9 from the Nine Worlds: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
9 from the Nine Worlds: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book Poster Image
Companion book to Norse mythology series best for fans.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Characters explore all of the nine worlds said to exist in Norse mythology, and are reminded of their dangers and differences. Samirah uses her knowledge of physics to lift something heavy. The back of the book includes a glossary, pronunciation guide, and pictures and descriptions of runes used.

Positive Messages

Odin says, "Wisdom can be gleaned from any source if one only looks hard enough." (Then he wonders if he should put that on a T-shirt.) Bravery and cunning are required in each of these short tales to overcome obstacles. On the minus side, expect lots of fart jokes directed at Thor.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each character in the diverse cast of the Magnus books -- except Magnus, who's off visiting his cousin -- gets a turn as hero. This includes characters who are Muslim, African American, LGBTQ (gender fluid, in this case), and deaf.

Violence

Violence mostly involves fantasy creatures and einherji who are already dead, so harder to kill again. Dragons are attacked and beheaded (but will come back to life), a dwarf is petrified, an evil god's nose is cut off (and will grow back), and a charging, giant dog is poisoned to sleep. A troll spouts all the nasty ways he will kill an elf, but doesn't get the chance. A pair of pants said to be made with human skin. A woman is held hostage with threats of punishment.

Sex

Kissing.

Language

A swear word in sign language and "Go to Helheim."

Consumerism

The Norse mythology version of a Fitbit (FitnessKnut) mentioned often. Plus Snapchat, Pottery Barn, and other quick mentions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A God smokes a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 9 from the Nine Worlds is a companion book of short stories in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series from Rick Riordan, author of the ultra-popular Percy Jackson series. Readers should pick up 9 from the Nine Worlds after they finish Book 3, Ship of the Dead. They'll already know the characters and be well steeped in the nine worlds of Norse mythology. Each of the nine stories features one of Magnus' diverse friends in one of the nine worlds as well as Odin. Violence is fleeting and mostly involves mythological characters. Dragons are attacked and beheaded (but will come back to life), a dwarf is petrified, an evil god's nose is cut off (and will grow back), and a charging, giant dog is poisoned to sleep. A troll spouts all the nasty ways he will kill an elf, but doesn't get the chance. And there's a pair of pants said to be made of human skin. Bravery and cunning are required in each of these short tales to overcome obstacles. In one, it's a good thing the hijab-wearing Valkyrie, Samirah, remembers her physics. Expect a fair number of fart jokes at Thor's expense.

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What's the story?

In 9 FROM THE NINE WORLDS, Thor has his FitnessKnut and his shorter-than-short shorts and is ready to run through all nine worlds as a personal challenge. Odin, king of the gods, sees him off in Asgard before embarking on his search for a new head of the Valkyrie. As Thor runs through the other eight worlds, he happens upon friends of Magnus Chase on dangerous mini-quests. Amir gets tricked into putting on a pair of magical pants made of human skin in Midgard, Blitzen saves Thor from a vengeful dwarf in Nidavellir, Hearthstone staves off an angry troll in Alfheim to rescue an old friend, Samirah outsmarts a giant to check on a magic doomsday egg in Jotunheim, T.J. finds Hel's lost doggie in Helheim, Halfborn finds the perfect art supplies for his mosaic -- dragon scales -- in Vanaheim, and Alex shapeshifts her way through Muspellheim to talk some much-lesser gods out of Ragnarok.

Is it any good?

For rabid readers of the Magnus Chase series, this color-illustrated companion book of mini-quests will be a like their own little piece of Asgard to hold in their hands. For those in the "I like Percy Jackson better" camp, 9 from the Nine Worlds may be a pass for you. (Or consider the Camp Half-Blood Confidential companion book -- the prolific Rick Riordan has you covered.)

Eight of Magnus' buddies embark on their own mini-quests in eight of the worlds -- Odin gets Asgard. All of these adventures are so short that there's little chance for the conflict to build. Everything is hastily wrapped up and we're on to the next world. It's more about guessing when flatulent Thor will run by in his short-shorts, sometimes unintentionally helping save the day, sometimes wreaking more havoc. And it's about the detailed full-color art depicting six of the characters and all nine worlds. Both of these elements make the book a keeper for fans.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about companion books like 9 from the Nine Worlds. Who are they for? Would someone who hasn't read the original series enjoy it? Why or why not?

  • Would you like to live anywhere besides Midgard? Why?

  • Which of Magnus' friends do you think needs their own series?

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