Rick Riordan is officially the king of mythology narratives in my opinion. First Greek mythology with Percy Jackson, Egyptian mythology with the Kane Chronicles, and now Norse mythology with Magnus Chase. The first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, The Sword of Summer, was released last Tuesday and I couldn’t wait to read it as I have read every book Riordan has written. October might bring colder weather where I live, but it always brings a new Rick Riordan book. I couldn’t wait to see his take on Thor, Odin, and Loki.


The Sword of Summer starts off with our protagonist, sixteen-year-old Magnus Chase, living on the streets of Boston. He had been living under bridges and in parks for the last two years after his mother was killed in a fire. Blitz, a friend of Magnus, alerts him that someone is searching the park for him.

It turns out his Uncle Randolph and his cousin Annabeth (of Percy Jackson fame) are the ones searching for him. After avoiding them in the park, his curiosity gets the better of him and Magnus confronts Randolph at his posh home. Randolph tells Magnus that he is the son of a Norse god and, since he turned sixteen, Magnus could now summon the Sword of Summer which Randolph believes lies at the bottom of the Charles River.

After retrieving the sword, a battle ensues on the Longfellow Bridge where Magnus dies while fighting Surt the fire lord of Muspellheim. Taken to Valhalla, a paradise for warriors who will one day fight for Odin, the All Father of Norse mythology, at Ragnarok (Doomsday). Of course, in Riordan’s world, Valhalla is a luxury hotel that accommodates warriors in any way, allowing them to live for centuries in posh accommodations while training for the one final battle.

Magnus flees Valhalla with a Valkyrie named Sam and partners with his homeless friends Blitz and Hearth, who happen to be an elf and dwarf. Together, they form a quartet hoping to prevent Ragnarok by maintaining control of the Sword of Summer and stopping Surt from freeing Fenris Wolf — an invulnerable wolf who can only be freed with the Sword of Summer. Fenris’s freedom means Ragnarok is happening.

You can’t have a Norse mythology story without Thor. At one point, Magnus and his friends help Thor retrieve a stolen personal item from giants that Thor refuses to admit he lost. We also learn that Magnus is the son of Frey — the god of spring and summer.

Throughout the story, Loki has appeared to Magnus trying to guide him away from battle to what looks like safety. But, in reality, Loki has been manipulating Magnus the whole time. Loki is the villain, but Riordan has put his special touch on this well-known figure to make him stand out from other interpretations; you never know until the end where Loki’s loyalties lie.

Rick Riordan has crafted yet another amazingly detailed descriptive story that kids of all ages will want to read. I like the fact that he tied Magnus with the Percy Jackson series by making Annabeth his cousin. There is a nice chapter at the end of the book where Magnus and Annabeth are trying to catch up and share what’s been happening in their lives, but doubt the other would believe what they have to say. It seemed like a normal conversation amongst family that live anything but normal lives.

The story is all in the first person voice of Magnus. There were times when my responses to what was happening were the same as Magnus. I could identify with him and I think that identification with the main character is what makes these books so popular with kids.

Riordan may have written this book for kids, but, like many Pixar movies the jokes, will no doubt go above the heads of the kids and make the adults laugh. For example, Odin has revealed himself to the assembled warriors in Chapter 70 and explains that he is a seeker of knowledge. “I hung from the World Tree for nine days and nights, racked with pain, in order to discover the secret of runes. I stood in line in a blizzard for six days to discover the sorcery of the smartphone.” I was laughing constantly throughout the book, but this one made me laugh out loud.

Thank you, Rick Riordan, for creating these books that kids will read and keeping the adults in mind too.

Disclosure: LaughingPlace received promotional material from Disney Publishing Worldwide regarding this title. It did not influence our review in any way.