Rick Riordan’s novels have been a central part in the shaping of my enjoyment of reading, and discovering the kind of humour I enjoy, since I read the Percy Jackson series in the space of a week back when Mark of Athena had just been released in hardback. I can remember my dad surprising me with the hardback copy after I complained about not being able to find it at a price my 13-14 year old self could afford.
Ever since, I have bought every single Rick Riordan book within a month of its release, all in hardback. At this point, the only books I haven’t read are the Kane Chronicles (which are high on my radar), and the 2nd Trials of Apollo book.
So my next statement may change, but at this point it stands: the Gods of Asgard trilogy is my favourite Rick Riordan series. Hands down, without a doubt, stole my heart. I have nothing but great things to say about this trilogy, which is why I’m reviewing it. I’ve linked my individual reviews for the first two books, but this is going to be a massive overview of the whole trilogy and what I feel really gave each book its own life.
The Gods of Asgard trilogy follows Magnus Chase, cousin of Annabeth Chase and son of a Norse God, as he has to fight against Loki, go on quests within the Nine Realms, and stop Ragnarok. Albeit not exactly in that order, and with a lot more elements thrown in, such as helping new (and old) friends; uncovering his family’s past; and grappling with a possible romantic relationship in the third book, which I won’t spoil beyond that.
This trilogy has everything that makes Rick’s other series’ so fun to read. There’s plenty of adventure and humour, near death experiences at the hands of brand new Norse baddies, and you learn a lot about the mythology while having a great time doing it. The funny moments are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, and just make you love the characters- the banter between Magnus’ little group could carry this trilogy by itself, even without all the fun adventure. There are also a couple of cameo appearances from everyone’s favourite power couple, Percy Jackson (who is trying his best and is finally happy) and Annabeth Chase (who is also happy and, by Percy’s own admission, continues to be the smartest person in any room she’s in), which I also love and appreciate.
However, what really stood out for me about this trilogy, is Magnus. I don’t think he’s like any other Rick Riordan character in that he’s just genuinely lovely. He had so much love in his heart for his friends and family, would have sacrificed himself to save them at the drop of a hat- it just felt like there wasn’t a bad bone in his body, and I feel this was a character trait that was made out to be the most important. In Hammer of Thor, the second book, it felt like Magnus was there more as a supporting character in his friend’s stories, helping them with family issues, finding themselves, loving and supporting the decisions they make while also protecting them. There were several instances where Magnus was a side character in major fights- he wasn’t always the one helping gather information to push the plot forward, but he was always there to support whoever was. The final fight in the third book, no matter how short it was, was super satisfying in that Magnus got to fight with his super power- the love he has for his friends. It sounds cheesy, but I love him, and you will too, if you give him a chance.
Rick also delved even more into allowing young people to see characters who are diverse, who may very well represent them, being characters that are rare within Middle Grade, but also within a lot of YA and Adult fiction as well. Among the main cast, we have: a Muslim girl who talks about Islamophobia, and has the cutest relationship; a deaf elf, who deals with a lot of cruel treatment from his people and family; and a genderfluid character, who also faces a lot of hate from family. Rick delves into so many current issues and topics of conversation, exploring sexuality and religion, disability and family, identity, as well as understanding your own self-worth. It sounds heavy, but Rick makes things that seem difficult completely within reach and understandable, which really does show off his skill as a writer. Every single character feels like a main character with a clear purpose, multifaceted, and that’s more than a lot of authors give such a large cast. No character is mistreated, and having a character as loving as Magnus in the main role was the perfect decision.
Please, give this trilogy a go if you haven’t already. Magnus Chase is now one of my favourite characters of all time, and this trilogy has carved its place in my heart, sitting very comfortable there. It’s a brilliant middle grade series, and one I would recommend to people of all ages for its incredible diversity and not being hesitant to talk plainly about difficult topics.