When I was in High School, our teacher assigned a book of mythology. I think I was a Sophmore, and I’m pretty sure my teacher was one of those coaches who showed up for a year and did his time before moving on to a larger school in a larger town. An argument could be made that these teachers left for public schools because we could be difficult. Personally, I think we would have been far better behaved if books like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians existed instead of the yawn-fest we were assigned. Whoever compiled that book of myths had to work really hard to make it so boring.
If you look this book up, it is described as a story about a blind girl and a German boy in World War II France. And that’s true. But it’s also the story of a town called Saint Malo – how it is occupied, destroyed, and rebuilt. It’s also a fairy tale of the old school, full of darkness and evil and danger and goodness and redemption. And yes, it is a story about a girl and boy who live a world turned upside down.
Magnus Chase is a homeless kid living on the streets of Boston when he is attacked by a fantastic creature. He finds out that is related to a Norse god, and that his destiny is bound to either saving or ending the world. Armed with a magical sword, loyal friends, sarcasm, and a undying love of falafel, he rolls with it. And adventure ensues.
Let me see how many adjectives I can use to describe this book: dreamy, lovely, sad, poetic, joyful, imaginative, quirky, fun, unexpected, delightful, difficult…perfect.
I often find juvenile fiction to be better written than fiction for adults. This book does nothing to disabuse me of that notion.