Central Times

Book Review: “The Hammer of Thor”

Claire Yu, Staff Writer

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The second installment of the widely-acclaimed Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by beloved author Rick Riordan was action-packed, adventurous, and full of irony.

However, I felt as if something was missing.

The Hammer of Thor, while staying true to Riordan´s style, just did not seem to be filled with the same energy and vigour as its predecessors. That isn’t to say that this novel was downright mediocre or anything – it’s just that personally, I didn’t feel as captivated by the story as I did before.

Maybe it’s one of the side-effects of aging where you begin to lose interest in the books you grew up with when you were younger. Or maybe your preference in author´s style has just changed for some unknown reason.

But, I refuse to believe that I could ever tire of Riordan´s witty humor, or unique characters.

The whole gist of The Hammer of Thor is that Magnus Chase, our main protagonist, stays in Valhalla for a while before setting out on yet another mission to find yet another missing weapon. The plot is structured in the same way as before – embark on journey, meet resistance along the way, and finish off with a long final boss battle – with the exception of having a handful of new characters join the cast.

I want to briefly touch upon the new characters, especially one in particular, because the characters themselves are what made me a fan of this series. The main character himself is fairly generic – blonde hair, green eyes, half-smirk coupled with a very ¨ordinary¨ appearance. However, the supporting cast more than makes up for this standardized character that many authors tend to use.

As a person of color, it really strikes a chord when an ethnically diverse cast is introduced. Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus included not one, but seven main characters that each had their own backgrounds, and a past that really brought them to life. None of them were ever neglected during the course of the plot – all seven of them took turns standing underneath the spotlight.

In The Hammer of Thor, not only are there characters with different nationalities, like the heroine Samirah al-Abbas, but there is also a character, whose name is Alex, who is gender-fluid. This means that he/she is not confined within a single gender label.

Alex is hot-tempered and suspicious at first, but gradually becomes more accepting throughout the journey that they take to retrieve Thor´s missing hammer. The bond between Alex and Samirah strengthens as they begin to open up to each other by sharing their backstories and hardships. Trust is essential in this universe. Only when you have learned to trust will you be able to overcome the many obstacles that lie ahead.

I want to thank Rick Riordan for giving us such a diverse set of characters, and how he emphasizes on the importance of other cultures.

The Hammer of Thor has a very repetitive plot, and so all of you Rick Riordan fans should probably be more than prepared to go on this journey.

As for the rest of you, who have yet to experience the world of Norse myths, I suggest you give this book a try. It´s well worth your time, and the simple yet thrilling action will definitely stick with you even after you have turned the last page.

But make sure to read the previous book, The Sword of Summer, before you dive into this one. Since this is a trilogy, you will need to be aware of the events that happen beforehand so that you can fully comprehend what is going on.

As I’ve reiterated many times before, the story itself is very mundane. Yet, once you start reading, you can’t force yourself to close the book shut. Rick Riordan´s magical abilities as a writer hasn’t faded at all. It´s been many years since his writing made its first debut, however, he is still scribbling away with the same gusto that he had in the past.

Though each individual reader has his/her own tastes in literature, I would like to recommend Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor to all the students of Naperville Central. It´s a fun read, and it’s something that every reader can appreciate for its humor and liveliness.

Maybe, that special something hasn’t quite disappeared just yet.

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