Book Review: The Ship of the Dead

Title: The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3)

Author: Rick Riordan

Genre: Middle grade mythological fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Published: By Disney Hyperion on October 23rd, 2017

ISBN13: 9781423160939

Grade: Outstanding

Ship of the Dead (Book Review)


Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus and his crew must sail to the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Will they succeed in their perilous journey, or is Ragnarok lurking on the horizon?


I did have high expectations going into this one. We were getting a cameo from Percy and Annabeth in this one, for which I was beyond excited! It involved travel, magic and most importantly, the whole crew was back again together. They were trying to stop Ragnarok, so the stakes were impossibly high and since it was also a series conclusion, I was eagerly anticipating this book. So much so that I pre-ordered it.


I’m actually very sad to report that it didn’t fulfil all of my expectations, which is why this gets a 4.5 rather than 5 stars from me. It did start off strongly, but I expected a lot more from the climax. This was because his other series finale seemed to have a lot more action going on and they had set a precedent. But I really do appreciate Riordan for moving away from the ‘warrior-hero-saving-the-world’ trope. From the very start, Magnus has been established as a character who is not the strongest at combat, but more than makes up for it by his loyalty, courage and abilities as a healer. The plot was set up in such a way that it highlighted his strengths as a character. Not only that, we also got to see the side characters grow and come into their own. It was more character-driven than plot-driven, which I wasn’t anticipating, hence my enjoyment was lessened. But I’m super pleased to say that I’m completely in love with all the characters in the series. They are complex, well fleshed-out and the various identities represented in this is such a delight to read. The way the story ended hints at room for more and I already want to read more from these characters.


With that being said, I think that only die-hard fans of Riordan and those interested in mythological MG fantasy would love it as much as I did. This wouldn’t be the first book of Riordan I’d recommend to everyone and I still maintain that Percy Jackson is a better place to start. For the music, use this as an excuse to listen to the soundtracks of all the Thor or How to Train Your Dragon movies. As for the food, a falafel wrap goes superbly with the story (if you know what I mean).


Book: Publisher’s Website | Read Riordan | Goodreads

Author: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Tumblr


If you’ve read this book, what did you think of it? Do you nurse a passion for mythology? Do you frequently read books that isn’t specifically for your age group? Let me know in the comments section below.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ship of the Dead

  1. I find it rather weird with with these American retellings of Norse mythology (this one and Marvel’s). Not wrong, I’m rather glad that these stories are getting better known, but these are stories that normally would feel familiar to me and now suddenly got a distinct foreign feel. But I haven’t read these ones so perhaps they are less American than I get the impression of from reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand because I’m an Indian and the mythology I’m familiar with from childhood is being turned into a series by Riordan’s new imprint. What Riordan does is takes these “outdated” concepts like gods, monsters and giants and places them in a modern setting so that people learn about the myths while also being able to relate to the modern day setting and characters. I myself like that style as it works for me. I know a lot more about Norse mythology after this series while still enjoying the humour (rather than the epic or tragic style adopted by actual myths of yore) and modern elements in the story. If you find that unappealing, I think you can give this a miss.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I may have sounded more negative than I really am. I do like modern takes on classical mythology. There is actually a Swedish fantasy series by Gull Åkerblom (sadly not translated into English) that also mixes modern settings and Norse mythology which I loved as a child. So I guess it is the American setting that feels weird to me, like seeing a film or tv-series you loved get an American remake. However, in principle I do believe it to be a good thing that these stories get better known, I’m just very clearly not the right audience for it. I would be interested in your take on his series with Indian mythology when you’ve read it. (Oh, and the original mythology is actually also rather humorous in parts, although with a rather dated humour. The insult competitions I understand feature in these novels are a thing also in the original).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, okay, I see where you’re coming from now. In that case, it is a little Americanised. There are some references particular to an American city or just American brand names or pop culture jokes throughout. But it also stays very true to the myths because the finale in this one features an insult contest, like you mentioned.
        I’m definitely planning to read and review the Indian mythology series when it comes out. Will have it up on the blog soon! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 5 Books to Read If You Loved The Lord of the Rings – Unputdownable Books

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