By Frances Kirk, ’19
As if three different series, together having 13 children-to-young-adult books weren’t enough, #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Rick Riordan, has just released his new book “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer.” The book, having 499 pages, is the first in a new series based on Norse mythology brought into the modern world. It was released on Oct. 6th and was instantly a hit with Riordan’s fans.
The story starts with Magnus Chase, a 16 year old living on the streets of Boston with no family. However, the story quickly takes a turn when Magnus dies by a mysterious source he has never encountered before. He ends up in Valhalla, the hall of The Fallen, where the Norse god, Odin, keeps the dead he has deemed worthy. Magnus soon finds that the world of the Norse gods still exists to this day, he also realizes his true parentage. Magnus must go on a quest through the nine worlds with his friends to defeat enemies and delay Ragnarok—the day of doom. Magnus takes on the adventure with his companions Samirah, Hearthstone and Blitzen as they face many challenges and gruesome creatures.
The book already has millions of sales and places at the top of the New York Times Best-Sellers list for children’s books. However, this “children’s book” reference may be misleading. Due to the fact that Riordan’s first book meant for younger readers came out in 2005, those who have been with Riordan the whole time have now grown up and are still reading these so called “children’s books.”
Another thing that may keep teenagers away is the fact that that the book’s publishing company is Disney Hyperion. The fact that it is from a Disney publishing company automatically turns some older kids away. However, Disney Hyperion is the publishing company Riordan has always worked with and says nothing about his writing; the fast action scenes and witty dialogue make the book great for older more mature readers as well.
Readers of Riordan’s books, however, are always excited for his new works of literature. On the other hand, some readers have gotten bored, saying the books’ ideas are identical, since many of Riordan’s stories are structured the same way. Riordan’s other series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus and The Kane Chronicles are all based on mythology—Greek, Roman and Egyptian—and the newest series only adds to the list. Fans who enjoy this premise and are fond of Riordan’s other books are in for a treat when they read Magnus’ story, with a mix of old and new characters and Riordan’s action scenes pulling the reader right into the adventure. Still, some bookworms are annoyed with the fact that all the stories are similar. It can be safely said that if you are not a fan of fantasy or Riordan’s other books, this won’t be a good read for you.
The book also has another aspect that may bring readers over to the shelf. When beginning to read Riordan’s books, you may know nothing of mythology, or you could already be interested. You could know all about Greek mythology but may think Norse mythology is dull. But either way, the books are a change from the usual stories you see these days. When you reach the ending you will have learned something new and maybe found a new passion for ancient myths. By tying in action and relatable characters, the legends become brand new. The story of Magnus Chase drags you in so that you will be reading all night, all while you learn about Norse mythology and the gods of Asgard.
By combining ancient myths, a mix of familiar and unfamiliar characters, action and humor, “The Sword of Summer” has something for everyone. Whether you have been with Riordan since the beginning or are just joining the massive crowd of fans, the book lets readers have a good laugh while following a satisfying story with twists and turns. So although the story is not one or Riordan’s first, it may go on the list of one of his best.