Review: Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Featured image**May Contain Spoilers**

Okay, this isn’t really a review.  More of an appreciation post.  An appreciation for Rick Riordan and his books.  There are many things I love about his writings.  I love his characters, especially since many of them are quite sarcastic and sassy.  I love how he writes characters with diverse backgrounds.  I love the imagination of them.  Taking stories that we are familiar with and some we are not and updating them or making them new but also staying true to the myths. I can tell that he has done his research on these myths and stories, whether they were well known or obscure.  I think the most impressive thing is connecting these old stories with todays world and not making them seem outdated.  He’s had some mix results.  The Kane Chronicles is based on Egyptian mythology.  I know next to nothing about Egyptian Mythology and if I were to guess most of his readers didn’t know much too.  For that reason, this series was a little harder to get through.  The first book, The Red Pyramid, spent almost more time trying to explain who the major Gods and Goddess of Egypt were and how they are relate to each other.  That the story sorta came second but as the trilogy progressed it got better.   The humor of his books.  Again, I love the sassiness of his characters.  He gets my humor.

But really, it’s his diverse characters are what I love the most of his books.  With the exception of The Kane Chronicles, his other series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus and now Magnus Chase and Gods of Asgard take from Western Europe.  I think we all have an idea what they would or should look like.  White.  Yes, Percy, Jason, Annabeth and Chase are all white.  Piper is native American.  Leo is latino. Hazel is Black. Frank is Chinese Canadian. Sadie and Carter are biracial.  Sam is Muslim.  It’s not just racial diversity either.  In House of Hades, Nico is outed as gay.  That tsurprised me.  Not because I didn’t see it coming or that I was upset but because this is a children’s book after all and I was afraid of how it would be received.  Even more surprisingly, it seems it was received pretty well or with little to no controversary.  At least not that I read about.  And that is awesome!  We have mention before on this blog about the movement to have more diverse books and characters in Kids and Teens books and why this is important.  Mr. Riordan could have played it save.  He could have all his characters be white and say well they are demigods based on Greek and Roman and Norse myths who were also white but he didn’t.  These Empires and traders may have started in Europe but they didn’t stay there.  Rome stretched into African and Asia and the Vikings also traveled as far south as the Middle East and west as North America.  And these books take place (mostly) in the US.  The idea behind these books is the Gods follows power.  So whatever country that is the Superpower in the world, that’s where they set up shop.  (At least true for the Greek and Roman Gods) So it would make sense that the Gods and Goddess would interact and mate with people from all backgrounds as we in the US are from all different backgrounds.  So the demigods needed to reflect that.  The Gods didn’t really have a type.  I mean, Posiden is also the father to Pegasus after all.  Loki has a horse, a wolf and a snake as his children.  So what would they care if their current human paramour is Black, White or Asian? All of his characters are strong and brave.  For his readers, they can find at least one demigod or magician to relate to and say I can be as strong and brave as.  That’s important and shouldn’t be overlooked.  So for that I love his books.

As for Sword of Summer, fans of his other books are going to love it.  I’m not as familiar with Norse Mythology as I am with Greek but I know enough to know the major players.  Magnus is in the mold of Percy as he is definitely a smart ass and I love it.  He is also the cousin to Annabeth.  The poor Chase family.  You have one brother who had a child with a Greek Goddess and one sister who had a child with a Norse God.  Both of kids were runaways.  The Chase family knows drama.  One can only hope that after all this they Chases’ have an easier time. Anyway, Magnus is joined by Sam, a Valkiyre and daughter of Loki. Blitz the Dwarf and Hearth the Elf.  Another thing that the Chase cousins have in common is they both have been to the afterlife, though Magnus actually died.  Magnus and friends must find the Sword of Summer, aka Jack and delay Raganok from happening.  No pressure.  Like his other books, our Heroes have to go through many trials, have run in with other Gods and Goddesses and other demigods and deal with a short window to complete their mission.  You would think that it would get predictable but it doesn’t.  I think a new set of Gods helps.  Riordan also is not afraid to kill off characters either so don’t get used to some of them.  I’m liking this series and I can’t wait to read more.