Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
The Ship of the Dead is the third book in Rick Riordan’s Norse Mythology series. You may know Riordan from his many award winning series like Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase and the Gods and The Trials of Apollo. This book is a light read and has a diverse character cast, a plotline that combines the modern world with Norse mythology and a wisecracking action theme meant for young adults.
The plot follows the protagonist named Magnus Chase who just recently changed from homeless teen to a Viking demigod. He has to stop the god Loki from ending the world. The author does an amazing job describing the settings which range from a fast food falafel shop in South Boston’s Transportation Center to a magic yellow ship in the middle of Niflheim Norse world of cold).
It seems as if the novel comes to life in your mind. An example is when the narrator describes the sea god Aegir’s Hall:
“The room’s walls were columned with dozen of ship keels, soaring hundreds of feet up and curving inward to form the rafters of a peaked ceiling. Instead of planks or plaster filling in the space between the columns, there was nothing except rippling green water held in place by no physics that made sense”.
Even with the changing of different locations the story still flows at a steady pace. An average reader will feel comfortable at.
The main protagonist, Magnus, is a down-to-earth teen that is very courageous and outgoing. Some other interesting characters include a talking sword, a shape-shifting, gender-fluid demigod and a Viking from 1200 year ago and more. As you can tell the character cast is very unique. In this book you learn more details about the supporting characters’ origins. While in the first two books you just learned their personalities and some broad facts about them, over time in the series they have become very memorable and loved. The antagonist, Loki, who has appeared many times in today’s media, is given a sly yet talkative personality. The evil schemes are sometimes really predictable but with Loki’s personality the schemes have an almost fun and dangerous feeling to them.
Rick Riordan is well known for his action fantasy books. His books are also very humorous and enticing for young adults. In all his books, the chapters have titles that are sarcastic and amusing or have some sort of foreshadowing. An example is “Chapter 25. We Devise a Fabulously Horrible Plan” or “Chapter 1. Percy Jackson Does his Level Best to Kill Me”. His books also have easter eggs that relate to other books in other series. Chapter one’s title mentions the main character of his Greek demigod series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. As a side game, trying to find and recognize these easter eggs is quite fun.
Overall, I thought this book wasn’t bad and it was quite good to get back into the series. It didn’t offer as much action and adventure as the other books but it gave us events that we know would eventually happen in the series but still made us jump in our seats anyways. The book elaborates more on characters readers already know and made the relationships of the side characters and protagonist more in depth. I also like how one of the important characters, Alex Fierro is gender fluid and Magnus learns how to act around Alex. This is refreshing because in other modern literature, gender fluidity is not mentioned as much as other LGBTQ issues. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys the action fantasy genre.
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