It’s been a few weeks since my last review (and, coincidentally, a few weeks since I said book reviews would continue as normal), so it’s definitely time for a new one. This time, I read Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by one of my all-time favorite authors, Rick Riordan.
The Hammer of Thor is the second book in the Magnus Chase trilogy, and surrounds—you guessed it—Thor’s hammer. It’s lost, and in order to get it back from the earth giant Thrym, the heroes Magnus, Blitz, Hearthstone, and Samirah must retrieve the Skofnung Sword in exchange. Oh, and Samirah has to marry the giant.
I grew up on Rick’s books. From Percy Jackson to the Kane Chronicles to Percy Jackson 2.0 to Magnus Chase to Percy Jackson 3.0, I’ve read them all. I’m sure a lot of my writing has been influenced by his work—how could it not? But, for some reason, this book didn’t quite reach the mark.
Now, I’m sure there’s a nostalgia factor in there somewhere. Wanting something as great as the original Percy Jackson series is something I know is never going to happen. But this book just wasn’t even great. It was just kinda average. Which pains me to say.
Magnus’s narration is like a strange conglomeration of all of Riordan’s other narrators and in doing so, there’s not really a unique or solid voice. It’s just another cheerful, comedic POV that just isn’t as striking as, say, Percy Jackson or Apollo. Sure, Magnus is a likeable character, but when reading this story from his perspective, he’s also kinda of generic. And when he rants about how terrible pop music is compared to artists like Prince, it’s apparent how much of Riordan’s own biases bleed through. The narration just isn’t the best.
In addition to the narration, the plot just seems way more muddled than it needs to be. Maybe that has to do with the source material (Norse mythology), but when Magnus and Co. are bouncing back and forth between worlds and meeting different creatures/deities, it feels a little chaotic. It’s not as grounded in real-world locations (except for Boston), but then again, that’s part of the mythology. I don’t know. Maybe this one’s just a personal preference.
The best part about this book, though, is Alex Fierro. She basically saves this book just by being there. She’s a child of Loki, an excellent potter, kick-ass with a garrote—a weapon whose name I didn’t even know until I read this book—and gender fluid. Riordan has done some pretty amazing things with the inclusion of underrepresented individuals in this series, and Alex is probably the best character to come out of any of his books—Percy Jackson included.
This book wasn’t the best, but I’d still recommend reading it. Riordan never seems to disappoint, and even when he does, it’s not a complete disappointment. The Hammer of Thor is a good book, just not his best. Give it a read when you have a chance. Alex will make it worth it.