Published by Penguin on October 4th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adventure, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Middle Grade, Mythology, Young Adult
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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.
Thor’s legendary hammer has gone missing and it’s up to Magnus Chase and his group of assorted magical friends to find it before its loss brings about the end of the world. Just another typical week in the afterlife of Magnus Chase, son of Frey. In their quest to find Mjölnir, Magnus and his crew face zombie Berserkers and gold obsessed giant gnomes but none of that compares to the dangers of the one who can help them find the missing hammer – Loki.
The Hammer of Thor is a great follow up to the first book in the Magnus Chase series, The Sword of Summer. Magnus is still coming to terms with the strange twists his life has taken recently. Sam’s newest einherjar (someone who died bravely and is rewarded with an afterlife in Valhalla as one of Odin’s special warriors) brings about more drama to Magnus’ circle of friends. Loki decides to take a special interest in daughter’s love life as he arranges his own suitor for her. Sam’s not the only one with family problems with Loki’s partnership with Magnus’ uncle causes its own set of problems. Not to mention Blitz and Hearth’s own familial issues. Family is very much a theme in this book. There were times when this book seemed to focus more on Loki and his offspring more than Magnus but I didn’t mind. There is still plenty of Magnus getting himself into trouble and some amazing moments of friendship.
One of the things I love most about The Hammer of Thor – and Riordan’s work in general – is how accessible he makes ancient myths. He manages to blend the stories from thousands of years ago with modern pop-culture in a way that works fantastically well. There aren’t a lot of books which feature legendary blood-thirsty cursed swords in one breath and lyrics from a current top 40 song in the next.
I love the diversity of characters in this series. There are characters from all walks of life. Many religions, cultures and beliefs are covered and not in a way which feels token. Each character with their own opinions and faith adds a certain something special to the plot. The way faith and religion is integrated into the Norse belief system fascinates me. Sam who was raised Muslim has to incorporate her paternity and after school Valkyrie job into the life she wants is one of my favourite parts of the book. The conflicts of her families and beliefs is just one of the things which help bring the old school myth portion of the novel into the present day.
In The Hammer of Thor we are introduced to another Loki progeny, Alex. Alex adds an extra element of excitement with her/his gender fluidity and daddy issues. The addition of Alex to Magnus’ gang of magical beings was fun and the combination of Magnus/Sam/Alex rivals Percy/Annabeth/Grover for my favourite Riordan trio.
In their quest for Thor’s Hammer, the characters travel all over the Nine Worlds to try and stop the end of the world. There is never a quiet moment but the fast paced antics of Magnus and his crew are always entertaining. There’s a lot of fun, banter, near-death experiences and slightly insane gods.
If you enjoyed Sword of Summer, you will love Hammer of Thor. This book has everything – quests, adventure, gods and characters you want more of. And despite the mythological elements in the story, there are parts readers can relate to as Magnus and his friends have to save the world whilst navigating their family and friendship issues. Perfect for fans of all ages, Hammer of Thor is great read which will make you laugh and wonder just how the gods managed to survive before Magnus came along!
Many thanks to Penguin Teen Australia for the review copy.