The Sword Of Summer
Over all, a disappointment and let down. It took me 3 months (!) to finish it, where the other books by Riordan I finished within a week, which should say some thing about the book. The main problems
to me is first: The massive tonal shifts all over the story, on one hand the life and death serious and dark plots (Homeless hero after the sad death of her mother? Supposed death to the main hero in the beginning?? Threat of Ragnarok looming, the destruction of the worlds???), and on the other hand countless slapstick comedy and almost Bugs Bunny-level of cartoonish gags and situations that just didn't mesh well with the whole story. More so as for the first time the usual humorous storytelling of Riordan felt forced and most of the supposed jokes fall flat instead of making me laugh. The main hero Magnus Chase who should've sounded more like Percy Jackson (that's what Riordan intended), instead just sounded bitter and cynical, because unlike Percy who has a loving mother and a normal childhood, Magnus was homeless for two years after the tragic death of her mother... So while Percy is an uplifting and lighthearted person, Magnus is damaged and has a mostly negative perspective on life. That's why in my opinion the tone of the book should never have been this much light and trying-to-be-funny-at-every-turn, which totally undermined all the dark on goings and the seriousness of the underlying plot. The second problem to me was the length of the novel and the repetitive structure of it's development. After our hero's quest begin, it turned in to a video game where they go to a new world, and have to solve a side-mission objective to achieve a clue for the main mission. At first I didn't mind, it was more or less entertaining as well as we get to explore the various worlds of Norse Mythology. But after having to go through the same thing over and over again it became uninteresting and quite simply: boring. And for a Rick Riordan novel that's just unthinkable to me! Lots of portions of the story didn't matter to the main plotline and could've been easily skipped. If the book was 100-150 pages less, I think it would be a much tighter story with a deservingly appropriate faster pace (like the earlier PJ novels). Aside for the story, the characters didn't fare much greatly either. As the central figure, Magnus Chase could've been a very interesting and commanding character, but that whole always-trying-to-be-funny-when-he-really-isn't made me annoyed instead of liking him. I liked his character in the first part of the book when he felt like a genuine sympathetic human being who feels pain, sufferings, fear, anguish and was in way over his head. But the middle part turned him into a cartoon caricature. Same can be said about other main characters of Blitzen and Hearthstone who I just didn't care that much. Although it had to be also said that Riordan honestly tried to give these two depths and proper motivations to make them more real as the story progressed. The one character I liked very much is Samira Al-Abbas, Magnus Chase's valkyrie, mainly because she's the only one who didn't outright became a character from slapstick-screwball comedies. Oh, and I also liked Chase's friends from Valhalla, but there's only too little too late presence of them in the main quest to make me suitably invested in them. Hopefully we'll see more of them in the upcoming books. It looks like I only blabbed about the negative parts about the book, but there are some positive points scattered here and there too. The first-third was really good and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly. I've always fascinated with Norse myths, and Riordan didn't let me down with his gloriously fun world-building according to Norse myth inside our own world. And though the middle part dragged and got repetitive, the climax was very well staged and the pay off was fun, more or less satisfying. Although it felt a bit rushed then after hundreds of pages, to have the ending wrapped up a little too quickly. But I have to say, the last-third of the book was good, and after stumbling and bumbling halfassed through out the quest, it was very refreshing to see the characters of Magnus, Biltz and Hearth to finally have some much deserved proper developments in becoming the men they should be that we, the readers would come to love and follow. That's maybe the sole reason I'm not throwing this series under the bus already, the ending showed real promise to the future of the series, and I seriously hope Riordan will be back with his usual awesomeness in the next books that was unfortunately more or less absent this time. Given the correct treatment, Magnus Chase and his comrades have the potential to be fun to read about. Here's hoping for the best in the next book: The Hammer of Thor!