4.5 stars. I waited a long time for this sequel and it didn't disappoint. I just loved the first book in the series, The Rise of Renegade X it was suc...more4.5 stars. I waited a long time for this sequel and it didn't disappoint. I just loved the first book in the series, The Rise of Renegade X it was such a breath of fresh air. It was brisk and witty and sarcastic without crossing over into being snarky. It was youthful but had an appeal that was really timeless. And it was just a lot of fun. So of course with that kind of first book I worried a bit if the second book would live up to my expectations. After all, with a series like this it couldn't have the surprise of the cute premise anymore, we already know that Damien grew up thinking that villains were the way to go and superheroes were the worst thing ever. You can only carry the idea so far, right? Wrong! My vague worries were all for nothing, Chelsea did such a great job writing the second book in the series. It was still funny, still sweet, still exciting, still just great. This kid tries so hard to be tough, and he's so vulnerable, he breaks my heart. While he cracks me up. He's sixteen! She might be better at writing a realistic feeling kid than anyone else I can think of in fantasy/sci-fi. I alternated between wanting to shake him and hug him, what could be more real than that? The book was just a ton of fun. My only complaint was that I finished it book too quickly. (less)
It might have been a little bit frantic at times as it packed what could have been a book and a half of materiel into one book, but overall it was a v...moreIt might have been a little bit frantic at times as it packed what could have been a book and a half of materiel into one book, but overall it was a very strong sendoff for our favorite half-selkie. The climax made sense looking at the series as a whole, and having learned a tiny bit about Dr. Peeler and the way that she works over six books now. She's great at using the classic, epic themes and mixing them up with modern sensibilities. And balancing action with emotion and heart. Which kind of sums things to, come to think of it. I'm sad to say goodbye to Jane, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Nicole does next.(less)
It was everything I love about this series. It was exciting, funny, had emotional intensity, and lots of Oberon, he's always the star in my eyes. Atti...moreIt was everything I love about this series. It was exciting, funny, had emotional intensity, and lots of Oberon, he's always the star in my eyes. Atticus was really in physical jeopardy several times in the story and had to use every bit of his ingenuousness and determination to survive. In addition, Granuaile and Oberon were in jeopardy, and that is both frightening for me to read and terrible for Atticus to deal with. The peril felt real and it was an exciting read.
I just wasn't that thrilled with the end. Not the very end, I loved (loved!) the thing that happened right before the very last thing in the epilogue. The thing that Oberon said was better than sausage. That thing was great! But the end of the actual story felt a bit like a letdown, it wasn't really the end of anything. I'm glad, extreme glad, that this isn't the last story in this series, so the author didn't need to wrap the story arcs that he had running up too quickly. But it just felt like he wrapped the thing with the Olympians two-thirds of the way through the book and then just got confirmation of it casually right before the end, and then the issue of who actually was betraying him and feeding them information is just up in the air. The whole final big fight that almost killed him (again) wasn't actually with anyone, it was just a series of defenses that the villain set up for anyone who happened by, not him specifically. No one seems to know he was there so far and it's just a weird, big chuck of story hanging at the end of the book after the main story arc of being hunted, it doesn't fit. We don't know who's trying to kill him or why. I'm glad there are going to more books to get into it, it just didn't feel like this story really ended on a complete note, it felt like an arbitrary cutoff in the middle of an ongoing story to be continued in the next book.
Nevertheless, it was great fun. And not just because I love the dog. It was exciting and emotional. The parts with the Morrigan were just heartbreaking, really smart writing that used the entire history of the series to tug at our emotions as we remember this remarkable person and her history with Atticus.
And the novella Two Ravens and a Crow is also included at the end of the book for people who didn't or couldn't buy the ebook when it came out. (I actually hate this trend of authors publishing extra short stories and novellas because I can't get them from the library and can't afford to buy most of them, Hearne's are on the very, very short list of those I will get.) The story is actually supposed to be read between books four and five because it happens six years into Granuaile's training, but this was the first time they were able to include it with one of the print novels due to publication schedules. It's a very good story. It shows hints is what life was like for them during those long years of training, and the connections that are growing between master and student. It really shines a light on the Morrigan, so having it appear at the end of this novel is actually a bit of a tribute to her character; I certainly saw her in a new way after reading this time. And it sets up a huge story arc of how Atticus will relate to the Norse. So it's quite an important story. And of course it has it's witty moments, Atticus has Oberon to remind him that life should never be too seriously!(less)
This was the best one for character development. All of the kids have come a long way. I've always liked the way Riordan keeps the heroes real kids wh...moreThis was the best one for character development. All of the kids have come a long way. I've always liked the way Riordan keeps the heroes real kids who are working to overcome normal teenage insecurities and flaws. It's nice to see them still struggling with them but gaining more confidence in this book. All of the kids are really coming I to their own, especially the new heroes that we've just come to know in this cycle of stories. And then there's Nico. He's growing up, and we're getting to know and understand him better. But he's still such an outsider in so many ways, it's pretty heartbreaking.
