Author: Rick Riordan
Length: 480 pages
Source: Purchased Book
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.
Protagonist: Magnus Chase has died, been taken to Valhalla, and stalled the Norse Apocalypse, called Ragnarok, for the time being. Now, with Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, still missing, the giants of Jotunheim are growing restless and preparing for war, the only thing that can stop them is to find the Hammer of Thor, but of course it isn't as simple as just locating the hammer. On this adventure, Magnus will make new friends, learn more about the pasts of his current ones, and with any luck save the world... again. I have to say that out of all of Riordan's protagonists Magnus is probably my favorite followed closely by the hilariously vain Apollo, and in this book he shines like never before. Now that Magnus has had some time to get acclimated to his new situation, train, and learn about what it means to be an Einherjar he's a bit more confident, but he still has a great sarcastic streak to him. Looking back over the book I tried to see if he had any really noticeable or overly significant character development, but there was nothing that conspicuously stuck out at me. Nonetheless, he's still spectacularly well-rounded character and narrator.
Romance: So Magnus doesn't really have a romance in this book, though there is some more implied romance or foreshadowing to a possible romance or I'm reading way too much into things. Anyway if what I may be reading too much into is true than Magnus does get a love interest in this book, but the romance is pretty subtle, i.e. no kissing or declarations of feelings, but (again if I'm reading the situation correctly) there's some really great chemistry that left me shipping the hopefully future couple. Romance isn't a large plot point in this series, however, it does come up here and there and one place it comes up is with Magnus's (best?) friend Sam and her betrothed, Amir. Amir has a slightly larger role to play in this story and Sam and his relationship is very compelling to read. It's easy to see how much they care for each other and even though they are a romantic pairing established prior to the start of the series, they are really easy to root for and you don't find that very often with couples who get together prior to the start of a book or series.
World-Building: Reentering the world of Norse myths I was really excited. If you've read my review of the first book in this series you know there were parts of this series' world-building that I wasn't very impressed with, i.e. there were just enough parallels to the Percy Jackson series to make me uncomfortable. The being said though I still really enjoyed this world and was excited to get back. Once again this world is steeped in Norse Mythology and this one as you may be able to guess based on the title and cover features myths about Thor and/or Loki most of all. Don't get me wrong there are shot outs to plenty of Norse tales and myths but Thor and Loki definitely take center stage. I love learning more about Norse mythology and all of the variations on tales I'd already heard. I'm by no means as knowledgeable about Norse mythology as I am with Greek or even Egyptian mythology, but I was pleasantly surprised with all of the tales I already knew.
Predictability: This book has some good, if not fantastic twists in it. Without giving too much away, or really anything if I can help it, there were a few times when I thought I knew what was going on and what would happen only for this author to throw a huge curve ball. There are of course easily predicted moments, and for the most part, it's easy to see where the story's headed with got me to notice something. This story and the story in The Sword of Summer have a lot of parallels. I'm not going to name them since I don't want to spoil anything but there are a few too many similarities between the two that, like with the first book, it made me a bit uncomfortable. Unlike with the first book, it wasn't "plot specific" details that were paralleled but the adventure itself. There were certain points in both adventures that were mirrored and once I saw the first couple it was impossible to unsee. There aren't a whole lot, but, again, like last time just enough to make me a bit uncomfortable.
Ending: Dear lord this ending was intense! Going into the final climax things were going according to plan, or well they were going the way I had expected them too, and while the ending was *mostly* predictable, there were a few moments that made up for it in the gravity of their twists. After the dust settles things are set up for the final book in this series, I'm sad that there's only one book left but Rick Riordan did throw readers a pretty big bone with one of the best, and probably most excruciating to wait, cliffhangers yet. (Excluding the one in Mark of Athena)
I loved this new adventure in the Nine worlds! Even though the two quests have so far hit similar notes in a slightly uncomfortable and seemingly unintentional way, since I enjoyed this story so much I think I'll reserve judgment to see how this trilogy comes together.