Are there prizes for book cover art designers? Because whoever was responsible for this one should definitely win a prize. I- and it seems I'm not aloAre there prizes for book cover art designers? Because whoever was responsible for this one should definitely win a prize. I- and it seems I'm not alone in this- was completely and totally pulled in with this cover. It seems to be promising such a dark and creepy tale. Mystery, horror, what? Something fascinating and... peculiar. Well, the book is none of those things. It isn't bad per se. It's just not what was implicitly promised by that cover, and I'm frankly not sure that I would have put it on my to-read list with a more accurate picture. Something with an angsty, none too bright, modern day teen boy on the cover. Yeah, probably wouldn't have picked that up. Not exactly running for the sequel. The pictures inside were an interesting touch, though. Hey- goodreads, give us half stars already! If nothing else because you can't divide 5 by 2 without it. How am I supposed to indicate perfectly middling? Why is this such an impossible dream?...more
man this book burrowed under my skin. Creeped me out and drew me in. I couldn't believe how much I was enjoying it, how much I wanted to get back to iman this book burrowed under my skin. Creeped me out and drew me in. I couldn't believe how much I was enjoying it, how much I wanted to get back to it, how much I didn't want to put it down, and continued to think about it as I drove, ate, tried to go to sleep. I was really just expecting a ya (read light, inconsequential, romance driven) zombie novel. Well, it is a zombie novel. And it is about YAs. But I identified with each of these characters, worried about them, and was completely transported to the horrible world they lived in. The danger of these post-apocalyptic/dystopic novels is that I get too worked up by them because I start to obsess about how badly I am cut out for these scenarios. I would go down in the first wave of casualties, or else have great suffering among the survivors because I am ill equipped for a life of non-convenience. But there was enough hope mixed in with the bleakness that I could at least keep going through the novel, and even found myself wanting more when I got to the end....more
I fell in love with Seraphina, the novel and the character. If I were to tell you (assuming you having passing familiarity with fantasy and YA) that II fell in love with Seraphina, the novel and the character. If I were to tell you (assuming you having passing familiarity with fantasy and YA) that I was reading a book about a young girl in a medieval stand in world where dragons existed, you'd probably think that you knew a few things about the book without even reading it. You'd say that our hero is special, she is not like the other girls. She is uncommonly (though naturally) beautiful, and she's smart, and she has opinions that she's unafraid to voice and does so with no consequence in a delightful anachronistic twist to the proceedings. And depending whether the dragons are monsters or noble steeds, she will either be especially adept at vanquishing them, or uncommonly suited to be the next great rider. And of course there will be a handsome prince that she falls in love with after some adorable capers that initially put them at odds.
And yes, Seraphina hits SOME of these points. But it is also so much more. Seraphina is special, and different from those around her. But it's been a long time since I've so thoroughly understood how and why that is. Most of these novels say, "she was brave," "she was smart," etc. Seraphina shows us a young girl using her head, being obstinate, and making a name for herself. At one point, she overhears other girls gossiping about her in not the most flattering terms. She later looks at herself introspectively and wonders if they weren't right in some regards. And we do clearly see her flaws and her realness. But she's no antihero. She's a young woman who is shouldering her burden, and doing the best she can for herself, her family, and even her country. I think of the girls reading this book, and I can't help but think that Seraphina is a thoroughly positive, yet realistic and attainable, role model.
The dragons are similarly inventive. They are fully realized beings, with full lives and agency, and a unique view of their "magical powers," that I won't give away because I think its important to realize it all yourself.
And yes, there is the love interest. But this is no, he rode up on a white horse and save me from the monster and now we are in lurrve, narrative. Her love interest comes naturally. They grow to like each other, they share humor, they value each other's intellects, they work together. Again, refreshing. Even the obstacles thrown in their way (yeah, there have to be obstacles) are dealt with with restraint, and really cause the reader to feel pain and indecision along with Seraphina.
