Warning Might contain spoilers.

Reading it this time, I was struck by how sad existence in Hotel Valhalla is. Just the thought of spending 1,200 years inside it, as Halfborn Gunderson has done, is suffocating. Really, even spending two weeks there is an ordeal. The lives of the Norse demigods are noticeably harsher than those of the Greco-Roman or Egyptian demigods, although the story is closer in tone to Heroes of Olympus than the heavier The Kane Chronicles. It’s interesting that there’s a connection to Percy Jackson right off the bat in this one, without any beating around the bush.

There are some great moments, like Magnus enforcing the Peace of Frey in the climax. Jack, the titular sword, is a lot of fun. So is Odin, with his books, DVDs, and presentations. The …to the Death! added to all the hotel entertainments (like Bikram Yoga) is hilarious. The chapter titles are so delightfully cheeky—Hearthstone Passes Out Even More Than Jason Grace (Though I Have No Idea Who That Is) had me laughing away and Oh… So That’s Who Fenris Smelled In Chapter Sixty-Three is practically dripping with self-satisfaction.

Demigods & Magicians

I finally got around to reading the crossovers, not in the standalone book but as bonus stories included in the other books. It was great fun to see Percy, Annabeth, Sadie, and Carter work together, and to see how Percy’s sheer strength awes even demigods from other lineages. The Staff of Serapis was poorly written, however, almost as if it were someone else’s work.