This is not a review. This is a trip down memory lane or to be more precise, a leisurely stroll through the Department of Mysteries. Walk with me, fello...moreThis is not a review. This is a trip down memory lane or to be more precise, a leisurely stroll through the Department of Mysteries. Walk with me, fellow Potterheads. ---------------
Moment #1 : 'Ministry of Magic?' bellowed Uncle Vernon. 'People like you in government! Oh, this explains everything, everything, no wonder the country's going to the dogs.'
Moment #2 : She seized Dudley by the shoulders and shook him, as though testing to see whether she could hear his soul rattling around inside him.
Moment #3 : She looked the youngest there; she had a pale heart-shaped face, dark twinkling eyes, and short spiky hair that was a violent shade of violet. 'Wotcher, Harry!'
Moment #4 :The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London.
Moment #5 :
Moment #6 :
Moment #7 :
Moment #8 :
Moment #9 : "...oh, for heaven's sake, Sirius, Dumbledore said no!"
Moment #10 : The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness.
Moment #11 :
Moment #12 : In the Hog's Head
Moment #13 : 'Yeah, the DA's good,' said Ginny. 'Only let's make it stand for Dumbledore's Army, because that's the Ministry's worst fear, isn't it ?'
Moment #14 : 'I'm supporting Gryffindor,' said Luna, pointing unnecessarily at her hat.
Moment #15 :Hagrid's Tale
Moment #16 : 'Well?' Ron said finally, looking up at Harry. 'How was it?' 'Wet,' he said truthfully. Ron made a noise that might have indicated jubilation or disgust, it was hard to tell. 'Because she was crying,' Harry continued heavily. 'Oh,' said Ron, his smile fading slightly. 'Are you that bad at kissing?'
Moment #17 :
Moment #18 : ---------------
Moment #19 : St.Mungo's Hospital
Moment #20 : Christmas on the Closed Ward His mother tottered away, back up the ward, humming to herself. Neville looked around at the others, his expression defiant, as though daring them to laugh, but Harry did not think he'd ever found anything less funny in his life.
Moment #21 : 'Occlumency, Potter. The magical defence of the mind against external penetration.'
Moment #22 : ...and he wondered, with a feeling of great trepidation, what had happened to make Lord Voldemort the happiest he had been in fourteen years.
Moment #23 : ---------------
Moment #24 : The Sneak ---------------
Moment #25 : ---------------
Moment #26 : Snape's Worst Memory ---------------
Moment #27 : ---------------
Moment #28 : ---------------
Moment #29 :
Moment #30 : 'Give her hell from us, Peeves.' And Peeves, who Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset. ---------------
Moment #31 : GRAWP ---------------
Moment #32 : ---------------
Moment #33 : ---------------
Moment #34 : 'We were all in the DA together,' said Neville quietly. 'It was all supposed to be about fighting You-Know-Who, wasn't it? And this is teh first chance we've got to do something real - or was that all just a game or something?"
Moment #35 : The Department of Mysteries
'It's - it's got your name on,' said Ron.
Moment #36 :
Moment #37 : But some part of him realized, even as he fought to break free from Lupin, that Sirius had never kept him waiting before.
Moment #38 : The Only One He Ever Feared ---------------
Moment #39 : And when the creature spoke, it used Harry's mouth, so that in his agony he felt his jaw move'If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy...' Let the pain stop, thought Harry...let him kill us...end it, Dumbledore...death is nothing compared to this... And I'll see Sirius again. And as Harry's heart filled with emotion, the creature's coils loosened. ---------------
~ Apophis, the Eqyptian deification of darkness, night and chaos. It hurts like hell that he takes the form of a sincerely scary and freak...more*TEAM Chaos*
~ Apophis, the Eqyptian deification of darkness, night and chaos. It hurts like hell that he takes the form of a sincerely scary and freakishly gigantic snake. ~ Menshikov, the third most powerful Egyptian magician in the world. He is the embodiment of cruelty and is bitterly termed *Vlad, The Inhaler*. He may dress like an ice-cream salesman but all he wants to do is watch the world burn. In like, four days time. ~ A host of minor Gods and rogue magicians who fervently believe that Chaos shall be the New Order of the World.
