Tag Archives: Norse Mythology

9 from the Nine Worlds by Rick Riordan

Overview
Image result for book cover 9 from the nine worlds

Title: 9 from the Nine Worlds
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Norse mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 8th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Collection
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I faced the inside of the V so I could keep an eye on the harp and the giant.

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Synopsis

How well do you know the nine Norse Realms?

Do you get all those heims mixed up? Well, this collection of rollicking short stories – each set in a different world and told by a different character from the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series – will help straighten you out. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll enjoy reading about how Alex saves Amir’s pants, Samirah plucks a giant’s harp, Mallory teaches a dragon how to throw down insults, and much more. Just watch out for Thor, who is running through the whole thing and raising quite a stink.

Thoughts

This was such a nice way to round out the end of the Magnus Chase series. It’s not the ending perse, just a way to revisit all of the characters after Magnus and Loki’s final, epic battle. You get to go on a journey through each of the nine worlds with nine different, well loved characters. As I said, a nice, easy way to round out the series.

This story kind of reads like a bit of an epilogue. It tells you of the adventures that the secondary characters all have after they’ve postponed Ragnarök. I like that although the end of the world has been postponed, these characters are still constantly fighting little battles. Finding a way to carve out a better reality for themselves as they live out their (mostly) immortal lives.

I think that one of the reasons I’ve loved the Magnus Chase series so thoroughly is the fact that it has a hugely diverse set of characters. They’re part of the LGBTQI community, or the Muslim community… or… well, there are a number of minorities represented in this story. And they’re actually the ones that feature within this book. Not the lead, but all of those fantastic secondary characters that are a great way to bring acceptance and understanding into peoples’ lives.

<- Hotel ValhallaThe Sword of Summer ->

Image source: Amazon

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

Overview
Image result for book cover the ship of the dead

Title: Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Norse mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 3rd – 11th February 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: My ears still rang from the weird music.

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Synopsis

My name is Magnus Chase. These days, I’m one of Odin’s immortal warriors, but that doesn’t stop people trying to kill me all the time.

Loki the trickster god is free from his chains. He’s put together a crew of giants and zombies to sail Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, in a battle against the Norse gods. If he succeeds, the final battle of Ragnarok will extinguish all the worlds.

With help from Percy Jackson and my cousin Annabeth, and with friends by my side, I have to sail across the oceans to reach Naglfar before Midsummer’s Day. The only problems are the angry sea gods, hostile giants and evil fire-breathing dragon in the way.

But even if we survive the journey I’ll need more than just Jack, my talking sword, to beat Loki. I must find a magical elixir so deadly that it will either make me powerful enough to defeat Loki and put him back in chains for good… or destroy me entirely.

Thoughts

This is a great ending to a really good, fun series. I love that Riordan deals with outsiders in all of his series. But, in particular, I love that this series ends with a gender fluid person finding their happily ever after. Plus, it does explain a lot about the different “outsiders”, not just through Alex and their gender identity, but also with a great Muslim character who is devout, sweet and quite capable of kicking everyone’s butt.

Sam’s participation in Ramadan is a great storyline. There is so much fear and superstition against Muslims, so featuring a pretty major practice for this religion in a very well-loved character was brilliant. I actually wished more children’s books would feature people of different faiths, religions and identities. It’s definitely something I could have done more with as a child. And it’s a great way to help the next generation become far more accepting of differences.

Although this is the final, epic battle of the series. It really wasn’t the epic battle that I was expecting. I was expecting something with a lot of gunfire, violence and just plain, old insanity. It wasn’t like that. It was a much more entertaining, funny and unique way to stop the end of the world. All in the company of a giant boat coloured like a banana… something that had me laughing out loud repeatedly throughout this story.

The Ship of the Dead might be the conclusion to the Magnus Chase series, it’s not the end of this greater adventure that Riordan has been taking us all on. Actually, the end chapter of this dovetails perfectly into The Trials of Apollo and, luckily… that is sitting on my shelf. Just waiting to be picked up.

<- The Hammer of ThorHotel Valhalla ->

Image source: Toppsta

Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn

Overview
Image result for valkyrie book cover

Title: Valkyrie
Author: Kate O’Hearn
Series: Valkyrie #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Norse mythology, Urban fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 18th – 19th August 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hodder
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Archie climbed painfully to his feet.

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Synopsis

VALKYRIE: NORSE GODDESS,
CHOOOSER OF THE SLAIN,
REAPER OF SOULS.

Freya dreads turning fourteen – the official end of her childhood and time to take up the full duties of a Valkyrie.

But Freya doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of the legends before her. As she observes the human world she wonders what it’s like to make friends with girls and laugh with boys, without fear of causing their death with one touch.

And then, on her first mission, she reaps a soul with unfinished business that sends her to the human world on a desperate quest…
Will she find out the true meaning of being human or being legendary?

Thoughts

This book has been sitting on my shelf for ages. And it’s one that I have looked at, picked up, and then seen something else and always just missed out on reading. And now I’m wondering why I just didn’t read it in the first place. This story was filled with the typical misfit storyline, but with extra oomph. Namely in the fact that the misfit is a Valkyrie who has slight temper issues and bands together other misfits to make high school something far more enjoyable…

I’ve read a few series that feature a bit of Norse mythology (not as many as I’d like, but enough to make me kind of happy). I’ve never read one that features a Valkyrie. And definitely not one that has a teenage Valkyrie who is trying to find her place in the world. This was certainly a surprise, and one that made me incredibly glad that I got to spend the time reading this book. Now I just have to wait until the next two books arrive at my doorstep… which, sadly, could be a while.

