New novel explores Norse myth

By Kayla Whittle
Staff Writer

In a world where mythological creatures and Norse gods like Loki and Thor truly exist, 16-year-old Magnus Chase is just dying to have an adventure — literally. Rick Riordan’s latest novel, “The Sword of Summer,” kicks off when our protagonist is thrown off of a bridge after a giant made of fire arrives in his town.

From that moment on, everything changes for Chase, who was a seemingly average boy living on the streets of Boston. His normal life is now far gone, as he is tasked with preventing the end of the world.

As the book continues, Chase is sent on a whirlwind adventure through several different realms and races to keep an evolving cast of villains out of power. Along the way, Chase meets a variety of magical creatures, including dwarves, elves and Valkyries that all join him on his journey and add more bumbling fun to the story.

Chase sets out on a whirlwind adventure. (goodreads.com)
Chase sets out on a whirlwind adventure. (flickr.com)

The book’s setting and plotline may be a little confusing to readers with little knowledge on Norse mythology. Riordan is truly a master of modernizing ancient myths in funny, heroic and even educational ways.

His previous books have dealt with Roman, Greek and Egyptian mythologies. Fans will likely remember him as the author of the popular “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series that became an international success and was later turned into a film franchise.

With this new series, “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” Riordan fixates specifically on Norse mythology. The first book in this new series, “The Sword of Summer,” introduces readers to a wide range of interesting creatures that originate from Norse mythology, such as armies of the dead, irritable trickster gods and women warriors called Valkyries.

The fantastic thing about all of Riordan’s books, and his latest release in particular, is how accessible they are to a variety of age groups. Although the book is marketed toward middle grade readers, young adults are also likely to fall in love with the writing style and superb storytelling. Riordan’s sarcastic and witty characters crack jokes that readers of all ages will enjoy.

Additionally, the book features a diverse set of character with various ethnicities, abilities and even sexual identities. It is refreshing to see such a wide range in representation in a popular young adult novel, as the genre is usually lacking in diversity and originality.

Because of his growing popularity, each new publication from Riordan is eagerly embraced by the masses. Nevertheless, this latest release does not fall short of expectations. “The Sword of Summer” and the other upcoming books in Riordan’s new mythological series are sure to be a resounding hit.

Picking up this book isn’t only a great way to learn something about Norse myth, it’s also an opportunity for readers to laugh, cry and experience a truly wild and whimsical adventure, unlike what most books provide today.

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