Mwahahaha. Oh that ending…curse you Rick Riordan, because I want to read the next Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book now. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait.
Yep, I’ve just finished The Hammer of Thor. I think anyone can guess the basic plot of this book from the title, but that doesn’t mean it’s not another fun ride. Also this one apparently won some kind of LGBT award for one of our new main characters, Alex Fierro. The Norse word for Alex is “argr,” which the glossary tells me means “unmanly.” The term Alex prefers is “gender fluid.” Some days Alex is a he, others a she. It varies. And aside from snickering side characters, all our main ones accept these statements as fact and don’t question it.
Well, except for when Magnus asks Alex if she’s male or female today because the crazy other sword cannot be drawn in the presence of women. But it’s not done offensively, just as a “please let me know so I don’t insult you and also so that we are less likely to die” thing.
This is only the second time I’ve read a book with a gender fluid character and, frankly, I think Rick Riordan did a better job than Anne Rice. Petronia in Blackwood Farm seemed to have a number of other issues besides gender. And the newer books seem to have completely forgotten about events in Blackwood Farm and Blood Canticle so I have many questions there anyway. But this post isn’t about vampires, just Norse gods and mythology.
I think at this point I’m starting to see Riordan’s basic preferred plots. Each of his books has a self-contained quest that is acquired, begun, and concluded. Each of them also builds off its predecessors in a longer plot with a consistent villain (regardless of whether or not the reader knows who the villain is from the start) that culminates in the final volume of the individual series. Our characters tend to focus almost all of their energy in the quest of the week (yes, that’s a normal timeline) and just as they claim victory there, they realize that they have missed an opportunity to stop the big bad, or that they were doing what the villain wanted the whole time, etc. It is…not a great sign to be noticing this. To be honest, I may have noticed sooner if I wasn’t so excited to be delving into the various mythologies.
David Drake has a series called Lord of the Isles that my dad finally convinced me to read a couple years ago. They’re not bad books, certainly well-written…but I figured out the pattern in the first or second book. Our main characters will get split up, they will end up in different worlds or times, they will have to fulfill a quest to get back to their friends, they will do so and be reunited. Until the next book! You know it’s bad when my favorite character in the entire series is the bloodthirsty, talking axe. I’ll admit, that the ending of the series was not expected and fairly good as a result, but the fact that the rest was the same story over and over again? Might as well watch a formulaic Saturday morning cartoon that’s rife with nostalgia – I’d certainly have more fun and be more attached to the characters.
I think the fact that I’ve been reading these books for seven years now will help to combat pattern recognition, but only time will tell how it affects things. This sort of realization is what eventually forced me to stop reading the Redwall books…but I will admit that Redwall was far more rote than even Lord of the Isles. So, we’ll have to wait and see.
Next up is the first book in a series that also had a new release of late. But it’ll be a while before I get there as it’s longer than Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard in both the length and number of books.