Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2) / My rating: ★★★★★
One sentence summary: Magnus and his companions travel between worlds to find Thor’s hammer, thwart Loki, and stop a wedding.
Etiquette tip: If you’re looking for the right time to leave a party, when the host yells, “No one leaves here alive,” that’s your cue.
Genre: Middle grade/Fantasty/Mythology
Plot: These Magnus Chase books have REALLY exceeded my expectations, and this second book in the series was even better than the first. Hammer of Thor had a tighter plot, and while I’ve found Riordan’s books in the past to get a bit too whimsical and unnecessarily sidetracked with adventures at times, I was impressed to find that everything felt very necessary and important. Every part of the adventure was imperative, interesting, and fun and it moved at just the right pace. I also found it to be delightfully unpredictable- I couldn’t quite guess how it would end, or how the characters would get out of the predicaments they got themselves into/found themselves in. This without a doubt the best Riordan book I’ve read, and I loved it.
Characters: I love the characters in these books. I LOVE THEM. They’re such a wonderful, lovable, diverse bunch and there isn’t a single one of the main characters I don’t love. This book introduced us to a new main character, Alex Fierro, a transgender, gender-fluid, daring and temperamental child of Loki. Alex was a brilliant addition to the story and a huge part of the reason I loved this book more than the first. She was volatile, loyal, brave and compassionate, and she added a new exuberance to the plot. I’ve never read a transgender, gender-fluid character as a main character in a book before, and I thought Alex was written so well, and she was a great addition to a middle grade book. I loved Alex. The other standout character for me was Hearthstone, the magical, determined, sarcastic deaf elf. My favorite part of this book was his return to his home and his confrontation with his father. Loved it loved it. Hearth is my favorite character, and I can’t wait to see how his story wraps up in the next book. And, as always, I loved seeing Magnus’s progression, and I also adored Samirah, her character and her choices, and grew very fond of her fiance, Amir.
Writing: Like I said in my review of the first book, Sword of Summer, the middle grade level really lies with the writing, which is quite cheesy, but Riordan does include many beautiful moments within his stories in masterful ways. No matter how they’re written, his books are fun for anyone of any age.
Was I satisfied? Yes! I loved this book and I love this series. I can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy to be released next year!