Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Author: Rick Riordan
Audience: Middle Grade
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Source: Library (Libby)
#1 The Sword of Summer
Pub. Date: October 6, 2015
Length: 499 pages (~15 hours)
Narrator: Christopher Guetig
#2 The Hammer of Thor
Pub. Date: October 4, 2016
Length: 459 pages (~11 hours)
Narrator: Kieran Culkin
#3 The Ship of the Dead
Pub. Date: October 3, 2017
Length: 410 pages (~13 hours)
Narrator: Michael Crouch
SYNOPSIS (The Sword of Summer)
Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents. . . .
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.
Rick Riordan’s books are always so fun, but they tackle serious issues in a way that’s straightforward for kids. In the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, Riordan applies his signature spin to Norse mythology in this hilarious and high stakes adventure with a diverse cast of characters.
The representation in this series is amazing. Magnus, the main hero, was formerly homeless. Samirah is a devout Muslim despite being a Valkyrie and a child of Loki. Hearthstone the elf is deaf and communicates through ASL and rune magic. Alex is a genderfluid, shapeshifting child of Loki who educates Magnus (and readers) about how to respectfully use preferred pronouns. And that’s just the main characters. Rick Riordan may be a straight, white man, but he uses his platform to bring some much-needed diversity to children’s literature.
I do think these books are all longer than they need to be. I got the sense that some obstacles were just thrown into the story to include more retellings of Norse myths, but some scenes just slowed down the overall story. I understand wanting to squeeze as many Norse gods and creatures as possible into this series, but some of them were unnecessary.
The conclusion to this series was fantastic. The ending was so clever and had such a good message! The best thing about this series is how the characters inspire kids to be proud of who they are. If you are a fan of Percy Jackson or Riordan’s other series, you will enjoy this Magnus Chase too.