Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Reviewed by S. Cox, Sept. 2021

“A Muslim and an aetheist walk into a pagan afterlife…”  -Samirah “Sam” al-Abbas, Valkyrie

Magnus Chase is 16 years old. He’s homeless and likes falafel. He’s got two friends who are also homeless, Blitz and Hearth, who is deaf. Magnus also happens to have a very rich uncle who gives him an ancient sword and tells him that Magnus’s father is a Norse god, right before a flaming giant comes out of nowhere and kills Magnus the same time that Magnus kills the giant. (If that confuses you, don’t worry: it gets much more confusing.) 

Take it from Magnus: dying sucks. Like, a lot. Getting reincarnated into Valhalla, the Norse warrior’s paradise? That doesn’t suck - but he doesn’t want to be there anyway. He wants to be alive and in the mortal world, not an einherji (pronounced: in-HAIR-ee) stuck in Hotel Valhalla, surrounded by the Norse gods. But sadly for Magnus, once an einherji, always an einherji - you’re stuck that way until Ragnarok, AKA the End of the Nine Worlds. 

Then, of course, a strange and interesting opportunity presents itself, under strange and interesting circumstances…… with strange and interesting consequences. 


The Sword of Summer was a fantastic read; I loved every minute of it. Rick Riordan being Rick Riordan, the chapter titles are unfailingly hilarious yet accurate, just like the book itself. With its careful balance of humor and seriousness, action and calm, fighting for your life and running for your life, Riordan does a perfect job of weaving the plot to make the overall masterpiece highly enjoyable. 

The genre(s) of the Sword of Summer is Norse mythology with the classic elements of action, adventure, and just a hint or two of romance - but just a hint! If you liked any of Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, the Heroes of Olympus books, or the Trials of Apollo books, or the Kane Chronicles, then I promise you will enjoy Magnus Chase in The Sword of Summer (plus, readers will get a glimpse of his cousin, Annabeth Chase)! However, if you’re a big fan of the mighty Thor, prepare to be let down by Rick’s depiction of the farting redhead. This is a middle school/high school book. 

Have fun with the einherji! And if you see Loki, slap him! Please!! Happy reading!