The adventures in Rick Riordan’s spectacular creation filled with Gods, Magic, Monsters, Mayhem and Mysteries continue in ‘Magnus Chase and The Ship of the Dead’, the third instalment in the series. This is series is also set in the same world as Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles.
Rick Riordan; Penguin Random House UK; ` 599
After dying by the hands of Surt, the king of fire giants, Magnus Chase was chosen by the Valkyrie to become an Einherji, a warrior in the service of Odin due to a fight in the last war. He just so happens to be the son of Frey, the god of summer and growth.
He has been charged to re-capture Loki and return him to his imprisonment before he can kick-start the end. The quest will take him and his friends through the nine realms to collect information, artefacts and skills that they need to face off against the trickster god.
The author has a knack for melding the modern day American lifestyle with the mystic Norse legends. Boston is the centre of Midgard with the entrances to the other realms hidden casually across the many buildings and avenues. The narrative bridges the magical with the mundane seamlessly.
All of his tales seem all the more possible because of this fusion. Rick with over a dozen books set in the same universe uses tangential references to his protagonists from other series and those events turning it into an ever-expanding allure for the reader familiar with his previous work.
The racy non-stop face-offs with threats, all the while facing impending death in the hands of vengeful gods, casual murderous giants and horrific monsters is balanced with a good amount of humour.
A dwarf with an impeccable fashion sense, a mute elf who is master of rune casting, a devout Muslim who is a Valkyrie, a gender fluid shape-shifting daughter of Loki, a Union soldier from the civil war, a Viking raider from a thousand years ago, a redhead feisty Irish warrior and Magnus Chase battle against odds to save the day while resolving their personal baggage.
The near-death experiences are a constant presence throughout the tale and can get really taxing for the reader. The twists and clever ways our heroes use to overcome challenges are most gratifying. A marked difference in this series from Rick previous works is an emphasis on the entire team and not just Magnus. Magnus is the narrator with an edgy sense of humour. The focus of the narrative is constantly on other characters and their arcs presented from his perspective.
I rate the book a solid 4 out of 5 for its entertainment value and consistent delivery of the author. The book can be independently enjoyed but I recommend going through the series chronologically. Readers who have spent time with Percy Jackson or Kane will not be disappointed with Magnus and his gang.
By: Shirish Kumar