In just a couple of years, Rick Riordan seems to have become the master of mythology for young adults. And now he dives into the Norse world, with the Magnus Chase trilogy.
I loved the Percy Jackson series, and decided wisely to skip on the next series. I wanted to keep the feeling after that first series, and accept that there was always an end to a story. But then there was Magnus Chase. No new Greek or Roman stories, no we are going north this time. And Rick Riordan also kicks it up a notch.
As we have come to expect from Riordan, there are always gods that want to mess with people’s heads and creatures that are rather unpleasant and unfriendly. Every religion has them, the good and bad guys. But compared to the Norse gods, the Greek gods seemed like a bunch of lovely fellows. Reasonable too. The Norse gods are a whole different game. Made up mostly from gods of war, creatures hardened in the cold and dark landscapes of Scandinavia, Magnus Chase meets a whole different range of danger than Percy Jackson. So if you thougth that Riordan had battles before, think again.
When looking at the original Norse myths, they often end bad and bloody. That seems to be one of the major differences between this trilogy and the earlier series. Magnus Chase starts with the hero dying, because in Norse legends the greatest heroes came from Valhalla. The tone of this book is also set by this fact. The main character is older, surrounded by more adults, and the gods and side characters put more emphasis on their age. It seems Riordan is trying to reach his earlier readiers, that have grown up alongside his books, as well as a whole new range of readers which would be the older ones that still love a good and suprising fantasy novel.
If you do like your battles, your myths, and some sarcasm, but you feel too old for main characters that are 12 or 14 years old, Magnus Chase gives you quite a run for your money.
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer
My name is Magnus Chase. I’m orphaned and living rough on the streets of Boston. And things are about to get much worse.
My day started out normally enough. I was sleeping under a bridge when some guy kicked me awake and said, ‘They’re after you.’ Next thing I know, I’m reunited with my obnoxious uncle, who casually informs me that my long-lost father is a Norse god.
Nothing normal about that. And it turns out the gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Apparently, if I can’t find the sword my father lost two thousand years ago, there will be doom. Doomsday, to be precise.
A fire giant attacking the city?
Immortal warriors hacking each other to pieces?
Unkillable wolves with glowing eyes?
It’s all coming up.
But first I’m going to die. This is the story of how my life goes downhill from there…
Rick Riordan. Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer / Penguin UK / 9780141342443