Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Series: Book 2 in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy, Norse Mythology
Publisher: Penguin UK
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Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.
I think reading Rick Riordan books may be some of the happiest times of my life – I’m not even kidding. He has this innate humour that resonates in his work and makes his books so enjoyable to read. Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor was no exception and was fantastic from start to finish. I actually liked this one more than the first book, in part because we introduced to a few new characters that I adore.
I know a lot of the reservations around these books is whether they are too similar to the Percy Jackson books but for me, they just feel different. The characters and overall vibe of Magnus Chase is unique and inherently different from Percy – there obviously share similarities because they share an author but that’s about whether they end. I admit it was a bit difficult for me to switch over to the Norse pantheon after spending so much time steeped in Greek and Roman mythology (10 books is no small feat) but it is so fascinating to read about that you don’t really notice (also, there’s a handy-dandy guide at the end of the book if you do feel yourself getting lost).
This book leads off from the last book and our characters are sent on a quest to retrieve Thor’s missing hammer, because Thor can’t look for it himself because he’s too busy eating and streaming the new season of Jessica Jones. Typical.
Their plans obviously don’t go right and what results is a fast-paced plot, with the characters travelling all over the Nine Realms. As a consequence of this, we meet quite a few new Gods and Riordan proceeds to flip any pre-conceived notions of them in his usual hilarious manner. Whereas in the last book, we ventured into the Dwarf Realm, this time we visit the realm of both the Light Elves and the Giants and the world building was fascinating. Probably would have helped if I had been to Boston before and understood the references but nonetheless, it was super interesting.
Okay, I’m going to put a special focus on the characters in this review because they were all FANTASTIC and Oh My Gods, the DIVERSITY *squeals*.
We are going to talk about Alex Fierro first up because Alex is probably my favourite character out of the whole book. Not only is Alex kickass, unapologetic and amazing but they are also the first gender fluid character introduced in Riordan’s work (let alone one of the few in MG/YA in general). Not only is the inclusion of Alex’s character some amazing diverse representation but also opens up some wonderful conversations throughout the book about gender fluidity including discussions about pronouns, gender identification and public perception. Alex is brought into the story as a new Einherjar and is also another child of Loki, like Samirah. Because of this, Alex is instantly put on high alert at Valhala but is incidentally assigned to Level 19 and therefore the gang that we got to know so well in book 1. I can’t wait to see more of Alex in the next book and also potentially see an Alex x Magnus pairing happen (there isn’t much romance in this book but I am WEAK okay and totally ship them together).
Magnus is basically the same as per usual, a big ball of softness and sunshine (stealing a little from Alex’s description) as he continues to come to terms with the fact that, hey, the whole Norse pantheon actually exists. I actually really adore Magnus as our main character because he isn’t your typical warrior – he is actually reluctant to fight (despite Jack’s need to maim everyone) and is very much proud of his healing abilities.
Magnus is obviously accompanied on his quest by the lovely Samirah, who is probably my favourite after Alex. Samirah’s Islamic faith actually plays a really large part in this book and isn’t sidelined – her morals and beliefs (and how they coincide with Norse mythology) along with her elements of Islam (e.g prayers) are mentioned a lot. Her affection to Amir, her betrothed, continues to be adorable even when their relationship is put to the test. I really enjoyed getting to know Amir a lot better in this book as well and seeing Magnus play chaperone to their arguments, which hilarious.
Blitz and Hearthstone are actually the CUTEST okay. They are so protective of one another and they basically bicker like an old married couple and I just can’t.
All in all, it was a great book and I cannot wait until the next book, especially after the ending of Hammer of Thor and the references to certain things that may be happening!
Until next time,