A comic-book artist as a protagonist. Mutation. Indian Mythology. Superheroes. Cutting edge technology and loads of geeky gobbledygook that actually m...moreA comic-book artist as a protagonist. Mutation. Indian Mythology. Superheroes. Cutting edge technology and loads of geeky gobbledygook that actually makes sense. Multi-millionaire manipulators. Conspiracy theories. Heroic heroes with the best intentions. Demonic Demons with the worst intentions (and fangs dripping with venom). Superbly choreographed action sequences. The edge of an apocalypse.
This story had all the elements to make me squeal with joy. I was all geared up for a desi AVENGERS style, sci-fi fiesta.
But pretty soon, my face wore a different expression.
Despite a main character who never grew on me (he was obnoxious, slightly creepy, make that mostly creepy, loaded with pithy quips that DID not remind us of Spider Man (as if!) , generally irritating and firmly convinced that a light was shining out from his every orifice), the concept was amazing. Melding together the rather interesting idea of Hindu mythology's Lord Vishnu's ten Avatars with high-end technology to create what could be the modern day saviours of the world would have laid the basis for one great franchise.
The writing was impeccable. The author's prowess as a fantasy/ sci-fi writer shines through in every tight paragraph. The ten DASHAVATARS are likeable characters (yes, even the rude little man who overcompensates). And yes, I still didn't like the main character. Or his obligatory exotic Asian love-interest. But whenever the ten heroes made an appearance, I was hooked.
I was involved. I was almost developing a fangirl sized crush on the warrior, Parashurama. As a reader, I was ready to see ten noble men with the best intentions at heart, set a discordant world back on it's axis. And while they were at it, could they, pretty please, knock the big bad guys off their collective tushes?
But no. The story slowly dissolved into what can be best be described as 'one hot mess'.
I am an idealistic soul who has taken one too many emotional knocks in life. When I open a fictional book starring Indian Gods and International Superheroes (my two all time favourite premises) I expect a happy ending. Nay, I DEMAND a happy ending. If you are going to leave me blinking dazedly at the end of 320 pages with no resolution in sight, you are invoking the rather miffed off Hulk in my otherwise mild mannered Bruce Banner. AND I see no main villain getting his comeuppance. You, sir, are just invoking the green beast in me.
In conclusion, read the book for the masterful action sequences and the well laid out backstories. You will be enchanted by the awesome ten. And you will root for them.
The Arthurian Legend is an enduring classic of epic proportions. It has been tweaked, twisted, twirled and rewritten from varying viewpoints over the...moreThe Arthurian Legend is an enduring classic of epic proportions. It has been tweaked, twisted, twirled and rewritten from varying viewpoints over the ages. And when you translate it into a hefty graphic novel and add the supernatural element of the Faery realm to it, you have yet another superb retelling of the ultimate medieval hero-king.
While it is difficult to encapsulate all the trysts and adventures of King Arthur, what we have here is a coming-of-age tale. The transformation of a scrawny lad who pulled a sword from a rock and claimed his lineage to one of the greatest kings that ever lived is captured in a tight and almost-never meandering plotline. Throw in the unwavering allegiance of the Knights of the Round Table, the despairing blend of deceit and loyalty by Lancelot and Guinevere, the abiding love of The Lady of the Lake, the magical support of Merlin and the evil (rooted in painful origins) mechanizations of Morgana and the story has the power to transport the reader to Camelot and a forgotten time.
The artwork is simple yet powerful, awash in shades of brown and yellow. And for me, the story is clearer thanks to the graphic representation. The fanciful twist with the involvement of the Seelie and Unseelie courts just ups the ante and makes this book an assured winner . (less)
The Fellowship has broken. Gandalf vanished into the pits of Moria, Boromir died a hero's death, Merry and Pippin were abducted by the Uruk-Hai, Frodo...moreThe Fellowship has broken. Gandalf vanished into the pits of Moria, Boromir died a hero's death, Merry and Pippin were abducted by the Uruk-Hai, Frodo decided to journey on alone to Mount Doom, his trusty gardener and friend, Samwise Gamgeeobviously accompanied him and the grim trio of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli had to decide the best path for themselves.