*TEAM Ma'at/ Order*
~ The bickering but slightly more mature brother-sister team of Carter and Sadie Kane. ~ A griffin with a personality disorder. His response to most calamities is to go "FRE-EEEK!!!" ~ A team of fledgling magicians still undergoing training and unsure of their capabilities. ~ Bes, the God of Dwarves who scares the villains by appearing in nothing more than a Speedo.
The Kane siblings had just won a gruesome round with Set in The Red Pyramid only to discover that the red-skinned God was only the tip of the sand-sculpture. Evil lurks deep in the Duat. Evil that makes Set look like nothing more than a wilful little boy who refuses to eat his greens. Evil in the form of Apophis. Apophis is soon going to break free from his centuries old prison. And when he does so, he will swallow the Sun and plunge the world into darkness and eternal Chaos.
Sadie and Carter have a fighting chance only if they can find Ra, the ancient and powerful Pharaoh of The Gods. Legend has it that only Ra, The Sun God who battled Apophis on a nightly basis has the ability to vanquish the latter. To recall Ra from his retirement, Sadie and Carter need to lay their hands on The Book of Ra( three separate scrolls, hidden in three different, unknown and obviously dangerous locations ).
And so begins the....yes....I’m going to say it.....Rollercoaster Ride! (Thank God for tried and traumatised clichés)
The tale is splendid and packed to the brim with mythology, action, adventure and devious and dastardly plots. All the above elements are welded together with Riordan’s trademark wit. As usual, he makes the ancient Gods approachable and infuses them with foibles and flaws. Obscure myths are woven into an urban fantasy that keeps you turning the pages with growing anxiety. Sadie and Carter are a delightful, snarky brother-sister duo. They are extremely likeable and foolhardy enough to carry the story forward.
As usual, I do what I always do after reading a Riordan book. I go into complete Wiki-Mode and read up on the ancient Gods. I cannot stress enough as to how the author deserves credit for dusting off forgotten stories and repackaging them in a way that retains the essence while giving them a contemporary edge.(less)
The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4) will be out soon (breathe....breathe....breathe). So I couldn't resist taking a trip back to dear Seaweed-...moreThe House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4) will be out soon (breathe....breathe....breathe). So I couldn't resist taking a trip back to dear Seaweed-Brain's origins.
I am re-reading this series for what would now be the gazillion-th time. And it's as addictive as it was when I first heard about a young fantasy hero who was disparagingly pegged as "An American Harry Potter".
Oh people. People...people...people, you'll did a grave injustice to Percy Jackson.
Now you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of Harry Potter than me. I say that with unflinching pride. And, Greek Gods forbid, if Percy Jackson would have turned out to be nothing more than a brownstone-residing, satchel-toting, steeped-in-fancy-franchise-coffee reject of Harry Potter, I would have been really miffed. I'm talking Hades-discovering-his-helmet-of-darkness-is-missing miffed. But Percy Jackson is in a class of his own.
...................................................... *HALF-BOY, HALF-GOD, ALL HERO*....the Tagline says it all. Percy Jackson is your quintessential preteen - restless and prone to falling into trouble with alarming regularity. Add to that, he is dyslexic and suffering from ADHD. Getting into dangerous scraps and being shuffled from school to school, he pretty much accepts the fact that he’s destined to be labeled as nothing more worthwhile than a 'troubled kid'.
Little does Percy know that he’s a Half-Blood/ demigod, an offspring of a powerful Greek God and a mortal woman. And there is a special place for him, 'Camp Half-Blood' which houses, trains and protects other such half-bloods.
But every thing is not peachy-keen in heaven. The Greek Gods are very much active in the western world, quibbling like normal siblings and ready to wage war at the drop of a hat. A powerful and potentially disastrous godly weapon has gone missing and unless it is recovered soon and handed over to its rightful owner, the Gods are willing to unleash their collective fury. World War III is just around the corner.
