*singing* Yay, Rick Riordan books.
When I pick up a Rick Riordan book, I have certain expectations: a light-hearted, humorous, engaging read where the good guys will win, and many, many jokes will be cracked. It’s a bit like seeing a Marvel movie. You know what kind of a good time you’re in for. The Ship of the Dead definitely does not break this streak.
The plot is classic Riordan: it’s a quest, with a motley crew of heroes making various pit stops to defeat various monsters on their way to face the main villain. In this case, our hero is Magnus Chase, the monsters are of the Norse variety, and the big bad is Loki. (Who is described as having red hair, which clashes with my brain’s insistence on imagining him as looking exactly like the MCU Loki. I realize that Tom Hiddleston didn’t exist when these legends were being made up, but it just always throws me off. DAMN YOU, TOM HIDDLESTON AND YOUR DELIGHTFUL INCARNATION OF LOKI.)
It’s classic Riordan done well. The jokes are funny, Jack is my favourite, Magnus is an adorable dork, and the final flyting actually worked well as a climax. (I kept on imagining the climax as Magnus and Tom-Hiddleston-as-Loki getting into a rap battle. A+ would pay to watch.) The secondary characters are amusing, with special mention going to Alex Fierro’s never-ending sass Magnus parade. The best character, though, is Jack the talking Sword of Summer, by far. He is absolutely hilarious and I just want a short story that’s just Jack going on adventures, singing songs, and calling everyone señor. (It would be adapted into a blockbuster movie that would be directed by James Gunn.)
But… *winces* Imnotgivingitfivestars . To put it weirdly, it rolled real well, but it didn’t re-invent the wheel. To clarify: that’s fine! The wheel works! It’s just that while a wheel gets the job done well and is a lot of fun, a jetpack is still a lot cooler. If you love Riordan’s books – which I do – then you will love this. If you don’t, then you won’t. It’s a bit like the MCU. The formula works! The formula is great! But it’s still the same formula. This is an Ant-Man or Doctor Strange. Great, but not the Rick Riordan Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok.
Except for Jack. Jack is the best.
The Ship of the Dead. It’s funny! It’s fast! It’s Riordan doing what he does best: writing Riordan! It may not be some literary revelation, but it’ll pleasantly take up a few hours of your time and leave you wanting more.