I also really liked Riordan's use of past stories and characters in this one. It's a reward for longtime fans and it gives the book added depth and layers. And I always like the variety of mythological characters that he brings in, beyond the standard big names, he makes it fun learn about their stories. But most of all, as always, the main formula continues to work brilliantly: excitement, humor, and emotion. He writes books that are so fun and so sweet at the same time, no one does it better. (less)
Why have my favorite books this year all been the hardest for me to review? This one is just too hard. The best I can do is to say that as usual for D...moreWhy have my favorite books this year all been the hardest for me to review? This one is just too hard. The best I can do is to say that as usual for Dr. Peeler's books, it had great adventure, lots of new-to-me mythology and a lot of heart.(less)
Well that was pretty fantastic. As usual, the style was totally engaging, a perfect mix of excitement and humor that was incredibly enjoyable.
I really...moreWell that was pretty fantastic. As usual, the style was totally engaging, a perfect mix of excitement and humor that was incredibly enjoyable.
I really enjoyed the differences between the Greek and Roman camps. At first I thought I wouldn't like the Roman camp at all, it was so different than Camp Half-Blood, it felt cold and formal and just wrong. (Imagine how poor Percy felt!) But I came to really appreciate the differences, especially the same thing that Percy came to appreciate, the town and the citizens and the potential future it represents. It's quite a concept for a demigod who had come to think that an early death is pretty much his only option.
I don't think it quite lived up to the first one in the new characters though, they got overshadowed a bit trying to live up to Percy and his competence, even without his memory. I know a lot of people didn't love the first book because it didn't have Percy in it, and will adore this one just because it does have him, but I loved the characters in Heroes. I liked Frank and Hazel too, but I felt like they got overshadowed by Percy. I didn't quite feel the aching vulnerability that I got from Leo, Piper and Jason. Frank certainly had his issues, and I did feel it, but it was more telling me than showing me. He kept saying that he was clumsy and awkward, but in this book he was suddenly amazingly competent, especially for a kid who not only who just found out he was a demigod six weeks ago, but who really just got good at his powers when Percy showed up at the beginning of the book. He was too good too fast, it kept bugging me, as much as I did really like the kid. And Hazel didn't get quite enough story to be compelling. I think it was hard for them to be in Percy's literary shadow. I also I think part of the problem may have been that it's the second book and the story needed to be father along, we already knew a lot of the background and so the kids couldn't fumble along as much too. But I still wanted them to have the emotional vulnerabilities that I loved in the first book that I think kids reading the book really identify with. It was there, but maybe not as much as I'd hoped. They're still really cool kids, don't get me wrong, they have cool powers, they're sweet, loyal, and good characters, just not expressed fully quite up to the standard set in the first book, in my opinion.
Nevertheless, the adventure was really exciting and completely engaging. All of the steps were fun, thrilling and frequently funny. The Amazon stop totally cracked me up. I loved Ella the bibliophile harpy and Arion the cursing magic horse. And the end left me completely and totally eager for the next book, I can't wait to see what happens next.(less)
Very fun. Lots of action and humor, minus the typical snark so often found in urban fantasy books. Not that snark can't be fun too, but it's nice to g...moreVery fun. Lots of action and humor, minus the typical snark so often found in urban fantasy books. Not that snark can't be fun too, but it's nice to get a break from it every once in a while. And it wasn't predictable, except in the romance department to a degree. It was refreshing to read something where I really didn't know where it was going. Plus the author used a great mix of traditional and lesser known myths while still putting her own spin on them, and her own new creations without them seeming over-the-top or too crazy, they seemed like myths that should already have existed. It was light and fun while still be clever, a great start to what should be a fun series.(less)
Another great entry in the Jane True saga. What I like best about this series is the skilled storytelling. Dr. Peeler crafts a really good tale for ea...moreAnother great entry in the Jane True saga. What I like best about this series is the skilled storytelling. Dr. Peeler crafts a really good tale for each book and has a clear plan for the series as well. It's just tremendous fun to sit back and watch Nicole do her thing, she writes these books that are just wonderfully good fun on the surface but that are also really thoughtfully designed and smart. The series has a clear plan, it isn't like some that just sort of bumble along with the heroine jumping into various mysteries each book and quickly losing steam several books into the series. Each book in this series expands Jane's world, both personally and in the overall story arc. It is really satisfying to read each book and see Jane grow up and gain power as a woman of the world, in her relationships with her friends and family, with romantic relationship, and as a power to be reckoned with in the supernatural community. And the way that the supernatural story arc expands during each book makes it really interesting to follow the story as well; what started out in the first book as a local conflict became regional, and is now has worldwide implications. Each step of the unfolding story made sense, added interest and urgency and was totally logical and skilled storytelling. Underneath the banter and laugh-out-lloud humor and really exciting action and very sexy love scenes (and very frustrating interruptions) is a lot of skilled writing.
