Raven Wings and 13 More Twisted Tales is a compilation of short stories by Frank Poe written in a similar style to the popular tales written by his anRaven Wings and 13 More Twisted Tales is a compilation of short stories by Frank Poe written in a similar style to the popular tales written by his ancestor, Edgar Allen Poe. Frank’s tales range from his own personal stories to modern tales with strong influences from the famous works of Edgar A. Poe. From the back of the book- “You must read the introduction to Poe's new book for the health and safety of your loved ones. Discover the answer to a mystery over 160 years old and fourteen tales guaranteed to entertain. Erie and Sometimes humorous, the twisted tales result in a thought provoking experience about our society, relationships, health and money. The author holds us up to the mirror so we can take a good look at ourselves. It's easy to see how Poe's new book will become a proven literary hit.”
My opinion of this book is mixed. I thoroughly enjoyed the modern retellings of Edgar Allen Poe’s works. I particularly enjoyed ‘The Tell-Tale Door’, which contains familiar elements of ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, and ‘The Purple Basketball’, which was a unique retelling of ‘The Cask of Amontillado’. These stories, while obviously possessing elements of their predecessors, are engaging and eerie in their own right. The stories are long enough to engage the reader without becoming overly detailed or boring. I really enjoyed the plot twists that Mr. Poe worked into his stories- the outcome seems set until suddenly a new element appears and totally alters the ending. Even though the stories are retellings of Edgar Allan Poe’s work, they involve enough unique elements to be a new tale to a seasoned reader of Poe’s works.
Unfortunately, there were also stories that I really didn’t enjoy in this book. Many of Frank Poe’s original works were lewd, crude, and even creepy (and I don’t mean in the bone-chilling sense!). One night, my cousin and I were taking turns reading from the book and agreed that many of the stories are somewhat voyeuristic, like you’re reading someone’s deepest, darkest S&M fantasies that they’ve recorded on paper. There were odd tales of cross-species relationships (‘The Spider and the Fly’), brutal rape and abuse, and cannibalism (‘Deliverance Vs. Silence of the Lambs’). I think what bothered me the most about thse stories is that I didn’t feel as though I gained anything from reading these stories… None of the stories had a "moral". The one involving rape was simply a tale of a woman getting raped and what was passing through her mind during the event. I read for entertainment, so I just don't feel like I gained anything from a story like that.
That said, Poe’s stories are very well written and just as dark and twisted as his predecessor’s. The stories are conveniently quick, so you can read one or two at a time and pick up again later when you have time. I thought the introduction was particularly interesting, where Poe discusses his own brush with death and the revelation that it brought. Frank’s belief in reincarnation brings to mind the premise behind Steve Lindahl’s Motherless Soul.
I’m on the fence with my overall opinion of this book- I loved the stories that were more Edgar Allan Poe-like, but conversely, didn’t enjoy the other pieces. If you like Poe, I would recommend you check out Raven Wings- there’s plenty to impress! If you are easily put off by the subject matter mentioned above, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. Unlike Edgar Poe, who’s works were dark but nothing beyond what I’d rate PG or PG13, some of Frank Poe’s pieces lean from R to X. I would most definitely caution that this doesn’t fall into the hands of younger readers, as the content is very explicit!...more
In Cold War Era Moscow, the KGB worked relentlessly to infiltrate the American intelligence services with spies and informers in an effort to obtain wIn Cold War Era Moscow, the KGB worked relentlessly to infiltrate the American intelligence services with spies and informers in an effort to obtain whatever data they possibly could. One day, Valery Sevastoposky got lucky, and snagged himself a big fish in the CIA codenamed “Badger”. For years, Sevastoposky operated as Badger’s handler, receiving information about the Americans as well as any KGB informers that the Americans had managed to turn. When the Soviet Union fell at the end of the Cold War, Sevastoposky decided it was his time to get out of Russia and find a new start in America.
