Book: The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and Gods of Asgard #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
I absolutely loved the first Magnus Chase book when I read it over the summer and so when I got this book as part of my October #otspsecretsister package (thanks Lorelai!) I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I think I preferred the first book to this one, but this one was a very good and enjoyable read in it’s own right and it was exactly what I needed, the last few books I’ve read have been either been feel crushing (thank you Sarah J Maas), depressing (thanks to Challenger Deep) or rage inducing (thanks to No Virgin) so being able to read a funny book like this was such a refreshing break. I still loved the characters, both ones from the last book and new ones introduced in this book, the humour and the pop culture references, it was the plot of this one that I didn’t like so much, it was very……..the only word I can honestly think of to describe it is zig-zaggy and a lot of the stuff that the characters did just seemed like filler in order to get to the end. Don’t get me wrong, this was still a joyful romp through the Nine Worlds and I really enjoyed reading it, I just felt like some parts of it could have been better. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
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.
First off, I need to talk about the characters because I loved them. As in the last book, Magnus was sassy and awesome and hilarious, although he was kind of outshone in this book by the new character Rick Riordan introduced, Alex Fierro. Alex was definitely the star of the show in this book, I absolutely loved him/her (and yes I say, him/her because Alex is gender-fluid so goes by both. It’s confusing at first, but Alex states his/her preference for pronouns throughout, so as long as you follow that, you will be fine). Alex was smart and sassy and fierce and I just loved his/her character so much! This is actually the first book with a gender fluid character that I’ve ever read, so I found that really refreshing. It also worked really well because Alex’s dad (well mum technically, but that’s a whole another story that you’ll have to read about yourselves) is Loki and since Loki is a shapeshifter, it makes perfect sense that one of Loki’s kids would be gender fluid. I really loved the friendship between Alex and Magnus, they bounced off each other and worked together really well and I sense that Magnus might have a little crush, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that progresses. I also enjoyed seeing Sam’s development in this book, we got to see more of her family and were introduced to her boyfriend for the first time and it was interesting to see how she handled her two worlds merging and also how she continued to handle her struggle with her identity as a daughter of Loki and a Muslim. I appreciated how sensitively Sam’s faith was handled as well, and that Magnus as an atheist was shown as respectful to her religion (as an atheist, it really bugs me when we’re shown as insensitive to religion, we’re not, we just don’t happen to have one ourselves). Jack (the Sword of Summer) was a particular delight, especially his crush on the Skofnung Sword, I found that far too hilarious. I also still love Otis the goat, though I’m pretty sure that’s just because every time I read his name, I think about my dog!
Whilst I appreciate that Riordan has clearly tried (and succeeded) in including more diversity in his new series, there were moments in this book that were kind of PSA-like and I didn’t love that because it felt like it kind of took away from the tone of the book.
I loved that we got to see Alfheim in this book and got more development of Hearth’s character and got to meet his dad. I swear Hearth’s life was so sad, I just wanted to give him a big hug! Blitz and Hearth’s friendship is also so cute (I ship it a little, shhh don’t tell). I get the sense that we’re not done with Hearth’s dad so I’ll be interested to see if he pops up in the next book.
The plot did seem like it jumped around a heck of a lot. I get that everything was building up to the big fight at the end, but it did seem a little unfocused through the book, like the characters were going on all these mini quests and you’re like “okay this is fun, but when do we get to the Hammer and the whole thing that this book has building up to?”. Don’t get me wrong, the mini quests were fun and they were all necessary to the plot in the end, but at the time, they did mostly feel like distractions. The Sword of Summer’s plot felt a lot more linear, whereas this one was kind of jumpy. I still enjoyed the ride and there were lots of hilarious moments and great fight scenes along the way, but I felt like there could have been a more focused way for our protagonists to reach their end goal and I couldn’t help but feel that in the end, the whole quest for the hammer was sort of pointless since it was basically all a trick by Loki.
I enjoyed that Loki formed a big part of this book, because his job is essentially just to mess everyone around and it’s kind of fun to see that, plus he’s a genuinely evil villain who you can really hate and I love having one of those around (though I think Hearth’s dad kind of ties with Loki as to who I hate more).
I noticed quite a few spelling and grammar errors in this book, which is unusual for a Rick Riordan book (or at least I’ve never noticed many before). It didn’t detract from the story much but it was a little jarring every time I came across one!
The pop culture references throughout the book were hilarious and on point and I love that Riordan has kept the trend of the funny chapter titles from the last book. I also liked that there was good mix of longer and shorter chapters. The Norse Gods are just hilarious especially selfie taking Heimdall and it was great to see even more of them in this book.
I liked that we got to meet Amir in this book and I thought him and Sam were really sweet and it was nice to see an arranged marriage that’s not portrayed as a bad thing (especially since the main plot of this book involves an unwanted arranged marriage as part of a Loki scheme).
There were a lot of times in this book when I wanted to scream at the characters for being stupid because some of the things that happened seemed so damn obvious to me and they never see any of them coming, but I love them anyway!
I’m hoping that in the next book we get to see even more of the Nine Worlds, we got Asgard and Alfheim this book, I’m hoping for Niflheim, Muspellheim & Helheim in the next book, then we will have seen all of them!
That ending! That ending! Rick Riordan is the king of the cliffhanger ending. I’m not sure I can wait a year after that. I’m mean that last line was everything but at the same time, I’m still like, damn you Rick!
I did enjoy this book, the characters, humour and pop culture references were on point, even if the plot was a little unfocused and I’m very excited to see what the finale of this book has in store!
My rating: 4/5
My next review will be of my current read, Snow Like Ashes.