Readers Rejoin Magnus Chase in Rick Riordan’s Latest Book
By: Matthew McKenna
Beloved children and young adult writer Rick Riordan, or Uncle Rick, out does himself once again in his newest book “The Ship of the Dead”- the third and final book in his “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard” book series.
He does this with his standard sarcastic, witty humor, well-paced action, and informative details on Norse mythology, and pronunciations.
In Riordan’s previous book “The Hammer of Thor”, Magnus Chase, the child of the Norse god of summer and health, Frey, and his friends, unfortunately weren’t able to stop Loki, the Norse god of mischief, from being freed from his chains, but were successful in retrieving Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir.
This left the Nine Worlds with a huge dilemma, as Loki is intent on starting Ragnarok, the end of everything with his ship Naglfar, otherwise known as The Ship of the Dead.
Now, Magnus and his friends have to stop him, but Magnus has another problem. After angering the Norse sea god Ran, Magnus needs some help in learning how to deal with the sea and its dangers if he’s going to stop Loki.
The book has a cliffhanger in which his cousin, Annabeth Chase, from Riordan’s most popular “Percy Jackson” series, saying that it’s time that he met her boyfriend, Percy Jackson, who is already well-known from his film series.
With “Ship of the Dead”, no time is wasted when readers start with Magnus receiving help from Percy Jackson on how to handle the seas, with the help of his cousin Annabeth Chase and his transgender and genderfluid Hotel Valhalla 19th floor hall mate, friend, child of Loki, and love interest, Alex Fierro.
Also supporting him is his talking and singing sword, Jack, and his other hall mates— Halfborn Gunderson, the Viking berserker, the hot tempered Mallory Keen, and Thomas Jefferson Jr., the American Civil War veteran—set out to stop Loki from initiating Ragnarok.
Along the way, Magnus meets up with his other close friends, Blitzen, the fashionable dwarf, Hearthstone, the rune-casting deaf elf, and Samirah Al-Abbas, the Valkyrie and half-sister to Alex Fierro.
Together, they face numerous obstacles in the form of gods, giants, and monsters to stop Loki, meeting new characters along the way.
The plot is nice and simple, while also giving a well-structured story due to great writing.
Other than the humorous moments that generally have pop culture references, and the well-balanced times of action and information giving, the characters are the best part of the book.
Magnus is his usual self, but he does receive character progression. He always questions things and is constantly worrying about if and how he’ll stop Loki and Ragnarok because a lot of lives hang in the balance.
This book really delves into the characters of the 19th floor by giving their flushed out back stories and character progression, like they never did in the previous two books.
The book also allows character relationships to grow even stronger through all the trials they face when trying to stop Loki.
Another thing that must be applauded is Riordan’s continuous and growing use of diversity and respect to his characters, as well as his fans who read his books.
The only problem that this series necessarily has is that it could have flushed out the characters more in its other two books.
As for this book, and somewhat the series, it would be more appropriate if was labeled as young-adult, due to its violence and as a children’s series.
In Riordan’s defense, since he was a middle school teacher, he admits that that’s the audience he sees and not children in elementary school.
It would also be very exciting to have more Percy Jackson in the series too.
This book is definitely worth a read but be sure to do so after reading the first two books.