Although this was an incredibly fun book, it also felt like it was more of an introduction. It had a good storyline, but mostly set up characters, rivalries and societies ready for the next two books. It’s a typical beginning to a trilogy in that it draws you in and feeds you many, many details so that when the really intense storylines take over, you aren’t underprepared. And it makes a great, easy read for those nights I’ve had lately when I’m just too exhausted and overwrought to actually concentrate on anything…

Freya has made it my list of favourite, easy reading heroines. She is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her word, is unable to consider lying and completely independent. Even when it could get her sister into trouble. The dynamics of the many relationships throughout this storyline are intense and so well structured. In each and every relationship that Freya forms, she evolves and changes, finds a way to become more comfortable with herself and the way she feels about others. Which ultimately saves her and her loved ones.

 <- War of the Realms ReviewThe Runaway Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds by Rick Riordan

Overview
Image result for hotel valhalla book cover

Title: Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Norse mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 17th – 18th May 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Collection
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Having his hand eaten by Fenris Wolf while the other gods bound the beast with the rope Gleipnir

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Synopsis

Dear Magnus Chase,
Welcome to Hotel Valhalla!
We hope you enjoy your eternal stay with us in the afterlife.

This is a guide to the gods, mythical beings and fantastic creatures of the nine Norse worlds – now your fellow guests.

There are stats, interviews, stories and anecdotes to help you avoid those awkward first introductions and make sure you never confuse a dwarf and an elf ever again.

Your story is just beginning, Magnus Chase. We hope you find this guide an entertaining companion on your adventures.

Thoughts

Hotel Valhalla is a great way to fill in the gaps that the storylines of the Magnus Chase novels just can’t fill. After all, they’re stories which follow a specific storyline. This hotel guide on the other hand isn’t a story, but a way to constantly give a background that you really don’t know you need until you read this collection.

Written with the typical Riordan humour, Hotel Valhalla really brings some of the more distant characters of Norse mythology to life in a very satirical and dry way. It helps to pull you further and further into the storyline of the Magnus Chase world and, because of this, the moment I finished the last page I was sorely tempted to get out of my couch next and grab Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead. I didn’t because I had two dogs happily asleep on my lap, but believe me, it was a fight of temptation.

My main complaint about this book is that it wasn’t longer. I would have loved a lot more insight into the characters which make up this aspect of Riordan’s world. But it still worked beautifully…

<- The Ship of the Dead9 From the Nine Worlds ->

Image source: BookDepository

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Overview
Image result for magnus chase and the hammer of thor book cover

Title: The Hammer of Thor
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Norse mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 12th April – 16th May 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: The nightly numbers ranged from zero to twelve.

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Synopsis

My name is Magnus Chase. Two months ago I died fighting a fire giant and woke up in Hotel Valhalla as one of Odin’s warriors. Time of a rest? I wish.

When I meet Otis, an informant with a lead on Thor’s missing hammer, all I get is the name ‘Provincetown’ before a wolf-masked assassin takes him out and warns me to stay away.

Someone really doesn’t want me to find the hammer, and even if I could it’s rumoured to be underground, guarded by powerful magic.

But the giant armies are on the move, preparing to invade. If I don’t find it, they’ll ravage the Nine Worlds, starting with the streets of Boston.

There’s just one person who could help. Someone who demands a very high price: the gods’ worst enemy, Loki.

Thoughts

It took me forever to pick this up after finishing Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer. And now that I’ve finished this… I’m really not sure why. Or why it took me so long to get through the first half of this book. This tale has everything that I loved in the Percy Jackson books, but with Vikings. Which, as much as I love Greek mythology, there is something about Vikings and the Norse mythos that is… better.

For the first part of this book, I kept on thinking of Thor like he is in the Marvel movies… gorgeous, powerful and just plain “good”. The Thor in this story is nothing like that. Actually, he’s kind of a bumbling moron. And he farts a lot. And you know, he’s the reason that the whole mess in this story even happens. Because he’s a moron. Which adds a great level of humour throughout the whole novel. One that makes me grateful for Riordan’s writings. And makes me think that I need to keep adding some of his books (the few I don’t have) to my bookshelves.

There are hints from the very beginning of this tale that it isn’t all about Thor’s hammer. But, since I was so caught up in the action and what was happening to Magnus and his friends, I didn’t really pick up on them. It was only in hindsight that I managed to understand all the little clues that Riordan was sliding out for my slow little brain to grasp. Which is kind of great in a book that is aimed at a younger cohort. It makes me excited to reread this book at some point in the future. Read and reread and reread over the years to come, being able to find other “duh” moments throughout this story.

I was so impressed with Riordan’s use of a Muslim lead character in Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer. I was even more head over heels in love, completely impressed, making this man my idol when I realised that he has a trans-person as a secondary lead in this story. Talk about helping to raise a generation on acceptance and love. Alex is feisty and fun, if not a little angry and damaged at times. Also a little too obsessed with taking off people’s heads with a wire… but I digress. Having two people from minorities that are being ostracised today means that I can’t wait until they feature even more strongly in the next Magnus Chase story! Now where did I put that book…??

<- The Sword of SummerThe Ship of the Dead ->

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