Book Review: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer

I was in my local Barnes and Noble bookstore when I heard a girl of about ten years of age ask a woman, "Where's Thor?" Since she was near the Marvel Comics toys, I assumed she wasn't asking about our Thunderer. Still, it was a nice question to hear in public. That's one of the reason I was thrilled to see the book Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer.

This book is written by Rick Riordan, who is best known for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. In that series, he tells the adventures of a modern teenaged boy who finds out that he is the son of an Olympian god. Likewise, Magnus Chase is also a modern teenaged boy who is the son of one of our Gods. The hard cover version goes through 491 pages of the adventure.

First, the book was a lot of fun to read, and was in no way taxing. I have the advantage of many American readers in that I know who the Gods are and generally know their relationships. I assume many of the visitors to this web site are in the same position. I don't want to give away any of the story, so I will limit my description to the fact the tale was worth reading and I hope it catches on.

Then, there is the religious aspect. Did this Riordan fellow get his facts right? That is a very good question. Though I found a few things that didn't sit well with me, overall, he seems to have done a fairly good job. More importantly, he did a good enough job that this really would serve as a good introduction to our religion for many young readers. It is still a work of fiction, but he does a much better job reflecting our Gods than one would find in the Marvel universe. There is even a glossary with the many of the words that English speakers have difficulty with when they first encounter our faith. There is also a list of the Nine Worlds and who lives in each and a list of the Runes that are referenced in the book.

As I mentioned, my copy came from Barnes and Noble. The sticker on the front said that the Barnes and Noble version included an exclusive guide to the Norse Gods. Inside the back cover, there is a piece tacked in that covers five of the major players in our beliefs. Again, there is nothing deep here, but it is not comic book like either. This has the potential to expand the minds of many people through popular culture.

It is important that we get more people to be allies of the Gods and to mind their behaviors. If we can get folks to follow the Nine Noble Virtues, even if they don't worship our Gods, that is a step in the right direction. It's best yet if they learn our ways. Imagine a world where the stores all sell products targeted to our faith. Imagine a world where you don't have to look for the few who are in your faith because there are Asatru people everywhere.

Though I recommend reading this book because it is an entertaining book, there is another reason I suggest that you buy a copy. We need our faith to be spread through popular culture. By supporting works like this, we encourage the spread of our religion. This is how we get the word out, through commerce and culture. This is how we stave off the Last Big Battle. This is yet another way that we server the Gods.