I went into this book having really no knowledge about Vikings or Norse mythology, but I figured that would be fine considering I didn't know much about Roman mythology and I enjoyed the Heroes of Olympus series. I don't know if I fully understand Norse myth after reading this book, but Riordan includes enough easy-ish to learn info that you can understand the story.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan.

The story follows 16-year-old Magnus Chase who, after his mom died two years ago, has been living on the streets of Boston. One day, his two uncles and cousin show up looking for him to try and save him from those trying to kill him. Eventually, Magnus ends up on a bridge using a barnacle-covered sword he magically pulled from the bottom of the river to fight off a giant fire. After the battle, Magnus is quickly drawn into the world of Asgard, where all those myths he's read about Vikings are true, and he is the one who can use the sword to prevent or bring about Ragnarok - Viking Doomsday.

I had initially thought that this book was middle grade, not young adult, so perhaps that lends itself to my first critique, but I just found Magnus to be a little juvenile sounding. It's a problem I've had with Riordan's books since reading Percy Jackson. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter, but I just feel like with two years on the streets and homeless after the death of his mother, Magnus, of all of Riordan's characters, would be the most jaded and 'old' feeling, if that makes any sense.

Plot-wise, this story was jam-packed. Again, in typical Riordan style, we have action and fighting from the very beginning. I think this is likely set up to draw in younger audiences whose attention may wain without something to engage them. For me, while I enjoyed the action so early, I wish there was just a bit more backstory on the mythology itself first.

One of the amazing things that is fairly well-known about Riordan is that he is extremely receptive to reader feedback, especially in terms of diversifying his stories. This is so important, especially in books geared toward younger readers, for readers to see themselves in the books they are reading. Riordan does a great job of introducing racially diverse characters; one example is Samirah, a hijab-wearing Muslim as well as Hearthstone, a disabled character who is deaf and relies on ASL. While I can't personally speak to Riordan's portrayal in terms of accuracy, I really appreciated the fact that he included these characters because of readers speaking out.

Beyond that, however, I just don't think I loved this book as much as I wanted to. I'm still going to continue the series because I really want to see where it goes, but there was just something about this first book that fell a little flat for me. I'm hoping to see more of the mythology explained in book two as well as more cameos from Magnus's cousin, Annabeth (and maybe some other PJ characters?)

Overall, a decent start to the series which I look forward to continuing and seeing where it goes.