Review: The Sword of Summer

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer
Rick Riordan
2015, 497 pages

If you are familiar at all with the Percy Jackson series of books, and movies, then you already know the basics of Riordan’s writing. The Magnus Chase series is essentially the same as Percy Jackson except where young Percy is an unknowing Greek demigod, Magnus is Norse.

This first book in the Magnus Chase series involves Magnus learning who he is and eventually saving Midgard the destruction of Ragnarök. It is clever in that it is set in Boston and constantly references actual places that locals would be familiar with and interesting bits that us tourists would find facinating. Did you know there is a statue to Lief Erikson there? I didn’t. Longships carved into the pillars of Longfellow bridge? Nope, that was new to me as well. The story is mostly light and has enough action to keep both young and adult readers entertained. All in all I really enjoyed it and recommend it.

But, it is wholly irreverent, silly and downright insulting and maybe even sacrilegious at times. It has all the classical Norse images: Loki, Valkyries as beautiful warrior maidens, Valhalla, etc. A lot of these are contentious these days. To make it worse, these are taken to a whole new level of silly. Valhalla is a giant hotel for instance. Frey’s sword talks like a teenager. Surt is the best dressed fire giant you’ve ever seen.

Oh, this being the age it is the social justice crowd has had a bit of influence as well. One main character, a Valkyrie, is Arab-American and pointedly brings some of the issues of that into the story. Another main character is likely gay (not specifically pointed out, but constant embracing the fashionista cliche). These things don’t bother me, but they seemed somewhat forced into the storyline, especially the Iraqi (I think?) Valkyrie, and a little awkward.

So, with these criticisms, why would I recommend it? Well, firstly it is a fun and entertaining read. There really isn’t enough of that in the world, especially in a Heathen context. More importantly, however, it helps kids internalize the lore. Many times while my sons were reading it they would point out some bit that, even in it’s silliness, coincided with some story from the lore. They would excitedly bring these to me, and I would often take the opportunity to review that particular Eddic tale. In short, it is a great teaching tool. Getting information from different sources and in different ways helps us to retain that information. Plus, it is a great way to talk about the lore with your kids without it being a dry and stuffy affair. Ever try to get a teenager to read and understand the Poetic Edda? Good luck with that. Yes, there is some explaining away some sillier bits and for me quite a bit of explaining Anglo-Saxon equivalents of Norse gods and concepts. But it really is a great, fun read for any Heathen family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: The Sword of Summer

Once and Again

And here we go again… About every two years or so I get the urge to start a blog. It’s been a little over two years so here we are again. This time around I am taking a little more relaxed approach. The last blog, and the one before actually, I jumped in with both feet with every intention of producing a professional quality blog. Unfortunately, it took a lot of energy to research the proper word counts, pictures, number of pictures, marketing, etc., etc. In the end, it left little energy for the actual writing and I quickly burnt out. This time I am taking a different, more relaxed approach.

I want to write. I don’t think I am particularly good at it, but if you want to get better at something the key is to just do it and do it a lot. So, I am going to concentrate on the writing. Maybe I will format things pretty, add pictures and such, and do marketing, etc. at some point, but for now I’m just going to write.

What will I write about? What is the focus of the blog? Really, whatever I feel like writing about. The only promise I can make is that most of the time the posts will relate to Heathenry in some way. But that is another issue I had with my previous blogs. I would focus on Heathen parenting, but then want to write about gardening. So, I would tie gardening into parenting somehow, make it work–and then want to write about a political issue. It became hard to stay within the blog’s focus.

I am a father, husband, Théodsman, veteran, American, etc. This blog encompasses all these things and more, or less. We’ll see.

Let the adventure begin!

 

 

 

 

 

Once and Again