Evil Loki reigns triumphant—for a while—over Dublin and the world beyond in this lumbering trilogy closer.
“[W]e’re all going to have such fun together!” leers the thoroughly villainous trickster as he finds at last his long-hidden offspring Hel, to whom he has given all his powers of noncreation. First order of business: summarily blasting Arthur, his 12-year-old nemesis from previous episodes, into nonexistence. But because Arthur wears the indestructible ribbon Gleipnir, instead of dying, he wakes in Asgard, where the Norns tell him that Loki’s meddling has made Ragnarok imminent. Arthur returns to a Dublin flooded by supernatural rains, where he reforges old alliances while engaging Loki’s jet ski–riding werewolf thugs in a not-very-suspenseful series of captures, escapes and chases. Ultimately, boy and god meet to slug it out, the trickster is himself tricked into captivity, Arthur’s friends throw him a “Thanks for Saving the World from Certain Destruction, Arthur!” party, and the author takes pains to explain how everyone involved (even, in a way, Loki) is going away happy.
A little too heavy-handed to sit among the literary hipsters at the front of the Percy Jackson bandwagon, but worthy at least of a ticket to ride. (Fantasy. 11-13)