The Ship of the Dead is the third book in the Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. It was just released on October 3, 2017, so it is brand new.
What happened? Loki escaped from his prison and is trying to start Ragnorak. He’s hiding out on this massive ship with his massive army of the dead and monstrous. Get the book title now? He has to wait for the ice to break. So, for example, Magnus et al’s detour gave them the knowledge they needed to defeat Loki, which they do. Magnus is also developing a relationship with one of the main characters.
The book was great, which is what I come to expect with one of Rock Riordan’s books. The worst thing I can say about his books is that they’re a little formulaic, as they tend to revolve around introducing what the characters have to accomplish (eg finding an ancient artifact), a deadline (eg 10 days until the eclipse/ice melts), they get side tracked by at least 1 bad guy (or quasi bad or neutral non sentient being like weather), and then they fight through actual bad guys and save the save in the nick of time, all with the expense of helping with the overarching plot of the series. This is totally ok though. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I will go and read the Game of Thrones if I want something overly complicated, and that’s just not the easiest read. Plus this is literally YA. You don’t really feel like you’re reading a formulaic book any how. I don’t want it to seem like I am like “urgh what a drag!” because it’s not. I love his books.
One of the things I love about Rick Riordan’s books is that he’s been incredible about integrating diversity. He’s done more than just write in that part of a characters makeup is that they’re Muslim, gender fluid, Chinese Canadian, gay, or homeless. Rick Riordan’s could’ve been like “well, I included these characters, good enough!” and then washed his hands of it. Instead, he made the effort to actually include these traits of a person in a meaningful way without letting it be the whole of that character. For example, Samira is a practicing Muslim. The story and characters, and by extension the author who created them, make space for Samira to pray, and he has her fasting during Ramadan and wearing a hijab. It’s not just something that’s mentioned and brushed off because the Norse god story line doesn’t make space for characters to have lives outside of that. No, no, no, characters have rich and diverse lives. It’s addressed and an integral part of that character, much like someone’s religion is an integral part of who they are in real life, but it’s not who the character is as a whole; Samira is also deeply in love with her fiancé, she is a fierce warrior and protector, and she loves eating dates (the fruit).
The same goes for Alex Fierro; this is the one story/character that I am absolutely in love with. Alex is gender fluid. Alex likes to use feminine and masculine pronouns, as they identify more strongly one way or the other overtime. Rick Riordan’s introduced this right away when Alex died and was terrified that she (or he depending) wouldn’t be able to figure out who they they until they found out that they could physically change forms to be different because their mom is Loki (apparently Loki changes genders sometimes?). Any ways, Alex and Magnus clearly had feelings for each otber in this book and they finally kissed and Magnus admitted to basically being in love with Alex. I practically squeeeeed like a 12 year old girl (hey, I AM a girl after all). I loved that it was so normal and Magnus only briefly thought (basically) “I just kissed a guy…. oh, and it was great!” I love how it wasn’t a big deal and how it was just a thing like it would be with any other character and not for a moment was Alex’s gender any sort of barrier. Magnus and Alex’s relationship is seriously my favourite part of the book. They’re always so sarcastic with each other and like to give each other a hard time but they also help each other a lot and clearly love each other (as friends or otherwise).
Look, diversity is an issue in books, often you have authors doing a book for gay kids or for black kids but we need mainstream authors to start including diverse characters and trying to represent the things that make them diverse. Sure, they might fuck up and not do it perfectly all the time, but trying and doing research and talking with people is a great start. I hope other authors will follow Rick Riordan’s lead.
I wish I could read the 4th book in this series today. It can’t be published soon enough.
If you have read the book, let me know what you think.
If you haven’t red it, you should.
If you haven’t read any Rick Riordan, you should go in this order:
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians
- The heroes of Olympus
- The Kane Chronicles
- The trials of Apollo
- Magnus chase and the gods of Asgard
The last 2 series run parallel to each other.