I waited for a while to read Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer, but I finally did it!
Context: The first Rick Riordan book I read was The Red Pyramid. Percy Jackson had been recommended to me by multiple people, but I was avoiding it because it was being made into a movie at the time. I, naturally, loved The Red Pyramid (because it’s great), and immediately started reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians (because I couldn’t get enough or Riordan’s voice). And, honestly, my life has not been the same since the first line. Those five books finally convinced me to become a writer. I still adore them, and every time I re-read them feels like the first time.
That being said, I am not a huge fan of Riordan’s spin-off series The Heroes of Olympus. It feels contrived and unoriginal to me, after the brilliance of Percy Jackson and his story. Because of my dislike for that series, I was not excited to read the Magnus Chase books, especially after I found out that they were just about another demi-god.
Positives: Riordan’s voice and indirect character development remains true; the characters were unique and the prose entertaining. But that was really all the book had to offer me.
Negatives: I felt like I was reading a Percy Jackson parody. The plot arc was roughly the same, except with even more pointless misadventures designed to distract readers from that very fact. Absent godly parents gave their demi-god children weapons and smiled sweetly as they sent them off on quests to their dooms. Swords turned into not-swords, then back to swords, as heroes learned about new powers and crazy backstories they had hardly imagined before. Loki takes the place of Ares in The Lightning Theif, stirring the plot pot just to watch our heroes drown (Spoiler alert: they don’t). And don’t get me started on the references to the other books. WHYYYYY????
I understand that the mythology and the pantheons are very similar, and maybe there are only so many ways underage Americans can become embroiled in life and death battles for the sake of all humanity, but if that is the case, I would love Riordan to invest his voice and his talents in a new story. Because he is talented and his voice is brilliant, and I feel it’s wasted on Magnus Chase.
Disclaimer: I feel like it’s necessary to mention that I am excited for The Trials of Apollo, because I have already posted about it, but that I don’t feel like my above statement applies to that. Returning to Percy, Camp Half-Blood, and the Greek mythological re-tellings is okay with me, as long as there is an original plot to go with them.
Bonus: Favorite Quotes (because Riordan): “He likes taking hills. It’s a Civil War Thing.”
“High King Roasty Toasty”
“It’s perfect if you need a small metal duck. Or a larger metal duck.”
“Painted on the prow was HARALD’S DEEP-SEA EXCURSIONS AND DEATH WISHES, which seemed like a lot of verbiage for a twenty-foot-long dinghy.”
“He had a point. (Oh, sorry. That was bad.)”
“Thor without his flying chariot would be like a dwarf without an emergency parachute!”
“Oh…So That’s Who Fenris Smelled in Chapter Sixty-Three”