Review: The Sword of Summer

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Goodreads Summary:

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 man 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 . . .

I don’t think it’s a secret that I absolutely loved the Percy Jackson series, and quite enjoyed the Heroes of Olympus series. I took an interest in Greek/Roman mythology in college so it was so much fun for me to read it from Percy’s POV, even if it was marketed to start with middle schoolers. But I mean so was Harry Potter.

Anyway, based on my experience with Riordan’s two other series I was looking forward to this one since beyond what I have learned from the Thor movies – so nothing – I didn’t know anything about Norse mythology. And it was interesting to meet some of the gods, to compare/contrast them to the Greek/Roman gods, to see how the whole set up was different from and similar to the general Christian perspective of world structure as well as other mythological structures.

Also, another tremendous element of the books was Riordan’s display of diversity. We have a Muslim girl who wears a hijab, a deaf boy, and a guy who is passionate about fashion; not to mention Magnus who has been homeless for the past two years. It was so well executed too, these diverse traits didn’t overshadow the character’s core characteristics, it enriched everything.

Ok, now’s when I broach my one complaint. I found it hard to see a difference between the voice of Magnus and Percy. Percy, our original troubled kid who always has a snarky retort for things. Magnus did seem a bit less mature with his comebacks, but still. The two characters are so obviously and completely different, but Riordan’s hallmark humor was what blurred the lines and sometimes made me feel like I was reading something I had read before. I have hope that Magnus’ voice will become more polished and individual as the series continues. Also, I think I will re-read the Percy Jackson books and perhaps I will see a bigger difference with a refresher.

Overall though, it was an interesting and unique story. I appreciated the diversity and the new set of gods. I love that Annabeth has an active passive role (it makes sense to me) in this and cannot wait to see how she will be ingrained more, and how the Greek and Norse worlds will mix.

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