After a rocky start with the first book in this trilogy, I wasn't sure how I was going to like book two. I think I ended up liking this one better, mainly because I focused less on worrying about understanding the mythology and more on what was happening in the story itself.

Hello everyone!

This story continues six weeks after book one left off, Magnus and the gang are reunited to find the Hammer of Thor before Loki marries Sam off to a giant and gets a sword that could free him from his restraints. I'm not going to go into a ton of details, mainly because there is a lot that happens and talking about it could be a spoiler, and its the sequel to a book and I don't want to give too many details away about that book either.

Like the previous book, the book focuses on Norse mythology and a quest to save the world. I think this one was better than the first one because it pushed the story beyond the confines of developing an understanding of the mythology. That was a bit tedious in the first book, but by the time this one comes around, we are assumed to know at least the basics about the mythology so Riordan doesn't really have to go over it again.

Also, like the first book, Riordan continues to make this series diverse. He introduces a gender-fluid and transgender character named Alex. Magnus, for all his strengths, initially struggles with the concept and Riordan uses him as a way to ask questions about gender fluidity and share that knowledge with readers. He makes it very clear that Alex does not speak for all gender-fluid and transgender people, but rather shares a personal experience.

We also see more of Sam, Hearth and Blitzen. There is development on all these characters, looking into their personal lives and issues, mainly with Hearth. We see his abusive and greedy father who guilts him for the death of his brother and for being deaf. Like with Magnus's homelessness, Riordan tackles a sensitive and important topic in an easy to understand way, especially helpful for younger readers.

Plot-wise, I appreciated this book more than the first one because it has a slightly less ambitious goal of finding the Hammer. I think this was an easier goal to achieve and was easier for me to wrap my head around. I have a feeling the third and final book will revisit the issue of Ragnarok, but at least I'll be mentally prepared to handle the enormity of that goal. I think I've come to the conclusion that Riordan's books are 15% fighting, 60% questing, and 25% randomly doing stuff - and I think I'm finally okay with that setup.

I also love the set up at the end of the novel with Annabeth and the possibility of meeting Percy, hopefully, that will be something that happens in the final book because it's been too long and I am so pumped to see both casts of characters together.

Overall, I enjoyed this book more than the first and I'm looking forward to the concluding novel in this trilogy!