Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan has managed to return to his YA/middle grade roots: a likable, funny, irrepressible hero who makes a lot of mistakes but has friends in his corner who help him fight. This was the kind of magic that is found in The Lightning Thief and now it's back!
Magnus Chase has been homeless since his mother's murder. He's in hiding on the streets of Boston, afraid of the cops and afraid of his Uncle Randolph. His mother's last words were for Magnus to run and hide and never to trust his uncle. So far, Magnus has kept things on the down low. When he realizes people are looking for him, and not just the cops, but someone or something much, much worse, he sneaks into his uncle's mansion for clues.
Magnus discovers strange family secrets including the oddball fact that he is the son of a Norse god. Uncle Randolph "helps" Magnus search for and retrieve an ancient family sword which Magnus uses to defeat a fire warrior, but also ends his own life. That's only the beginning of the story. In Norse mythology, true heroes after life in paradise, called Valhalla, and our hero Magnus finds himself with a one way ticket to Hotel Valhalla.
Soon, Magnus finds himself on a quest across the realms where he meets up with a motley crew (that's fun to say and fun to write!) of characters who will help him stay "alive."
The fun and laughter is back! Riordan's books always use humor but The Sword of Summer is spot on. Chapter titles are hilarious in and of themselves: for example: "The Man With the Metal Bra," "My Room Does not Suck," "Come to the Dark Side. We Have Pop Tarts," "We Have a Pre-decapitation Party, with Egg Rolls," "I Psychoanalyze a Goat," and "We Are Subjected to the PowerPoint of Doom." (I'm pretty sure everyone has seen that PowerPoint, right?) Magnus is snarky and smart if a bit inept as a demigod. When awaiting his fate, Magnus thinks, "I didn't want to be an extreme case. I wanted to be an easy case: Hey, good job. You're a hero. Have a cookie." Later, Thomas Jefferson asks Magnus, "Why do you think Boston is called the Hub of the Universe?" and Magnus answers, "Wishful thinking?" Comic gold!
Magnus must go on a quest to save the world with his band of sidekicks. Book 1 sets up for Book 2 easily. Expect Loki to cause more trouble-you know Loki alwalys causes trouble.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift. I did not received moneary compensation for this review.
This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)