Sunday, 21 February 2016

Book Review: Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer – Rick Riordan

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Puffin Books
First published: 2015
Cover: Hardback, signed

Pages: 489
Blurb:    My name is Magnus Chase. I’m orphaned and living rough on the streets of Boston. And things are about to get much worse.
My day started out normally enough. I was sleeping under a bridge when some guy kicked me awake and said, ‘They’re after you.’ Next thing I know, I’m reunited with my obnoxious uncle, who casually informs me that my long-lost father is a Norse god.
Nothing normal about that. And it turns out the gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Apparently, if I can’t find the sword my father lost two thousand years ago, there will be doom. Doomsday, to be precise.
A fire giant attacking the city?
Immortal warriors hacking each other to pieces?
Unkillable wolves with glowing eyes?
It’s all coming up.
But first I’m going to die.
This is the story of how my life goes downhill from there…

History of my copy: This is one of the many books I got for Christmas just gone. (See full list here) I’m a huge fan of mythology, and Norse is one that I’ve always wanted to get into. When I heard Riordan was releasing Magnus Chase, I knew I had to get it. Waterstones were doing signed editions, so I got one to put back for Christmas.

I’ve been reading this book on and off since Christmas. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it (I can take years to read books I love), but Riordan certainly has a unique style that I really have to be in the mood for. Sometimes I just can’t put up with the heroics and humour his books contain.
This book also contains my favourite dedication I have ever read. ‘To Cassandra Clare, thanks for letting me share the excellent name Magnus’. It’s true, when I hear Magnus I instantly think of the wonderful Magnus Bane, and this dedication really made me laugh!

Plot: This book follows the journey of Magnus Chase who has been living on the streets after the death of his mother. It follows him as he dies, then as he embarks on a quest to prevent Ragnarok. One of the things I particularly loved about this book is that Magnus isn’t the son of a well-known, popular god, and also isn’t your typical hero. He uses his father’s powers to his advantage, rather than trying to fight his way out of danger.
         Another aspect I enjoyed was the slightly more grown-up tone on the book. Percy Jackson can be rather silly in places, which makes sense as it’s written from a 12 year olds perspective. However, as Magnus is a little older, the book takes a more teenaged perspective. Yes, it still has many of those silly jokes and fantastic chapter titles, but I prefer it as it’s written more at my age.

Setting: This book takes place in many of the 9 realms, mostly focussing on Midgard (Earth) in Boston, which is a special place linked to Norse mythology. I think perhaps that some of the places would benefit from a little more description, but overall it is certainly descriptive enough to know where they are and what is going on.

Characters: I adore Magnus’ entire group of friends. Magnus himself is a really interesting and well developed character. I was a little apprehensive, worried he might just be another Percy Jackson, but he’s not! He’s very likable, and his lack of knowledge on the Norse world is entertaining.
                His sidekick, so to speak, is the Valkyrie that took him to Valhalla. Sam is an interesting character, as the daughter of Loki, but shows that you can’t prejudice people because of their parents. She tries to juggle her secret life with a normal one. Another thing I like about Sam is that it’s nice to see other religions and races portrayed in books.
                The other two friends are Blitz the dwarf and Hearth the elf. Blitz is a fashionable dwarf, but very loyal and is willing to risk his life. Hearth can use magic runes, which does save their skin a few times.
                My favourite God thus far is Loki the tricky trickster! He appears quite a few times (and the epilogue, oooooh!), and seems to have his interests all over the place. I imagine he shall be in the next book too, and I can’t wait!
                Now I have to mention a very special character that appears in this book… Annabeth (from Percy Jackson)! She is Magnus’ cousin, and the book ends with them (hopefully) going off to discover they are both children of a god. It looks like we may see a little more from her in the future.

To read or not to read: Read. This. Book. Is. Amazing. I loved this book, even more so than Percy Jackson. I recommend it for anyone who is a fan of fantasy and mythology. Its humour makes it an enjoyable read, without taking away from the story.

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