Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Cover image for The sword of summerHere is the first book in the new Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan.  Magnus is a homeless teen.  He never knew his father, and his mother was killed in a disturbing and mysterious incident involving wolves some years before.  One day he is reunited with his uncles and cousin (Annabeth Chase) which sets off a series of events that leads to him fighting a fire giant from Norse Mythology.  Magnus discovers that his father was actually one of the Norse Gods and is soon on a quest to help prevent the release of the mythical wolf who is the harbinger of Ragnarok. 

Does this sound like a Norse version of the Percy Jackson story?  It is.  It is a little different, in that Magnus is a little older than Percy was when he came to Camp Halfblood, and is a little edgier.  There is a a small amount of swearing in the book, as one would expect from a street kid, and Magnus doesn't have the squeaky clean character of someone like Jason Grace.  It has the same fast-paced, episodic fantasy action as the Percy Jackson books, with a lot of scenes where Magnus or Sam (his female sidekick) are either fighting or outsmarting the monsters.  There is also a lot of pithy humor, sometimes at the expense of the Percy Jackson books.  For example, when Magnus gets his magical weapon, his mentor asks him how he would like to carry it.  He suggests it could be a pen and he could carry it in is pocket.  Magnus replies that the thought of a magic sword disguised as a pen is pretty lame, and he decides to wear it as an amulet instead. If you accept the book for what it is, it is a fun read.  I think I liked it better than the first book in the Kane Chronicles.  It is supposed to be a trilogy like that series, and I will probably read them all. (497 p)

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