This book was better than the first one. I was surprised to find myself enjoying the sarcasm of the characters, especially Jack. I liked the crossovers between the Greek/Roman universe and the Norse one. I liked Sam and Amir, though I'm not certain that Riordan had treated the Muslim religion with respect. Both Magnus and the story itself felt like a repeat of Percy Jackson. The characters were likeable, and, quite honestly, what made the story for me. Besides Jack, my favorites were Hearth and Blitz.
My review was incomplete. The reason for that, quite frankly, is that I've seen people attacking other reviewers for simply disliking a book that most people liked. Given the ugly state of our politics I was afraid to talk about Alex, but if I'm going to try to be a good Catholic book reviewer I guess I need to risk the people who attack anyone who disagrees with them.
I liked Alex against my will. She (she considered herself a girl for most of the book so I'm going to refer to her as she) was feisty, and funny, and with Magnus, surprisingly vulnerable. One could argue that her genderfluidism was because her godly parent Loki had turned himself into a female at the time of her conception and birth, making it not necessarily the type of social justice warrior argument that Riordan hoped it would be. As a Catholic I was discomforted by the inclusion of such a story line, but I still liked Alex's character except for her sex changing, which felt like it was intended to try and force more of the 'social justice' agenda on people who had previously enjoyed these stories. Overall I still think that Magnus Chase has been weaker than Riordan's other stories, and the inclusion of LGBT agenda will make some support it even if they wouldn't have otherwise, and more religious people stay away from Riordan's future books.