Title: The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Middle grade mythological fantasy
Published: By Disney Hyperion on October 23rd, 2017
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?
I did have high expectations going into this one. We were getting a cameo from Percy and Annabeth in this one, for which I was beyond excited! It involved travel, magic and most importantly, the whole crew was back again together. They were trying to stop Ragnarok, so the stakes were impossibly high and since it was also a series conclusion, I was eagerly anticipating this book. So much so that I pre-ordered it.
I’m actually very sad to report that it didn’t fulfil all of my expectations, which is why this gets a 4.5 rather than 5 stars from me. It did start off strongly, but I expected a lot more from the climax. This was because his other series finale seemed to have a lot more action going on and they had set a precedent. But I really do appreciate Riordan for moving away from the ‘warrior-hero-saving-the-world’ trope. From the very start, Magnus has been established as a character who is not the strongest at combat, but more than makes up for it by his loyalty, courage and abilities as a healer. The plot was set up in such a way that it highlighted his strengths as a character. Not only that, we also got to see the side characters grow and come into their own. It was more character-driven than plot-driven, which I wasn’t anticipating, hence my enjoyment was lessened. But I’m super pleased to say that I’m completely in love with all the characters in the series. They are complex, well fleshed-out and the various identities represented in this is such a delight to read. The way the story ended hints at room for more and I already want to read more from these characters.
With that being said, I think that only die-hard fans of Riordan and those interested in mythological MG fantasy would love it as much as I did. This wouldn’t be the first book of Riordan I’d recommend to everyone and I still maintain that Percy Jackson is a better place to start. For the music, use this as an excuse to listen to the soundtracks of all the Thor or How to Train Your Dragon movies. As for the food, a falafel wrap goes superbly with the story (if you know what I mean).
If you’ve read this book, what did you think of it? Do you nurse a passion for mythology? Do you frequently read books that isn’t specifically for your age group? Let me know in the comments section below.