Friday, October 23, 2015

Review: The Sword of Summer - Rick Riordan

The Sword of Summer
Rick Riodan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Rick Riordan dedicated this book to Cassandra Clare, "for letting [him] share the excellent name Magnus," which set off the first of many squeals from yours truly reading this book and also finally allowed me to accept our dear protagonist's name with an open heart.

Which was great timing, because Magnus Chase is the sarcastic little shit you a. know you truly are inside or b. know you need in your life. 16 when the book begins, our homie's spent the last two years as a homeless kid after his mom was attacked by wolves...with blue eyes???? *Insert several eyes emojis here* He's got a deep phobia of wolves since the incident though he doesn't encounter them much in the heart of Boston, living on the streets with like two friends, who are also homeless people. Weird homeless people. It's almost as if they're...not...homeless people???

I present to you, Blitzen and Hearthstone, resident old married couple (well not canonically and not old but like let's be real). Blitzen is a Black dwarf who just wants to be a fashion designer which isn't really the type of craftsmanship dwarves do (think chairs, weapons, that sort of thing). Hearthstone is a Deaf elf who uses ASL (Alf Sign Language) -- which Blitz known well and Magnus knows too but gets confused when he goes too fast -- to communicate and is learning magic using runes and has a tragic backstory that'll make you cry for sure (so does Blitz tbh why are my babies so sad :((). All three of them just feel like a family, no matter how different the places they come from and need to end up may be. Magnus's sarcastic and often clueless quips combined in a sweet way with how Blitz and Hearth were kindof like his Mom and Dad and how they supported each other and bounced off one another and were in general so in sync.

Moving on from these adorkable characters though, let's talk about the meat of this ~500 page book. I personally loved it and found it to be a better first book than Riordan's other series (note: I haven't read Heroes of Olympus so can't speak on that one) but that's just one opinion. I also in general would rank Norse mythology towards the top of the list of mythologies, so I thought this material was fairly interesting subjectively as well, but overall the book did not disappoint as the beginning to what I'm sure will be an amazing series.

I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive, because it started off with a "This is the story of how my life went downhill after I got myself killed" on the first page and that is Flynn Rider territory but it was not the cliche I expected at all. Home skillet really did die, and stayed dead. He ended up in the Hotel Valhalla, the afterlife for the heroes and warriors slain in battle, where they prepare to fight again at Ragnarok. (And then a bunch of other stuff happens but you can figure it out when you read it) Valhalla is cool 10% because it's everything you could imagine of a warrior's heaven operated by Norse Gods and 90% because Mallory Keen lives there (and the rest of the people but mostly her).

Also introduced in Valhalla is honorary Magnus-Hearth-Blitz family member, Samirah Al-Abbas, a Muslim Valkyrie with a camouflaging (read: invisibility cloak) hijab. YOOOOOOOO. I am so here for this. Like, can that be me??? I am so ready to be a valkyrie???? I just can't be a calc tutor like she apparently is. I'm a regular tutor though, that counts for something, right? Anyway, this girl is stubborn and cryptic and the way the four of them grow into a family together is the most beautiful relationship development I have ever seen. Also, homegirl is a daughter of Loki, the love of my life. I could be her mom. We could be mother-daughter valkyries.

 Anyway, I think the book could have used a teeeny bit of shortening; I still read it quickly and didn't get bored of it or anything but I just think the length wasn't entirely necessary and it would have been more fun to read if it was a little shorter. Regardless, the story was captivating and although the information about the mythology was a little info-dumpy at times, it wasn't ever anything that interrupted the flow of the plot or anything uncharacteristic of Riordan's other series so I'm gonna chalk it up to a stylistic choice because with that much info sometimes you gotta dump it on us.

Besides, I barely noticed anything I didn't like with all the moments I spent laughing or squealing. Seriously. Like, they MADE A LOWKEY LOKI JOKE:

"He likes to be noticed. He's not exactly low-key."
"'I get it,' I said. 'Low-key. Loki.'" She rolled her eyes. 
(There are more Loki references, he even makes some appearances but I can stop now because I have self control) There were also some references to Percy Jackson! Like when Magnus was trying to glamour his sword and was talking to it:

"I imagined it saying, A pen sword. That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
Also, Annabeth has a cameo! It's not in your face for anyone who doesn't know her but it's enough to make fans of PJO smile.

Anyway, I'm sorry I'm rambling but this was honestly an A+ book! The Gods were once again quirky and erratic (Thor watches Arrow (aaayyyy) and other network cable shows so there's that). I feel like this time it was less important whose kid Magnus was and more his own strengths and powers which was cool. The story was entertaining and captivating and the characters were remarkable and easily the best part of the book, along with Magnus's voice. I found myself laughing out loud at certain parts, honestly, and I'm so glad that among the October 6th release date craziness I managed to get this one and actually read it first! I'll leave you with these two quotes because they make me very happy:

"I had a sudden image of Taylor Swift's mom and Freya having a girl's night out in Nidavellir."

"It's Magnus, rhymes with swag-ness."

- Noor

Would you rather fight Loki or Thor?
Let us know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, what a tough choice. I think I'd fight Thor.. I have been seeing awesome reviews of The Sword of Summer. I'm definitely going to have to invest!