Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard – Book 2: The Hammer of Thor – By Rick Riordan

Jared,

I pre-ordered it from Amazon because they ship it a couple of days in advance so it would arrive on the day of release. From the tracking the first one never made it out of Texas. The morning of the release, Oct.4.2016, a noticed time stamped 6 hours in the future said it was “delayed.” That night it then said to expect it by the 7th, but if it hadn’t shown up by the 8th to check back for other options. Morning of the 6th the second one was shipped from the nearby Amazon facility and was promptly delivered by late that afternoon.

I chose Amazon to avoid hassle. No need to leave the house to find a copy at a local bookstore, or some box store. I’m always depressed after going to either. The first because of the books I couldn’t buy or the money I shouldn’t have spent and the second because of all the people. Too many people. It should have just painlessly arrived at my door without a second thought. I was so wrong.

hammerofthorTitle: The Hammer of Thor
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard; Book 2
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Youth
ROTS Setting: EU, Modern, Magic, Mythology/Supernatural
Synopsis: The hammer of Thor is missing…..again. If it’s not found soon it may mean a giant invasion of Midgard, aka Earth. But other forces are at work and if left unchecked they may bring about the end of the universe. No pressure.
Recommendation: Teen. The book is mediocre at best, which makes it the worst in the Riordan-verse to date.

– Spoilers –

No major spoilers, but I’ll need to explain my reasoning. This book was very underwhelming and mildly disappointing.

Let’s start with the characters. Magnus is a little flat, which for the main character and narrator is not good. He really isn’t in conflict with himself, or being dead, or his dad, or his feelings for his friends, or a love interest. His greatest conflicts are restricted to environmental (monsters or gods trying to kill him) and minor frustration that he isn’t a better warrior and just stuck healing his friends. Direct conflict with his friends are mostly glossed over and have no real lasting effect.

The recurring secondary characters from The Sword of Summer, Sam, Hearth and Blitz, are much more real, but still fee flat because their interactions with Magnus, the narrator, are inconsequential. They are joined in this book by Alex, a “transgender,” “gender-fluid,” shape-shifting child of Loki. For being a secondary character Alex is an extremely weak character (in a literary sense). Key aspects of Alex’s character are created or based on specific events that when analyzed required logic, reason, science, mythology and the personalities of other characters to be superseded in order to happen. Alex’s entire character isn’t just a mystery or unknown, it directly contradicts itself. A weak character.

Add to that the weird propaganda level push of social justice ideology and there’s not much room left for a coherent storyline. Riordan’s books have always been full of pop culture and the tastefully brought up topics that teens face are a part of what makes them so great. It was never about educating or advocating an agenda or pushing a specific point of view. Acceptance for who someone is as an individual and judging someone on their actions and not some label is the moral of the Riordan-verse. I feel like Riordan missed the mark in this book. I’m not surprised that a non-binary gendered individual is a character. It fits the pattern. I do however believe it was done disrespectfully while also pushing a specific view of non-binary gendered people that is limited and only going to cause confusion for everyone. I expected more finesse and infinitely more tact from Riordan.

The ham-fisted approach to Sam’s Muslim beliefs is another example. If Riordan hadn’t been in such a narrow minded rush to educate us then I wouldn’t have felt like I’d been beaten over the head by it. Part of my feelings on this are directly connected to my feelings that I somehow missed an entire book of relationship development between Sam and Magnus that happened between the books and then on top of that the overall rough feel to the entire book.

Ya, even I noticed several typos.

The plot felt crude and the plot twists felt more like right angles. Everything was rushed while simultaneously feeling excruciatingly slow and tedious. The antagonist’s plans and agenda were both blatantly obvious and so far beyond the characters it’s not just a hopeless futile certainty but I’m at peace that the world will end in the near future.

The gods in this aren’t just quirky, they’re legitimately useless. There’s no duality to them, just adult sized infants with weapons of mass destruction for toys. They don’t feel invested in the mortal plane only in their own continued existence and we just happen to live nearby.

If this was the second book I’d ever read by Rick Riordan I would have zero desire to read another. The Sword of Summer had potential and this book did nothing to take advantage of the potential. In fact it rejected it and spat in it’s face.

And with that I’m done with this review. I have really low expectations for the next book and little faith it will get better. More disturbingly I’m concerned about the implications for the rest of the Riordan-verse. Everything is tied together and this feels like cement shoes.

Robert

 


 

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Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard – Book 2: The Hammer of Thor – By Rick Riordan

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