Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is the newest series from Rick Riordan.  The first book in this series is called The Sword of Summer.  It focuses on the cousin of Annabeth Chase who is the son of Norse God, Freyr, the god of fertility.  The series is heavily influenced by Norse mythology, just as the Percy Jackson series was influenced by Greek mythology and Heroes of Olympus relied on both Greek and Roman mythology.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

The Sword of Summer

The Sword of SummerThe Sword of Summer starts with Magnus Chase, cousin to Annabeth Chase of the Percy Jackson series, sleeping on the streets of Boston after the death of his mother.  He has been sort of adopted by two homeless men, Blitz and Hearth, who look after him while they are all on the streets.  He finds out one day that two people are searching for him; his cousin Annabeth and Uncle Frederick, who were sent by his uncle, Randolph, to find him.  After breaking into his uncle’s house to find out more information, he is caught and told that he is the son of a Norse God and that his mother’s death was no accident.  Randolph takes Magnus to a bridge in order to find the sword of summer, a sword that had once belonged to his father, where they are attacked by the fire giant, Surt.  During the fight, Magnus is killed and taken to Hotel Valhalla by his valkyrie, Samirah Al Abbas, who is revealed to be Loki’s daughter.  He learns that his father is the god of fertility, Freyr.  At dinner, all of the demigods present see a video that makes it look as though Magnus is unworthy to be in Valhalla and had not died a hero’s death and Sam is expelled from the valkyries.

With the help of Blitz, who is a dwarf, and Hearth, who is a deaf elf, Magnus escapes to Midgard and is pursued by the valkyries as a fugitive.  He is joined by Sam as they together try to prevent the coming of Ragnarok and keep Fenris Wolf imprisoned.  They are able to send Surt back to Muspelheim, but three valkyries die during the fight against his forces.  Magnus is welcomed back to Valhalla, Sam is made Odin’s personal assistant, and Blitz and Hearth get their own temporary happy endings as well.  It is revealed to the readers, though not to Magnus and friends, that Randolph has been in league with Loki the whole time, though it’s not particularly clear where Loki’s allegiances lie at this point.

This was a great start to the new series.  I like how it is connected to Percy Jackson through Annabeth Chase, but still stands alone as its own series.  Norse mythology is probably less known to most people.  Though people are likely familiar with Thor, Loki and Odin, thanks in part to Marvel Comics, there is a lot of Norse mythology that is less known to the general public.  While I personally have not had much interest in Norse mythology myself, that didn’t stop me from picking up this series.  In fact, I kind of felt like I may have learned a thing or two about Norse mythology while reading this book.

It is hard to tell exactly what Loki is up to in the books so far, as it appears that he is trying to help Magnus, but there is also the side of him that is very clearly the villain.    It will be interesting to see where this all leads to and what happens in the next book.  The only thing we know for sure is that Thor’s hammer is missing, and that is probably what Magnus Chase will be up to next; finding Thor’s hammer.

What is interesting to me that we didn’t see in any of Rick Riordan’s previous books, is an Arab character.  Though there has been some ethnic diversity, this is the first Arab American character that I am aware of.  I always enjoy when authors add diversity to their books.  We’ve had characters of Asian descent and African American as well.  It’s was nice to see a Muslim character, especially one wearing a traditional hijab.  That’s not too common these days.  The best thing about the character was that while it was part of who she was, it wasn’t all that she was.  Her religion and ethnicity hardly had any influence on her story.  She was just a character who was a Valkyrie that happened to be Muslim.

I’m also interested to see where Annabeth comes into play through this series.  It’s clear that she will be involved somehow, and with that, may even bring along Percy to the party.  I really love how all these series intertwine in different ways, and how they all take place in the same universe.  It will be interesting to see how Rick Riordan sews all the different mythologies together, seeing as a lot of their beliefs were different (e.g. the creation of the Earth and the afterlife).

The next book in the series will be The Hammer of Thor, to be released October 4, 2016, now available for pre-order if you are so inclined.


Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer

Jennifer Lewis