A fun read written in an interesting way. Both main characters are protagonists and neither has the spotlight for much of the book. It is action packeA fun read written in an interesting way. Both main characters are protagonists and neither has the spotlight for much of the book. It is action packed and a very quick entertaining and lively read. There are some puns but it is not a Xanth novel. And the mix of human/fairy and real/magical is very well done and believable....more
I wanted this book to be about adventures and it was about characters. Characters I didn't like. I'm okay with characters I don't like still being gooI wanted this book to be about adventures and it was about characters. Characters I didn't like. I'm okay with characters I don't like still being good to read about but I couldn't get over my disappointment in not finding adventures. I like Barry Lyga as a person at a conference so I am pretty sure I will like his other stuff too....more
**spoiler alert** I should mention that this review, like all my reviews, may contain spoilers. On the other hand I don't know what you know about the**spoiler alert** I should mention that this review, like all my reviews, may contain spoilers. On the other hand I don't know what you know about the books and what you consider spoiling to really be so...read at your own risk.
This book picks back up the pacing and adventure and general mythically proportioned deliousness of the earliest book. No big surprise there. What is surprising is the dark direction these books are taking. Each book has grown significantly more violent, scarier, and subsequently more interesting. Unlike Harry Potter, where there was no real death toll until the final book and even that seemed second thought and too strategic, these deaths are at random, and drive home that what these half-god mortals are doing is DANGEROUS. As you might expect, the Labyrinth plays a huge part in this book. All the while the Titan Kronos is growing in power and the monsters around the world are waking up and coming out to fight. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Tyson, and a new totally mortal friend, Rachel Dare go into the depths of the Labyrinth to try and figure out a way to save Camp Half-blood, and to save the world from a destruction from the Titan who only seems to grow stronger and stronger. And the Gods are getting more and more directly involved. And it turns out that Hades has a son, and that son has some SERIOUS POWER. Lots of interesting new characters and ancient greek mythology keeps the last book just as much of a page-turner as the last. Well played Rick Riordan, well played indeed....more
My favorite thing about this book is that it is a look at women in music far away from the role of groupie. The women in this novel either follow musiMy favorite thing about this book is that it is a look at women in music far away from the role of groupie. The women in this novel either follow music or create it but they don't subject themselves to the general idea of rock n'roll ho-ish woman. Plus, it is a great look at punk history through the past few decades as well as a generally entertaining and thought provoking read.
Do you love greek mythology? Do you wish you could get apathetic youngins interesetd in it as well? The "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is peDo you love greek mythology? Do you wish you could get apathetic youngins interesetd in it as well? The "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is perfect for all your Epic Mythological needs! The second book in the series follows Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and a new addition; the homeless outcast Tyson, befriended by Percy at his new school. On Percy's last day of an otherwise uneventful school year his gym class is attacked by monsters, and Tyson proves invaluable in the world's deadliest dodgeball game. Then when they get to Camp Half-blood, there is more trouble as an enchanted tree protecting the camp has been poisoned. Questing must ensue! And, with a little help from his powerful Dad, Percy starts to understand his powers as a half-blooded hero. These books have the Harry Potter perfection of well mixed characters (I just can't get over Percy, Annabeth, and Grover as Harry, Hermoine, and Ron, but in truth the formula works.) The adventure, the cleverness, the harrowing escapes works so well to bring the actual greek myths to life for kids, and updates the stories for modern kids perfectly. My favorite example is the Circe story (remember her from the Odyssey? Oh, and the cyclops Polyphemus)runs a health spa where she shows men their true selves (guinea pigs, because regular pigs were too problematic and guinea pigs are, let's face it, cuter.)
Anyway, quite generally this sequel makes me happy. There is no floundering, no running out of steam. It is obvious that Riordan planned this series out well, and he knows his stuff, and best of all he knows how to make it appeal to kids (and, well, adults.) I will admit that I like the more subtle or maybe just more obscure mythology in Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Anansi Boy's (both of which are for an older reader anyhoozle.) And, for bloodpounding nonstop adventure and acton, Percy Jackson will take on anyone in the arena. ...more
We all do stupid things. Alex did one of the stupidest. He got angry, got drunk, and decided that this was the perfect time to steal the car and yellWe all do stupid things. Alex did one of the stupidest. He got angry, got drunk, and decided that this was the perfect time to steal the car and yell at his dad for making him angry.
Luckily for Alex, he didn't get far and the only casualty was the neighbor's expensive* garden gnome.
Alex gets punished, super punished, by being forced to do community service at a retirement home. He's now company for one particular old man for three hours every Wednesday night until he works off 100 hours. And then the fun starts. Let's be honest here folks, none of what I'm telling you about this plot is going to surprise you. It is the feel good tearjerker of my night. And I did cry, whooboy. I bawled through the last few pages there. There are some characteristic Sonnenblick elements, even characters you might recognize, and that is what makes the story great. It is a familiar story, well and humorously told, and in a unique voice. To my mind, that's better than what 95% of books I read even come close to providing.