As the quest members make their choices, we take a long, and I mean really, really long hiking trip through Middle-Earth. Along the way we encounter the brave and truehearted riders of Rohan, a once-magnificent king who must be risen from his diseased stupor, a fair maiden who can hold fort with the best and mightiest of men, ancient talking trees who hem and haw but ultimately get cracking, one helluva gorgeous white horse, a schizophrenic creature of the dark, a tall ranger who is fair in demeanor and deed and a great big nasty, stinkin' spider.
The Two Towers is an exhausting read. After a point of time, I actually felt that I was bone-weary with fatigue as I trudged along with two stout hobbits on the trip from hell. But just when I want to throw up my hands in exasperation (never a wise move, when you have a 1,178-page-strong book in said hands), the plot reins me in. I want to know if Merry and Pippin survive an Orc-kidnapping . I most definitely want Saruman to get a rap on his gnarly knuckles for being such a bearded-meanie. I want to see Aragorn rock the legendary Andúril like the rockstar that he is. I want to bite at that niggling hangnail as I wonder if Frodo's goodness will lead to his downfall. But above all, I need to know that the loyal and brave Samwise Gamgee gets a hot, decent meal in the land of Sauron.
So yes, I laboured on. And in my head, my fingernails are crusty with Orc-dirt and my feet are covered with blisters from walking over hill and through tunnel and my back is groaning for a long, hot soak. And if a book and it's words can evoke these feelings in an armchair reader, I am happy that I finished such a book. ---------
Being the sentimental fangirl that I am, I give you the moments that will forever stay with me:
Pg.No.413 A mile, maybe, from Parth Galen in a little glade not far from the lake he found Boromir. He was sitting with his back to a great tree, as if he was resting. But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilt; his horn cloven in two at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.
--------- Pg.No.414 'Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.
'No!' said Aragorn, taking his hand and kissing his brow. 'You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!'
--------- Pg.No.415 'Then let us lay him in a boat with his weapons, and the weapons of his vanquished foes,' said Aragorn. 'We will send him to the Falls of Rauros and give him to Anduin. The River of Gondor will take care at least that no evil creature dishonours his bones.'
--------- Pg.No.420 'Forth the Three Hunters!'
--------- Pg.No.430 'They are proud and wilful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years.' ~ARAGORN
--------- Pg.No.433 Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. ‘Elendil!’ he cried. ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!’
--------- Pg.No.462 These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating. They were brown, shot with a green light. Often afterwards Pippin tried to describe his first impression of them.
'One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present; like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a deep lake.
--------- Pg.No.474 His hood and his grey rags were flung away. His white garments shone. He lifted up his staff, and Gimli’s axe leaped from his grasp and fell ringing on the ground. The sword of Aragorn, stiff in his motionless hand, blazed with a sudden fire. Legolas gave a great shout and shot an arrow high into the air: it vanished in a flash of flame.
They all gazed at him. His hair was as white as snow in the sunshine; and gleaming white was his robe; the eyes under his deep brows were bright, piercing as the rays of the sun; power was in his hand.
--------- Pg.No.501 "And this I also say: you are our captain and our banner. The Dark Lord has Nine. But we have One, mightier than they : the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him. We will go where he leads. " ~ARAGORN
--------- Pg.No.504 'This is Shadowfax. He is the chief of the Mearas, lords of horses, and not even Theoden, King of Rohan, has ever looked on a better. Does he not shine like silver, and run as smoothly as a swift stream? He has come for me: the horse of the White Rider. We are going to battle together.' ~GANDALF
Thus Aragorn for the first time in the full light of day beheld Éowyn , Lady of Rohan. --------- Pg.No.515
--------- Pg.No.517 Forth Eorlingas!
--------- Pg.Nos. 522-523 As she stood before Aragorn she paused suddenly and looked upon him, and her eyes were shining. And he looked down upon her fair face and smiled; but as he took the cup, his hand met hers, and he knew that she trembled at the touch. ‘Hail Aragorn son of Arathorn!’ she said. ‘Hail Lady of Rohan!’ he answered, but his face now was troubled, and he did not smile.
--------- Pg.No.523 Alone Eowyn stood before the doors of the house at the stair’s head; the sword was set upright before her, and her hands were laid upon the hilt. She was clad now in mail and shone like silver in the sun.
--------- Pg.No. 540 'Helm! Helm!' the Riders shouted. 'Helm is arisen and comes back to war. Helm for Théoden King!'
And with that shout the king came. His horse was white as snow, golden was his shield, and his spear was long. At his right hand was Aragorn, Elendil’s heir, behind him rode the lords of the House of Eorl the Young.
