Well, if this is the last new Riordan book I ever read, it’s a great one to go out on. Despite my fatigue with Riordan’s shenanigans, I’ve actually really enjoyed this series. It was *just* fresh enough, with the Norse mythology and some all-time great characters of types he hadn’t written before to make it worth my time (Hearthstone and Alex Fierro are my children). I also appreciated that it was a trilogy, and not a stretched out quadrology (I was super surprised several weeks ago when I learned this was the last book in this series).
This book picks up soon after the last one ends, with Loki having escaped his bonds, and Magnus and his friends determined to defeat him and put him back, prolonging Ragnarok as long as possible. This involves a bunch of Riordan-like quests and mini-quests involving Magnus and his friends and a long journey, as per the usual, but I am actually very invested in several of these characters, so the repetition didn’t bother me as much here as it has in the past. Alex Fierro, the genderfluid child of Loki, is a magnetic presence (for Magnus as well us as us readers–wink), and Hearthstone and his relationship to his family and his gentle and kind personality continues to break my heart. Also surprisingly poignant were the side-stories given to Mallory (who finally learns of her godly parentage), Thomas Jefferson Jr. (who is simultaneously an entertaining presence while providing the others constant food for thought on ethical matters), Sam (who is fasting for Ramadan while going on this quest), and Halfborn Gunderson (who goes home for the first time and has to face up to some things he’s been avoiding for a thousand plus years).
And as potentially cheesy as the ending might have been, I appreciated the feel-goodness of it, that Magnus’s version of an insult contest was to build up his friends, and so make Loki feel small by contrast, as opposed to tearing Loki down with negativity.
I will also admit that I loved the resolution of all the Magnus/Alex Fierro hints we’ve been getting since last book. I liked that they weren’t in lurrrve, and that Magnus accepts Alex and his/her changeability, that they won’t ever have a traditional relationship, and that’s okay. Also, I loved that Riordan went for it with Alex kissing Magnus while identifying as both genders. Alex is the same person either way, and that’s such a positive message to put out there, that Magnus just loves *Alex*, regardless.
Jury’s still out on whether or not I’m really done with Riordan, sigh, especially after really having enjoyed this, but I’m seriously tempted to just go out on a high note. Time will tell, I guess.