Warning: If you have not read “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor” by Rick Riordan, do not read if you want to avoid spoilers. If you don’t mind spoilers or already read the book, feel free to read this!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor” by Rick Riordan! I reviewed the first book “The Gods of Asgard” last time, and “The Hammer of Thor” is its sequel. Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“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.”
Plotwise, I thought that this plot was quest-based like the last one, except this time they have to find Thor’s hammer and nearly end up retrieving it through having to marry Samirah to one of Loki’s minions. I felt that it was more of internal situations for the characters than the external main plot that really drove the story. One of these instances is with Magnus’ uncle, Randolph, being forced to work for Loki. Magnus is forced to go against his uncle, consequentially, but this doesn’t go without Magnus trying to get Randolph away from Loki, and concluding with dealing with the guilt of being unable to save him by the end of the book. I think there will be a lot of Magnus dealing with the guilt of not saving Randolph for the next book, as he didn’t quite have the time to grieve for Randolph by the end of this book, and could potentially put him in a similar internal situation he had when grieving for his mother in the first book.
As for Samirah, it was interesting to see her internal struggles as she deals with the fact that she has a lot more difficulty dealing with Loki, unlike other characters such as Alex who had an easier time doing so or had the abilities on hand to deal with Loki’s powers. I think her struggle with trying to cope with not having the same abilities as the others is definitely a situation that could be explored in the third book, and it makes me wonder how she will cope with all of it.
In terms of the characters, we’re introduced to a couple new ones and they get some development, most notably Alex Fierro who identifies as genderfluid and transgender. Alex develops through interactions with both Magnus and Samirah, and I liked how Magnus did his best to understand the struggle that comes with being genderfluid and transgender despite his own identity as a cis-male, as he notes that during his time being homeless he’d met a lot of teens that were in similar predicaments to Alex’s own. Magnus takes the time to address Alex with the pronouns that Alex feels like using at the time, and also grows aware of how he acts just because Alex is the way he or she is, too. This sense of awareness really brought some nice development to Magnus in the book. Alex also does not have her character defined by just her gender identity either, as she proves herself to be one of the characters that did a lot of the outwitting of enemies and even tried to help out Samirah with her internal struggles.
I felt like some of the more main characters such as Hearthstone and Blitzen could have had more opportunity to do more things. It was interesting reading on the part of the book where Hearthstone’s dad nearly went insane because of a cursed ring he wanted and such, but overall I felt like Heartstone and Blitzen both felt a bit shoved to the side for this book. This gave them less time and opportunity to really develop, and I hope this changes in the next book.
When it came to worldbuilding, once again there was a lot of Norse mythology involved. As I mentioned from the last review, this is to be expected since this is a trilogy that revolves around Norse mythology. Once again, I am thankful that there is a glossary at the back of the book to explain everything that one might not understand when reading the book.
Overall, I’d rate this book 4 out of 5 stars for the interesting internal struggles involved in this book as well as the great amount of character development for some characters at the expense of other characters losing the opportunity to have their own development.