Light sprang in the sky. Night departed. --------- Pg.No.541
There suddenly upon a ridge appeared a rider, clad in white, shining in the rising sun.
--------- Pg.No.580 'We will have peace,' said Theoden. 'We will have peace, when you and all your works have perished —- and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc.'
--------- Pg.No.583 'Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council.'
He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice. ‘Saruman, your staff is broken.’ There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman’s hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf’s feet. ‘Go!,’ said Gandalf.
--------- Pg.No.594 Gandalf looked at Aragorn, and then, to the surprise of the others, he lifted the covered Stone, and bowed as he presented it.
'Receive it, lord!' he said: 'in earnest of other things that shall be given back. But if I may counsel you in the use of your own, do not use it - yet! Be wary!'
--------- Pg.No. 665 Faramir turned to Frodo again. ‘You asked how do I know that the son of Denethor is dead. Tidings of death have many wings. Night oft brings news to near kindred, ‘tis said. Boromir was my brother.’
--------- Pg.No.712 'But you have left out one of the chief characters : Samwise the stouthearted. "Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he, dad?"’
--------- Pg.No. 728 Sam did not wait to wonder what was to be done, or whether he was brave, or loyal, or filled with rage. He sprang forward with a yell, and seized his master’s sword in his left hand. Then he charged. No onslaught more fierce was ever seen in the savage world of beasts, where some desperate small creature armed with little teeth, alone, will spring upon a tower of horn and hide that stands above its fallen mate.
--------- Pg.No. 730 'Frodo, Mr.Frodo!' he called. 'Don't leave me here alone! It's your Sam calling. Don't go where I can't follow!'
So let it be written here, that in the summer of 2014, a woman with a head full of dreams accompanied a wise Wizard, four house-proud Hobbits, a disg...moreSo let it be written here, that in the summer of 2014, a woman with a head full of dreams accompanied a wise Wizard, four house-proud Hobbits, a disgruntled Dwarf, an Elf with Pantene-worthy locks, a tall and arrogant Warrior and a true King among mortal men on the mother of all epic quests.
I have embarked upon the journey through the fictional land of Middle-Earth many times on the big screen. And each time I come away with a sense of complete enchantment. However, reading the magnum opus is another matter. I have started, stopped....started again. And yes, abandoned it yet again.
Remember Gandalf's wonderful line?
"A wizard is never early or late. He arrives precisely when he means to."
In the same spirit, I believe that reading The Lord Of The Rings series is neither too early nor too late. You will read it when you are meant to. You will read it when your mind is open enough to soak in beautiful language, tedious landscape descriptions and perfectly etched characters who will linger along the sidewalk of your thoughts long after you have shut the book.
So I chose a particularly hot summer, settled into my comfortably darkened room and launched into the first instalment of The Lord of The Rings : The Fellowship of The Ring.
The plot here is fairly simple. There is one big bad Ring belonging to a big bad baddie. But the big baddie is powerless (or atleast less powerful) without his bling. The only way to avoid things going *ka-boom* in Middle-Earth is to ensure that the Ring is taken back to the place where it was forged and destroy it. To ensure that the ring never reaches aforementioned baddie, a motley crew journeys off on a tumultuous adventure with one destination in mind.
Along the way, the Ring's insidious evil will tempt them all. They will be compelled to ditch the good path and meander along evil by lanes. It will test the will of the strongest men and the heart of the stoutest hobbit. Lives will be lost, hearts will be broken and hope will flicker and rekindle.
I have too many feelings for the characters of this book. I have wanted to emulate the best facets in them and despaired for the agony in the worst of them. But whichever way my emotions travel, I never fail to wish fervently that I was an inhabitant of Middle-Earth.
Tolkien's writing may lumber along sluggishly for far too many pages but just....just when I want to throw up the book in despair, he pulls me back in like a many tentacled monster of the deep lake with his powerful plot progression.
As the fellowship travels from the peaceful charm of Rivendell to the fiery depths of Moria to the place where time stands still in ethereal Lothlorien, I feel like a war scarred adventurer. My brow is sweaty with the evil fumes of the Balrog, a cold trickle of sweat runs down my back as the hushed footsteps of the vile Orcs become louder and I feel the healing warmth of Galadriel's presence wash over my weary soul as she gazes upon me with her all-seeing eyes.
