Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard The Sword of Summer

The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1
originally published on October 6th 2015 by Disney Hyperion Books
young adult | fantasy | mythology

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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…

[PLOT] typical | not quite there yet | cute | unique | kicks serious ass | what’s going on?!
[PACING] snail’s pace | slow | just right | fast | holy crap just stop
[DIVERSITY] none :sadface: | some (minor characters) | LGBTQ | mental health | characters w/ disabilities | racial | religion
[ROMANCE] insta-love | realistically paced | slow-burn | love triangle | love square | I am confused | none | it’s complicated
[FEELS] swoons | tears | laughs | cries of frustration | eye rolls | pukes | snores | screams of horror | holy shits
[WRITING] flowery prose | conversational | choppy or cluttered | telling, no showing | info dump-y | simple
[ENDING] cliffhanger | open ending | satisfactory | was that an ending? | want moarrr | didn’t get far enough
[RECOMMENDED?] heck no | to select people | mostly | YAS

Book ReviewGuess who’s a very grumpy camper? *points to self*

In my own little world, I’ve always told myself that Rick Riordan can do no wrong. Okay, fine, I sort of hated The Blood of Olympus, but The Sword of Summer was supposed to be a fresh start–it was supposed to be the book that would put Riordan back up on my mental pedestal.

Well, I’ve been fucking let down, Rick. I’m sorry (and sad) to have said that, but it’s true. This book was just nowhere near the level of epicness I was expecting. Maybe it’s because, after ten (eleven if you count Greek Gods) books of kick-butt Greek and Roman mythology, maybe I was just expecting too much.

The main thing that made it unenjoyable, at least for me, was its similarity to the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, maybe with a little bit of Harry Potter mixed in as well. Let’s break it down, shall we?

“I did not want to be the harbinger of the wolf. I wanted to be the harbinger of ice cream, or falafel.”

1.) Magnus’s voice sounded exactly like Percy’s. I mean, if you asked me to guess which lines were whose, I wouldn’t be able to answer. I might’ve been okay with it if the sarcastic humor worked with the story, but somehow it didn’t. There was just something a bit more… juvenile about the writing style, and it worked with 12 year-old Percy, but not 100% with 16 year-old Magnus.

2.) All the other characters were just so predictable. As with PJO, in The Sword of Summer, we’re given a hot-headed female who’s clearly the most mature in the group, some really quirky sidekicks and sassy villains. Notice that I said sidekicks and villains as plural nouns–that’s because there’re more than one of each, and they all have the same psyche.

3.) The plot was your typical Rick Riordan storyline. See, other than his mid-series cliffhangers, Rick’s books mostly do just follow a formula plot. It hurts me to admit that, but yes, it does seem to be the case. You can practically guess the ending without even starting the book.

4.) The mythology twists? I call bullshit at the word “twists”–I wasn’t surprised at all. We’ve got really obvious villains, which sucks because they were actually unexpected in the original PJO series. But with this? It’s basically spoon-fed to us. SPOON-FED.

5.) This book felt horribly info-dumpy. I NEVER FELT THIS WAY ABOUT THE ORIGINAL PJO SERIES. I’m not even sure why I felt that way with this book… Maybe it’s because most of the Norse mythology facts were just inserted (forcefully) into awkward dialogues in huge chunks, and I honestly had trouble following along. I CAN’T REMEMBER A THING, AND IT’S ONLY BEEN A DAY.

Phew. So glad I finally got that off my chest. Anyway, despite my ranting, this book wasn’t horrible–there were still some quotes that made me chuckle (especially those lovely chapter headings that we all know and love), parts that made me immensely sad, and parts that made me root for the main characters. And, as usual, Rick’s books are just so easy to read.

Oh, and bonus points for diversity! We have a Muslim demigod as our main heroine (I still don’t understand how she’s both a Muslim yet a server of the Norse gods), as well as an adorable deaf elf as one of Magnus’s sidekicks.

And with this, I conclude that I did not love The Sword of Summer, but am hoping for a 200% energy boost for the sequel when it comes out. Please make it ten times better. Thanks.

