2:00 pm EDT, August 16, 2016

‘Hotel Valhalla’ by Rick Riordan is a hilariously informative guide to the Norse worlds

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If you can’t remember which Norse world we live on or how the heck you’re supposed to pronounce einherji, then Hotel Valhalla is the book for you!

Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds is, as the book itself so clearly states, your introduction to the deities, mythical beings, and fantastic creatures in Norse mythology. Unlike Greek mythology, Norse mythology isn’t well-known among the Average Joes of the world. Sure, we’ve got Marvel to give us an introduction to these deities, but the characters don’t exactly follow traditional story arcs.

Enter Hotel Valhalla. Set up to read like a guidebook placed in every room of the afterlife reserved for einherjar, the companion novel is both informative and, in true Rick Riordan fashion, absolutely hysterical.

In fact, it reads a lot like J.K. Rowling’s Tales of Beedle the Bard or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Riordan clearly has his own voice, though, and the myriad of characters who step forward to write entries in Hotel Valhalla quickly make a name for themselves.

This guide to the Norse worlds is also extremely dynamic and eclectic. You won’t just find dry information on each of the gods and their updated roles in modern society; you’ll also get a rap battle between Jack the Sword and Frey, a eye-opening game of Destiny Buzzword, and several recipes for how to best prepare Otis and Marvin in a way that is both interesting for the oft-resurrected goats and delicious for your dinner companions.

hotel valhalla uk cover
Hotel Valhalla’s U.K. cover

But as funny as it is, this is also a fantastic guide to Norse mythology. With the Percy Jackson series, we got two gorgeous coffee table books in Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, but here, Riordan elects to offer something closer to a field guide. It’s not as extensive, and certainly not as pretty, but the entries are interesting and concise.

I, for one, will be hitting both the pronunciation guide and the glossary when Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor hits shelves on October 4, 2016.

Speaking of Hammer of Thor, Hotel Valhalla also serves a secondary purpose of continuing to set up the story of book 2 in the Magnus Chase series. We knew from the synopsis that Thor’s hammer would fall into enemy hands, but the small thread woven throughout this guide provides a further connection between the companion novel and the main installments in the Magnus series.

As such, we also get a hint as to which deities could be main players in the upcoming sequel. The first chapter of the next book can also be found in the back of this guide, or you can head over to our previous article when we first reported on its release.

All in all, Hotel Valhalla is definitely worth picking up. Not only is it an entertaining read, but it’s also great to have on hand if you tend to forget who’s who in Norse mythology as you’re following Magnus Chase on all of his adventures.

‘Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds’ is available online and in bookstores today

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