I want to watch Wizarding-Level fireworks in the Shire. I wish I was as sprightly as Legolas, as steadyhearted as Samwise Gamgee and as unflinchingly noble as Aragorn son of Arathorn. I want to battle slimy underlings with fiendish frenzy. I want to prove myself worthy of the people who have laid their trust in me.
While the book is steeped in fantasy, the sentiments are real and all too familiar. And therein lies the magic of Tolkien. As I draw close to the end of the first book, I am filled with a sense of wonder and achievement.
If heroes and flawed humans and magical beings can fall and crumble and rise again to reach Mordor, I sure as hell can finish the series.
FOR FRODO!!! ---------
My favourite moments from the book:
Pg.No.25 The old man was Gandalf the Wizard, whose fame in the Shire was due mainly to his skill with fire, smokes and lights. His real business was far more difficult and dangerous, but the Shire-folk knew nothing about it.
————- Pg.No.46 "It is far more powerful than I ever dared to think at first, so powerful that in the end it would utterly overcome anyone of mortal race who possessed it. It would possess him." ~GANDALF
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for the Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
————- Pg.No.61 "There is only one way: to find the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-Mountain, and cast the Ring in there, if you really wish to destroy it, to put it beyond the grasp of the Enemy for ever.' ~ GANDALF"
Still round the corner there may wait A new road or a secret gate, And though we pass them by today, Tomorrow we may come this way And take the hidden paths that run Towards the Moon or to the Sun ————- Pg.No.83
————- Pg.No.84 "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." ~GILDOR
————- Pg.No.171 "I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will."
————- Pg.No.227 The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. He was the Lord of Rivendell and mighty among both Elves and Men.
————- Pg.No.277 And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Andúril, Flame of the West
————- Pg.No.330 "You cannot pass. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, weilder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass!" ~GANDALF
She looked upon Gimli, who sat glowering and sad, and she smiled. And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. ————- Pg.No.357 "Your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true." ~ GALADRIEL ————- Pg.No.363
————- Pg.No.366 "In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightening! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!" ~GALADRIEL
Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
'I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.'
————- Pg.No.376 "Nothing unless it might be - unless it is permitted to ask, nay, to name a single strand of your hair, which surpasses the gold of the earth as the stars surpass the gems of the mine." ~GIMLI
————- Pg.No.392 "Behold the Argonath, the Pillars of the Kings" ~Aragorn
————- Pg.No.393 'Fear not!' said a strange voice behind him. Frodo turned and saw Strider, and yet not Strider; for the weatherworn Ranger was no longer there. In the stern, sat Aragorn son of Arathorn, proud and erect, guiding the boat with skilful strokes; his hood was cast back, and his dark hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes : a king returning from exile to his own land.
————- Pg.No.401 I will go alone.Some I cannot trust, and those I can trust are too dear to me. ~FRODO ————- Pg.No.406
~ 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)
The Mark of Athena ended with Percy and Annabeth plunging into the dark, insidious and perilous pit of Tartarus. But just before fal...more———————- SYNOPSIS:
The Mark of Athena ended with Percy and Annabeth plunging into the dark, insidious and perilous pit of Tartarus. But just before falling, Percy had extracted a promise from Nico, the son of Hades. It would be Nico’s duty to guide the remaining five half-bloods (Jason, Piper, Frank, Hazel and Leo) to the mortal side of The Doors of Death. If they succeeded and IF, by some…make that…numerous miracles, Percy and Annabeth survived the very embodiment of hell and reached the Doors of Death on Tartarus’ side, then the seven quest members would simultaneously be able to seal the doors and prevent the giants from seeping through and raising Gaea.
The House of Hades takes us through Percy and Annabeth’s adventures in Tartarus and also through the endless battles of brawn and brains that the remaining five demigods go through as they collectively fight against time, nasty monsters, duplicitous gods and the most worrisome factor of all : personal demons.
———————- MY THOUGHTS:
Wow. Just a lovely, battered-with-so-many-many-feelings WOW!
The world of Percy Jackson is no longer just a hugely popular and infinitely addictive fantasy franchise for me. It has become an emotional investment. When The Mark of Athena ended with Percy and Annabeth plunging into Tartarus, my circuits spontaneously combusted. Although a rational part of my mind accepted the fact that a humdinger of a cliffhanger was needed to push the series ahead, I felt, for lack of more articulate phrasing… so very sad.