So newly discovered demigod, Percy has been given the dubious honor of retrieving the missing weapon. Accompanied by Annabeth (a fellow demigod and daughter of Athena) and Grover (an environmental-friendly satyr with a deep and abiding passion for enchiladas), Percy sets off on his quest. Along the way he has to battle mythical monsters, vault over tricky situations and play reluctant peacemaker between his bickering relatives.
The plot never loses it’s engaging pace and dangerous surprises spring up with alarming regularity. Rick Riordan has dragged Greek Mythology out of the musty old shelves, dusted off the pedantic prose and given it a fresh and humorous angle. The Gods are delightful in their portrayals. Whether it's a Hell's Angel Ares or a power-suited Zeus, you know....you just know....that the rest of the celestial starcast are going to get their very own, custom-made Rick Riordan makeover.
The true star is our humble hero, Percy Jackson. With every page, you find yourself ardently rooting for him, fervently praying that he doesn't get turned into a rodent for his impertinence and finally applauding him for his decisions. ......................................................
True blue (or should that be sea-green) fans of Percy Jackson don't need to convinced about the supreme awesomeness of the Son of Poseidon. You'll have been there. And rooted for ol'kelp-breath.
Stay tuned as I take the scenic route around Olympus, yet again. (less)
Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, "Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the...moreRalph Waldo Emerson stated, "Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of the trumpet."
And despite having read a whole lot of books in my lifetime, it is the wisdom of Harry Potter and his magical world that I return to at regular intervals. The words, the emotions and the relationships will ALWAYS, without a doubt, be a sonorous 'blast of the trumpet' for me.
This week, it was the turn of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. I have already written a review on it, a concise (with minimal gushing) review. Today, it's a revisiting of all those key moments that continue to keep me glued to my seat. So here it is, a little something for my fellow Potterheads: ---------------------------------------------------
MOMENT #5: 'Ron, You-Know-Who and his followers sent the Dark Mark into the air whenever they killed,' said Mr.Weasley. 'The terror it inspired...you have no idea, you're too young. Just picture coming home, and finding the Dark Mark hovering over your house, and knowing what you're about to find inside...' Mr Weasley winced. 'Everyone's worst fear...the very worst...'
MOMENT #7: The arrival of Mad-Eye Moody A man stood in the doorway, leaning upon a long staff, shrouded in a black travelling cloak. The lightening had thrown the man's face into sharp relief and it was a face unlike any Harry had ever seen.
MOMENT #8: 'Don't talk to me,' Ron said quietly. 'Why not?' said Hermione in surprise. 'Because I want to fix that in my memory for ever,' said Ron, his eyes closed and an uplifted expression on his face. 'Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret...'
MOMENT #9: 'Now...those three curses - Avada Kedavra, Imperius and Cruciatus - are known as the Unforgivable Curses. The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban. That's what you're up against.'
MOMENT #10: "Spew"?' said Harry, picking up a badge and looking at it. 'What's this about?' 'Not spew,' said Hermione impatiently. 'It's S - P - E - W. Stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare'
MOMENT #13: - but next moment, there was a loud sizzling sound, and both twins were hurled out of the golden circle as though they had been thrown by an invisible shot-putter. They landed painfully, ten feet away on the cold stone floor, and to add insult to injury, there was a loud popping noise, and both of them sprouted identical, long white beards.
MOMENT #17: 'Dumbledore!' cried Rita Skeeter, with every appearance of delight. 'I hope you saw my piece over the summer about the International Confederation of Wizards' Conference?' 'Enchantingly nasty,' said Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling. 'I particularly enjoyed your description of me as an obsolete dingbat.'
MOMENT #20: *The Unexpected Task* 'The Yule Ball is of course a chance for all of us to - er - let our hair down,' she said, in a disapproving voice. Harry could see what was funny this time: Professor McGonagall, with her hair in a tight bun, looked as though she had never let hair down in any sense.
