The first installment of Rick Riordan’s newest YA series recently hit bookstores and, if you’re as big of a fan of Riordan’s work as I am, your bookshelf. New book series are an exciting thing, in both a good & a bad way. It could be amazing, giving you years of enjoyment (like with Harry Potter). It could just be an all-around waste of time (like the Matched series, in my opinion). It could start off awesome but dwindle with time (like Twilight). Or it could be excellent & spawn excellent spin-off series (like the Mortal Instruments & Infernal devices series or Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus… and maybe Magnus Chase?). Luckily I am here to help you determine if Magnus Chase & his first novel/entire series is worth you investing hours of reading and years of waiting for future books.
Spoiler Alert: By the rules of the My Fangirl Life Spoiler Guide, I must give you rundown on whether this post will be spoiler-y. The answer is Yes AND No. The first part of the review will be for those of you that have not read the book & will contain NO SPOILERS. A clear Spoiler Warning will be added mid-post, following which will be the detailed spoiler-y bits. As you have to scroll through the part to get to the comments section I am officially declaring that spoilers ARE allowed in the comments. Happy reading to all… just remember to stop at the next Spoiler Alert if you don’t want the plot ruined.
The unfortunate thing for Magnus Chase is that he appears on our bookshelves with a distinct disadvantage. The fact is, he will always be compared to his “big brother” Percy Jackson. The first thing any fellow Rick Riordan fan asks me when they find out I’ve finished Sword of Summer is “Did you like it as much as Percy?” (with the simple name ‘Percy’ representing the entirety of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series). If I’m being honest I have to say no, but that’s far from the whole story…
1. Magnus Chase is likeable & entertaining and I do want more of him …but…
How can I be expected to be as attached to Magnus in only one book as I’ve become to Percy in 10? Yes, I still like Percy better, but I also know him a lot better. Magnus is charming, witty, and hilarious. He is actually a lot like the son of Posideon, personality-wise. But he also brings something new to the table; not to give anything away, but he is not the typical fighter we’ve come to expect, living in the world of Percy Jackson & Jason Grace.
2. Norse Mythology is super interesting, with very intriguing gods …but…
Reading books based on Greek (and even Egyptian) mythology was just easier. I know a lot of the stories. I’ve learned about it in school, or at a museum, or by watching another show/movie/cartoon. About 90% of the gods or monsters Percy encountered were at least vaguely familiar to me. It makes everything flow nicely in my brain. Trying to get the full effect of what is going on can be frustrating when my Norse-knowledge base is entirely based on Marvel’s Thor. But I guess I’m expanding my knowledge… and learning is fun.
3. Starting a new series is electrifying… knowing you have years before the hollowness of finishing …but…
It’s been a long time (10 years) since we were this underinformed. The Lightning Thief came out a decade ago, and since then we’ve always had multiple books of information about our fave characters. If Magnus Chase feels like something is missing it’s just that we so desperately want more… which is a good thing (even if it feels like we are incomplete inside).
All-in-all Magnus Chase was an awesome start to a new series, one that I will definitely follow all the way through. It has a charming hero in Magnus and a kick-ass female counterpart in Sam. Sam is the queen of squashing stereotypes and an amazing role model for young women, which is a plus in any YA novel. The side characters are endearing, some so much so that your love for them eclipses everything else in the book. The use of mythology is seamlessly educational. I mean, I didn’t even realize I was learning and yet if I ever need to whip out facts about Ragnorok or identify the Norse god of the sea I am ready. Now if only I lived a life where those things are applicable…
So I say I liked the book… but just how good was it? I’ll quantify it using My Fangirl Life’s handy fangirl-appropriate rating system. Here’s my rating for Book 1 of the Magnus Chase series:
8 out of 10 Feels: 😀😮😂😏😆😅😳😃⚪️⚪️
Spoiler Alert: This is where the spoilers start people… STOP IF YOU HAVEN”T READ THE BOOK AND DON’T WANT IT RUINED.
Ok Team I’ve-Already-Finished-the-Book, let’s discuss some of the actual plot points of the novel:
1. Annabeth – I can’t believe I’ve know this series was called “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard” for months and never made the connection! I am so stupid. But at the first mention of a girl with blonde hair I was like “Annabeth???” And then the wheels started turning and I knew. I heart Annabeth so hard, so I’m excited for her to have even a minor role in future instalments of the series. Plus Chapter 72: I Lose a Bet was the cutest.
2. Hearthstone is the bomb. This character stole the show for me. He was endearing, brave and comical. Everything a side-kick should be. And how hard do you ship Hearth & Blitz? SO HARD! ❤️❤️❤️
3. The Hotel Valhalla was an amazing take on demigod/hero living arrangements. I marvel at Riordan’s ability to create a series just like Percy Jackson and yet totally different!
5. I’m so intrigued by Loki and his involvement in the oncoming Ragnorok! Is he wholly evil? Or is he really trying to help Magnus? Will he be our hero’s destruction? Or will the God of Mischief redeem himself by helping young Magnus Chase out?
Let me know about your favourite parts, burning questions, and main discussion topics in the comments!
Love & Luck,