Rick Riordan is helping middle schoolers and adults around the world learn to appreciate and love Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology with his books. His newest saga, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, recently published volume two, The Hammer of Thor in October, continuing the journey of Magnus Chase as he works with and fights against the gods and monsters of Norse mythology to prevent the end of the world.
Fans have been able to read companion books to Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, and with the recent publication of Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds, readers get a chance to explore the world that is on the periphery of Magnus Chase in the Gods of Asgard series.
The book is presented as what Magnus would receive upon checking into Hotel Valhalla, where Norse heroes or einherjar, live and train as members of Odin’s army waiting for doomsday called Ragnarok. These companion pieces allow the reader to explore beyond the set saga that he is writing. It also fills the gap between the publication of books in the saga, and it provides the opportunity for characters we briefly meet in the books to have a more central role.
The book is put together by Helgi, Hotel Valhalla manager, who we only see occasionally in the background, at the start of the Asgard books. Here, Helgi is one of the main characters. He has been the manager of this hotel since the year 749. This guy has been around a long time, and passionate and curious readers will learn more about the manager beyond the few lines he gets in the main books.
Helgi is not the only one to get a starring role. Hunding, Hotel Valhalla bellhop since the year 749, gets the chance to move to center stage where his character is fleshed out. We learn more about Hundig as he is tasked by Helgi to contribute to this guide by giving us in depth information about the gods, giants, dwarves, and elves that make up the nine known worlds of the Magnus Chase book series.
In the Magnus Chase books, Helgi is shown respect by Magnus, and Hunding is shown compassion by Magnus, usually with some treats brought back from Magnus’s quests, but we never learn much about these two characters nor the facts behind the mythical characters encountered throughout the Magnus Chase books.
Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds does what the title suggests, it gives readers who are Riordan fans background and knowledge that doesn’t have a place in the story arc of Magnus Chase. There is the fictional side of life at this fantasy hotel for brave warriors, but the real mythology of these Norse heroes is explained in the details about the gods, monsters, dwarves, and elves that populate Riordan’s books and the known stories that have been around for centuries.
Fans of Rick Riordan will want to read this book for the details that can never be put into the Gods of Asgard series because those details would detract from the adventure story being told. Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds is an excellent Christmas gift for the young reader in your family, and a must have for the Rick Riordan fan.