Review: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

15724396The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1) by Rick Riordan
Published: October 6th 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Pages: 507

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 m
an 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 . . .

“Myths are simply stories about truths we've forgotten.”

The Sword of Summer is the kind of book I hardly new what is was going to be about. Still, upon starting this new series by best-selling author Rick Riordan, I was grinning so much because I was on the verge of starting a whole new adventure. Norse mythology, a beautiful-looking cover, and my all-time favourite author, it could hardly go wrong. Luckily: I wasn't let down, with a few exceptions.

Percy Jackson, Riordan's most famous character who appears in both Percy Jackson & The Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus, is mostly known to the reading world as a troubled kid who is full of witty comments and a lot of sarcasm. In Riordan's previous books, his character always led to dialogues you couldn't help but laugh out loud at. Magnus Chase was no exception. He is a hilarious yet relatable and loving main character who brings along the humour and amusement I get from reading Riordan's books. It's quite obvious that I had my prejudices upon starting The Sword of Summer. For example, I was worried that Magnus Chase was going to be a complete copy of Percy Jackson.

Already from the very beginning, it certainly felt like so. It seemed to me that the author knew his fanbase wasn't able to say their goodbyes to Percy Jackson just yet, and that he used this as an opportunity to create a protagonist who resembles him to a large extent. The similarity did make me wonder just how similar their voices felt. In all honesty, they are as alike as two drops of water. Although it did not bother me as much as I thought it would, I still wished he would have been a little bit different than our favourite Greek hero.

Fortunately, the author's fantasy and originality began to flow after he'd created Magnus Chase. It let to a variety of diverse characters and a very amusing cast of characters who laid the groundwork for the rest of the series. I especially adored Hearthstone's and Samirah's additions to the book. Sign language is not something you come in contact with every other day, nor is the Islam. It is not something you would expect to encounter in a book about Norse myths, but the Riordan likes to surprise.

The plot is the one aspect of the book that leaves a lot to be desired. Even though I came across some fun twists and it contained Norse mythology, it wasn't what I was expecting. I learned a lot about the Norse mythology and I'm very appreciative for it, but on the other hand it was too much to take in at once and I feel like I have already forgotten things I shouldn't. For the rest, a lot of time the plot headed in no specific direction and didn't encourage me to continue. The characters went to different places, without too much of a development in the story. Suddenly the end of the book was near, and yet I hadn't experienced a great of exciting build up. It quickly made me realise how much shorter this story could have been, instead of the five hundred pages it consists of now.

As a best-selling and widely popular author, it can be hard sometimes to start on something completely new and focus on unknown territory. As much as I loved and cherished the Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series, I'm still rather critical over The Sword of Summer. I did thoroughly enjoy it, so the only thing I can do is hope that the rest of the series will only get better. Maybe I'm getting a bit too old to read Middle Grade, but it surely won't stop me from reading every single Rick Riordan book in the future.

Aurélie Cremers is an eighteen-year-old living in Belgium. As an active member on Goodreads, Edelweiss and Amazon, she's always spreading her reviews to express her opinion and influences her followers to read the books she fairly enjoyed. When she's not writing, you can find her at her local bookstore or in a classroom. With her blog, "Exploring Pages", Aurélie hopes to gain a larger public in the near future and to continue that what she'll always love doing: writing.

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