Marshmallow has read and reviewed a large number of books by Rick Riordan already. Most recently she began reading the Magnus Chase series. Today she shares her thoughts on the first book of this series: The Sword of Summer.
(Marshmallow reviewed three books from Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series; check out her reviews of The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse. Caramel reviewed the graphic novel versions of the same three. See his reviews of The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like reading about mythology and/or have enjoyed some of Rick Riordan’s previous books, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Magnus Chase (the cousin of Annabeth Chase, one of my favorite characters from Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) finally goes to his uncle Randolph’s house. His whole life his mother told him not to. She tried to distance herself from Randolph.
The book starts two years after the death of Magnus Chase’s mother. Magnus has been living on the streets because he doesn’t want to go to his uncle. But then he sees his other uncle and his cousin Annabeth looking for him. They were sent by Randolph to look for Magnus. Magnus breaks into Randolph’s house to find the reason why. He meets Randolph, and this uncle his mother told him to avoid at all costs tells him remarkable things.
According to Randolph, the Norse gods are real, and Magnus is descended from one of them. (Sound familiar? Yes, so in the vein of the previous Riordan series, we are again thinking of ancient myths; this time, though, the mythology we are diving into is the Norse one.)
Randolph drives Magnus to Longfellow Bridge and tells him that he needs to retrieve a sword from the bottom of the bay, a sword that belonged to Magnus’s father. Magnus retrieves the sword, and just in time. A fire giant appears on the bridge and starts to destroy it. Magnus attacks the giant, whose name is Surt, and is mortally wounded. Big spoiler alert! Magnus dies, though he takes Surt down with him.
Magnus wakes up in a hotel: Hotel Valhalla. He learns that this is the place where the einherjar, the chosen warriors of Odin, wait for Ragnarök, the final battle in which the gods will die and all nine of the Norse worlds will end. Magnus is brought to the hotel by Samirah Al-Abbas, better known as Sam. Sam is a Valkyrie whose job is to bring the honorable dead to Valhalla.
However, Magnus cannot stay in Valhalla for long. His two friends, Blitzen and Hearthstone, who lived on the street with him appear and tell him that they are actually a dwarf and an elf, respectively. They convince him to leave Hotel Valhalla and they set out. Magnus and his friends must retrieve the sword he had found in the harbor. When he plummeted from the bridge with Surt, he had lost the sword.
When the trio retrieve the sword, they find out that there is a much larger problem going on. But I can’t tell what it is, you have to read the book!
Marshmallow’s Review: The Sword of Summer is a great book. It has the same humor and magic as Riordan’s other books. I thought that all of the characters are likable and maybe relatable at some level, though their lives are so different from the general population’s.
I thought the plot was well written. Also I found this book to be a great entry point into the nine worlds of Norse mythology. I had not read much about Norse mythology before so the whole context was new and it was quite exciting to learn.
I admit that I hesitated a while before diving into the Magnus Chase series. I have really loved the stories of the Greek demigods in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and the Roman demigods in the Heroes of Olympus series. I was not ready to let them go and dive into a new world and get immersed in the adventures of a totally new set of characters. I was skeptical that I could enjoy them as much. But The Sword of Summer was just as exciting and just as captivating as the other Riordan books, and I can’t wait to read and tell you about the rest of the books in the series.
I recommend this book highly to younger readers and older ones alike. I know for example that Sprinkles will love it.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.