The book is the first of a two-part series about Minos's Labyrinth and the Minotaur. Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphae of Crete...moreThe book is the first of a two-part series about Minos's Labyrinth and the Minotaur. Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphae of Crete during the Minoan era. She is not godmarked like the rest of her family, and is especially resentful of her younger brother Asterion. He is her mother's favorite as he favors the god Poseidon and can transform into the Minotaur (who the local populace worship as a god) when fire is near. Ariadne is always being left behind and ignored so she decides to plot with her father to get rid of Asterion by locking him away inside of a mountain and getting the great inventor Daedalus to build a labyrinth to contain him. Chara, a slave girl, who grows up with Asterion and is his only friend. She watches Ariadne and her scheming from behind the scenes as Ariadne's personal slave.
Honestly when I first read the description for this book, I thought "It seems like a Percy Jackson rip-off", and there are some similarities. The story was very very slow-moving and I almost lost interest in finishing it. In a way, you almost feel sorry for Ariadne. However, she brings a lot of her hardships down on her own head with all the scheming for power and control. Although I didn't like her character, it was interesting to see how she became bitter, resentful, and cruel, which ultimately leads to her downfall. I really felt bad for Asterion who ended up being the pawn in the manipulations of his mother, sister and step-father. I also felt bad for Icarus as he was always pining after Ariadne, who was completely not worth his time, and also because he was godmarked to almost fly but not very successfully. However it evident from the text that the author has really done her research into Minoan history and culture, which is something I always like and appreciate. The reader is transported back to Bronze Age Crete and I could just imagine the costumes of the royalty, especially the princess as she did the bull dance. The only thing I would have liked is a glossary of names at the front of the book as all of the names were Greek and got rather confusing after awhile. Recommended for ages 15+, 3-1/2 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.(less)
Leila is traveling around the US on her own on her way to see the Northern Lights in a journey of self-discovery. She starts off in Louisiana and then...moreLeila is traveling around the US on her own on her way to see the Northern Lights in a journey of self-discovery. She starts off in Louisiana and then heads to Mississippi where she meets Hudson, a 17-year-old mechanic about to head off to Ole Miss to become a doctor. She only spends one night with him, but that night changes their lives forever. She goes on to change the lives of three more teenagers: Bree, a runaway who believes in Carpe Tuesday, Elliot, a nearly-hopeless romantic, and Sonia, who is dealing with the recent death of her boyfriend.
First off, I had no idea this was written by a guy until after I finished the book. He really captured what it was like to be a teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood. Although I couldn't completely identify with the main character, I did enjoy her development and the ending was a complete surprise. I loved the beginning story in Mississippi, and could identify with Hudson living in a Southern town as I have lived in many during my life. I really enjoyed Leila's story, as well as that of Elliot and Sonia. Overall, I thought it was a rather good first novel. I would definitely read more of his work in the future. Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.(less)
Yarvi is the crippled 2nd son of the King of Gettland. He is training to be a minister to the King and is about to take his test, when his father and...moreYarvi is the crippled 2nd son of the King of Gettland. He is training to be a minister to the King and is about to take his test, when his father and brother are killed, and he must take over the throne. He does so rather reluctantly, and also takes his brother’s bride. He leads a raid against the man who killed his father, only to be betrayed by his uncle, and is almost killed. He survives, but ends up as a rowing slave on a trading galley. Will he ever escape his bondage and get his revenge on his uncle and those that betrayed him?
I picked up this pseudo-Viking medieval fantasy book after checking out YA author Rick Riordan’s blog and seeing how much he praised his previous adult books and this book, Abercrombie’s first attempt at YA, especially. I enjoyed this coming-of-age story once I finally got into it, though I almost gave up on it at first because it wasn’t hooking my interest. Frankly, after Yarvi becomes a slave, the story gets way more intriguing. The book reminded a little of a much tamer version of George R.R. Martin. As Drunken Dragon Reviews (http://drunkendragonreviews.wordpress...) puts it “Through Yarvi’s development, we follow the story of a boy who not only has to develop into the person his peers need him to be, but he’s faced with questions and choices of responsibility, identity and character that he must make. All common issues a developing teenager encounters, and as a result will find themselves not only easily identifying with Yarvi, but finding thought provoked as a result.” While I was not 100% a fan of this book, I would be interested in reading some of Abercrombie’s adult fantasy books. 3 stars. (less)
Seventeen year old Astrid Jones feels really unappreciated by her friends and family. Her younger sister Ellis gets all the love and attention from th...moreSeventeen year old Astrid Jones feels really unappreciated by her friends and family. Her younger sister Ellis gets all the love and attention from their mother. Their dad is too stoned to really care about anything other than his office supplies at work. No one can understand why her friend Kristy, one of the most popular girls in school, hangs around her. Astrid may possibly be in love with her best friend Dee, who is already out of the closet. She lives in a really small town where everyone gossips about every little thing you do, so she has to worry about that as well.
The only thing she really enjoys is her AP Humanities class, where she is learning about Greek philosophers. In an attempt to feel more wanted, she sends waves of love towards passengers flying in airplanes above her house and everyone she sees. She does this even if they ignore or hate her. When she is sending out love to the anonymous passengers of the airplanes, every now and again, we hear their stories. It seems at first that these people have no connection to her, but after awhile, we can see that their stories are kind of like an extension of Astrid, if she were older.
Astrid feels like she is straddling two worlds. The very private one she shares with Dee and the public one she shares with Kristy and her family. Will she be able to figure out who she is and what she wants? Can she be truthful with everyone? Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
I had gotten the idea to read this book from Tara, The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say shhh! (http://librarianwhodoesntsayshhh.com/), and because she raved about it so much, I decided to give it a try. I’ve never read anything by the author but have heard for years that her books were good. I enjoyed hearing about the AP Humanities class and her learning about Greek philosophers, and how well it surprisingly blended with the story. I loved that she gave Socrates a first name (Frank) and made him kind of her protection, when things get too weird in her life. I’ve lived in small towns before and I know how limiting and frustrating it can be, so I could really identify with Astrid’s views on living in one.
Astrid’s mom, wow, she was a piece of work. I can identify with one parent loving your sibling more than you, but getting drunk with your teenage daughter is a whole other thing. And she thinks she’s the normal one in the family, geez.(less)
I’ll admit, I was hesitant to read another depressing book about World War II, even one that was a 1990 Newbery winner. Lois Lowry really surprised me...moreI’ll admit, I was hesitant to read another depressing book about World War II, even one that was a 1990 Newbery winner. Lois Lowry really surprised me with this book. It was a very grown-up and hopeful book, despite being about a ten year old girl and how she deals with the Nazis. I liked that children can learn about the true meaning of “pride” and “bravery” through the story. I also thought the author’s note at the end was particularly fascinating, especially the part about the boat captain’s handkerchiefs.
Ten-year-old Annemarie lives with her younger sister Kirstie, her parents in Denmark in 1943 during the German-occupation of her country. Her best friend is a young Jewish girl named Ellen Rosen, who lives right next door to Annemarie, with her family. One day the Germans start re-locating the Jewish people of Copenhagen and her family decide immediately that they will help the Rosens. The Johannesen’s split up the Rosens so they will be easier to transport, taking Ellen with them as their daughter. They go out to the country where Uncle Heinrich lives as a fisherman in the family home. Will the Rosens be able to escape to safety or will they be found out by the Germans? Will Annemarie be able to face her fears to save her friend? To find out, read this fantastic book. Recommended for ages 8-12, 4 stars. (less)