And then began the long, agonizing wait for The House of Hades. It was crippling. Apart from The Boy Who Lived, no other teen fictional character has held my emotions in such thrall. Ol’Seaweed Brain has become someone who I genuinely care about. So, when the book came out and I finally laid my hands on it, I was in a bit of a melancholic haze. I didn’t want to rush through it just to get to the juicy bits and keep pace with the gazillion other fans. I took my time, paced out my reading experience and enjoyed every single moment of the trip.
The cast-members were stupendous. Where do I start? Where DOES the gushing appreciation begin?
———- PERCY AND ANNABETH :
Let’s face it. We all knew that the duo would have some sincerely cool moves down in Tartarus. Percy would have a quip ready and Annabeth would counter it with a much applied eye-roll. Riptide would roar and grey cells would work in overtime. They would face hell, fire and brimstone…raised to the power of infinity and make it seem like a walk down a balmy pier. Rick Riordan made the journey special by NOT giving Annabeth and Percy the limelight. Sure, they had some juicy, meaty adventures but it was all in a day’s work for our celebrity demigods. And no, they did not do it alone. They had help. And some memorable, tear-jerking help it was. Read and weep just a little. ———-
JASON AND PIPER : Jason is good. Jason is fair. Jason can fight. Jason can empathize. Jason can be a good friend. Jason can be non-judgemental. There is no reason to not like Jason except perhaps, that he will never be Percy Jackson. No hard feelings, Jason.
Piper is another character who works along the sidelines. She does her bit and her ‘Horn of Plenty’ does it’s job too. With charmspeak at her disposal and fresh produce in projectile mode, Piper is in good form. ———-
Wonderful, brave, glorious Hazel Levesque. In this instalment, Hazel comes into her own. No more do we read about the self-accusing, dithering daughter of Hades…sorry, Pluto. Hazel gets off to a rousing start when she delivers the stellar line
"I’ll succeed. And Hecate? I’m not choosing one of your paths. I’m making my own.”
YOU GO, DEATH GIRL! I was brimming with pride whenever Hazel took center-stage. Romantic drama and unnecessary triangles aside, this book was about Hazel morphing into an assured and powerful demigod. ———-
FRANK : Frank Zhang is a beast. And no, I am not making some dreadful pun about his shape-shifting abilities. The boy is a veritable beast. He fights like a true son of the War God and does his battleaxe daddy proud.
Also, he morphed from an uncertain, shy, cuddly:
into a seriously ripped:
Yay, FRANK! ———-
Leo Valdez, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You make me smile, you make me snort with glee and you deliver lines that make me feel that you are indeed my long-lost wee shrimp of a kid brother. But most of all, I love you for the fact that you finally got a promising start to your lonely love-life. You deserve a heroine with gumption...a heroine with sass and a heroine who is not queasy about getting some dirt under her nails. You deserve the very best and they don’t come better than (view spoiler)[Calypso (hide spoiler)].
Mr.Riordan, Sir? One happy ending to go, please? ———-
BOB AND DAMASEN :
Two new characters. Two supposedly breaking bad characters who reinforced the lesson taught by my dear Dumbledore : "It’s our choices that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities." and the other wonderful gem, again by dear Dumbledore: "It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be." I loved Bob and Damasen. I want them to make a reappearance in the next instalment. And by the power of the Greek and Roman Gods (and Riordan’s soft heart), I am sure that they will return. In style. ———-
and finally, my dear, dark, troubled NICO :
One Emo demigod aboard the Argo II.
He sits alone, brooding into nowhere, seemingly burdened by an impossible task. To the others, it’s just the son of Hades running true to nature: being moody, snappy and simmering with suppressed tension.
But oh, there’s more. So much more. And boy, Nico’s secret was exquisitely explosive. Many readers felt that it was unrealistic, unexpected and totally “what-the-Hades?!?”
I, for one, loved it. It puts a whole new spin on this:
Are you telling me that Nico’s encounter with Cupid (who for the record, isn’t a cherubic, rosy-cheeked toddler) didn’t break your heart just a little bit?
This, THIS!!! This didn’t put a golf-ball sized knot in your throat?!?
Are you seriously trying to tell me that in an alternative world, in a little tear in the fabric of the universe, you wouldn’t be vicariously happy to see