MOMENT #23: 'Well, if you don't like it, you know what the solution is, don't you?' yelled Hermione. 'Oh yeah?' Ron yelled back. 'What's that? 'Next time there's a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!' -----------------------------------------------------
MOMENT #26: 'Yes,' said Hermione in a heated voice, 'he sacked her, just because she hadn't stayed in her tent and let herself get trampled -'
'Hermione, will you give it a rest with the elf!' said Ron. But Sirius shook his head and said, 'She's got the measure of Crouch better than you have, Ron.' -----------------------------------------------------
MOMENT #27: 'This is called a Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure.' -----------------------------------------------------
MOMENT #30: ...and Harry stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for three years. Whiter than a skull. with wide, livid scarlet eyes, and a nose that was as flat as a snake's, with slits for nostrils... Lord Voldemort had risen again.
MOMENT #32: And as he heard Voldemort draw nearer still, he knew one thing only, and it was beyond fear or reason - he was not going to die crouching here like a child playing hide-and-seek; he was going to die upright like his father, and he was going to die trying to defend himself, even if no defense was possible...
MOMENT #33: *Priori Incantatem* 'When the connection is broken, we will linger for only moments ... but we will give you time...you must get to the Portkey, it will return you to Hogwarts...do you understand, Harry?'
MOMENT #36: *The Parting of the Ways* 'I tell you now - take the steps I have suggested, and you will be remembered, in office or out, as one of the bravest and greatest Ministers for Magic we have ever known. Fail to act - and history will remember you as the man who stepped aside, and allowed Voldemort a second chance to destroy the world we have tried to rebuild!'
MOMENT #37: 'It is my belief, however, that the truth is generally preferable to lies, and that any attempt to pretend that Cedric died as a result of an accident, or some sort of blunder, is an insult to his memory.'
MOMENT #40: 'Listen.' said Harry firmly. 'If you don't take it, I'm throwing it down the drain. I don't want it and I don't need it. But I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I've got a feeling we're going to need them more than usual before long.' -----------------------------------------------------(less)
Book 2 of the Series was composed of epic stuff. It enchanted, shocked, awed, amazed and amused it’s legion of fans. Here, to misquote Julie Andrews,...moreBook 2 of the Series was composed of epic stuff. It enchanted, shocked, awed, amazed and amused it’s legion of fans. Here, to misquote Julie Andrews, are “a few of my favourite things” from the book: ———————————————————————————— MOMENT #1:
‘Exactly,’ said Uncle Vernon nastily. ‘I will lead them into the lounge, introduce you, Petunia, and pour them drinks. At eight fifteen –‘ ‘I’ll announce dinner,’ said Aunt Petunia. ‘And Dudley, you’ll say – ‘ ‘May I take you through to the dining room, Mrs.Mason?’ said Dudley. ‘And you?’ said Uncle Vernon viciously to Harry.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #2:
The little creature on the bed had large, bat-like ears and bulging green eyes the size of tennis balls.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #3:
‘Then Dobby must do it, sir, for Harry Potter’s own good.’
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #4:
It looked as though it had once been a large stone pigsty, but extra rooms had been added here and there until it was several storeys high and so crooked it looked as though it was held up by magic (which, Harry reminded himself, it probably was).
‘It’s not much,’ said Ron.
‘It’s brilliant,’ said Harry happily, thinking of Privet Drive.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #5:
The Flying Ford Anglia
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #6:
GILDEROY LOCKHART will be signing copies
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #7:
This, thought Harry, was surely the only way to travel: past swirls and turrets of snowy cloud, in a car full of hot, bright sunlight. With a fat pack of toffees in the glove compartment, and the prospect of seeing Fred and George’s jealous faces when they landed smoothly and spectacularly on the sweeping lawn in front of Hogwarts castle.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #8:
…and Harry looked around just in time to see a branch as thick as a python smash into it. The tree they had hit was attacking them. Its trunk was bent almost double, and it’s gnarled boughs were pummelling every inch of the car it could reach.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #9:
Ron stretched out a shaking hand, eased the envelope from Errol’s beak and slit it open. Neville stuffed his fingers in his ears. A split second later, Harry knew why. He thought for a moment it had exploded; a roar of sound filled the huge Hall, shaking dust from the ceiling.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #10:
‘Malfoy called her “Mudblood”, Hagrid –‘
‘Mudblood’s a really foul name for someone who was Muggle-born – you know, non-magic parents. There are some wizards – like Malfoy’s family – who think they’re better than everyone else because they’re what people call pure-blood.’
