Disney-Hyperion, 2016. 978-1423160915
Synopsis: Magnus Chase thought he had it pretty rough since his mom died two years ago and he’s been living on the streets. But then he’s tracked down by an estranged uncle who starts raving about a lost Viking sword and how Magnus is the only one who can retrieve it. Then, when he finds it, he’s attacked by a creature he though only existed in those mythology books his mom used to read him as a kid. And when he dies, things just get a whole lot rougher….
Why I picked it up: New Rick Riordan? Yes, please!
Why I finished it: Riordan has a gift for making ancient myths fun and accessible to an audience that might not have that great of an interest in the subject. Sure, he’s taking some liberties with the legends and whatnot, but that’s really not the point of his series. They’re about ordinary kids having the courage to do extraordinary things. And yeah, it probably helps that there are some supernatural forces behind their parentage, but there’s still the sense of adventure and the notion of a quest to prove themselves. Magnus believes that he’s just a typical teenager: wary of the previous generations, sarcastic, and questioning of the unfairness/fairness of life. His largely dead pan responses and general indifference to the concern about his rule-breaking make him an intriguing narrator. Plus, I don’t know of many people that can manage to find their way to the afterlife and back. I appreciate that Riordan has tied in this new series with his world from the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books as a way to ground the reader, but I have to cross my fingers and hope that there’s not too much crossover. I feel like this new series has a lot of potential on its own, and has a chance to create a new thread within the same universe that could get muddled and uninteresting if there’s too much intertwining. But we’ll see what happens. Riordan has given us a new cast of off-the-wall, somewhat odd, and always rebellious characters that take the reader on a non-stop, action-packed adventure through Norse mythology that keeps us turning the pages and wishing for more. I’m interested to see what other mischief Magus can get into and how he will eventually save the world. Because, let’s face it, we know he will…some way or another, it’ll happen.
Other related materials: The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2) by Rick Riordan; Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse by Leonard Everett Fisher; Usborne Illustrated Guide to Norse Myths and Legends by Cheryl Evans and Anne Millard, illustrated by Rodney Matthews; Favorite Norse Myths retold by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Troy Howell; Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love, and Revenge by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Christina Balit; D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths by Ingri D’Aularie and Edgar Parin D’Aularie; The Blackwell Pages books by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr; The Sea of Trolls trilogy by Nancy Farmer; The Usborne Book of Greek and Norse Legends illustrated by Rodney Matthews; Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan; The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan; The Kane Chronicles books by Rick Riordan