No Such Thing As A Graceful Ending (The Sword of Summer – A Book Review)

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2015

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated A for an adventure-filled afterlife with a wicked, talking sword.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

Magnus Chase has seen his fair share of trouble. Since the murder of his mother, he’s been on his own, living on the street with Blitz and Hearth. It’s not. Been that bad. When people start asking around for him, one of them being his creepy uncle, Randolph, he high-tails it.

However, Magnus gets caught up in a battle and dies. You’d think it would end just there, but no. Magnus awakens in Valhalla. Though told he’s there by mistake. Magnus is out to prove otherwise as well as stop Ragnorak from coming far too soon due to some fire giants looking for a fight. With friends by his side, he won’t give up, even though there seems to be something much darker at work. He’ll prove he’s not some random dork, son of the great Frey, but a hero worthy of the title, Fallen Warrior.

Fire giants, a talking eagle, and angry Valkyries. That’s only the tip. Loaded with wild adventure, friendship, and the world-defining battle that leads to a little self-discovery. I’d expect nothing less from the exceptional Riordan. There are encounters of epic proportions and I can’t believe there are more after this. Riordan really packed in some action and lore and I can’t wait to read the next books. While the mythology of Vikings has always seemed more grisly than other lore, Riordan really tamed it down here without diminishing it like with the sea goddess and the world serpent. Also, a talking sword? That’s new! The story moving so fast from one action spot to the next really had me holding on. And I’m totally in and loving it.  Brava!

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A+ to Riordan for subtly sounding out some of these Norse terminologies and names, too, because I may be 27 but I struggled with a couple of them. LOL. It also feels good to not pronounce the certain terms such as einherjar: in-hair-yar wrong for an entire series. Also, the subtle tie-in to the Percy Jackson world, not to mention the subtle jokes were perfection and I couldn’t stop grinning. I find it very amusing that a Norse demi-kid is related to a Greek demi-kid, Annabeth Chase being Magnus’s cousin and all.

I’ve always enjoyed Riordan’s humor. It keeps such deep, gruesome, and sometimes heinously gut-twisting tales into ones that not only give way to a lighter side, but still tell readers the story. Gotta say, the chapter titles had me rolling away too. LOL

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Riordan’s writing has always shined with diversity and it sends me over the moon. It’s absolutely beautiful. He’s all-encompassing of all nationalities, sexualities, and even religions. Here, Sam, the Valkyrie shines. Though a daughter of Loki, she is a Muslim girl. There is no shame of any kind on her or any other character. Riordan is incredibly embracive and I just absolutely am here for it.

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Overall

I definitely need to read the next ones. There are so many questions that still need answered and end needing tied up for Magnus and Riordan has left me yearning for them. Definitely a recommended read.

Quotables:

“Myths are simply stories about truths we’ve forgotten.” (Randolph to Magnus, p. 27)

“I’d had no experience with swords, unless you count watching The Princess Bride twenty-six times as a kind.” (Magnus, p. 45)

“Your troth is your word, your faith, your honor, your soul. It’s a binding oath, especially for an einherji. Unless you want to spontaneously combust and find yourself trapped forever in the icy darkness of Helheim…” (the eagle to Magnus, p. 213)

“Die painfully. Got to Valhalla. Gain the ability to drag rancid colossal severed heads across a dock. Hooray.” (p. 219)

“You’ve built yourself a battleship out of toenails.” (Magnus to Loki, p. 333)

“…You ever do the right thing, and you know it’s the right thing, but it leaves you feeling horrible?” (Magnus, p. 425)

“Somebody once told me that a hero’s bravery has to be unplanned—a genuine response to a crisis. It has to come from the heart, without any thought of reward.” (Magnus to Sam, p. 426)

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

P.S. Song today? Burning Bridges by OneRepublic.

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