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #11:
‘She haunts the girls’ toilet on the first floor,’ said Hermione.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #12:
Foot-high words had been daubed on the wall between two windows, shimmering in the light cast by the flaming torches:
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #13:
Madam Pomfrey was holding a large bottle of something labelled ‘Skele-Gro’. ‘You’re in for a rough night. Regrowing bones is a nasty business.’
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #14:
Harry was just thinking that all he needed was for Dumbledore’s pet bird to die while he alone in the office with it, when the bird burst into flames.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #15:
The Polyjuice Potion
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #16:
‘His eyes are green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard.
I wish he was mine, he’s really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord’
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #17:
‘You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.’
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #18:
…but Hagrid stood his ground, took a deep breath and said carefully, ‘If anyone wanted to find out some stuff, all they’d have ter do would be ter follow the spiders.’
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #19:
Of the many fearsome beasts that roam our land, there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk, also known as the King of Serpents.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #20:
He pulled Harry’s wand from his pocket and began to trace it through the air, writing three shimmering words:
TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE
Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of his name rearranged themselves:
I AM LORD VOLDEMORT
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #21:
But was this dying? Instead of going black, the Chamber seemed to be coming back into focus. Harry gave his head a little shake and there was Fawkes, still resting his head on Harry’s arm. A pearly patch of tears was shining all around the wound – except that there was no wound.
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #22:
'It only put me in Gryffindor,' said Harry in a defeated voice, 'because I asked not to go in Slytherin...' 'Exactly,' said Dumbledore, beaming once more. 'Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle."
———————————————————————————— MOMENT #23:
'Harry Potter freed Dobby!' said the elf shrilly, gazing up at Harry, moonlight from the nearest window reflected in his orb-like eyes. 'Harry Potter set Dobby free!' 'Least I could do, Dobby,' said Harry, grinning.Just promise...'
So yes, I’m sifting through the series.....again. And as always, I come away with happy, sniffly, covered in goose-fleshy memories. ———————————————————...moreSo yes, I’m sifting through the series.....again. And as always, I come away with happy, sniffly, covered in goose-fleshy memories. ——————————————————————————————
MOMENT #1: Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
MOMENT #2: Nothing like this man had ever been seen in Privet Drive. He was tall, thin and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak which swept the ground and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken atleast twice. This man’s name was Albus Dumbledore.
MOMENT #3: ‘Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He’ll be famous - a legend - I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in future - there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will know his name!’
MOMENT #4: - and a huge motorbike fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.
MOMENT #5: He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter - the boy who lived!’
MOMENT #6: Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept.
Moment #7: Yet here it was, a letter, addressed so plainly there could be no mistake:
MOMENT #8: Next moment, thirty or forty letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets. The Dursleys ducked, but Harry leapt into the air trying to catch one.
MOMENT #9: ‘Harry - yer a wizard.’
MOMENT #10: DIAGON ALLEY
MOMENT #11: - holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple. Harry took the wand. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wand above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold spark shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls.
MOMENT #12: ‘I’m not Fred, I’m George,’ said the boy. ‘Honestly, woman, call yourself our mother? Can’t you tell I’m George?’
MOMENT #13: “All you have to do is walk straight at the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Don’t stop and don’t be scared you’ll crash into it, that’s very important.”
MOMENT #14: The door of the compartment slipped open and the youngest red headed boy came in.‘Anyone sitting there?’ he asked, pointing at the seat opposite Harry.’Everywhere else is full.’ Harry shook his head and the boy sat down.
MOMENT #15: She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth.
MOMENT #16: The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, it’s windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers
MOMENT #17: ‘Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.’
MOMENT #18: ‘Wood – I’ve found you a Seeker.’
MOMENT #19: ‘I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled.’
MOMENT #21: ‘Troll – in the dungeons – thought you ought to know.’
MOMENT #22: But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend.
MOMENT #23: -he hit the pitch on all fours – coughed – and something gold fell into his hand. ‘I’ve got the Snitch!’ he shouted.
MOMENT #24: The Mirror of Erised
MOMENT #26: ‘Bless him, look, he knows his mummy!’ said Hagrid.