So, as for this book specifically, it's sort of the first book in the next stage of Jane's story. They wrapped up their hunt to shut down the Alfar labs and in the process there was a major shift in political power in their region that seems to have sparked a revolution that may effect the whole world, or have revealed something that was there all along. And although Jane would love to settle down in Rockabill and shag away with sexy Anyan (who can blame her), she is once again caught up in major events as they happen. Because quiet Rockabill has a lot of secrets, which makes a lot of sense, or else why are all of these hugely powerful magical folk all living there? Too convenient, eh?
The story was very good. The focus was really on Jane taking the next step in deciding what she wants to do and what she's willing to do. She continues to grow in strength both emotionally and magically. I loved the addition of Blondie and the revelations that went with her. I liked the follow-up about Iris, that things weren't just dropped or swept under the rug. I also like the way things are handled with Ryu, very adult and appropriate. And of course I like best the way things were handled with Anyan. But these interruptions are going to make me insane!
My only quibble in the whole thing was how her dad got healed. It felt too easy. If he could get healed that easily, why didn't someone tell her earlier, she could have told him her secret and gotten him heathy long ago. I'd have been awfully mad if someone made my dad suffer for all of that time, with a chance that he could have a heart attack and die at any moment unnecessarily, but she never questioned the timing, was just glad he was healthy. Maybe Nicole realized that she needed him healthy for something in a future book or something, but it felt really sudden and out of place.
But that was such a tiny little thing. Overall it was a very good story full of laughs, excitement and sexy times. Can't ask for more than that.(less)
Best one in a while, certainly the best one that Todd has written. I'm still not entirely on board with his focus on little kids in positions of respo...moreBest one in a while, certainly the best one that Todd has written. I'm still not entirely on board with his focus on little kids in positions of responsibility or Fiona's big heart going a bit far in the free love territory (she brings every stray into her family in some way, whether as a lover or a sister). But the heart of the story was there, great characters fighting to survive and triumph against such harsh odds with love, creativity and humor.
One thing that I think Todd has done very well is capture the sense of this time being part way between the planet being settled and when we first encountered Pern in the books with Lessa and F'lar, significantly closer to settling. The way that language has changed, their medicine, memory of the past and technology, all reflects that a large chunk of time has passed (approximately 500 years) but that it's no where near the amount of time in the other books (2500 years). It's a nice thing that sets this series apart from the books set in the future time.
I also think it's pretty amazing that after thirty years of reading these books, there's still something so simple and powerful to it that I get choked up during a hatching scene. Can't help it!
Anne (in the Letter To Readers) and Todd (in Acknowledgements) said that the next book will be a sequel called Dragonrider. Anne also teased that she's been working on After the Fall Is Over, she wouldn't say it unless she meant it, right? She says it's about the future of F'lar and Lessa...(less)
Not his best. It starred out extremely jerky and disjointed. It got better but never fully went away. Also, none of the characters or stories were rec...moreNot his best. It starred out extremely jerky and disjointed. It got better but never fully went away. Also, none of the characters or stories were recapped other than a brief introduction and I couldn't remember who anyone was. It made the odd pacing feel even more abrupt and distracting, with many unfamiliar names being thrown around before I could even figure out what was going on. The first quarter of the book is also really depressing.
