*This review does NOT contain spoilers!*
“Myths are simply stories about truths we’ve forgotten.”
Synopsis 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 . . .
Feelings: I really love Riordan’s ability to reinvent classic mythological stories. One thing I really liked was that I’m not nearly as familiar with Norse mythology as I am with Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies. I actually learned a lot more from this book than I did his other series. My background in Norse gods basically comes from a combination of the Thor movies and The Vikings TV show…which means my background didn’t help me at all with these books. Ha!
Issues: The sword was weird. It was really hard for me to get used to it or to understand its background. I hope there’s a little more to that side story in the next book.
Another tiny issue I had was how similar Magnus’s story was to Percy’s. Obviously, they aren’t exactly the same, but there were a lot of things that rang familiar for me. Percy’s story started when he was like 12 or 13 and Magnus was 16, so that was a big difference. But, if you made a T-chart of their experiences in the first book they’d be very much alike. Their narrative tones were really similar, too, which I didn’t mind. I love Percy’s sarcastic nature and Magnus had a similar personality.
I think I would have liked this book a lot more if I hadn’t been switching back and forth between the print book and the audio book. The narrator of the audio book is really disappointing. The accents and voice choices he made were consistently terrible and confusing. I think listening to it actually detracted from the story. I enjoyed it more when I was reading it, myself.
Characters: As per usual, Riordan’s put together a great cast of characters. This is where we see some differences from Percy’s journey. I especially liked how we have a purely magical character in this book, unlike the others that Riordan’s written.
I can also appreciate the diversity that Riordan brings to the table. I love the addition of middle eastern culture and characters into this book.
Final thoughts: I definitely believe that you should read the Percy Jackson books, as well as the Heroes of Olympus series before you pick this book up. There were a few references to other characters and jabs at them that won’t make sense if you haven’t read the other stories. In the next book, I’d really like to see some interactions with other heroes and some more interactions between Magnus and his cousin, Annabeth.
Overall, I think this was an interesting story. Now that Magnus’s narrative has begun, my number one hope is that the next two books take Magnus on a journey that’s wholly unique to him.
Pick this up if you liked:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
Goodreads rating: 4.26/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5
My rating: 4.25/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn