Size Doesn’t Matter (201): The Ship of the Dead; Odd & True

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (201): The Ship of the Dead; Odd & TrueThe Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Length: 13 hours
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3
Published by Listening Library on October 3, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Adventure
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

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 faces his most dangerous trial yet.

Loki is free from his chains. He's readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, complete with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Asgardian gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It's up to Magnus and his friends to stop him, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it's ready to sail. Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon. But Magnus's biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. Does he have what it takes to outwit the wily trickster god?

Up to now, I’ve had my problems with Riordan’s works (the fact that he keeps using the same idea on repeat but centering other cultures’ gods in America, his problematic attempts at diversity in the Roman series), today I’m pleased. With The Ship of the Dead, Riordan is keeping me as a regular reader of his books. I bet you can guess why: MY SHIP IS CANON. HALLELUJAHHHHHH,

The Ship of the Dead, as a conclusion to a series, is a bit weak. It feels a lot more like the first couple books in his series always do: light, silly, stakes not that high (though technically Ragnarok is at stake but it just doesn’t FEEL like they’re fighting for the end of the world). Everything runs to the funny, rather than the intense. That’s okay, but it’s not what I’m used to from Riordan series finales. This one stays silly all the way through, down to the final battle with Loki. It’s a series of comedic challenges, rather than a large plot clearly running towards the showdown.

However, Riordan does silly pretty well. I do still think he does a clever job playing with mythology. And, of all of his series (not counting the Egypt one, which I haven’t tried), this one’s the most unique. Magnus has very little in common with Percy, aside from that they both have a saving people thing. (Side note: Percy and Annabelle show up in the first chapter and they’re precious, if that’s pertinent to your interests). In a battle, Magnus is just this side of useless; his talents are healing and stopping people from fighting, which is why he has to have a magic sword that can fight without him doing anything. In a lot of ways, he’s the most useless one in the group, and he knows that. He has endless amounts of respect for his friends and knows he couldn’t have done anything without them, and it’s very sweet that the whole book is literally about that.

But, obviously, the reason I’m mega super thrilled is that my ship sailed. I have feelings about Magnus and Alex, and I really wasn’t sure if it was actually going to happen. Alex is genderfluid, and, though I don’t thiiiink Riordan gets everything just right (but tbh what do I know), I’m so fucking thrilled that Alex gets to be the love interest. I also love how it happens, and Alex is my favorite because Alex hates people but is won over by this crew anyway. Riordan’s rep may not be perfect still, but he’s continuing to try, and I think this series has been a positive step forward.

I really enjoyed this book and this series, though plot-wise it’s not as strong as the two prior ones. The characters, however, are delightful, and I appreciate seeing that Riordan is hearing criticism and trying to adjust with each book, even if he doesn’t always get it right.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (201): The Ship of the Dead; Odd & TrueOdd & True by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on September 12, 2017
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 358
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Since her debut, I’ve been a big fan of Cat Winters’, though I haven’t read quite all of her books because I missed Yesternight. I love her strong grasp of history, the elements of the fantastical, and the focus on feminism. The covers she gets don’t hurt either. Odd & True is my least favorite of her books thus far, but it’s still a well done book.

Trudchen grew up listening to her sister’s tales about monsters and their family’s powers to defeat them. She’s been brought up on superstition, but she doesn’t believe any of it. Except, well, when her sister shows up to take her on a grand adventure, she goes, despite the polio that means she needs a wheelchair to travel longer distances. Partially, she wants to see her sister again and perhaps reconnect with her mother, but maybe part of her has always wondered.

Odd & True flips back and forth between Tru and Odette, with Odette’s running through the past and Tru’s in the “present” timeline. Though both POVs do end up being interesting, Odette’s earlier chapters are a bit boring. The pacing of the novel is very slow, because, for all its monsters, there’s not a lot of paranormal activity in this book. View Spoiler » I never particularly connected to either heroine. I was interested in Tru’s ship, but the book really isn’t about that. It very much focuses on the relationship between the women in the family, but I wasn’t attached to any of them, so, while well-written, I made slow progress.

Though this is by far my favorite cover on a Winters book, I didn’t like the book as much as the cover. I’d recommend it for readers who want a female-focused family story and don’t mind a slower read without a lot of plot. Or if you want a really gorgeous physical book; Amulet has the most gorgeous hardcovers.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

7 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (201): The Ship of the Dead; Odd & True”

  1. I haven’t read any of Riordan’s newer stuff (Magnus Chase or Apollo) and I miss them. And yeah, that cover is gorgeous but I’ve been struggling with most of her works and decided to opt out of this one.
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  2. Thelma says:

    THE SHIP IS CANON!!!!! Ahem… I definitely need to buy that book ^^
    I had planned to read Odd & True because I think one of my friend could like this author since she writes historical books with supernatural elements. But since this one might not be her best which of her books would you say is her best? Thanks for the reviews!

    • Christina Franke says:

      CANONNNNNNNNNNNNN! I’m still so happy. Like, even if the rep isn’t perfect, THOUSANDS OF KIDS will read a book with a genderfluid love interest, and I’m just so damn pleased.

      My favorite was The Uninvited, I think. In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Steep & Thorny Way are also really good. The Cure for Dreaming might be really satisfying in 2017 because the patriarchy is basically the villain; it’s very not subtle, but neither is 2017.

      • Thelma says:

        Even if the rep isn’t perfect he’ll probably take it into account for what he writes next. Riordan tends to listen to critiscm and try to improve, imo. But for now I just want to enjoy the fact that THE SHIP IS CAAAAAAAAAAAANON!!! And I really like a bunch of the secondary characters in this serie so I’m looking forward to it. I almost wish this serie had five books instead of the Apollo one…
        Thanks for the recommendations!

  3. I’m so glad someone reviewed Fuller House. I am starting to like the show more and more. Yes it’s cheesey, kind of awkward and the kids and adults have different acting styles, but I find it delightful.
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