Now some of the surprises were easily figured out, while the bigger ones were well plotted and crafty. This book filled you with that conundrum the best books do: I want to gobble it up and read more and more, but then it will be done, and whatever will I do at the end? This is clearly the beginning of a series, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment. Curses, another series has sucked me in at the beginning. ::shakes fist to the sky::...more
Tying up the trilogy, Rick Riordan again delivers a great little yarn that exposes ancient egyptian mythology to young folks through a modern adventurTying up the trilogy, Rick Riordan again delivers a great little yarn that exposes ancient egyptian mythology to young folks through a modern adventure story. His characters are relatable. The dialogue is snappy. The story is mostly suspenseful with not too much telescoping of plot. It's an all around winner. And Riordan very skillfully shows children of various ethnic and racial backgrounds in various hero roles, which scores him major points. (Though he also lost points for using the word "nappy" as a derogatory between characters when describing one of their hair- first time in the 10 or so books I've read by him that I can recall seeing that). But that's a quibble compared to the good that he puts out there about these kids. Oh, and how excited am I that (view spoiler)[ it is clear that not only is this not the last time he'll write about the Kanes, but that there's going to be crossover with the Heroes of Olympus. I mean if they think there's conflict between the Greeks and Romans, wait until the Egyptians get on the scene to school all them badboys! (hide spoiler)]...more
This was a lovely book. I could imagine really and truly loving it when I was younger, and carrying the story with me always, much as I do "A WrinkleThis was a lovely book. I could imagine really and truly loving it when I was younger, and carrying the story with me always, much as I do "A Wrinkle in Time." That is probably not a coincidence. Though I'd figured out the major plot mystery, getting there was still an intriguing and fulfilling journey, and the small touches of humanity and love, of understanding family from the kid and the adult view point, were really rewarding. I'd come into the book about done with ya, wanting something more sophisticated, meatier. It pleasantly surprised me that without sacrificing the age appropriate nature of the material, the story still satisfied those desires....more
I'm just glad this series is over. No doubt this was much better than the truly awful Brisingr, but that's not much of a bar set. As a young person'sI'm just glad this series is over. No doubt this was much better than the truly awful Brisingr, but that's not much of a bar set. As a young person's first foray into fantasy, sure they can read these (but how young, I don't know, because its like 5,000 pages long (3500 of which are unnecessary.)) But anyone who has read any of the classics will be going through a mental checklist of all the just this side of plagiarism going on, and it may get frustrating. Perhaps I should cut the kid some slack, he was only like 16 and homeschooled when he started writing these. And for all my bellyaching, I kept reading them. I was interested in finding out what happened to our crew, even if I rolled my eyes everytime they narrowly escaped death, etc. ...more
3.5/3.75 stars? Riordan spins a good yarn, and his novels are unfailingly entertaining. But for the first time it started to feel a bit formulaic. See3.5/3.75 stars? Riordan spins a good yarn, and his novels are unfailingly entertaining. But for the first time it started to feel a bit formulaic. Seeing as how this is the 8th book in the greek demigods world, and there are also the three egyptian mythology books that follow a similar outline, I guess that is not such a big disappointment. Riordan continues to make young multicultural characters that quietly show lots of different kids that heroes can look like them, too. I will always be impressed with him for that. The kids are getting older, and so as with Harry Potter, romance is starting to become a real concern. I'm going to watch Riordan carefully, as this book seemed to overwhelm one of the female characters with thoughts of her cute boyfriend. It wasn't a huge issue, just a little out of balance. I have faith that he'll course correct as the series goes on....more
I really enjoyed this book. And I've been forcing myself to put off reading the second one, because I know that I will also enjoy that, and I need toI really enjoyed this book. And I've been forcing myself to put off reading the second one, because I know that I will also enjoy that, and I need to ration myself. And I know that the third is as yet not released, and let's not rush into waiting, you know?
There is something beautiful about a book that takes your typical magical quest story, but makes it about a girl that actually is strong (and has realistic flaws), who is a woman of color, who exists (kind of) in our world, and the *main* concern of the story is not who she will kiss and whether he freaking sparkles. And the kind of parenthetical is where all of the interesting comes in because people, get this: Africa and Ireland joined forces to put a whupping on the Romans. And as far as magic goes, it is practiced by all kinds of people, including those darker than a paper bag, and they are NOT EVIL. Trope, I turn thee on your head. And then, the lawyers are trolls from America, who are actually bird/lizard/dinosaur things. And no, that doesn't offend me.
In all seriousness, the sideways steps into this alternate history are thought provoking and well done, never seeming forced, but as natural to the world as presented. It's a lot to build up, and Elliot does it in a fairly fluid style, trusting her readers to get things that are going on without laying it a plain and betraying the absorption the story surrounds you in.
I would, though, have liked this better if it were not YA. There were a few times when I felt a plot thrown in, just because you got to make the teen girls swoon to sell the books, and it felt a bit silly as compared to the rest of the happenings. It was quite refreshing, though, when a character in the book essentially rolled her eyes and said out loud, "wow, that was just lame," at the same time I was thinking it, so at least Elliott appears to have some shame about it.
But, for as many times as I rolled my eyes, there were as many moments where Elliot genuinely surprised me with "what happened next." And with the magical quest stories, it has been a while since that happened.
One thing I haven't touched on is the relationship between the main character and her cousin. Because really, we don't only have one strong girl, we have two. And believe it or not, they are strong in different ways, because believe it or not, there are different ways for female strength to manifest itself. They play wonderfully off of each other, and their love and devotion to each other seems touching and real, and reminds me why I always wished I had a sister.
I really enjoyed this book, and it is much more like a 4.5 star read. ...more
A fun, quick read. I think it's pretty great how Riordan gets some knowledge to the kiddos while keeping them entertained. And I think it's pretty greA fun, quick read. I think it's pretty great how Riordan gets some knowledge to the kiddos while keeping them entertained. And I think it's pretty great that he's acknowledging that European history and mythology isn't the only fun stuff out there. In his previous books there have been diverse casts of characters, but this one quietly gives us multiracial main characters who are both exceptional and ordinary, which is no mean feat. ...more