With a change of name, some stashed cash, and a little luck in the form of a woman named Midge, “George” managed to find his way to the U.S. without any incident from the Russians. Unfortunately, George’s luck doesn’t last long. From the moment George arrives in New York, he runs into trouble. He manages to find a job, but it’s a less that honorable post working as a thug for a Russian gang. He manages to make a friend, but doesn’t truly trust anyone he works with, since he knows the FBI has informers. If the FBI discovers who he is, his information could pass to the CIA, where Badger will discover his whereabouts. Being outed as a KGB mole in the CIA would be bad news for Badger, so George has to keep a low profile or risk becoming a target. Unfortunately, George doesn’t have much opportunity to live the American Dream before he comes home to find he has received a letter from Badger. Now, George has to work fast and tap into his training as a spy in order to outsmart Badger before it’s too late.
If you love espionage, you’ll love this book! It’s got a lot of excitement- it’s action-packed and you never know who to trust! Just when you think something is going to happen one way, Wygant surprises you with a twist that completely alters the situation. The book is well written, with a very straightforward plot. There are no sub-plots to the story, just George moving to the U.S. and unsuccessfully trying to stay off of the KGB radar. I love that there aren’t a lot of frivolous descriptions and details, such as George’s appearance (unless he’s putting on a disguise), because it ensures that the book is nothing but the story. I never found myself becoming bored with what I was reading, and towards the end, I couldn’t put it down! From the descriptions given, I was able to imagine all of the things George was doing and seeing. For some reason I imagine George as a cross between Lucas North (from BBC’s Spooks) and Niko Bellic (from Grand Theft Auto IV). Wygant’s writing is simple and straightforward, but paints a vivid picture of life in Little Odessa and all of George’s activities.
This book has a gritty side- no romance or close friends in this story! George is primarily a loner aside from hanging with Fungo, another gang thug. His marriage in Russia was in tatters, and his relationship with Midge was formed purely out of necessity. George uses women as a means to an end on more than one occasion, lies compulsively, and throws others under the bus (figuratively) in an effort to preserve and advance himself in life. Wygant emphasizes the solitary nature of George by spending very little time on character development for the other characters in the book. Most characters are introduced long enough to serve their purpose and are otherwise rarely mentioned in the story. Fungo is the only exception to this, as he becomes the only friend that George has throughout the book. Everyone else is merely an expendable asset, serving some purpose and then no longer of use to George, so there’s no point in getting to know them.
This book was my first foray into the espionage/thriller genre of books, and I don’t think I could have had a better introduction! This book is packed with paranoia and suspense that’ll have you eager to find out what’s going to happen next. I will definitely check out the sequel to The Spy’s Demise, and look forward to future works by this author!...more
Even with the protection of Thalia’s tree, the campers at Camp Half Blood know it’s only a matter of time before Kronos finds a way to breach the protEven with the protection of Thalia’s tree, the campers at Camp Half Blood know it’s only a matter of time before Kronos finds a way to breach the protective barriers and an attack is imminent. By chance, Percy discovers how they might achieve this, and the campers quickly develop a plan to try and defend the camp. Meanwhile, Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson head off on yet another quest- this time to head off Luke and his minions. The heroes must find a mythological item called the string of Daedelus, which can guide Luke to the camp. If they can get it first, perhaps they can foil his plan.
Traversing the fabled Labyrinth to find Daedelus is dangerous work. The characters have only a few days to succeed and face the extreme likelihood that they will get lost. While in the Labyrinth, they will have to face new monsters, make difficult decisions, and discover new allies. Some friends will be made and some will be lost. A glimpse of the true extent of Percy’s power will be seen, and the Olympians worst fear will be realized. What secrets will the campers find hidden in the Labyrinth? Will they foil Luke’s plan?
This book is a turning point in the series- the two sides have built their armies and the final pieces have fallen into place as they prepare for battle. Large amounts of time pass quickly in this book, so the pace is quick. There's certainly no boring points in this book! There’s much to be done before the big battle, so the characters are completing many tasks while on their quest. Many cases that have been left open ended in the previous books are finally dealt with in this book, such as Nico wandering off and Grover's continuing search for Pan. I like that Riordan chose to wrap up many of the loose ends now, rather than holding everything until the end of the series.
