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Humor and heart combine in Rick Riordan’s latest mythological adventure

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Courtesy of Disney Hyperion

In Rick Riordan’s Norse-inspired trilogy “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” a homeless Boston teenager saves his city — before promptly dying. But Magnus’s death is only the beginning of his crazy existence as he enters Valhalla, an afterlife designed for selfless warriors. Even if his life is over, his problems certainly aren’t.  

In the trilogy’s second installment, “Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor,” Magnus is burdened with a grueling task. He must find Thor’s missing weapon, a devastatingly powerful hammer with the ability to save or destroy the gods. Magnus is roped into an elusive journey to find the weapon as doomsday looms closer than ever.

On top of that, his new hallmate Alex is a child of his sworn enemy, and his friends Blitz and Hearth are nowhere to be found. But with a dangerous wedding quickly approaching and Magnus’s own complicated family ties, the conflict becomes far bigger than just a hammer. The fate of the worlds — all nine of them — hang in the balance. 

“The Hammer of Thor” continues the nonstop humor and action that was well-established in the first book, “The Sword of Summer.” As Magnus adjusts to his new realm of existence, the warring gods only make it harder for him to find his footing. The amped-up danger and upward character development grants this installment an impeccable voice, bursting with the humor and heartache Riordan is known for.

I seriously wish we had more than just three books to spend with this cast of characters, because they’re really something special — especially now that Alex Fierro, the first ever genderfluid character to grace the pages of a bestselling young adult series, has arrived. 

As a reader, I absolutely love exploring Riordan’s worlds. He’s most famous for the Percy Jackson series, but I’m still thoroughly in love with this Norse-filled adventure. He’s mastered an insanely entertaining style that keeps the humor and heart at the forefront, but with just enough authentic heartbreak to keep it meaningful and real — or as real as it can get in a hotel full of millions of dead Vikings. 

Bringing ancient mythology into a modern worldview presents several challenges, but this trilogy is a prime example of effectively giving history an exciting makeover that’s accessible to any modern reader.

I learned so much about Vikings, the Norse pantheon, and their complicated history — without even realizing it. Though Riordan admittedly writes for a young audience, his universal tales of identity, overcoming loss, and heroism are relatable and enjoyable for a reader of any age. The echoes of his story are heard and loved by legions of fans across the globe.

I’m psyched for next October, when this series will conclude with “The Ship of the Dead.” I’m also super sad that the quick journey alongside Magnus and company is already coming to an end! But I have every faith that it’s going to be one heck of an ending. See you next autumn, Valhalla.

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Humor and heart combine in Rick Riordan’s latest mythological adventure