I’m so excited to finally be writing a review, almost a month after my most recent one. Talk about a slump! So without further ado, my review of The Sword of Summer!
“People have destructive impulses. Some of us want to see the world in ruins just for the fun of it…even if we’re ruined along with it.”
I’ve only read one of Rick Riordan’s other series, the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I actually read them back in 2014, at an extremely low point while I was away from home doing some rather strenuous training. Reading has always been my escape and those books – even though from a genre very different from what I was mostly reading at the time – were the absolute perfect thing for me. I think a re-read is in order soon.
Anyway, THIS book, brought back all the “falling into another world” feeling of those. Perfect slump-defeating read! I don’t remember laughing this hard during my Percy Jackson reads. From chapter titles like “I Do Mighty Combat with Eggs” and “Though Shalt Not Poop on the Head of Art,” to some of the most zany characters of Riordan’s creation I’ve met yet, it was a great mood lifter. It’s the dialogue in this story that really zings. It’s absolutely amazing and genius, even the minor characters. Like this little gem between Magnus and Valhalla Hotel’s manager.
“Then why don’t you just say A.D.?”
“Because Anno Domini, in the Year of Our Lord, is fine for Christians, but Thor gets a little upset. He still holds a grudge that Jesus never showed up for that duel he challenged to.”
“Say what now?”
I love Riordan’s blasphemy. LOVE IT. I love that he just takes shots at every religion and mythology out there, nothing is sacred – and yet he stops short of disrespecting the people who hold actual beliefs.
Magnus Chase is hilariously snarky, with the balls to talk back to both bad guys and gods – who are sometimes one and the same. His initial circumstances are horrifying, yet he never completely lets it snuff his desire for life. I loved Samirah al-Abbas (Sam), the Valkyrie – she has attitude for miles, spunk, and drive. And a sharp wit, which results in more hilarity.
“You named your tree.”
“Most important things have names.” She frowned at me. “Who are you again?”
Blitz and Hearth, Magnus’ best friends on the streets, are such unique characters in their own right too. While they were frequent comic relief they also put SO MUCH heart into the story. There’s quite a slew of other minor characters, and I hope some of them show up in future books! I do have to say…the story doesn’t end happily for all of them. I was inordinately pleased with that (yes, I’m a horrible person), because I strongly believe even middle-grade YA books need to be somewhat realistic. Which yes, I also realize somewhat ironic to say about a fantasy book, but…it’s a GOOD ending.
Magnus is a clueless teenager in the beginning, propelled into events way above his pay grade by a series of crazy happenings including the death of his mother. After two years of hiding he is found and given a strange destiny that he can’t understand. Everything happens EXTREMELY fast in the beginning and in the whirlwind Magnus is suddenly thrown into the crazy world of the gods of Asgard. He isn’t the person he always thought he was, and he might just be the only person capable of coordinating all the necessary elements. Basically the world is about to end when the Fenris Wolf’s rope breaks. It starts off sounding fairly simple but gets convoluted rather quickly.
Magnus, Sam, Blitz, and Hearth go odd on several side quests that, while entertaining, seem to detract from the progress of the general story. I personally still enjoyed them, but I think the general age group that this book is aimed at might lose interest or get a little lost. Still, there were more awesome quotes, especially from the dwarves (because dwarves are always awesome).
“It is woven with the most powerful paradoxes in the Nine Worlds – Wi-Fi with no lag, a politician’s sincerity, a printer that prints, healthy deep-fried food, and an interesting grammar lecture!”
The world building is good, but it’s not the best part of this book. Like I said already, where Riordan really shines is in the snappy dialogue. The description and setting is exactly what this book needs but it’s not the standout here.
Overall I’m giving 4/5 stars. While I loved it, it definitely dragged a bit in all the world-hopping that they ended up doing and I think that it could possibly turn off a lot of its prospective audience. Not so much adults, but kids. When I was of that age I was already a voracious reader so it might not have bothered me but I think I might not have picked it up in the first place. Still, definitely worth reading and if you have an indefatigable young reader tell them to give it a try!