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Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 1 The Sword of Summer Paperback – April 4, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Fans of Percy Jackson and "Kane Chronicles" (both, Disney-Hyperion) books will not be disappointed in Riordan's newest series, which is based on Norse mythology. Magnus Chase, 16, has been an orphan living on the streets of Boston for the past two years. Ever since the mysterious death of his mother, he has tried to stay ahead of anyone who might be looking for him. When his Uncle Randolph tracks him down and begins talking about his birthright—an ancient sword—Magnus's world changes forever. But Randolph is not the only one searching for the sword. A Fire Giant destined to wield it as part of doomsday is hot on their trail. Dying and winding up at the Hotel Valhalla is only the beginning of this teen's (after)life. With an epic plot, engaging (and diverse) characters, and tons of wisecracking humor, Riordan's latest is a page-turner. Those new to the author's past series can jump right in; fans of his previous works will be happy to see clever nods and references to the other in-universe books. VERDICT Ravenous Riordan fans are likely to begin lining up for this on the publication date; be prepared for long holds lists on this one.—Patrick Tierney, Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School, Providence, RI --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Norse myths are in right now, and Riordan has the magic touch."―Booklist
"This is a highly entertaining, tongue-in-cheek romp. Magnus is a witty and likable teen who proves himself worthy of redemption. The novel expertly sets up for book two and will be adored by boys and girls alike."―Voice of Youth Advocates
"Riordan offers a terrific cast that is effortlessly diverse--all of the allies stand as independent, well-constructed characters who each bring entirely different skills, histories, interests, and personalities to the group."―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A whirlwind of myth, action, and wry sarcasm, perfect for readers hungry for a new hit of that Percy Jackson-type magic."―Horn Book
"With an epic plot, engaging (and diverse) characters, and tons of wisecracking humor, Riordan's latest is a page-turner."―School Library Journal
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For those who are not familiar with Rick Riordan’s writings, this is a perfectly fine book to jump into Riordan’s fantasy world, there is no benefit gained in having read his other books that deal with heroes from Greek, Roman, or Egyptian mythology. The characters stand alone in their identities and are all affiliated with Norse mythology. The protagonist, Magnus, is quickly discovered in the story to have a background not quite like others, more so in his parenting and lineage; his father is a Norse god. As a result of this lineage, there are obligations that Magnus is thrust with, and the story is a modern day interaction of Magnus through components of Norse mythology, ranging from characters to weaponry of the ancient belief system. The story is told with humor, but also does a great job in outlining and establishing some of the belief systems of Norse mythology, such as the pantheon of the gods and goddesses.
The characters have a different personality, much like those we meet out of Camp Jupiter vs. Camp Half Blood. The story takes place in Norse mythology, which I personally do not have as strong of a familiarity with, and allowed for a new sense of novelty in the story that has the format of hero discovered, hero goes to “camp,” and hero goes on quest. The introduction of the new characters was nice and it created a sense of anticipation about who maybe a bit more friendly than others. Overall, the relationship with the gods themselves is a bit more casual, even if the society itself is more regimented.
A discussion board commenter alluded to the possibility of a relationship between these books and that with Camp Half-Blood, from the start of the book there is a pleasant surprise in that Magnus does have a cousin who attends Camp Half-Blood, but rather than long-term interaction with him/her, there is just a brief reference too at both the beginning and the end of the story.
It’s a hard story to talk about because of the potential to give so much away about who is related to who, and familiarity with some of the Norse gods would reveal some of the plot elements. However, a unique aspect of the Norse mythology is that the fates of the gods are much clearer, with a level of clarity and absolutism in the roles that each one knows that he/she plays, even in the final battle (Ragnok which isn’t the final battle in this book).
Know that the structure is similar to the books in the past, the characters who are introduced throughout this book are unique in their own ways, especially Magnus’s new companions and, I especially enjoyed the history and sense of honor associated with the Valkyrie corps, especially Samirah al-Abbas, who identifies from a Muslim family.
Anyway, enjoy a way! I have some Norse mythology to learn about now that I’m curious.
Riordan's writing is deceptively simple, with deeper themes and ponderings on the human condition hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) behind his storylines. There's plenty of history and mythology covered in such a way that to make you wish all the mythology you studied in school was taught with these books, because you'd actually have remembered it. These are great reads that open good conversations and keep you thinking much longer than you'd thought you would. To me, that's the sign of a good author: you learn something and you keep thinking about it.
I think Riordan gets better with every series. I'd never bother watching another Percy Jackson movie, not without someone I trust watching it first and pinky-swearing it was worth seeing. (Sorry!) But I'll keep reading Riordan's books for sure.
If you are looking for a quick, exciting fantasy read, give this one a try.