MOMENT #27: The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, it lowered its head over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink its blood.
MOMENT #28: ‘I don’t think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people.’ ‘Yes, but not to us.’ Said Ron in exasperation.
MOMENT #29: ‘So light a fire!’ Harry choked. ‘Yes – of course – but there’s no wood!’ Hermione cried, wringing her hands, ‘HAVE YOU GONE MAD?’ Ron bellowed. ‘ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?’
MOMENT #30: ‘Yes…’ said Ron softly, ‘it’s the only way…I’ve got to be taken.’
MOMENT #31: ‘Me! ‘Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!’
MOMENT #32: Harry would have screamed but he couldn’t make a sound. Where there should have been a back to Quirrell’s head, there was a face, the most terrible face Harry had ever seen. It was chalk white with glaring red eyes and slits for nostrils, like a snake…
MOMENT #33: ‘After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.’
MOMENT #34: ‘Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves it’s own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign….to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection for ever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good.’
MOMENT #35: ‘Only one who wanted to find the stone – find it, but not use it – would be able to get it.’
MOMENT #36: ‘There are all kinds of courage,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr.Neville Longbottom.’
APOPHIS : the mighty red snake/ the Lord of Chaos/ the swallower of the Sun/ the architect of doomsday/ the initiator of the Apocalypse/ the writhing,...moreAPOPHIS : the mighty red snake/ the Lord of Chaos/ the swallower of the Sun/ the architect of doomsday/ the initiator of the Apocalypse/ the writhing, fuming, hissing gargantuan reptile that makes dear ol’Nagini look like an earthworm that wriggled out on a rainy day....yep, ol’Apophis has risen.
And the only people who have a fighting chance against him are the young brother-sister duo of Carter and Sadie Kane. The twosome are strong Egyptian magicians, who follow the paths of Horus and Isis respectively, have incredible powers at their disposal, are befuddled by their confusing love-lives and have the oh-so-simple onus of saving the world on their weary shoulders.
Will the motor-mouthed Sadie and the super-grounded Carter provide us with a satisfying conclusion to all the Egyptian drama and chaos? Will they restore Ma’at? Will they have their very own happy-endings? All this and much more in The Serpent’s Shadow . -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The third (and, apparently) last instalment of The Kane Chronicles is a meaty read. Every chapter that begins with Riordan’s trademark goofy titles, paves the way for non-stop action and yes, adventure. The Serpent’s Shadow is a roller-coaster ride that begs, wags it’s frisky tail and gets down on it’s front paws and grovels to be made into a Summer Blockbuster.
A little bit on our stalwart duo: CARTER KANE : Studious, practical, home-schooled and burdened by the constant pressure to live up to his illustrious father (a famous Egyptologist who died and promptly became the host of Osiris. Over-achieving fathers, I tell you.), Carter has matured into a hero with some pretty impressive combat skills at his disposal. Whether he will be able to guide the young initiatives at Brooklyn House, rally the doubting magicians together, plunge into danger with the hare-brained schemes of his fiercely independent sister, defang the primordial essence of Chaos...all while trying NOT to turn into a blithering idiot in front of Zia, is unravelled in full technicolour detail. SADIE KANE : I am in my 30s now. Which translates into the fact that I no longer imagine myself as a fierce, independent, smart-talking, butt kicking, YA heroine. Now I dream of being the fierce, independent, smart-talking, butt kicking mentor who guides aforementioned YA heroine. If I would channelize all things impressive and endearing into how a modern day young girl should be, she would have been a blend of Hermione Granger, Annabeth Chase, Luna Lovegood and now....Sadie Kane. As always, Sadie is a delight. She yammers away non-stop, casts powerful spells with a newly discovered aura of maturity, reverts back to a narcisstic teen in the throes of her love triangle and is as well-rounded as you would expect a teenager to be.
It would be extremely gratifying to launch into a dissecting character sketch on each and every member of the supporting cast. But the palette is so rich and varied that I couldn’t let loose, without dumping a would-be reader with *SPOILERS GALORE*.