Skulls 2.5

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About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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19 thoughts on “Review: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

  1. Oh no, I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this book. I’ve been looking forward to this book, mainly because of the focus on Norse mythology. However, I must admit I was afraid that the book might just be too reminiscent of the Percy Jackson books.

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  2. I’m with you, Aimee. I was completely flabbergasted myself and yes, let down. Magnus really felt like a half hearted recreation of Percy. It’s so.. awkward to read in his narration because all I can think of is… percy percy percy percy percy percy like.. NO ONE CAN REPLACE THAT BOY OKAY? Damn it.

    I also whole heartedly agree to the part where you said this book is full of infodumps – another bummer but ugh, it is true! -_-

    And holy shiz. Somehow I’ve never thought about how Sam being a Muslim could be serving the Norse gods o_o now you got me thinking! I hope to all that’s holy that Mr Rick isn’t playing the diversity card for trends or shits & giggles.

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  3. *weeps copious tears* And here I thought this was one of the best Riordan books. xD HA. But I agree Magnus was a lot like Percy and I thought he was more like 12 or 13 than 16. (I mean, with absolutely zERO romance, I’m really surprised Riordan made Magnus so mucho older. He would’ve done wonderfully just being 12, too.) BUT YEAH I LOVED IT. xD Although how on earth DOES one be Muslim AND Norse?!?! Oh these questions. But omg, the magical hijab was wonderful. :’)

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  4. The book is still sitting on the coffee table, so I haven’t had time to read it. But I think what I can do is to separate his other books and read this new one with fresh eyes. It’s been a while since I last read PJ series, so I think it wouldn’t be hard for me to like this one, BUT I can’t really say this is my final thoughts on the book. I’m sorry that this didn’t work for you.

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  5. I decided I was not going to read this book after Evelyn’s review. I haven’t read anything by Riordan before (I will read PJ soon, though) but it’s so fristrating when you read a book and everything about it sounds exactly like another one you read before… especially if you loved said book. Will avoid this. Great review, Aimee!

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  6. Oh, what a shame. I actually recently bought this one — and I’m so curious to see what I’ll think of it. It’s been AGES since I read PJ and I never read anything else of his (for whatever reason) so I don’t think the similarities will bother me as much. Lovely review :)

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  7. I am totally up in the air about this book…I have never read Percy Jackson so maybe I’ll enjoy it more without any expectations or ways to go back and forth and compare.

    P.S. Christy and I tagged you for the Inside Out Book Tag over on the blog :)

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  8. AGREE. AGREE AGREE AGREE AGREE AGREE.

    It’s supposed to be a YA book, but it definitely reads like a MG, and some MG books sound less juvenile than The Sword of Summer. And, well, there’s nothing NEW to this story, like you said. I live and breathe the world of PJO so I am doubly disappointed by Magnus Chase. He also wasn’t as funny as Percy. Or Leo.

    I was SO psyched about this book, and it’s been really disappointing. Maybe Hammer of Thor will be better?

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  9. Oh Man, I’m so sad to hear that you were disappointed in some respects, I guess it’s hard to compare when you have a favourite series! I actually agree when you say they had a really similar voice, it was hard to get a good grasp on their personalities aside from thew hole golden boy snarky hero sort of thing. Except I felt that Magnus had this underlying rage that he could tap into at times.

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  10. I saw this review on Goodreads. I’m sorry!!! I haven’t read any of his books beyond the Percy Jackson series years ago (which I loved) but I’ve had this happen to me with other authors – I love their books and then they put out one that just feels to me like they’re phoning it in. It makes me sad :(

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  11. That’s sad! I do want to read this. I was personally disappointed by the Red pyramid series, but not any of the other books. I’ll still read this, but it’s sad you felt this way. Riordans books definitely have a formula though…

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  12. I just did my review on this too and basically felt the exact same way. The story felt slow and unexciting (except in the beginning which I loved) and so much of it, characters included, seemed to be a repeat of PJO.

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  13. I couldn’t agree more. I’m still getting sad every time I think about Sword of Summer because *it’s Rick Riordan*, and being disappoined with his book is something so unkown to me. I never expected this to happen.
    Great review. You pretty much got all my thoughts out of my head and wrote them ^^
    Count me in as a new follower! You shall se from me again ;)

    My blog: http://magiverse.blogspot.co.il/

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