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The Sword of Summer
The Sword of Summer Cover.jpg
U.S. cover of first edition
Author Rick Riordan
Cover artist John Rocco
Country United States
Language English
Series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (book 1)
Genre Fantasy, Norse mythology, young-adult
Publisher Disney Hyperion
Publication date
October 6, 2015
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages 513
ISBN 978-1-4231-6091-5
OCLC 994762497
LC Class PZ7.R4829 Sw 2015
Followed by The Hammer of Thor 

The Sword of Summer is a young-adult fantasy novel based on Norse mythology written by American author Rick Riordan. It was published on October 6, 2015, by Disney Hyperion, and is the first novel in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series.

The novel is narrated in the first-person view by Magnus Chase, 16-year-old demigod and homeless orphan and after his death he arrives in a Norse afterlife as an Einherji, Magnus discovers that he is the son of the Norse deity, Frey, and must stop Fenris Wolf from leaving his prison and ending the world.

The Sword of Summer received positive reviews from critics, who praised its plot, humor, the inclusion of diverse characters, and mature themes, but also noted it failing to rise above the author's previous work. The book has appeared on The New York Times children's Best Seller list and the Amazon best-seller list. It won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Middle Grade and Children's Fiction. A sequel, The Hammer of Thor, was released on October 4, 2016. Since its release, the novel has been translated into 9 languages.

Plot

The novel opens on the sixteenth birthday of protagonist Magnus Chase, who has been living on the streets of Boston since his mother Natalie's death two years ago. After learning that his uncle Randolph has unexpectedly sent his uncle Frederick and cousin Annabeth to search for him, Magnus breaks into Randolph's house to look for answers. Randolph catches Magnus and drives him to Longfellow Bridge, claiming that Magnus is the son of a Norse god, making him the target of an unnamed magical enemy. Randolph tells the boy that he must magically retrieve an ancient sword (Sumarbrander, or the "Sword of Summer") hidden in Boston Harbor to protect himself. A fire giant known as Surt appears, and begins to destroy the bridge. Magnus attacks Surt with the sword to allow other pedestrians time to escape. As he realizes that he is about to die, he manages to wound the giant and hurl the two of them off the bridge. He dies on impact with the water.

Magnus awakens in a place called Hotel Valhalla as an einherjar, where he is told he will spend eternity training for Ragnarök. He is introduced to the Valkyrie who brought him to Valhalla, Sam, and to his new einherjar hallmates. During Magnus' welcome feast, the three Norns pronounce Magnus a son of Frey and deliver a confusing prophecy. The hotel's ruling council banishes Sam the Valkyrie for apparently "wrongly choosing" Magnus. That night, Magnus's friends Hearth and Blitz arrive and reveal they are actually an elf and dwarf, respectively. They convince him to leave the hotel. In Midgard, the trio joins up with Sam. The group meets with the god Mimir, who tasks them with finding the Sword before Surt and bringing it to the island of Fenris Wolf. They retrieve the sword from the sea goddess Ran and journey to Nidavellir to secure a new binding for the Wolf. During the quest, Magnus experiences dream-visions of Loki, and once even of the goddess Hel offering to reunite him with his late mother—a proposal he struggles to refuse.

After a detour to Jotunheim, where they help the god Thor and Magnus discovers new magical powers, they finally arrive at Fenris's island. Despite being attacked by a group of Valkyries, some of Magnus' hallmates, and Surt, they successfully rebind the Wolf. Magnus has a brief vision of his father Frey before returning to Hotel Valhalla to stand trial for his disobedience. Before he can be punished, however, Magnus's hallmate X stands and reveals himself to be the god Odin, in disguise. Odin rewards each of the heroes in turn, finally offering Magnus a chance to return to life or choose a different afterlife. Magnus declines, but returns to Boston to speak with his cousin Annabeth. The two hold a funeral for Natalie Chase and exchange stories of each other's lives as demigods. Meanwhile, in the epilogue, Loki punishes Randolph for not being able to stop Magnus from rebinding Fenris. Loki implies that Randolph's family will be in danger if the man does not cooperate.

Characters

  • Magnus Chase – A 16-year-old son of Frey who dies in the first few chapters but becomes an einherjar. He is Annabeth Chase's cousin, but last saw her when he was very young. He has healing and regeneration powers, resistance to extreme temperatures, and other magical abilities. As a human, he was asthmatic and weak, but gains extreme strength and endurance after his death.
  • Samirah "Sam" al-Abbas – The Valkyrie who brought Magnus to Hotel Valhalla. A daughter of Loki, she emigrated from Iraq with her family and is descended from a medieval Arab traveller and historian who wrote an important account about living among the Vikings. She is a practicing Muslim, a shapeshifter and carries an axe and a green hijab, which doubles as a camouflage cloak. She is engaged to her second cousin, Amir Fadlan, who works in a falafel shop.
  • Hearthstone "Hearth" – A friend of Magnus. He is an alf (elf). He is deaf-mute, but speaks Alf Sign Language and can read lips. He had an abusive childhood, with parents who disliked him because of his disabilities. He received the ability to work rune magic in return for great sacrifice.
  • Blitzen "Blitz" – Another friend of Magnus, a svartalf (dwarf). He is the son of Freya. He and Hearth watched over Magnus while he was living in the streets. Blitz's father was killed by Fenris when he was a child, after an attempt to replace the Fenris Wolf's bindings. Blitz is unskilled at crafting (unusual for dwarves) but is a master fashion advisor. He, like Hearth, works for Mimir.
  • X/Odin – A half-troll that is one of Magnus' hallmates, X is later revealed to be Odin in disguise, in order to inspect the einherjar without them knowing. Sam brought X to Valhalla when he died dismantling a dog-fighting ring. He is called X because his real name is difficult to pronounce.
  • Jack (Sumarbrander) – The title character of the book (Sumarbrander is Norse for "sword of summer"), a magic sword that can talk and once belonged to Frey until he gave it up and lost its allegiance. Magnus retrieved it from Boston Harbor, won its allegiance, and nicknamed it Jack. He can take the form of a pendant and move on his own.

Prophecy

The prophecy that was given to Magnus by the Norns reads:

Wrongly chosen, wrongly slain,
A hero Valhalla cannot contain.
Nine days hence the sun must go east,
Ere Sword of Summer unbinds the beast.

The first line of the prophecy was initially taken as confirmation that Magnus was unfit for duty as an einherjar; later, Odin interprets it to mean that Loki chose the wrong hero to manipulate. The second line refers to how Magnus manages to leave Valhalla despite claims that the hotel is impossible to escape. The final two lines describe how Sumarbrander was fated to free Fenris (as it did before rebinding him), and how the one day of the year where Fenris' island can be reached by a mortal was exactly nine days from the date the prophecy was given.

Sequel

A sequel, The Hammer of Thor was released on October 4, 2016.

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