Book Review: Magnus Chase & The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

* I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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...

Image credit: The Big Shot PR
I knew this book was going to be good as soon as I opened it and saw the chapter titles.
Rick Riordan is one of my favourite authors. I loved the Percy Jackson series, so I was really excited for Magnus Chase.

And for once, my expectations were surpassed. I didn't think this would beat Percy Jackson, but in my opinion Magnus Chase is possibly Rick Riordan's best book yet.

Magnus Chase is funny. I mean, it's really funny. The humour is spot on, with Magnus' sarcasm and the overall humour of the book. You expect humour from Rick Riordan, but this takes it to a whole new level of hilarity right from the start.

Great characters

The characters are great too. The Sword of Summer is crammed full of interesting and varied characters. From the hero, Magnus, to disgraced Valkyrie Sam, to Magnus' homeless buddies Hearth and Blitz. Plus, not forgetting the gigantic cast list of various Viking extras, and the gods. Just like the Percy Jackson series, Riordan modernises and humanises the gods. They maintain their key attributes (e.g. Loki is still the deceiving trickster) but Riordan manages to debunk the Marvel myths and return to the original Nordic roots, while still adding his own fictional twist to the characters. Thus Thor becomes a TV addict, Ran becomes a hoarding bag lady, and Odin makes speeches using PowerPoint. It's a perfect example of how skilled a writer Riordan is. There are a heck of a lot of characters in this book, but he manages to write in a way that avoids confusion and allows you to figure out who everyone is with ease.

At just over 500 pages it's a fairly long book, but I didn't mind that. It allows you to become fully immersed in the story, and gives room for fun little details and detours that a more concise version would have cut. And when it's such a good story, as far as I'm concerned, the longer the better!

Unconventional YA

The pace was great, it wasn't rushed and didn't drag. The storyline picked up in all the right places, interspersing moments of action and drama with quieter time for reflection and character development. However, one thing that did surprise me was the complete lack of romance. Literally, there wasn't a single bit. In any other YA book Magnus would have ended up with Sam, but here Sam's in love with another guy. Romance just didn't feature at all, which was a bold move by Riordan considering the fact that it's almost a given in YA nowadays.

The Sword of Summer is easily a five star book, and one of the best books I've read this year. If you need me, I'll be here waiting for the sequel to come out!

Rating: 5 stars.

Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer is available to buy now.

Are you a fan of Rick Riordan? Will you be reading The Sword of Summer? Let me know in the comments below!

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