“Norse myths are in right now, and Riordan has the magic touch, a combination that makes the extensive marketing campaign seem almost redundant.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor is the second of Rick Riordan’s Gods of Asgard series, which began with Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer. The Hammer of Thor brings together Magnus, Samirah, Hearthstone and Blizen and introduces another child of Loki, Alex al Fierro. Crisis has struck, the absent minded god Thor has lost his hammer yet again and the result is that the giants are planning to raid the earth and destroy all mortals.
Loki has a warped plan to get hold of the hammer and escape from the cavern where Thor has imprisoned him, a plan that involves marrying Samirah to a giant and extracting the hammer as the bride price.
In the middle of all this excitement is the angst of a set of teenagers who just happen to be demi gods and immortals but who otherwise have all the problems of teenagers like school, crushes, identity problems and clashes with parents. Riordan also deftly introduces a transgender character, Alex who is an agr or shape shifter, an inheritance from Loki but which involves ego problems and confusion as most young adults are discovering. The Hammer of Thor brings its own combination of mythological characters who have their own quirky characteristics, good or bad as the case may be and who reflect on 21st century issues – like Thor’s wife Sif, a ‘trophy wife’ which teenagers will chuckle over apart from anything else!
In a sense Samirah being Muslim by upbringing and plagued by confusion between Allah and the beings of Valhalla heightens the modernity – her forced marriage has undercurrents of the honour bound patriarchy in Islamic countries, widening Riordan’s audience beyond the normal American dream inspired young adult.
As expected there is plenty of action, violence and axe throwing, not to mention talking swords and a dovetailing between the real and unreal. Not to mention split second rescues when all seems lost. However in the world of the gods Doomsday or Ragnarok is always threatening and nothing can be a final solution. More adventures from Magnus Chase and his friends can be expected
Added 25th February 2016