The Sword of Summer: 03/25/17
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan is the first of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. It has the honor of being the first audio book I've listened to in about three years.
Magnus Chase is Annabeth Chase's cousin and he's fallen on rough times. After the death of his mother he's been living on the streets under the watchful eye of Hearth and Blitz. That is until everything gets really weird and Magnus ends up going head to head with a molten giant and falling to his death.
The end. Nah — that's just the first chapter.
Magnus Chase is the first demigod in a Riordan book to not survive the first chapter. That's not to say he doesn't have more story — but it's in the afterlife that Magnus comes into his own.
My only complaint is that despite unusual opening, this book follows the standard demigod plot. Child with tragic circumstances draws the unwanted attention of some supernatural beastie. Initial confrontation leads to a a new home for the hero (a camp, or here, a hotel). Even more extraordinary, e.g, earth ending events, forces the newly minted hero to leave on a quest. Hero goes through vaguely redressed mythological landmarks on a railroaded quest. Minor thing accomplished, cliffhanger established, and BIG cataclysmic event postponed for another book.
In Sword of Summer there are a few differences from the previous series. First and foremost is the weapon. It's a sword that will eventually bring around Ragnarok but it's a weapon that once belonged to a nature god. Like September's weapon in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, the sword is what it needs to be, to fit the needs of those fit to wield it.
The second different are the supporting characters. The Sword of Summer is set up to have readers expecting the warriors Magnus shares a floor with will be the ones he ends up questing with. Instead, it's his two friends from the outside world. Frankly, their stories are far more interesting and compelling than Magnus's.
What I really want is a spin book (or books) about the life and times of Hearthstone and Blitzen.