June 17, 2016

First Summer read: The Sword of Summer

“My name is Magnus Chase. I’m sixteen years old. This is the story of how my life went downhill after I got myself killed.” - Rick Riordan, The Sword of Summer

Guess who finished reading The Sword of Summer as her first book of the summer? Me! 

I stayed away from reading recently released book series because I've always hated the one year agony of waiting for the next book (yup, I won't be reading Lady Midnight for a while I guess.) However, my sister decided to pick up the first installment of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard some time around November so it was sitting in our shelf for a couple of months. Then, it was calling for me while I was contemplating on which book to read after The Bane Chronicles. It was the first thing I picked up after TBC but I had to postpone reading it because school caught up with me. 

But here I am, back from my purposefully done reading slump just so I can make room for my mountain pile of school work. Yay me for finally finishing this book which came out last year! I've waited a long time to finally read and write this review so here it is. 

I dived into this book not knowing a bunch of things about Norse mythology (sorry huhu). I remember my high school english teacher telling us how Norse mythology has been forgotten over the centuries since Greek and Roman mythology took over.

But here we are. The Sword of Summer, the first book in Rick Riordan's series dwelling in Norse Mythology, talks about the adventures of Magnus Chase to stop Ragnarok-- the Norse version of doomsday.

Before I get into the cheesy review details: this dedication page made me scream before I even got into the first page of the book:

Imagine my reaction after reading this bit. And even just after reading The Bane Chronicles.
Plot wise, I feel, this series shares the same elements as his previous demigod series. So far, the demigod heroes Rick Riordan has written about have very problematic family situations thanks to their godly parentage. Magnus Chase is no different from the demigod heroes we met in PJO and HOO-- weird family, chased off by monsters/enemies, etc. The only thing that sets him apart from the other demigods I've read about from Riordan is that 1.) he's homeless, and 2.) this guy had to die in his "first" battle to get into his place-- Valhalla, which is sort of the Camp Jupiter or Camp Half Blood in the other series. It was in this place where he got the chance to be stronger, and of course, learn about his descendancy and the Norse mythology world.

The two books are alike in a lot of ways but we forget that PJO is more of a pre-teen series than of a young-adult series (maybe mostly because the kids who grew up reading PJO have grown up to teens/young adults). Magnus Chase has its own charm in its genre in the details that make it a proper 'coming-of-age" story. Starting off, it is clear in the characterization that Magnus has his teenage angst strong. He's hilarious but there's cockiness and sassiness in the way he narrates and talks about the things happening in the story.

Apart from that, Magnus is more of a "low-key" demigod. He's not a son of a celebrated "fighter class" god but rather, a god often overlooked when it comes to combat (hint hint).

Aaaand, the majority of his other comrades are not fellow demigods. Samirah al-Abbas or Sam, a valkyrie, Hearthstone, an elf who practices magic, and Blitzen, a fashionable craftsman-dwarf are his team mates. FINALLY, we get to see more non-demigod characters as major game players in a mythology story. I love how Sam, Hearth, and Blitzen are interesting characters themselves, and have their own stories to tell that are apart from Magnus's adventure. Just noting that these characters are properly the diverse in their color, but also in their capabilities, and being (valkyrie, elf, dwarf).

Before I close this book review, can I just say how Magnus Chase is totally referencing a bunch from the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus serieses a lot? If you pay close attention, some words and conversations of Magnus and his friends would certainly ring a bell in your brain about the other Riordan books-- and that is pretty much a sweet treat for us Riordan followers.

This book tells an uplifting and empowering story of how one person is in charge of his life and not a single fact about his/her past can take control of it. In a time when one's stereotype becomes the controlling factor in his or her life, this is a great young adult book to reminisce the once stories we were used to reading when we were younger.

Love from the other side of Midgard,