Once I began to remember and the story pickup up at bit, I liked many of the characters again. But I don't understand a lot of the story choices here. There are two major plots. One is how to survive this Fall with too few dragons. That was a good choice, continuing a story arc from the previous books in this story cycle. The other is the story of Fiona's growth as a woman and Weyrwoman. I have a lotted problems with that aspect of the book. This girl is not even 17. She was raised by her Lord Holder father until she was 13 or so. And somehow because of her training, common sense and loving heart she's become rhe perfect Weyrwoman, shouldering the responsibilities of rhe Weyr and all of Pern. In addition, she inadvertently becomes involved in several unusual sexual and romantic relationships. And while the different social aspects of life in the Weys versus Holds and Halls is interesting to explore, it was just distracting here. This girl is really young and way too understanding and complacent about these complex emotional issues. As is everyone she meets, who just falls into her wake and becomes nearly as easy-going and open as she is. The whole thing seemed like a really weird choice, especially with the amount that it's belabored. Plus Mr. McCaffery is rotten at writing emotional love between people. Somehow the love that he captures with the dragons escapes his human characters. I accept that they love each other because they state it so emphatically. But with so little dialog and no internal thoughts to go on, I didn't feel much of it.
All in all the book was much too long, too rough style-wise and either too odd or depressing story-wise. I didn't hate it, but I sure didn't love it and I don't see myself reading it again except to try to remember who everyone is when the next book comes out. The big consolation is that the next book will be co-written by Anne again! I expect that book to wrap up the intriguing aspect of the last few books with a faster-paced and more positive story. (less)
In short, it was an exciting, smart and funny book. Dr. Peeler knows how to let her characters grow and how to develop the story along with them. Jane...moreIn short, it was an exciting, smart and funny book. Dr. Peeler knows how to let her characters grow and how to develop the story along with them. Jane's growth from the sad and isolated young woman in the first book to the increasingly confident and strong woman we see by the end of this book feels real. There's no instant heroism here, Jane has a lot of learning to do, socially, sexually, magically, etc., and her story is brought along in a way that feels real. That includes her relationship with Ryu. It was clear to me from the beginning that Ryu, while a great guy, just isn't the right guy for Jane. But she needed the experience of being with an worldly man, traveling a bit, and exploring her emotional and sexual sides, before she could be mature enough to have a deeper relationship. I love the way Jane's crush on Anyan develops as well, it just felt real. And fun! We've all had crushes, and fantasies about things actually working out with them. Watching those two slowly get closer feels like living out the fantasy in a small way. Ryu and Anyan are also symbolic of the fast life vs. the simple life, and it's always been clear what Jane prefers.
The story of what's happening in the magical world that Jane's been caught up in develops similarly, with increasing levels of jeopardy for Jane and the wider community with each book. This is a staple of series fiction that is used very well here and in the the set-up for the next book. In the first book there was what seemed to be a simple conflict. New levels of intrigue were developed over the last book and this one. And now the entire political and social aspects of the magical community have been turned upside down, both by the ongoing infertility issue in the magical community and by a very shocking event that totally took me by surprise. Jane involvement in these events has been established in a believable way; she's no Mary Jane with all of the answers and central to every situation. She's a woman who's been caught up in events beyond her control, but who's coming into her power magically and into her strength of will and bravery.
The humor in the story (including but by no means limited to Jane's internal dialogs with her libido) adds to but doesn't distract from the very solid story underneath. There is silliness but the book is far from silly. The banter adds to the story instead of becoming the story, as I see too often from books that try too hard to be funny.
I also really like that Dr. Peeler always introduces me to mythological stories that I've never seen before. While her take on the fae, or factions as she calls them, feels familiar enough to be easily accessible, she also mixes it up and keeps it interesting. And even her vampires and elves have an original twist.
Plus I totally dig Anyan. And his thighs.
My only complaint about the book was the much too frequent use of the word kerfuffle. I know Jane has a big vocabulary and I usually enjoy it. But it stuck out to me the first time and was irritating by the third. Small complaint, right?
So here's the summary: there's a reason this author teaches creative writing and writing of urban fantasy. She builds a solid story while including really exciting battles, poignant relationships, thrilling (and sometimes awkward) romance, lots of laugh out loud moments, and memorable characters. I've read a few books lately that were silly for silly's sake, throwing as many crazy, fantastic ideas together on a page as possible, combined with silly banter and lots of sex and explosions, and hoping that would be enough to keep readers interested. That doesn't work for me. This does. Tell me a real story, make me care about your characters, make me eager to turn every page, and make me both happy to reach the end and completely frustrated that it's over. Not so simple, but Dr. P. does it and does it well. The book is just right for what it's supposed to be: fun and funny, smart entertainment. Read it!(less)