Friday, December 16, 2016

Magnus Chase 2: The Hammer of Thor

I read Magnus Chase 2: The Hammer of Thor recently. I liked the book, and I'd say it's just as good as the first one. There are two new characters, unless they were in the first book, and I forgot about them. The first is Amir, the person that Sam is engaged to. He's in the process of learning about the Norse mythology stuff, and he is rightfully FREAKING OUT. That type of character can be annoying, like in Indiana Jones 2, but it works here, because Magnus knew Amir long before the mythology stuff ruined their lives.

The second new character is Alex, who is a shapeshifter and also transgender. That was a really neat idea. She can change forms into whatever animal she wants, but her own personal identity is fluid, so she can never quite match it or keep up with that. An interesting conflict, to be sure. However, at times, the author gets a little TOO heavy-handed with the issue of supporting transgender rights, to the point where it feels like he's preemptively calling you a transphobic bigot if you ever disagree with a transgender person about anything ever. Or maybe I'm just a touch oversensitive to those issues, because I occasionally get a lot of grief for being a male who plays female Nancy Drew games.

The story is typical of the Rick Riordan books. Our heroes have to fetch a magic item that the gods have somehow lost. There is kind of a clear road map they have to follow, from A to B to C, but they keep getting tangled up in random 50-page sidequests that focus around a particular mythological character. These include challenging giants, visiting Hearth's evil father, going to Thor's house, and so on. The overall story is that they have to get the skofnung sword and wheel, so they can trade it for Thor's lost hammer at a wedding.

Towards the end, the book talks about Norse wedding traditions. The dowry goes to the bride's father, not the groom's family. I thought this was setting up for a big plot twist at the end, because of who Alex's parents are, and how they technically don't fit the tradition as described. (I'm trying not to give spoilers, here.) But no, I was wrong, that ended up not being important at all. Okay, then. I fail at foreshadowing!

The book goes on for several chapters after the dramatic finale, which I thought was very well done. I particularly liked that. I didn't like the final cliffhanger, which was "OMG, Percy Jackson is going to get involved in this story!". That's not the first time we've seen this end-of-book cliffhanger from Rick Riordan...Still, it was a neat book, and I'll definitely read the next one in the series.

I wonder what mythology Riordan will tackle next, after Egypt, Greek, Rome, and Norse. Like, Lloyd Alexander and J. R. R. Tolkien already wrote AMAZING series based on Welsh mythology, and it would probably be impossible to do Christian mythology while having it still fit in with the pre-established Roman mythological canon that Riordan has developed. (Plus, it'd be hard to do Christian mythology without offending a TON of people.)


Anonymous said...

I felt sad when I read a post from you, Michael, where you said that someone had told you that doing prayer vigils outside abortion clinics seemed hateful. Whoever said that probably wanted to shut down pro-lifers, so you should keep up with doing prayer vigils outside those abortion clinics. Prayer vigils are a peaceful witness to defending life and that is beautiful. So don't be silenced in praying to protect the unborn babies. Besides when you pray, you talk to God.
Also beware of Harry Potter and all that occult stuff, because it does go against our Catholic faith. And those spells that come out are real spells, so it is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I'm bringing up another thing you mentioned once a long time ago about animals going to Heaven. To be honest, I always believed that all animals do go to Heaven, even mice and insects and cows. You know, all of them. I can see that God loves and cares about animals, so why wouldn't he take them to Heaven when they die. Animals are also beautiful works of God and yes, that includes insects. People may hate them, but God created them, too.
And just look at the wonderful saints, who really loved God's animals like Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Martin de Porres. These special saints were Christians to both humans and animals.:) Like when St. Francis saved the wolf in more ways than one. Even the Bible brings up various animals getting along in Paradise in Isaiah chapter 11.
It is not a crime for people to hope that animals are in Heaven. You know, people also hope that the people they loved are in Heaven, but that does not take away from wanting to be in Heaven to worship God.
And about the statement that animals can't worship God, even the fish put their heads above water to listen to Saint Anthony of Padua preach to them. God bless.

P.S. The show, A Travel Guide to Heaven with Anthony DeStefano that came out on EWTN talked very nice about animals going to Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me, but I forgot to captialize the 'H' in the part where I was referring to God in my second comment about taking animals to Heaven. God bless!:)

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