Hello, everyone! How are you all doing?
A few days ago, I finally finished The Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan, which is the first installment of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. And, even though it took me over a month to finish, it was amazing and I loved it!
So, naturally, I thought it was only reasonable that I did today’s post as a review on this incredible book! That is what’s about to happen below.
Let me just put a disclaimer out there for you guys, though: If you disagree with me on anything I say in this review, please don’t shy away from commenting your opinion below. I love to read everyone’s opinions, as long as they are polite and considerate. So, please feel free to comment!
Anyway, if you’re new here, this is how I do my reviews: the first section is a spoiler-free area, a place to get the general gist of the story for those of you who have not read the book (yet). After I finish that, I’ll dive into a deep, thorough, and spoiler-full analysis of the whole story. But no worries! I’ll alert you when I’m starting on the spoilers.
So, here we go!
Let’s start out with some basic information and frequently asked questions for you guys.
Is Magnus Chase from the Percy Jackson series?
Well…in a sense, yes. You see, Riordan does a fantastic job of interweaving each of his separate mythological series together, as if they all co-exist in one world. There is a tiny bit of reference to Percy Jackson in this book, which I think you may predict if you’ve already read PJ and notice Magnus’s last name. 😉
Should I read Percy Jackson and the Olympians before I read this?
I don’t think it matters very much. Again, with the tiny PJ reference in MC, it might be smart to read them in the way they were written. I feel like characters from the past books will continue to appear in the current ones. But I ain’t gonna stop y’all from livin’ your lives, so read them in any order you want.
What sort of mythology is this book under?
Which Norse God is Magnus’s parent?
Frey is Magnus’s father.
Did I like this book?
Ok, so I know there’s not much point in putting this question here my obsession with the book (evidence collected from my rating above) is already obvious. But yes, I loved it. I loved everything from the hysterical chapter titles to the attempts Riordan made at watering down inappropriate things like cuss words.
From the very first sentence, I was drawn. I’ll show you what I mean with my signature example from the text:
Yeah, I know. You guys are going to read about how I died in agony, and you’re going to be like, ‘Wow! That sounds cool, Magnus! Can I die in agony, too?’
No. Just no.
–Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer) page 3
This was the very first chunk of the book, and it immediately drew me in. I’m obsessed with Riordan’s style, guys.
I cannot currently think of any more questions to put in this post; however, if you have something you’d like to add, don’t hesitate to let me know.
WE ARE NOW TRANSITIONING INTO SPOILER TERRITORY!
Alrighty. Now this is about to get long and deep, so beware. Also, there may or may not be lots of quotes throughout the story as I give examples…. 🙂 I’ll try to rush through this because it’s complex, but I may not succeed at the “rushing” part.
Let’s start at the beginning.
From the very first chunk, which I put into this post earlier, I was drawn. The read was so light and even though the book is chunky, I slipped through it like a fish in water. Unlike some authors I know who are descriptive and droning on and on (*cough cough* Sarah J. Maas *cough cough*), Riordan has a way with words unlike any author I know. He doesn’t have to use big words, or big sentences, because he’s just hilarious. I’ll probably be giving lots of examples of this as I move through.
So, the story started with Magnus sleeping under a bridge. And yes, that line startled me, too. I was expecting him to be more like Percy Jackson – not well-off, but getting by. Definitely not homeless with a dead mother.
Anyway, right away we’re introduced to Magnus’s only friends, Blitz and Hearth. Magnus is talking to them for a bit. But then he sees a blonde-haired girl who we all know as Annabeth Chase, from the Percy Jackson books! Guys, from the very instant I saw Magnus’s name, I thought of Annabeth. And I’m sure this is true for everyone – I was like, “seriously, Riordan? Couldn’t you be more creative?” But guys, I get it now. I get it.
So, we find out that Annabeth is Magnus’s cousin, which I’m sure was a shocker for all of us PJ fans. We hear Annabeth and her father talking about Magnus – apparently they’re trying to find him because he went missing.
Magnus hears them talking about his uncle, Randolph, and so he gets the genius idea to go to Randolph’s house to get answers. Magnus finds some runestones, but Randolph catches him at it and takes him in an attempt to save him from something that was supposed to happen on his sixteenth birthday, though Randolph ends up giving him to the enemy, who is the fire god, Surt. Somehow, Magnus summons the Sword of Summer, which was his father’s sword, and attempts to kill the fire god with it.
However, before he can, Magnus and Surt are thrown over the side of a bridge together, and Magnus is killed.
But, don’t fret! Magnus has only been transported to a special, heroic afterworld called Valhalla, where he feels alive but literally isn’t. He basically just lives in another dimension of world.
Another hilarious Magnus quote:
Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Oh, Magnus, you didn’t really die. Otherwise you couldn’t be narrating this story. You just came close. Then you were miraculously rescued, blah blah blah.’
Nope. I actually died. One hundred percent: guts impaled, vital organs burned, head smacked into a frozen river from forty feet up, every bone in my body broken, lungs filled with water.
The medical term for that is dead.
‘Gee, Magnus, what did it feel like?’
It hurt. A lot. Thanks for asking.
–Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer) page 48
So, yeah. This part is just lovely in its all of its visual, descriptive glory.
