The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.
It’s hard to not love books by Rick Riordan. Who else can make mythology so accessible and silly at the same time?
I’ve particularly enjoyed the Magnus Chase series because, as a mythology enthusiast, I really don’t know much about the Norse culture. I mean, in school we all eventually learn about the Greeks, the Romans, and the Egyptians, but other less “influential” cultures tend to get ignored. So this is a great way for kids to learn about a mythology they might not otherwise. And, as in all of Riordan’s books, everything has been updated to the 21st century for maximum engagement. Even as an adult I find myself frequently laughing out loud, something I rarely do when reading ANY series.
While The Sword of Summer tackled some philosophical issues at a very kid-friendly level, The Hammer of Thor kept things more simple. Instead Riordan seems to be moving his books in a diversity direction. Honestly, when the gender fluid Alex was first introduced in this novel, I kind of rolled by eyes because it’s almost getting excessive, and it seemed so unnecessary. I mean, first a Muslim girl who wears a hijab, a deaf dwarf, and a metrosexual elf, and now in one book he has to throw in an main character declaring himself atheist AND a gender fluid character? It’s a little much. But as the book went on the gender fluidity really merged with the mythology and culture very seamlessly, as well as really helping me, a grown woman, understand a person I knew essentially nothing about before just a little better. While I hope he doesn’t throw in any more diversity characters in the coming books (really, one book series can only handle so much), I thought it was marvelously done in a way I would have no qualms about giving my children to read.
While the Magnus Chase series is, in my opinion, kind of a lower quality copy of the original Percy Jackson series, there can be no doubt that they are fun to read. I would definitely enjoy the books better if they were my first Riordan series. But at the end of the day they are good fun, and that’s really what I’m looking for in an action/adventure series. I highly recommend The Hammer of Thor to anyone looking for a little action and a few good laughs.