The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan (audiobook)

*This review may contain spoilers if you haven’t read the first book, The Sword of Summer.*

“Just like the good old days: marching together into the unknown, searching for missing magical weapons and risking painful death. I’d missed my buddies!”

Synopsis from GoodreadsThor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

Feelings: While I didn’t care much for the narrator, the storyline was pretty good. There were a lot of hot button “issues” going on in this story, which made it feel really relevant, even with all the mythology and history mixed in. I think Riordan handled it well, showing us multiple perspectives, dishing up truths, and making us feel vulnerable all at the same time.

Issues: I still don’t love the talking sword. Sorry, Jack. It just weirds me out!

I got to the end of this book and was only dazzled by mentions of Annabeth and Percy. It just…ended. I didn’t feel like things were really resolved, but rather recycled. I felt like I’d read this story before. Sometimes Riordan’s books echo each other (lost item, angry gods, tricky monsters) but it doesn’t always FEEL so familiar because of the new crew and circumstances. This time, though, I just felt like I’d done this song and dance before. I’m still going to give the story 4 stars simply because the characters and writing overshadowed any issues I had.

Narrator: Kieran Culkin narrates this book and adds a good amount of fun to the story. However, I noticed the voices he used changed over time. So the way he voices Alex, the girl, in the beginning, is different from how he voiced Alex, the girl, in the middle or the end. Culkin just lacked some consistency. While I think he narrated Magnus well, the rest of his performance lacked depth. My rating for the narrator alone is 2.5 stars out of 5.

Final thoughts: As always, I love Riordan’s writing and the way his narrators have a voice. I enjoyed the cast of characters in this story and the journey we took together. It’s definitely an upper middle grade level story, so just know that going into it. I’d recommend the print version of this book over the audio, just as a personal preference.

Pick this up if you liked:

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Goodreads rating: 4.37/5

Audible.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

“Things can turn out differently, Apollo. That’s the nice thing about being human. We only have one life, but we can choose what kind of story it’s going to be.”

trials of apollo

Synopsis from GoodreadsHow do you punish an immortal? By making him human. After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor. But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Feelings: I picked this book up right after finally finishing The Heroes of Olympus series and I’m so glad that I did. How interesting to get the perspective of someone that’s thousands of years old?! His take on everything was so much fun. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Apollo was having a conversation with Rhea and the way they were mixing up time periods and people…it had me laughing out loud.

Issues: This is the second Riordan book in a row that features a “talking” weapon. I just want to say that I found it weird in The Sword of Summer and I think it’s weird in this book, too.

I was a liiitttlllee unsure about the central conflict for a while. Issues with the oracles, check. Some guy in a purple suit is the baddie, check (but vague). I got so distracted by how entertaining everything was, that after I while I was just along for the ride. I gave up on looking for issues, really. By the end of the book, everything had clicked and I was ready for more. That’s what matters, right?

Characters: Apollo is hilarious. His POV is so different from the previous narrators in Riordan’s books, which made this a breath of fresh air. Apollo is arrogant (I mean…he’s a god…) and it’s so entertaining to see him navigate the mortal world as an acne-prone teenage boy. I knew that Apollo had children at Camp Half-Blood, so I wasn’t really sure how that would all play out once he got there, but it came together really nicely. I can see Apollo having a really cool (albeit strange) relationship with his young offspring. This situation brings parent-child friendship to a whole other level.

I loved getting to see some of my favorite characters from the other books! I think Riordan did a great job at making the story all about Apollo (as the god would have wanted) and yet also allowing some other characters to come alongside him. We actually had some character growth from a god, which was cool, all thanks to his new (and old) friends (and children).

Final thoughts: Honestly, this was a really fun read. It was light and very Riordan-ess, without being a repeat of the same old same old. I would recommend that you read his previous Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, as well as The Heroes of Olympus in order to fully catch everything. But you could probably pick this up without any prior reading and still be ok!

Pick this up if you liked:

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Goodreads rating: 4.47/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

*This is the last book in the Heroes of Olympus series, so there are bound to be spoilers if you aren’t caught up!*

“Some pain shouldn’t be wished away so easily. It had to be dealt with, even embraced.”

blood of olympus

Synopsis from GoodreadsThough the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens…The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance [of Camp Half-Blood]. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps. The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east…How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

Feelings: It has been a couple of years since I read anything to do with this series. I was hesitant to read this book because I wasn’t sure if I’d remember anything, but honestly, I dove in and read this book very quickly. There were some things that came back to me and others that just passed me by and I’m okay with that. The reason I ultimately decided to finish this series is because I want to start Riordan’s new The Trials of Apollo series! I knew that in order to catch everything in that book, I needed to finish this one.

I thought this book was a fun time. Riordan’s characters are always hilarious and witty, lovable and charming.(For some, it takes a while for them to get to that point, but we get there eventually!) His writing is really smart with lots of twists and turns. I always enjoy reading his books.

At first, I wasn’t satisfied by the ending and I was ready to rant and rave about it. But…the more I thought about it, the more I’m ok with it. I’m ok with it because Riordan is still writing in this world. We haven’t heard the end of these characters, so yes…I’m over my frustration. Now I’m ready for a new Riordan book!

Characters: There are so many characters in this book. It didn’t take me long to remember all of their “deals” or get reacquainted with them. I love their different personalities and struggles, it really makes the whole cast balanced where it could easily be chaotic and dramatic.

Even though I came into this book with a time gap, I could see all the character development. Characters like Nico and Hazel have changed so much, growing into their abilities and their identities. Frank and Leo’s journeys took some twists and turns along the way and we found them as leaders in this book. Percy and Annabeth are growing up and Jason and Piper are growing closer. It’s just all really lovely.  I’m glad this series introduced us to the Roman side of things; we met so many great characters! (Like Reyna. Can’t forget Reyna.)

Final thoughts: I thought this book was really fun! I blazed through it and enjoyed every second. The storyline was really engaging and interesting, I learned some new things about mythology (like I always do with Riordan books), and it was a nice break from heavy, adult books I’ve been reading lately. I’m not going to rave about it for a year (which is why I’m not giving it 5 stars), but I’m glad I read it.

Pick this up if you liked:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Goodreads rating: 4.41/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn