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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: Magnus Chase & The Sword of Summer



Synopsis (from GoodReads):

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 . . .


Review:


Working with upper elementary school kids has taught me to keep a look out for certain authors:  Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Desperaux, Because of Winn Dixie), Brian Selznick (The invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck), and Rick Riordan.  Starting with The Lightning Thief, written in 2005,  Rick has built a powerhouse brand and is a publishing rockstar.  His newest series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, continues his reign as the undisputed King of kids books (J.K. Rowling, notwithstanding).  These books focus on Norse mythology and incorporate familiar gods such as Thor and Loki, with lesser known (okay totally unknown to me) gods such as Heimdall (god of vigilance) and Ran (goddess of the sea).


The book opens with a look into the life of street kid Magnus Chase (If the last name sounds familiar to fans, then they will be in for a treat!).  Life is tough for this 16-year old as he has to survive alone on the streets of Boston after his mother is murdered by wolves two year before.  It's almost impossible to discuss this book without getting into spoilers!  Suffice it to say that some big events happen right at the beginning of the book that enable Magnus to enter the world of the gods.  It's an unconventional way to open a book series, but the author makes it work.  In this book, Magnus learns he is a demigod and must search for the Sword of Summer in order to prevent the escape of Fenris wolf who, if he gets loose, will start the end of the world.


One of the best aspects of all of Rick Riordan's books is that he populates his novels with characters that reflect the diversity of his readers.  There are people with disabilities, different ethnic backgrounds, and a variety of religions.  He doesn't do this to hammer into kids lessons in tolerance.  He just presents it as part of the world the characters live in. 


While his other series were full of romantic pairings, this book is refreshing for it's lack of them.  This is an adventure story that weaves several Norse god's stories into the plot.  There are contests of skill and fighting, tests of courage, and moments where the hero must outwit his enemies.  It is a fun, fast paced book!


I only have two small criticisms of this book.  This first is the extremely up to date pop references made throughout the novel.  While they are hilarious, I worry that this will make the book dated in years to come.  One of the reasons a series such as Harry Potter can be read anew by successive generations of readers is that it is timeless.  If we had all kinds of 1990's pop references in the books, it would have reminded the reader of when those books were written.  I think this series is great and I want it to endure.  The second issue with this book was all the references to Rick Riordan's other series.  Again, if you have read his other books, you will be laughing your face off.  But for those who have not read all of his other books, you might be scratching your head wondering what in the heck he is talking about. 


I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of The Lightning Thief and has read all of Rick Riordan's other books.  Take the time to read the older books first for maximum enjoyment.  The author has produced another winning series and I can't wait for the next one to come out (Summer 2016).




Rating:        

Source:  Bought by me


Format:  Hardcover


Recommendation:  Great for fans of Rick Riordan books.  But if you haven't read his novels before, start at the first book, The Lightning Thief.


Will I read more from this author? Yes!




  










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5 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I heard this was so much like the Percy jackson Series, which I think turned off some readers(I read some reviews before).. Me on the other hand just miss reading uncle Rick's work so I'd probably give this book a try soon! :) Great review Ardis <3

    Donita @ My Random Book thoughts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Donita! This book had a similar premise (kid finds out his parent is a god), but there were some big differences from his other series. Magnus's best friends are two homeless people who are not teens. This is a big departure from his other books. In the other series, there is hardly a grown-up to be found. I like that Rick expanded the characters to include other ages, and included a major character who has a disability. If you liked his other books, you will enjoy this one, too. Thanks for reading my blog!

      Delete
  3. I never thought that about books that reference pop culture. I agree that if the future generation read a book like it, they probably won't get the jokes the author was trying to pull. But it could also be a joke for us in the future that "only 2010's people get it" lol. I didn't like Riordan's Percy Jackson but Norse is my favorite mythology. Is this a Percy spin-off? You think I can read this without reading Riordan's other books?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there are a lot of In-jokes that only people who have read the two previous series will get. There is a cross-over from one of the Percy Jackson characters, but it is it's own universe, so I wouldn't consider this a spin-off. When in doubt, get it from the library!

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The Hummingbird's Daughter
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The Complete Novels
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