Yay! The Ship of the Dead, the third book and final book in Rick Riordan’s series about Magnus Chase, Viking demigod, is here! And it is just as tense and funny and gripping as the first two, bringing the saga to a satisfying stopping point.
Magnus Chase is not having the most peaceful afterlife of all time. Not for him is an eternity spent perpetually fighting to the temporary death that the other half-Norse gods get to enjoy in the comfort of Hotel Valhalla. Instead, he gets to save the world. Or at least, he gets to put off Ragnarok, the end of the world for a while longer…not that he volunteered for the job.
Stopping Loki’s plan to unleash Ragnarok is not a fun walk in the park. Nor have Magnus and his friends, introduced in the previous books, been given very helpful instructions. They have to solve impossible riddles, accomplish impossible tasks, fight impossible foes, and put up with each other’s company before they even make it to the harbor in Niflheim where Loki is preparing to launch Naglfar, his ship made of human nails. There’s no time for sightseeing on the way, even when they swing through the historic city of York in England, because they are on a tight deadline to get to Niflheim, or else Loki wins. Basically there’s never a dull moment.
Percy and Annabeth, who need no introduction for Riordan fans, do what they can to help. The book opens with Percy giving Magnus a crash course in seamanship (and Magnus’ sword, Jack, falling hard for Percy’s sword Riptide). On board the Big Banana, the bright yellow ship that Magnus’s godly father, Frey, has lent him, are Samira, a Muslim Valkyrie, Alex, gender-fluid child of Loki, an elf, a dwarf, and three other Norse demigods—a Viking warrior, a girl who died defusing an IRA bomb, and a young African American civil war soldier. All these diverse characters bring their particular abilities to bear to help Magnus get to where he needs to be. In between the fights with giants and tense encounters with deadly divinities and unpredictable jotuns, Riordan shows us more of the backstories of these last three characters, humanizing the nonstop pace and almost slapstick feel of the adventures. And as was hinted at in the previous book, Magnus is starting to fall for Alex, giving a pleasing touch of romance to the saga.
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But at the end, it is Magnus who must challenge Loki directly. Fortunately, he is never truly alone.
Riordan is a master of snarky humor. Even his chapter titles are funny—“But wait. Act Now, and You Get a Second Wolf Free!” is perhaps my favorite. His characters are relatable, and his ability to write engaging battles with supernatural enemies is superb. The Ship of the Dead is top notch Riordan, and won’t disappoint!
The Barnes and Noble exclusive edition of The Ship of the Dead comes with a Norse word wheel with which you can create your own Viking insults. Magnus has to manage without one, but you can be prepared for you own smackdowns with evil gods and monsters!
The Ship of the Dead is on B&N bookshelves now!