Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordian

I am unsure if I just did not like this book because I've finally grew out of Rick Riordan books (never) or it's because Christopher Guetig was just an awful reader. I think if he did read alouds in class, the students would have revolted. Maybe the funny accents would have saved him, but barely. Like, I think when he would announce read aloud times, it would take forever to get the kids settled, take out their books and probably would have had to read over kids talking until he read the part of Blitzen, and the kids would settle down because, hey, funny voices.

I was definitely into the Percy Jackson novels, despite being 23 when they came out. I read them all at lightning speed, and then went on to read his other renditions. He found a formula that worked and I will be forever jealous that I didn't get to it first.

I read about a year ago that he was working on Norse Mythology, and I was interested to see where it would go. Even though it seems like Greek and Roman mythology is the most well known, I definitely recalled spending summers trying to learn to learn hieroglyphics and walking like an Egyptian. However, Vikings with Travis Fimmel is definitely my cup of tea (and also fun and nerdy fact, Travis Fimmel was definitely my play by when I wrote guys on various Harry Potter role play forums), so I was interested to see how my man Rick was able to fit Norse mythology in tween vocabulary.

So, the story begins with a 16 year old boy named Magnus Chase. Usually in this demi-god superhero stories, the kids are around age 11, but he starts older, and Riordan makes another unusual choice: Magnus is homeless.

Edgy. Interesting. Urban. I like it.

However, I am brought up short because... the voice actor is terrible. And even though I complain about a lot of things, I always try to find at least something good in the things I complain about. I will never listen to a book that is read by him ever again.

I've heard and read some other reviews that stated that Magnus, despite being a homeless kid who ran out on his mom right before she was murdered, was too optimistic and tried to make the best out of every situation, with a funny quip in his back pocket. Except, I won't know if that's true until I actually read the next book in the series, because good ol' Chris was just awful. I suspect that Magnus is mostly sarcastic, using humor to deflect his personal turmoil. Towards the end of the book, Magnus actually states something like this, reflecting just how much he went through. I wish I was able to hear that more throughout the book.

Other than the fact that the voice actor blew serious ass, I was impressed with risks that Rick took with this book. He tried to incorporate a much more diverse set of characters, with a Muslim-American Valkyrie, who is set to marry in a few years, and like other Muslims I ever met, seems getting more comfortable with that idea. She fights her nature as Loki's daughter, but not as a Muslim. She is still struggling to find out who she is, but she's not revolting against being a Muslim.

Now, there is Hearthstone. He's a Deaf Alf and it's revealed that he is the only practicing magician. He has a tragic backstory, but he's accepted by his new family, Magnus included. I like how Hearthstone is a capable, strong person who doesn't want anyone's pity. I understand that it's Magnus' story, so the reader won't necessarily get Hearth's perspective... but, it's really not easy to read lips. At all. Even though I rely on reading lips to aid me in understanding people, it's very, very difficult to solely rely on reading lips and not have the audio behind it. A lot of sounds are formed similarly. I wished there was more of a communication barrier that there seemed to be because it would be more true to a deaf/Deaf person in a group of hearing people.

Overall, it's a funny, fun, YA novel. I realized there were a few more books from the other series I never got a chance to read, so there I go to order and read them! However, I think I'm going to be more selective with my audiobooks and listen to the voice before purchasing. Just brutal.

No comments:

Post a Comment