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The Hammer of Thor: 04/21/17
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan is the second of the Magnus Chase books. Magnus, Sam, Hearth and Blitz have to stop the arranged marriage of Sam to a giant. Coming along for the adventure is a new companion — another child of Loki named Alex.
Alex's part in this series is vitally important even though she doesn't have as many scenes as the other characters. Alex is gender fluid, another expression of her inherited abilities from Loki. Loki, interestingly is actually Alex's mother — just as he is Sam's father. Loki's gender fluidity isn't what makes him evil — it's just part of being a Norse God. Alex's fluctuating gender is treated as just a part of her personality, and not something to be criticized or mocked. Alex is a refreshing character.
(I should note I've been using "she" for Alex, but he also goes by he. I chose she because it's the pronoun Alex choses for most of the book. Alex also specifically states she doesn't like using they and them — so I have avoided doing that here.)
In my review of Sword of Summer I mentioned how I wanted more from Magnus's companions: Hearthstone and Blitzen. Well, this book offers that with a lengthy look into Hearthstone's childhood. It's tragic and horrific. One can't help but feel terrible on behalf of Hearthstone — still forced to relive his brother's death, his father's hatred, the stigma of being a deaf elf.
The next book in the series is The Ship of the Dead. It's coming out October 3, 2017.
Comment #1: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 11:17:26
Wow very interesting! I don't think I have read a book with a gender fluid character before! Glad to hear you are enjoying this series :)
Comment #2: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 12:17:00
Alex is a very well written character. Actually this entire series has some of the best characterization of any of Riordan's books. If you like audiobooks, the audios of this series are also very good. We happen to have them in both forms — because audio books are great for long road trips.