So, after Magnus settles into Valhalla, he finds out through a prophecy that it was mistake for him to be taken there. The Valkyrie who chose him for Valhalla, Samirah Al-Abbas, is forced to leave Valhalla.
But even though Magnus lives in real, luxurious comfort for the first time in his life, he feels wrong. He’s not with his friends, as he’s used to. So when Hearth and Blitz come into Valhalla for him, he decides to escape with them, even though it’s technically illegal. And here the plot unfolds.
They find out that the Sword of Summer is a weapon that Surt has been attempting to retrieve for decades. He wants it so he can unbind Fenris Wolf, and thus Ragnarok can start. The definition of Ragnarok in Riordan’s book is:
the Day of Doom or Judgement, when the bravest of the einherjar will join Odin against Loki and the giants in the battle at the end of the world
-Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer) page 496
Next, Magnus goes to the very place where his second body is buried, and has a short talk with his cousin Annabeth, who doesn’t seem as confused as one would think at the fact that there are two of him, and one is proclaimed dead. She agrees to keep the secret.
Then, Magnus meets Mimir, a single head who is the “boss” of Hearth and Blitz. They are also reunited with Samirah (“Sam”), the Valkyrie who saved Magnus. They talk about the Sword of Summer, and the fact that Magnus has to stop Surt from starting Ragnarok, which will save humanity. In order to do so, Magnus needs the Sword of Summer.
Magnus takes Sam, Hearth, and Blitz to a restaurant to get a meal, just to encounter a giant disguised as an eagle who makes a bargain with him, a bargain that he doesn’t have much of a choice other than to accept. And that is: the giant will tell him how to get the Sword of Summer if Magnus finds him one of Idun’s apples. Magnus agrees, and the giant tells him he can find the sword out in the ocean, with the sea goddess Ran.
Anyway, Magnus finds the sword and discovers that he can turn it into a pendant to carry it. Just after he’s delivered Idun’s apple, Gunilla, the head Valkyrie who was part of the force firing Sam, finds him. She wants to bring him back to Valhalla for a trial, since he illegally left it. But, just in time, Magnus, Hearth, Blitz, and Sam escape her by transporting into another one of the Nine Worlds. However, they separate, and Blitz and Magnus go off on their own.
They talk to Freya, who is Frey’s twin sister. We find out that Freya is Blitz’s mother. They want a rope so that they can rebind Fenris Wolf. In exchange for telling them where they can find a rope, Freya wants them to get her earrings.
So they go talk to a guy in a bar. (I know, I’m super descriptive, aren’t I?) The guy (named Junior) says he’ll give them a rope and the earrings if Blitz competes in an engineering contest with him. Unfortunately for Blitz, Junior has never lost an engineering contest, and the punishment for losing is death.
Somehow, though (due to Sam’s unusual shapeshifting powers), Blitz manages to win the competition and wins the string and the earrings for his mother. However, Junior accuses them of cheating and tries to kill them.
I was proud that the four of us responded as a team. In perfect unison, like a well-oiled combat machine, we turned and ran for our lives.
–Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer) page 323
But Magnus’s sword, which they discover can talk, temporarily saves them by flying through the air on its own and scaring everyone away.
Magnus, Hearth, and Sam (Blitz having gone to find his mother) run as fast as they can until they come to a canyon, which they jump into. They miraculously survive, and are brought to the home of Thor, the thunder god, who they save and then have a conversation with. They find out that his hammer is missing, which is terrifying because it’s so powerful and would be destructive in the hands of evil.
“In the morning, you all can set off to find my hammer, which of course is not officially missing!”
–Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer) page 367
Thor tells them that he will transport them to their destination quicker if they find “his weapon that is not officially missing,” so to do so they go to the home of some giants whom Thor suspects of having his weapon. Magnus, Samirah, Hearth, and Blitz (who reunited with them) manage to kill the giants and find a different weapon of Thor, discovering that his hammer is still missing.
Thor transports them, and they get a ride with some dwarves to the island where Fenris Wolf is kept. They get there right before Surt, and manage to bind the Wolf just as Surt is trying to use the Sword of Summer to cut the Wolf’s bindings. However, Magnus uses his last bit of strength to send Surt and his cronies back to where they came from, and escape the island. And thus the resolution unfolds.
Whew. That was exhausting. I honestly don’t know why I type out the whole story here. I think I just like to have a record, something to go back to, since I don’t actually own this book.
Anyway, what did I love about this book?
I loved how amazingly each plot twist sank together, like a long chain of beautiful, interwoven puzzles. I didn’t feel roughness in any of the transitions, and that was amazing.
I cannot wait for the next installment, The Hammer of Thor! The cliffhanger at the end is killing me. And now I have nothing else to say so I’ll end this here. My fingers are dead!
SPOILERS ARE OVER!!
Thanks for reading (if you did, which I sort of doubt) these two thousand words of review! If there’s a question you have on the Sword of Summer, or if you’d like me to add something to this post, please let me know!
Also, FYI: I changed my posting day to Sundays because that worked better for me. So come back every Sunday for new posts! And feel free to follow my blog so you’ll be notified when I post new bookish and writerly content.
If you have a question, suggestion, or comment, please drop it below or contact me, and I’ll get back to you! I love hearing from you guys.
See you next week! ❤