Rick Riordan captivates his audience by the way in which he builds stories around the context of mythology. He is most recognized for his Percy Jackson series, revolving around Greek mythology and the demi-children of these gods. In this series, he has chosen to portray a different side of mythology, Norse mythology, and I enjoyed it immensely. Riordan’s characters are always full of life and complexity and even though most of his novels do have a cliché formation to them, foretelling the resolution of most of the obstacles, the humorous undertone creates such an enjoyable read.
Magnus Chase, the narrator of this novel, is introduced as a likeable sixteen-year-old, faced with the realization that he is being targeted and will most likely be killed. Something I appreciated with this novel was the fact that the narrator was of an older age, allowing his actions and thoughts to feel more realistic unlike a lot of YA series. Percy Jackson began with children at the age of 12 fighting monsters and going on quests in a way that felt unfeasible whereas here we are aiming at a much older age group of children that is verging on young-adulthood. This may just be because Riordan’s demographics are becoming a lot wider and more young-adult/adult readers are becoming interested in his work, which also explains why the level of his writing has increased greatly.
With that said, when I first began the book, I felt it started off weak. There wasn’t much establishment in what was happening nor was the writing really enjoyable or compelling. I think it isn’t until Magnus arrives at ‘Hotel Valhalla’ that the story begins to pick up pace and the characters begin to develop and work well together. The tone is very similar to Percy Jackson in the sense that it’s a group of friends going on a quest and bonding together as they proceed.
Yet, there was something that bothered me about this series. (This may be considered a ‘spoiler’ but I don’t think of it as one.) When Magnus communicates with his cousin Annabeth, (yes, the same Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series), there is no mention of the Greek Gods (which she is related to). So…do the Greek Gods not exist in his universe? Where are they situated? How much control do they have over the sea/air/land? When Magnus gets a warning from a god in control of the ocean, does that mean Poseidon has no jurisdiction to do anything? Do the gods from both side of mythology ever communicate with each other? Do they know of each other’s existence? This is why I wish Riordan had just created a different universe without the Annabeth-Magnus connection because he’s complicated so many things in my mind and how I perceive the universe that they are both living in.
It was fascinating to read about the Nine Worlds and the different lands that they visit as, unlike Greek mythology, my knowledge on Norse mythology is extremely limited and it was enjoyable to learn more about it. Riordan also attempted to bring in more diversity such as Sam and her cultural differences to other characters, which was pleasant to read about.
As a first book in a hopefully long series, I think it was extremely successful and I would recommend people (especially fans of Percy Jackson) to give this book a go. Jack (who you’ll meet in the story) is especially my favourite character as most of his scenes made me physically laugh out loud.
Language/Style: 8 points
Characters: 8 points
Plot: 7 points
Story: 7 points
Giving this book a total of 30 points out of 40.
Favourite Part: “Myths are simply stories about truths we’ve forgotten.”