Rick Riordan has already brought us Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus, covering Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology. In his latest series, Riordan turns his attention to Norse mythology, with his usual enthusiasm and humour.
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…
As with previous books, Riordan brings lots of memorable characters, in an exciting setting. Of course there are similarities with previous books.. there are normal people discovering they have links with gods, the main character finds new friends, grows as a person, and becomes the hero of the day. But, that really doesn’t matter, because this is what Riordan does best, and he yet again brings a fast paced, fun story.
Magnus is taken to Valhalla – the ‘hall of the fallen’ from mythology becomes a hotel, where the daily activity is a huge battle, which is to prepare the ‘guests’ for the final battle during Ragnarok – otherwise known as the end of days! From here, he travels between this world and his own, on a journey to find the Sword of Summer, and to prevent Ragnarok occurring.
Riordan brings a diverse range of new characters, including Sam, a muslim girl who lives an amazing double life as a Valkyrie, a fashion-loving dwarf, and a deaf elf. The various gods aren’t always what you expect, and there are lots of fun twists. My favourite relationship though, has to be between Magnus and his Sword – just how *do* you befriend a sword?!
My only slight negative is the fact that this is a long book, and it does get quite complex in places. It’s not the sort of book you want to read with big gaps, as it could be easy to forget a recent twist. However, from what I’ve seen, Riordan’s fans seem to devour his books, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe a little complex for younger children though?
All in all, an excellent new offering from a proven author!
Oh – and I think the UK got the best cover! 😉