I first read The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan in May 2018, and this review was originally posted on my Goodreads account then. Some minor edits have been made to this review
The second installment in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is just as enjoyable as the first book! The plot is fun and engaging, the characters are excellent, and the writing is so, so good.
We get some character development and learn more about the main gang (in particular Hearth, Randolph, and Samirah). The baddies are just as bad, and the good guys are still delightful. The new characters aren’t many, but they are also well-written. So much so that one of the characters is now on my list of Most Evil Fictional Characters Ever (seriously, he’s awful. I hope Alderman gets what he deserves in book three). One of the other newcomers, Alex Fierro, is a great addition to Magnus’ group, and Riordan handles the explanation of Fierro’s gender fluidity well. It was lovely to see a thoughtful and — from what I can tell — well-researched representation. I particularly loved when Alex makes a point of telling Magnus that her experiences are not representative of all genderfluid people. I mean, you go Riordan! (Also I ship Fierro/Chase now.)
One of my favorite moments is when Samirah asks Magnus to keep watch as she does her noon prayers. This leads to a poignant, meaningful conversation about religion and faith. It’s rare, especially in middle grade novels, to have such a scene– after all, we have Samirah, a Muslim who is also a super-powered Valkyrie, and Magnus, an immortal warrior who is also an atheist, discussing beliefs and the strange pagan world they’ve been thrust into. It is such a real conversation, and is one of the most memorable, touching moments in the whole book.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel! The plot is wild and exciting, with some fun new scenes and settings of the Norse world we haven’t seen yet. The story features a lot of Loki, who might be the most mischievous and conniving gods in all mythology, and that main plot was great. It was absurd and wacky and yet also high stakes, just as I’ve come to expect from Riordan’s stories. Can’t wait to see how it all wraps up in book three!
Also, I maintain my investment in my (slightly daft) ship of Magnus Chase‘s Jack and Trials of Apollo‘s Arrow of Dodona, and I WILL GO DOWN WITH IT.
Overall rating: 9.5/10
Going off that last sentence, what’s your daffiest ship, in any book series or film? Just so I know I’m at least not alone in doing things like shipping two weapons…