Magnus Chase: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

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For fans of Rick Riordan, as I have been for the past 7 or 8 years, welcome to the last installment of his Norse mythology series: The Ship of the Dead. At first, I was very surprised that this series was a trilogy, but then again, the Kane Chronicles were also a trilogy, so the five book per series might be only for anything involving Percy Jackson as a main character. Nonetheless, it is still a great sequel to the next chapter of the mythology series.

Speaking of Percy Jackson, we see him again in the first chapter as he teaches Magnus some tricks while at sea. Aside from the story, we get to see Percy and Annabeth as regular teenagers going to college, and Magnus realizes that if he doesn’t stop Ragnarok, they won’t get the happy ending they deserve, which is a huge eye opener when we had always seen Percy and Annabeth  being the ones shouldering the burden.

Additionally, we have the regular humor, such as with chapter titles like “I inherit a dead wolf and some underwear” and of course situational humor from Magnus himself. Additionally, each of the characters get their own backstory, development, and ending fit for them. We learn how Mallory and TJ die, each of them receiving their own development, and even a hope for the future- such as even though Mallory and Halfborn may break up once every decade, they still love each other.

Each character also teaches a lesson that is not only reflecting of Norse mythology, but also is different and unique compared to regular heroic events (a symbol that I see as part of Riordan’s growth as an author)- Hearthstone teaches us that anger is not always the way to win, Mallory shows that heroes are not always good, Magnus wins with a battle of wits rather than brawn. Additionally, there are some events that although hilarious and frustrating, symbolize the true nature of the gods, and Riordan was clever enough to depict it. Most importantly, there is a relationship that is revolutionary just as Nico and Will’s was, but I feel more in great development and satisfying.

However, I do have to wonder about Magnus’s newfound power, as I don’t believed it was ever explained, but there is hope for the future. I have never read the Apollo Trials, as I’ve been putting it to the side as I never really liked Apollo (who did?) but there are many sinister hints of the future of that series, and it may come that Magnus and the others may appear in that series, although we have never seen the Kane siblings in a very long time.

Overall, I really enjoyed every moment and cannot wait for the future of the series!

-Megan V., 12th Grade

Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive and Hoopla

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Inspired by Marvel’s Thor franchise as well as the upcoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Gaiman’s book really took hold of my interest, as I could not help but pick it up.  In Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman re-paints the pictures of ancient Norse mythos to the modern eye, while still keeping true to its roots.  It begins with the legend of creation of the nine worlds, or realms, as also described in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There are dwarves and giants, gods and goddesses, and a small section about the mortals living on Earth.  Two topics most compared were, however, the god of thunder and the god of trickery.

Thor and Loki are considered brothers, despite their first introductions: Thor was the son of Odin, and Loki was the son of giants.  There were no definitions of the type of these giants, so the MCU may have created their own story to describe Loki’s past.  Moving past their beginnings, Gaiman takes the reader through an abbreviated retelling of the gods of Asgard and their troubles, especially with Loki.  However, the author kept true to the end, rather called Ragnarok, as the myth goes.

Norse Mythology was quite telling and insightful, as I was able to experience epiphanies, as holes in the myths were filled.  Also an author of comics, intelligent children’s books, and intricate novels of the history of divinity, Neil Gaiman definitely made these myths into a worthwhile story.  Fans of newly-popularized Game of Thrones, as well as the age-old Lord of the Rings, will definitely enjoy this light read for its crossover themes.  Five stars for Gaiman’s Norse Mythology!

Maya S.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Magnus Chase: The Hammer Of Thor by Rick Riordan

magnuschasehammerthor_rickriordanRick Riordan has done it again: with the second installment of his retelling of Norse mythology, he brings out the laughs and slightly more mature elements that add the modern world to the books. All in all, these elements add to a tale that is fun to enjoy and interesting to read once again.

First, the laughs. We see Thor again, with more arrogance and goats. We get more sass from Jack, and Sam hilariously trying to find her way through her to be marriage and her Valkyrie job. There are many new characters and Riordan rewrites old legends in his way, including one where Thor had to wear a dress.

Finally, for the mature elements, we have to remember that usually, these books are meant for 8-12 year olds. However, with his more recent books, Riordan has tapped into the LGBTQ community, like when he revealed in Percy Jackson: Heroes of Olympus series that Nico was gay and the introduction of a (literal) gender-fluid kid named Alex. While this stuff may be mature for some people of this age group, I am quite happy that the author is bringing them up front, especially as loved main characters, and not putting them on the back burner like most YA authors of this time would.

All in all, it was a worthwhile sequel for this series, and even a wonderful book for those new to the Riordan fandom, even if not many have heard of the legends of Norse mythology.

-Megan V., 11th grade

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download from Overdrive and Hoopla

Teen Read Week: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

swordofsummer_rickriordanWhen I first heard about this book, my brain zeroed in on the last name Chase. Related to Annabeth Chase, perhaps? Rick Riordan doesn’t fail to disappoint. Magnus Chase is her cousin (first cousins on their human side) and she is spotted immediately in the first chapter. I got so hyped about a new series from Riordan that ignored a minor oversight: I had little to no knowledge about Norse Mythology.

Fortunately, Uncle Rick understands. There are some clues leading up to the reveal of which god Magnus is the son of. (Here’s a hint: it isn’t Thor) I just didn’t see it because I don’t speak runes. Most of the mythology stuff is explained to go with the plot and never seems like a history lesson. I’m not sure how accurate it is by saying dwarves listen to Taylor Swift, but I’m sure other ideas like the nine worlds is there.

Expect some of the great humor that you know and love. The renaming of a sword to Jack. Ancient gods or goddesses referencing pop culture. First person internal dialogue with just a bit of sass. And the chapter titles. If I wanted to explain what the book was about, I would just display the table of contents because even though they seem random and bizarre, the chapter titles accurately describe an aspect in what happens next.

I really don’t want to spoil any of it, but don’t expect another Percy. No one will ever live up to him anyway. This is a new kid, with a new personality, and a new story to tell. Is it better than Percy Jackson? No. But is it still worth the read? Absolutely.

-Nicole G., 12th Grade

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library