Taken from Goodreads:
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .
I am always afraid of being disappointed. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Rick Riordan did with this book. I am a big fan of the Percy Jackson series and the Kane Chronicles; they were original, they were funny. Riordan’s new work with The Sword of Summer feels kind of lackluster when considering his talent for creating engaging stories. I’m going to say this now: this book should not have been 499 pages, because it felt like nothing was happening. It didn’t pull me in as much as the others did, frankly, it didn’t pull me in at all. Riordan’s voice, which was so quick and witty in his previous works, felt extremely forced this time. He wasn’t funny. It was a stream of cheap jokes, puns, and ridiculous events that didn’t make much coherent sense together. Sure, Riordan is known for being a bit ridiculous. Weird shit happens in his stories. But Sword of Summer read more like a 30 Places to Go in Boston Buzzfeed article. He not only had a hodgepodge of events, but his description was so lackluster I was left wondering if anything had happened at all. I had very little sense of place, which was a problem considering how often characters were jumping around America’s Eastern seaboard as well as the Tree of Life. When your reader can’t tell where the characters are it leads to some confusion.
The quest in the story also didn’t feel like a quest. Each part of it, all the information the characters needed, all the trials they had to overcome were glossed over quickly without much thought or description. Because of this the characters fell flat for me, they did not seem to develop as the story did. Flat characters means I don’t care when they die. In fact, the death that did occur in this book, the big shocker, wasn’t even shocking. Gunilla, a Valkyrie who is never given much of a storyline besides someone who dislikes Sam and Magnus and seeks to stop their quest, is the one who is killed, sparking some odd drive in Magnus. Could we please stop killing female characters to further the male character’s story?
Speaking of the male characters, Magnus is about as interesting as white mayo left in the sun. He didn’t really stand out among the other characters and fascinating worlds that Riordan was failing to describe. Magnus was also far too accepting of his fate and all that was happening around him. Percy fought against everything and was understandably skeptic. Magnus just, goes with it. This is probably directly influenced by how quickly Riordan was moving from event to event; there wasn’t time to object to anything. While on the subject of Percy Jackson I will address Annabeth Chase’s inclusion in The Sword of Summer. Why was she there? Annabeth felt like a cheap addition to the story that shouldn’t have happened, like the Minions movie or Spiderman 3. She was out of character, a person who just lets her family (who she thought was death and was about to put in the ground) walk off to do whatever. I also feel as if the inclusion of the different mythological universes Riordan is making within the other universes can get messy. It’s better to leave that can of worms untouched.
In short I was extremely disappointed with Riordan’s latest venture, and will not be pursuing the rest of the series, if any of his new work at all. Eventually the white male (or half white) protagonist learning he is the child of a god (Percy, Jason, Carter, Magnus) and trying to save the world while doing dumb things gets monotonous and a little less fun.