Genre: middle grade adventure fiction
Length: 491 pages
Setting: Boston, present day, and various locations within the other Nine Worlds
Interest: It’s the first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. This series will focus on Norse mythology.
Summary: Magnus Chase has been living on the streets of Boston ever since his mother died in a mysterious wolf attach in their apartment. His only friends have been Blitz and Hearth, two older men who’ve helped him out. On his 16th birthday, his uncles suddenly start looking for him. His Uncle Randolph takes him out to a bridge and starts rambling about a Sword of Summer lost in the river centuries ago that he can call. Unfortunately, the god Surt also wants the sword and Magnus dies fighting over the sword. He is taken to Valhalla by Samirah al-Abbas who’s in disgrace as a Valkyrie because Loki is her father and she seems to pick heroes poorly. This time is no different, even with the ambiguous prophecy spoken over Magnus when he’s inducted into Valhalla. The head of the Valkyries also doesn’t trust Magnus, so when he sneaks out of Valhalla find the sword again, she’s sure he’s up to no good. Magnus needs the help of several gods and goddesses, as well as his friends Blitzen (a dwarf) and Hearthstone (an elf) to find the sword again and rebind Fenris Wolf.
Final thoughts: Just as good as I was hoping. There were parts I had to remind myself to slow down and read all the words, or I’d miss something good. At the same time, I just wanted to know what was going to happen. You’ve got the same humor we’ve come to expect in Riordan’s books (just look at the chapter titles) and lots of adventures. It follows the usual Riordan story arc – kid finds out he’s a demi-god, prophecy about the end of the world the kid has to avert with the help of his friends, hijinks ensue as group has a limited amount of time to get somewhere and avert disaster, disaster barely averted. Riordan is good at his formula – it’s only a problem if you read multiple books by him in a row. (Not possible with this series since this is the only book out.) We do get a variety of characters – Magnus is homeless; Samirah is Muslim; Hearth is deaf; plus all the different Norse gods and goddesses and their quirks. As a bonus (for those of us who’ve read all his books), Annabeth Chase shows up as Magnus’ cousin. It is also pretty solidly middle grade fiction – the good guys win, and friendship and good choices are rewarded. The kids and I all loved it – highly recommended. Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of his other books (although you’ll want to after you’re done with this one).
Title comes from: It was the name of the sword Magnus found and called from the river because it was originally owned by his father.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 75/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge
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