As with each of the previous books, the mythology in this book is well researched. I liked that rather than simply dictating the story behind Daedelus and the Labyrinth, Riordan told it through Percy in a series of dreams. All of the characters had a role, and the plot twists kept the book from becoming too predictable. Riordan’s books have a bit of a cookie-cutter outline to them, but he manages to keep his books engaging nonetheless!
One of the major themes in this book is making decisions. The primary focus of the series is the rise of Kronos, but throughout the series he has slowly and thoroughly developed each character so that now, as the end is on the horizon, each of the characters is faced with a tough decision- Percy will be given a chance to escape it all. Nico will have to choose which side to fight on. Annabeth will have to face her indecision between Percy and Luke. As tensions run high, the reader can't help but become emotionally invested in the characters' decisions and their repercussions.
All in all, I’d say this is another excellent part in the Percy Jackson series. For any reader who enjoys mythology and fantasy, this is an enjoyable and easy read! I’m definitely looking forward to reading the final book and finding out how it all ends!...more
Percy Jackson is now 14, and finds himself (yet again) fighting monsters and getting himself into trouble. Luke is still building an army, and the titPercy Jackson is now 14, and finds himself (yet again) fighting monsters and getting himself into trouble. Luke is still building an army, and the titans are growing more powerful. As the titans grow in power, the worst beasts of mythology are resurfacing, joining the titan cause. Annabeth and the goddess Artemis have gone missing, and it’s up to a team of 5 young heroes and Hunters to find them. They trek across the country in their search, occasionally aided by a well-meaning god or goddess. Along the way, they encounter various foes that try to impede their progress and turn them to the titan’s cause.
As I’ve said in my reviews of The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters, these books are an excellent adventure story! Percy once again finds himself traveling across the country, running into a variety of mythical beasts and new friends. Unlike the previous books, the beasties in Titan’s Curse are bigger, meaner, and harder to defeat. The titans are continuing their efforts to rise again and defeat the gods, and old enemies continue in their efforts to destroy Percy and his friends.
This book does an excellent job of keeping the reader on their toes when trying to determine the motives of each character. Who will join which side? Who is truly good or truly evil? Who will stay on at Camp Half Blood, and who will go? Up to the last, you are surprised by actions of the characters and even encounter a couple of huge surprises that will definitely become major plot devices in the remaining books.
One thing I love about Rick Riordan’s writing is that everything has a purpose. When you meet a character, or the character notices something in their surroundings, you know it plays a part. Sometimes that part is immediately obvious, but other times they come up again later and surprise you! Generally I would complain that this trait tends to make a book predictable, however that was not the case with The Titan’s Curse. Up until the end, Riordan continued to drop plot twists that amazed me!
The one thing that continues to bother me about these books is how incredibly daft Percy seems to be! As mentioned in my review of Sea of Monsters, he refuses to learn anything about Greek mythology. He continues to find himself up against mythical beasts and wondering, “Who fought this before? How did they beat it?” If I suddenly learned I would be fighting the worst monsters in history, I’d go home and do my homework! And yet, another year passes with Percy never having any clue as to who the other characters are talking about or what sorts of monsters he’s facing! It’s no wonder Percy never goes on his quests alone, considering he’d be dead within a day on his own! Most of his success in battle can simply be attributed to miraculous amounts of luck- and not ingenuity or preparation.
Aside from Percy’s short-sightedness, this book is yet another installment in an exciting and interesting tale that I believe anyone, young or old, would enjoy! Percy Jackson takes you on a modern adventure through ancient Greek myths and legends and gives new life to the stories. The reading is quick and easy, and I got through the book within a day. If you enjoy escaping into a good book for a few hours, check out Percy Jackson!...more