*$374 seemed expensive to Alex and to me. I think maybe he killed the Travelocity gnome and now we must all roam alone....more
The football pre-season starts next Saturday. Do you want to know why I know this? It isn't because I personally LOVE the gridiron or even know why itThe football pre-season starts next Saturday. Do you want to know why I know this? It isn't because I personally LOVE the gridiron or even know why it is called "gridiron." No, it is because from August to February I live with a football junkie. I get to hear all about the draft, the fantasy league winners and losers, and our TV is taken over by pointless commentary after pointless commentary. Madden0whatever is played non-stop. As a not-particularly sporty person there are only two ways to deal with this situation. One is to protest, to complain, to throw up one's hands and move out. The other is to try and figure out what all the fuss is about. Oh, I still roll my eyes whenever I get treated to a 10 minute diatribe on why Adrian Peterson is the best running back EVAR, but I also watch games and ask questions about why something was called this way or that. Or, what that flag means, or why they got an extra point, etc. I feel like I'm getting to understand a little bit more about the game and its appeal. A little.
Unlike me, football is Marcus Jordan's life. He and his mom have just moved to a new town to escape his fascist dad and so his mom can take pictures of rocks. He starts practicing in a park and forms an eccentric and erratic friendship with a middle-aged guy named Charlie, who is extremely spry and who teaches Marcus more about football in just a few weeks than all of his years on a team. But, Marcus ends up covering for his new friend when he discovers Charlie's erratic behavior isn't just from a quirky personality.
Along the way Marcus barely squeaks onto the football team. He wants to be QB, but his new high school's team is undefeated and record breaking and so Marcus has to battle their unwillingness to mess with status quo and the QB who drove them to victory. Troy hates Marcus immediately, and it doesn't help that Troy's on and off again girlfriend is interested in Marcus, and Marcus is VERY interested in Alyssa too.
So immediately we've got a complicated plot, told in a straightforward manner, by a kid who just wants to Do The Right Thing. Marcus and all the characters are well developed, the story draws you in immediately, the plot never slows down and the conflicts are very real. My only complaint with this is that the "mystery" of Charlie goes on a little too long. I find it hard to believe Marcus wouldn't have started asking pertinent questions earlier in the story and figuring out answers earlier on too. At any rate this book has romance, fights, pranks, friendship, brain-injury awareness, kidnapping, and lots and lots of Football. It is the ultimate blitz of a book! Even for a wannabe fan like me. ...more
In Nya's world pain is a product to be bought and sold. Many people, including Nya, can take pain and heal. Unlike most people though, Nya can't transIn Nya's world pain is a product to be bought and sold. Many people, including Nya, can take pain and heal. Unlike most people though, Nya can't transfer the pain into the Pynvium stone that is later shaped into pain-dealing weapons. Nya is instead, a Shifter, she can act as a conduit, shifting pain from one person to another, sometimes holding the pain to herself for a time. She's unusual and dangerous and valuable to those who lack scruples enough to use her when the Pynvium supply runs low.
The premise alone really sucked me into this intricate novel. Nya is spunky and determined, realistic about the bad things that will probably happen, but willing to go through them anyway to save those she cares about. She's such a likable character that some of the slower moments of the book are made quite a bit more tolerable by extension. And the ending (part of a planned series it seems, being that it is the Healing Wars #1) is very snap, bang, whizzle! The beginning draws the reader in with instant action and excitement. But then in the middle there's a lot of tension but also a lot of: "and then I went here and did this thing and then I went here and did this other thing and over here I was doing this stuff and really it is all totally relevant I swear and have I mentioned that I hate this race of people who invaded our land and treat us like crap? Let me reflect with you for a moment on how evil imperialism is and how happy I was before it darkened my doorstep...Nevermind that I am very young to remember life before the invasion so very well! Or at least, those three memories I keep telling you about over and over." So what I'm saying here is that it is good that the ending suddenly speeds it all up again. And, good characters can definitely redeem indulgent editing. ...more
Even though this book is a completely engrossing and resplendent read it didn't get more stars because I have no idea what an airtrack, suicide, 6-steEven though this book is a completely engrossing and resplendent read it didn't get more stars because I have no idea what an airtrack, suicide, 6-steps or any of the rest of these terms mean in relationship to breakdancing. Since these and other breakdancing terms are liberally sprinkled throughout the book without any explanation of what they mean or how the moves look I had a hard time staying in the story at times. While this technique sped up the action of the breakdancing scenes, it made it impossible for me to envision what they were doing.
