Sunday, October 30, 2016

Magnus Chase: The Hammer of Thor

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2) by Rick Riordan. October 4, 2016. Disney-Hyperion. 480 pages. Ages 10-18.

After preventing the release of Fenris Wolf and stopping the beginning of Ragnarok (great battle leading to the end of the world), Magnus Chase is back at Valhalla, concerned about the recent disappearance of his friends Blitzen and Hearthstone and the fact that Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, is still missing, while the giants are threatening to invade Asgard.

Magnus and his friends are joined by a new einherji, Alex, who turns out to be another child of Loki, and is gender fluid. At first Alex is angry about being an einherji and lashes out at the others, but soon becomes part of the group and develops a friendship with Magnus.

Magnus is upset to learn that as part of his latest scheme, Loki has promised Sam's hand in marriage to a giant named Thrym, despite the fact she is already happily betrothed to Amir. After discovering that Thrym possesses Mjolnir, the group decides Sam must pay the dowry and pretend to go through with the wedding in order to retrieve Thor's hammer.

Can Magnus retrieve Thor's hammer and put a stop to Loki's nefarius plan before Sam ends up married to a nasty giant, or worse??

My Thoughts 
I did not find this second installment of Riordan's Norse mythology-inspired series nearly as engaging as the first one, and had a hard time getting into it at first. Part of it was the beginning seemed a little thin, and just didn't draw the reader in as well as the first book, and I think part of it was that it had been so long since I read the first book, plus I had read several others based on Norse mythology in between, so I had trouble remember past events and characters, and confusing parts of the various storylines. I wish I had read a summary of The Sword of Summer first to refresh my memory.

This book is pretty fast-paced, with many of the same characters returning from the first, as well as a new gender-fluid character who I wasn't really sure what to make of at first, and wondered if the character was really going to be integral to the story, or window dressing. I did find I grew to like the character of Alex the relationships she/he (the character seems to prefer gender-specific pronouns) began to form with Magnus and Sam. Like the first book, this story has a great deal of humor, from the character of Magnus' dry wit, and from the way the gods are portrayed. This is definitely not your classic mythology!

I was a little surprised that Annabeth Chase did not have a role in this book as I had expected. We don't see more than a brief mention of her until the end of the book, but she does drop a line that hints we may see a certain other character from Riordan's first series in the next book, The Ship of the Dead, which will be released on October 5, 2017, concluding the series.

Other Works By This Author
This book was preceded by the August, 2016, release of a companion book for the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, titled Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse Worlds, which is written in the format of a guidebook commissioned by Helgi, manager of Valhalla, in order to help orient new arrivals and answer common questions.

Rick Riordan has written many books based on Greco-Roman mythology and Egyptian mythology, including the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, The Trials of Apollo, numerous companion books, graphic novel versions of some of his books, and short story crossovers of Percy Jackson and the Kanes.

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