Book 1: The Sword of Summer
Magnus Chase is a 16-year-old homeless boy trying to survive each day that goes by since his mother was killed by wolves in their Boston apartment. (Yes, wolves.) Some weird things start happening after he spots cousin Annabeth (sound familiar?) handing out “MISSING” flyers with his name/face on it. Then his uncle, whom his mother always said to stay away from no matter what, takes a sudden and keen interest in Magnus helping him find a particular Viking artifact. Fast-forward a few hours, and Magnus is dead.
No, that’s not a spoiler alert, Magnus actually dies in one of the first chapters, if not the first chapter. He wakes up in Valhalla (Viking heaven), an enormous magical hotel where children of Norse gods and/or youngsters who die bravely go after death and train to become immortal warriors. Magnus tries to adjust to his new surroundings but realizes he is needed elsewhere after a dream visit from Loki (not this Loki). He escapes back into Midgard (the mortal world) and joins up with his two old homeless buddies Hearth and Blitz, who also happen to be part of this whole Norse mythology thing (one is a dwarf and one is an elf), as well as Sam, the Valkyrie/daughter of Loki who brought him to Valhalla and got kicked out for it. Together they seek to find an ancient sword (the artifact Magnus’ uncle wanted him to find) in order to stop — or seriously delay — the end of the world, Ragnarok. Typical Riordan adventures ensue.
If I weren’t such a huge fan of Vikings on History Channel/the Thor movies, I probably would have been very lost reading this book. I don’t know nearly as much about Norse mythology as I do about Greek and Roman, but I’m super-excited to learn (nerd alert!) throughout this series. Unfortunately the first of the five books only came out a few weeks ago, so I actually have to read this series in real time as opposed to binge-reading all of them, like I did with Percy. Dangit!
Book 2: The Hammer of Thor
Because I recently finished reading the first book in YET ANOTHER Rick Riordan series (not complaining!), I was not at all expecting the second Magnus Chase book to come out when it did, but it was right on time and a delightful surprise.
So, Magnus succeeded in his quest in the first book to acquire the special sword, but that doesn’t mean all is well in Valhalla. His buddy Sam the Valkyrie has brought in another hero and another child of Loki, Alex. Since Rick Riordan is so trendy and up with the times he made this new character “gender-fluid”, as in sometimes a boy and sometimes a girl (I see what you’re doing there, Rick, and I like it), which throws everyone for a loop, especially Magnus. Sam and Alex’s dear old “dad” (you’ll see why that’s in quotes if you actually read the book…) Loki starts stirring things up even more than usual, promising some earth giants that Sam will marry one of them in exchange for them giving back Thor’s beloved hammer, which has recently gone missing, but his plan is about much more than that.
Loki sends Magnus and his friends to several of the nine worlds in order to obtain another magical sword that would help free Loki from his ancient punishment, but they don’t realize that’s why they’re doing it until it’s too late. Well, almost too late. But, SPOILER ALERT!, the most exciting thing of all in this book is the very last sentence: Magnus meets up with his cousin Annabeth to discuss strategy for an upcoming battle, and she says “I think it’s time you meet Percy.” SO THE THIRD BOOK IN THIS SERIES WILL BE A PERCY-MAGNUS CROSSOVER! HIP HIP HOORAY!