OTHERWISE. I totally loved this book. It was a fast paced read with a engrossing main character, Nicole (Raven), who doesn't sound like anyone else in YA ficion that I can think of...and her New York doesn't sound like any other New York that I've read. She has this group of friends that is not bound by anything except maybe age range and love of breakdancing. I like that in a novel (And if you do as well then you should maybe also take part in this book challenge.
Of course, this book is about more than breakdancing. It is about love and friendship and family and living forever vs living as a human. The immortals (Jiang Shi) in the book are conflicted by their immortality and how they attained and keep it. Though none of them, even the leader/mastermind who is hiding things, comes off as evil; their enemies don't come off as evil either. Overzealous yes, evil no. I think that might be my favorite thing about the book, the characters, even those without a lot of "screen time" feel totally realistic and multi-dimensional without a lot of random crap thrown in to make them that way. It is a good story, mostly well told....more
This is what it looks like when a book disparages my homeland and makes me too angry to finish. Each slur against Indiana made me angrier and angrierThis is what it looks like when a book disparages my homeland and makes me too angry to finish. Each slur against Indiana made me angrier and angrier until finally there was a comment about a teacher not being able to buy leopard print Sketchers (SKETCHERS? REALLY A-TRIG?) in Indiana because they were too cool.
I gave this book more than enough chances, we are almost to Thanksgiving in the school year and still the Viola has little to nothing good to say about Indiana and so I'm done. I give up, and you get to reap the benefits....more
**spoiler alert** It is so far into the future after the Zombie-pocalypse that everyone in Mary's village is acclimated to unquestioningly following t**spoiler alert** It is so far into the future after the Zombie-pocalypse that everyone in Mary's village is acclimated to unquestioningly following the rules that the Sisterhood sets forth. Well, follwoing the rules has kept them relatively safe and alive from the Unconsecrated hoard just outside of the fense so far, right? But, as her future becomes more tenous, mary grows more defiant of the edicts and the sisterhood. On top of all that, Mary's got boy troubles, family troubles, best friend troubles, and of course, Zombie troubles.
The book has all the interesting mysterious parts of the M. Night Shyamalan movie "the Village" but instead of a boring backstory about the evils of the "Modern World", we get ZOMBIES. Scary, flesh-eating, mindless, zombies. Zombies with the rotting faces of Mary's mother, father, sister-in-law, and friends. Did you ever notice that zombies are an interesting metaphor for the evils of the "Modern World"? Mary's world has been shaped so much by living under the constant fear of horrifying death that every moment and every choice she makes is so very important.
Mary could be you, she has the same sorts of desires and daydreams as anyone. The first half is so atmospheric, creepy, and tense with the human side of living in a undead world that when it flows into the second action-packed (and a little violent) half you won't be able to put the book down. Don't let the "Teen Book" label fool you either. Carrie Ryan's story is not JUST for the young, it is for everyone who ever wondered what happens to humanity hundreds of years after the Dawn of the Dead.
**spoiler alert** 17-year-old Kelley is the red-headed understudy for role of Titania in an off-off-off-off Broadway production of Mid-summer Night's**spoiler alert** 17-year-old Kelley is the red-headed understudy for role of Titania in an off-off-off-off Broadway production of Mid-summer Night's Dream who gets the literal lucky break. The leading lady "busts an ankle" and joy of joys she has the part. Hooray, great story about alternative career paths and following your dreams.
Except not, at all. This is yet another story about an ordinary girl who finds out she's a fairy princess, specifically Irish and with all the fun trappings and problems. After reading Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, or any of the numerous American Urban Fantasy takes on the exact same theme I'm actually pretty done and pretty bored. Which isn't to say that the book isn't readable, and it makes a pretty good read-alike to all the Cassandra Clare/Holly Black/Melissa Marr/and even yes, Laurell K. Hamilton for your older audience. And there are some unique elements that sets the story apart: I like that this book pays homage to The Bard. I like the changeling storyline and the human guards of the fairy realm, The Janus Guards, some of whom are ass-kicking ladies. I like the Central Park central location and a certain kelpie who moves into a bathtub.
Unfortunately all of that which I liked, and which fans of the Irish-specific mythology as Urban Fantasy genre will also like doesn't lead to a great book. The discovery of Lucky the kelpie and the fact that she's a fairy princess takes up too much time and the actual battle and conflict is rushed into the last few pages of the book. I did not believe the romance between Sonny Flannery, Janus Guard, and Kelley Winslow, mediocre actress/fairy princess. And by not believe I mean I'm completely unsure when he went from being creepy stalker dude to love interest but it happened somehow without ever actually convincing me that her character would actually not see him as a creepy stalker anymore. Also, despite all the time spent on her discovery of fairy princess powers it is just so ho-hum. Her reaction didn't jump off the page or do anything new, she just came around after a short time. Which might be better than pages and pages of ranting and railing and disbelief, which also would have been terrible, but still...boring.