Language: Very beautiful and lyrical. I liked the rhythm of it as well as the word choices.
Maerad was quite well developed, with a backstory, and we get to see her in many interactions, as well as her many actions.
Cadvan was the most fascinating character to me, and he's also very well developed. He has a mysterious backstory which is never fully revealed. Even after the little section in the appendix, there's so much left unexplained. I still don't understand why he's always able to get Maerad back to the present (at least, before her "madness".) We also get to see a lot of his interactions and a lot of his different personality sides. Maybe that's why he feels so well developed. That appendix section about his childhood just makes him even more mysterious and fascinating. He's now on the list of my favorite characters ever!
Ardina was so cool.
Arkan/ The Winter King is creepy yet so cool at the same time. We never know whose side he's on! At least Ardina is more clearly HELPING Maerad...
Hem I liked, but I'm personally more interested in reading about his sister...
Dernhill was also so interesting! What a shame that he died so early!
Maerad and Cadvan: I was still VERY surprised that they became a couple. Seriously, given their age difference, I really thought theirs was a father-daughter relationship...I guess not. Well, as long as they're happy, I suppose, and maybe it matters less since they're both bards? But then Cadvan does die about 100 years earlier than Maerad does (at least, that's what the dates seem to say.)--- I was surprised that they never married though. I wonder why.
But BEFORE it veered into romance, I really liked their relationship as friends, teacher and student, kind of father and daughter. So uh, as delirious as the romance in the end was...never mind. That part when Maerad was a wolf in Pellinor, and saw that Cadvan was alive, then transformed back to herself and bounded to him and embraced him, was a really touching scene. But at that time, I seriously thought it was no more than a friendship/ father-daughter/ teacher-student relationship...why the romance?
Hem and Irk: So cute! I love Irk so much.
Hem and Saliman: Their father-son relationship was kind of sweet.
Favorite character? I like a lot of them, but unfortunately I will have to be totally unoriginal and choose Percy. XDD I still think he's on...more*spoilers*
Favorite character? I like a lot of them, but unfortunately I will have to be totally unoriginal and choose Percy. XDD I still think he's one of the most likable characters I've ever met, lol--even with the typical fantasy hero traits.
Haha, as PJ is a children's / teen's series, I'm glad they skipped over some more disturbing parts of Greek mythology. The adultery/ promiscuity of the gods was shocking enough (or maybe the gods wouldn't call it "adultery", maybe just "polygamy" XP, something like how the kings and emperors had tons of wives and concubines...); but there was also a lot of rape, as well as incest, in Greek mythology. O_O
Despite those....not-so-pleasant things, Rick Riordan made the gods much more sympathetic, even nicer, in his story. In mythology, I hated Poseidon, but the Poseidon here was actually quite likable, not the jerk or a-hole that I would expect him to be, haha. Zeus was so-so--never liked him anyway. Artemis was awesome. (Partly because she reminds me of one of my favorite fictional characters ever, Artemis Fowl XD) Aphrodite was funny. Athena was less friendly than I expected. Hephaestus was gruff, but I understand why he would be so, and I think he's cool anyway. Ares was mean and annoying yet also quite funny. Hades was hilarious (recall his speech about why he doesn't want more people to come into his Hades, and his annoyance when Percy asked him to give so-and-so a pay raise) XD Apollo (and his haikus) was very hilarious. And I actually really liked Hermes. : ) Oh--and Dionysus--Mr.D, how could I forget him. He's such an ambivalent character, lol, but he's always very entertaining. :D
Random lines that I liked (approximately quoted):
Poseidon: Just pray-- Percy: I am praying. I'm talking to you right now. Poseidon: Er, right. Good point.
Something about Mr D saying oh no, it will be the end of the world, and I won't be able to defeat the final level of Pac man XD
My favorite exchange ever:
Thalia: Wow, Apollo's hot! Percy: He's the sun god. Thalia: That's not what I meant!
But I thought Percy was really funny all the way through (except during the super tense parts). He has a good sense of humor. ^^
------I really liked the theme of parenthood that Hermes talks about. How it's hard to be a god-parent (*laughs at pun*) because you can't/ are not supposed to intervene directly to help your children.
-------I sighed when Rick Riordan started shipping Annabeth and Percy. I really was hoping that there would be no romance this time, but...oh well.
------Nico the Hades kid was really cool! It was funny how in the end when they thanked all the heroes, they completely forgot about Nico O_O, even though he clearly played a huge part in the war! I really do sympathize with him though. Bianca died and left him so early. :(
-----It actually quite surprised me that Silena Beauregard was the spy. I thought it could be Annabeth, but obviously I was hoping that I'd be wrong
-------:O I couldn't believe that Clarisse would fall in love, LOL
--------Grover and Tyson are both so adorable and likable ^^ Annabeth I liked too, but unfortunately, I tended to like the male characters more than the female ones in this book...though Artemis might be an exception. :)
--------Chiron is always so cool ^^ And his Party Ponies gang, lol
--------poor Luke. What a tough childhood :(
---------maybe I should feel sorry for Rachel, but--I don't know. I don't feel anything. I don't particularly like her, and I'm not very interested in her either.