As your progress with the book; feel all warm and fuzzy with old favourites like Bes, Bast, Tawaret, Khufu, Ammit, Osiris, Amos, Thoth, Anubis and Walt. Roll your eyes with suppressed exasperation over Horus, Isis and toothless Ra. Feel a tad itchy and uncomfortable over the conniving Apophis and best of all, watch every word/step/move with the new villain, Setne.
The scenery is engaging. Whether it’s the antics at Brooklyn House or the battle for survival on the dry-throated plains of Cairo or the ever-baffling complexities of the Duat....Rick Riordan infuses each ambience with the right emotions.
Speaking of the good man, Riordan...as always, he delivers. He continues his non-yawn inducing insights into mythology, has a writing style that knocks the Gods off their pedestals without ever plunging into blasphemy and solidifies his innate ability to infuse death-defying situations with that essential element of humour.
Several broad hints are dropped about a possible sequel that will merge the world of Percy Jackson with that of the Kane siblings. Would I like to read it? I am unsure. On one hand, I know that Rick Riordan will never disappoint. His writing style appeals to me. On the other hand, do I want too many layers added to two splendid individual tales that worked just fine in their own separate niches? I really can’t say.
But as for now, The Serpent’s Shadowawaits all of you who want to lose yourselves in a little bit of whimsy, a whole lot of magic, gallons of action and the impending threat of *Big-Red-Snake gobble Toothless-God-in-Loincloth*.
“When Rome fell, a lot of the legions just disappeared. We went underground, acting on secret orders from Jupiter himself: stay alive, recruit demigods and their children, keep Rome going. We’ve been doing that ever since, moving around to wherever Roman influence was the strongest. The last few centuries we have been in America.”
Sounds familiar? It does to Percy Jackson too. Perseus (Percy) Jackson (superstar demigod /self-effacing hero /North America’s confident answer to Harry Potter) has lost his mind. No, not the *I-see-conspiracy-theories-in-my-peripheral-vision-lost-his-mind*. Percy has been hit by a bout of amnesia, courtesy a certain manipulative Goddess. He doesn’t remember that he was a Greek demigod ,a son of Poseidon and a resourceful hero in the epic battle that saved the world from the wrath of Kronos. The only fact that he does recall is that he had a girlfriend called Annabeth (kudos to teenage boys for remembering the best bits).
Guided by the legendary Roman she-wolf Lupa, battling a pair of Gorgons who refuse to disintegrate/die, lugging a Goddess in road-kill disguise; Percy Jackson soon finds himself in Camp Jupiter, the roman equivalent of Camp Half-Blood.
Soon our favourite hero finds himself slap-bang in the middle of yet another doomed-to-despair Quest. Accompanying him are his two new friends and Camp Jupiter underdogs : Hazel Levesque and Frank Zhang. --------------------------------------------------------------
Things that enchanted my reader’s palate like Ambrosia:
# 1: THE RETURN OF OL’SEAWEED BRAIN : When the battle for Olympus ended with Annabeth and Percy sharing an underwater kiss, I was ready to bid adieu to the likeable boy wonder. Any attempt to stretch the taffy by Rick Riordan would pale in comparison to the immensely popular 7-Book series. Atleast that’s what I, with my limited vision assumed. But Riordan is not a brilliant storyteller for nothing. He plunges Percy Jackson into a whole new can of worms (or basilisks, which seems more appropriate) and has you whooping like a herd of Party-Ponies. Percy’s trademark wit, droll acceptance of dastardly situations, unerring loyalty to friends (old and new) and the ability to fight like a fiend is displayed to full effect. The author has also done the wise job of adding a ring of maturity to Percy’s character. His new-found confidence adds a much-needed foil to the fledgling charms of Hazel and Frank.
# 2: HAZEL LEVESQUE : Such a brave and endearing heroine. She joins Hermione Granger and Annabeth Chase in the ranks of noteworthy YA Lit. role-models for young girls. Burdened by a dark past, unsure of a long future, adorably embarrassed around the boy she likes and a bad-a** warrior to round it up nicely, Hazel is a treat to read.
