Title: The Mummy
Release Date: May 7, 1999
Director: Stephen Sommers
Production Company: Alphaville Films
The Mummy is a lot of things: a remake of a Universal horror classic with 1990s sensibilities, a Raiders of the Lost Ark type of adventure with CGI, and a star vehicle for Brendan Fraser (who doesn’t seem to appear in big movies anymore). It’s kind of trash, but it’s fun trash if your looking for a goofy adventure. Fraser plays adventurer Rick O’Connell who guides librarian Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) and her brother Jonathan (John Hannah) to Hamunaptra, the lost city of the dead for Ancient Egypt. They face rival parties of treasure hunters and awaken the mummy of Imhotep. Chaos ensues until everything is resolved as you might expect. The movie gets extra credit for having Evelyn balancing on a library ladder and drunkenly proclaiming “I am a librarian” which have served well as memes in the library community for so many years.
Author: Rick Riordan
Title: The Sword of Summer
Narrator: Christopher Guetig
Publication Info: Listening Library (2015)
Magnus Chase is a 16-year-old boy who’s lived on the streets of Boston for 2 years since his mother was killed in a supernatural attack. He’s avoided his estranged Uncle Randolph, who lives in a Back Bay mansion opposite the Leif Erikson statue and is obsessed with Viking artifacts, but as the book begins Magnus is forced into contact with his uncle. This unleashes a series of events where Boston is attacked by fire giants and Magnus dies in battle. And that’s just the beginning.
Much like Rick Riordan’s books about Camp Half Blood where Greco-Roman myths are real and demigods are trained on Long Island, The Sword of Summer incorporates Norse myth. In fact, the two series are in the same universe as Magnus is cousins with Annabeth Chase of the Camp Half Blood books! We follow Magnus as he is brought to Valhalla, learns of his godly parentage, and goes rogue on a quest to prevent Ragnarok, or the apocalypse. I think Riordan is even more clever in how he winds Norse myth into a young adult fantasy adventure, and most of all this book is funny as Helheim.
Magnus travels with a great team including the Muslim Valkyrie Samirah “Sam” al-Abbas from Dorchester, Blitzen, a dwarf with a great sense of fashion, and the deaf and magical elf Hearthstone. I’m definitely biased, but I love how Boston is set as the “hub” of the Norse worlds and that many scenes are set in Boston, or in an alternate version of the city. Although it should be noted that Eben Norton Horsford’s discredited theory of Norse navigators sailing up the Charles River were rooted in the white supremacist belief that an Italian like Christopher Columbus was unworthy to be the person who “discovered” the Americas.
I think this is my favorite Riordan book yet, and I look forward to continuing the trilogy of Magnus’ adventures.