy lover in your life.