# 3: FRANK ZHANG. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, FRANK ZHANG’S GRANDMOTHER: I cannot rave enough about the massive appeal of Frank Zhang without veering into *SPOILER* territory. Suffice to say, that the baby-faced, muscle-bound demigod keeps you hooked through his emotional trauma and growth. As for Granny Zhang....I was loving and hating her in equal measures. All that aristocratic arrogance duelling with a caring heart makes for one intimidating matriarch.
# 4: RICK RIORDAN’S SIGNATURE QUIRKS : (view spoiler)[a)Mars (the Roman name for Ares) declaring the Quest was one of my favourite bits. When the God of War whips out a scroll and a ballpoint pen and scribbles a brusque, “Go to Alaska. Find Thanatos and free him. Come back by Sundown on June Twenty-fourth or die” with nary a hint of drama and the absolute absence of riddled prophecies....you got to love the big guy. b) I had the biggest smile on my face when I read that Amazon.com is being run by.....you guessed it.....the condescending female warriors, *THE AMAZONS*. Their Queen sits on a throne made from a thousand copies of a book called “The Five Habits of Highly Aggressive Women”.(Seriously how can anyone not cackle over that?!?). It was borderline cheesy but vintage Riordan. c)Thanatos (the God of Death) has a pure black iPad. As he whips it out, Frank Zhang hopes fervently, “ Please don’t let there be an App for reaping souls”. Again, adorable. (hide spoiler)]
# 5: MOTHER EARTH UNPLUGGED : For nature lovers like me, who imagined Mother Earth to be a bosomy, *brimming-with-the-warmth-of-home -and-hearth* kind of genial lady....Gaia was an unexpected villain. A Goddess who invokes Giants, resurrects dead monsters, murmurs nasty thoughts into vulnerable minds, makes snarky promises to kill our favourite demigods and rears unearthly armies to overtake the world is NOT someone who would inspire the *Hug-A-Tree* emotion in you. And the best bit is that all these tender acts are being committed while the lady is still trapped underground. What will happen when she’s unleashed in all her grimy glory?--->*Delicious Shiver-Down-The-Spine Time*
# 6 : ACTION SEQUENCES : Here’s where you bring in all your cherished Die-Hard inspired adrenaline. The book is loaded with rip-roaring battle sequences. It gets the blood flowing and the inner warrior roars with whole-hearted approval.
# 7: SUPPORTING CHARACTERS : a) Slimy, power-hungry Octavian who sees prophecies in the innards of stuffed toys. b) Royal *you-lie-and-my-dogs-will-dismember-you* Reyna. c)Ella, the twitchy red-feathered harpy with the quirk of spouting random bursts of dead-useful (and pointless) information. d)Nico Di Angelo in a short (but hopefully epic) reappearance. e)Iris, the Goddess of The Rainbow (and now the proprietor of R.O.F.L. –Rainbow Organic Foods and Lifestyle). Don't ask. f)Terminus, the rule abiding God of Boundaries. Never has a pillar of stone been so pedantic. And so useful.
I cannot elaborate on any without spilling out the plot. All I can do is assure you that it’s a stellar casting.
# 8: ARION: Okay, which girl/woman does not want a celestial Horse that can break the sound barrier, run on water and up slippery slopes, cuss like a seasoned sailor and mutter grumpily “I will trample you to bits, silly baby man!”. I love this horse. I want this horse. Case closed.
-------------------------------------------------------------- Things that tasted like Iris’ gluten-free, sugar-free cupcake simulations (translation: things that left a bitter taste in my mouth) *..........BLANK.........*
So, in conclusion, did I like HEROES OF OLYMPUS : THE SON OF NEPTUNE? You bet your imperial gold/ celestial bronze/ stygian iron I DID!
I LOVED IT! (And I’m not one to use CAPSLOCK carelessly)
The book is an absolute treat. The return of old favourites stitched with the chutzpah of new arrivals worked like a charm. Yet again, Mythology and it's Gods left the hallowed portals and became cheekily shod with feet-of-clay. With a “it-could-go-anyway” cliffhanger, Rick Riordan has laid the groundwork for a delightful sequel.
ATHENA, make your MARK already!
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