The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus and his crew must sail to the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Will they succeed in their perilous journey, or is Ragnarok lurking on the horizon?
Well, it’s finally happened. I’m bored of Rick Riordan books.
I’m sure this was a fun and exciting middle-grade/YA read, but I just personally didn’t enjoy it at all. I talked in my review of The Sword of Summer about how this Magnus Chase series is too similar to the original Percy Jackson series. Plus, I have just read sooooo many Rick Riordan books. Even though it’s about Norse gods, it’s just lost that freshness. It’s predictable, the humor isn’t funny anymore, and I’m just not connecting with it.
That being said, if this was my first Riordan series I would probably be loving it. So I’m trying to be as objective as possible, but it’s impossible not to compare.
As far as an end of a series, this one was alright. There were a lot of characters, but not too many to keep up with and care about. The action was nearly non-stop, but there was still plenty of good character development. I was especially excited to get to know the minor characters from Hotel Valhalla better. Thomas Jefferson Jr. and Mallory Keen turned out to be interesting as heck. (Although, just saying, Jr. implies son of… which he is not…) The only thing that really annoyed me about The Ship of the Dead as a final was that, again, Riordan wraps this series up in a big ol’ bow. There’s no loss to deal with, no difficult themes really, just a nice big happy ending. Compared to the finale of the original Percy Jackson series or the Kane Chronicles, Riordan’s recent books just haven’t held up.
The thing I enjoyed most about The Ship of the Dead was the insight into the Muslim religion. The other books in this series, despite having a very prominent Muslim character, barely scratched the surface. But since this book takes place during Ramadan, Sam is fasting and thinking about Allah all the time. She has a few good talks with Magnus about it. I loved learning more about her beliefs, rather than just her rules.
I would definitely recommend this series to teens and mature kids who love action/adventure. However, if you’ve read as much Rick Riordan as I have, I suggest maybe checking out Aru Shah or another from Rick Riordan presents instead for a fresher take on mythology.