The conclusion to the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan has finally made port with The Ship of the Dead. What did you think?
About ‘The Ship of the Dead’ by Rick Riordan
Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus and his crew must sail to the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Will they succeed in their perilous journey, or is Ragnarok lurking on the horizon?
‘The Ship of the Dead’ book review
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 3 follows the final leg of the titular Norse demigod’s journey as he attempts to stop Ragnarok. He’s joined by characters we’ve come to know and love, including Blitz, Hearth, Sam, Alex, T.J., Mallory, Halfborn, and of course Jack. Each character gets a little moment in the spotlight, which ends up all coming together nicely in the final pages of the novel.
The Ship of the Dead provides a great sendoff for all our favorite characters. Enough time is given to explore the backgrounds of those that have been around from the beginning, though in the end this book truly is about Magnus and his abilities (or lack thereof, as he’d say). While these secondary characters certainly are vital to the story and our hero’s success, it is Magnus who must ultimately bear the weight of the Nine Realms on his shoulders.
Loki is a worthy adversary. Not only is he extremely powerful, but he’s clever and resourceful. He doesn’t just rely on his reputation and his powers to get by, but he uses that silver tongue of his to get at the heart of our heroes’ insecurities. Everyone on that ship has a bone to pick with him, for one reason or another, though it is Magnus who finds himself toe-to-toe with the god.
Book 3 of the Magnus Chase series is about friendship. No friendship is perfect, just like no person is perfect, but true friends find a way to put aside their differences and support each other, even when it feels as though all is lost. Plenty of our favorite characters find themselves doubting their purpose in life, but it is because of the unbreakable bond they share that they’re able to lift their chins high and their battle axes even higher.
Riordan continues to be a proponent of diversity in his books. This is seen in a multitude of characters, not least of which include T.J., Samirah, and Alex.
Thomas Jefferson Jr. must face his past and what it meant to be a Black soldier during the Civil War, as well as the son of a freed slave in our modern times — no matter if he’s died and gone to Valhalla. Sam faces the challenges of Ramadan, not only in the toll it takes on her physically, but in explaining its importance to someone like Magnus, who is an atheist. Magnus may not always understand Sam’s faith, but he is ever respectful of it. Plenty of people in the real world would do well to learn that lesson, too.
And then there is Alex Fierro, who quickly became my favorite character. As a cisgender woman, I can’t speak to the truth of Alex’s portrayal, but to my knowledge, the character has been handled with love and respect. Alex’s relationship with Magnus has always been contentious, albeit filled with chemistry, and finally in The Ship of the Dead do we know once and for all where they stand with each other.
This is the final book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, and considering our titular hero very quickly joined the ranks of Percy Jackson as one of my all-time favorite demigods, I’m certainly sad to see him go. The end of The Ship of the Dead offers a conclusion to this trilogy, though I can’t help but notice that Magnus and his relative immortality are always up to tell more tales. The question is whether or not we’ll ever get to read them.