Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Norse Mythology Week - Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, a Review STARS

I'd already read a Norse mythology-based series by Joanne Harris, so this was my first ever Riordan book to have competition. It performed admirably, though I took a star away for some of the more info-dumpy exposition. The subtler nods to certain, ah, we'll say less PG, Norse myths made me smile - the goat thing, for example, and Loki being mother to a horse. As someone who once had to spend half an hour explaining that to her English teacher, I appreciated the awkwardness of that conversation.

Our 16 year old protagonist, Magnus Chase, is sarcastic (like Percy) but that's pretty much where the similarities end. He's not a fighter. He's a healer. Also, he has a better sword (sorry, Riptide). I did manage to call who his dad would be, but only because of some very subtle foreshadowing that I only spotted thanks to Runemarks. The other characters are awesome too - there's Sam, a valkyrie who wields a battle-axe and has a magical hijab. Blitzen, a fashionable dwarf. And Hearthstone, a magical elf. Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that we have a magical elf in a novel that isn't high fantasy? The relationships between all four major players were spot on, but Blitzen and Hearthstone's friendship was especially adorable. Riordan's interpretation of Loki lost out to Harris' (no surprise there - everyone's does). On the more minor front, I adored all of Magnus' roommates. ALL of them. Especially Mallory.

The plot was interesting. I love it when protagonist power fails and the main character dies. All of the side adventures contributed either to plot or character, and they all took us one step closer to Fenris and the final encounter. I was a little disappointed by the ending though. It was a little too perfect, if you know what I mean.

Overall, this was a great book with three-dimensional characters who were quite different to Percy, Jason and the rest of the Greco-Roman gang. 

And so begins the wait for the sequel...