Wow, I have never read anything like this series before. It's so impressive!! Just absolutely amazing!
The settings were so detailed a...moreWow, I have never read anything like this series before. It's so impressive!! Just absolutely amazing!
The settings were so detailed and described so beautifully. I've never seen an author take his hills and landscapes so seriously before. This is what I call a "textured" book in its settings. So rich and filled! (Yes, they were at times a bit lengthy, but you have to admit that they were so intricately and carefully written.)
I think people often underestimate the amount of characterization and character development Tolkien does here. Yes, there isn't SUBSTANTIAL development like in Crime and Punishment or Les Miserables, but the characters here are more developed than you might think. I felt Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimili, Pippin, Merry, and even Legolas had their "human and understandable" sides, which makes them less flat than they first seem. (The more "human" part of Legolas was when he befriended Gimili. I thought that was very touching.) More minor characters like Faramir and Beregond felt human too.
Also, Samwise started off flat but became progressively more complex and round as he worked his way towards Mount Doom with Frodo. It's like the more he gets challenged and pushed into tight spots, the more we see the "inner him", the more we see "who he is"! For Frodo, though he doesn't talk or reveal much about himself, you can tell by a few hints here and there that there is something quite complex going on inside him, and a big transformation is taking place without us knowing it. In addition, I thought Eowyn and Denethor were quite developed, because we got to see their "critical psychological moments", in their rage, desperation, or madness when they are pushed to their limits--it's when they are driven to the extreme that they reveal a big part of themselves--that they show us a "psychological deep."
I thought the friendships between the characters were all really touching! E.g. with Gandalf and the hobbits, between Gimili and Legolas, between Aragorn and the rest of the fellowship, between Merry and Pippin, Frodo and Sam, Frodo and Bilbo, and all the hobbits with each other.
Family relationships were touching too. Recall the ones with Theoden, Eomer, and Eowyn. Even between Faramir and Denethor. And Bilbo and Frodo.
Finally, this book was very unique to me as it showed how moving LOYALTY to one's leader or master one loves can be. We are so used to the situation where the leader is bad or corrupt and we must rebel against them. Here's a truly quite heartwarming depiction of how one can have such a great love for a GOOD leader--since good and noble leaders DO exist after all. I was really moved by Beregond's love for Faramir and Sam's love for Frodo. Superficial reading may lead one to think that Sam harbors homoerotic feelings towards his master, but a careful reading would reveal that he does not. (He likes and marries Rose, anyway.) It is a pure sentiment of absolute loyalty, devotion, as well as love. Since when did love for one's leader or master (if they are a GOOD leader or master) get degraded and scorned upon? This kind of love is just as heartrending and worthy as other kinds like romantic love, friendship, and filial love. Sam was really so amazingly devoted to Frodo to the last!
Need I say more? This has got to be one of the grandest and largest fictions I have ever read! Not just in the vast and meticulously detailed settings, but also in the complexity of this world. This world isn't just wide, it feels deep or quite developed as well. You really feel like each tribe/ species (Hobbits/ the Shire, Elves/ Rivendell, Dwarves/Moria, etc.) have their own complete and living history. You also feel like there's a lot of life and PEOPLE in each area you go to too. Hobbiton and the Shire feel especially populated and alive.
But it's not just in the grandeur of the settings and world, it's the sense of depth and seriousness, momentousness, of the history of the Ring itself. With the many rings for each species (a number for the dwarves, a number for the elves, another number for men, etc.), the story of Sauron's war, Isildur getting the ring, dying, then Smeagol getting it, then Bilbo getting it, etc. This sense of HISTORY makes the story feel that much more "substanced" and rich.
The language is sombre, serious, and elaborately wrought without being too fancy or cumbersome. Simply beautiful!
I really liked how refreshingly "simple" the story is, NOT, obviously, in its scale, plot, or characterization (as aforementioned), but in how "black and white" it is. Good and evil are so clearly defined. This is very nice because I'm so used to the grey scale, morally ambivalent stuff. It's quite satisfying to have villains who are COMPLETELY evil that you can just hate all the way; as well as having some heroes who are so perfect that you can just love, revere, and admire all the way!]
The part at the end where Frodo asks Merry and Pippin not to use violence or kill, if possible, was kind of chilling. It made me think of how even good people use violence to "do good" sometimes, whether in wars, or in more mundane affairs like in combating crime. This also reminds me of how God in a way uses violence, by killing whole populations of people by floods, storms, or whatnot because they were worshipping idols or were doing some other evil deeds. Then you get this uncomfortable feeling and you wonder whether all this violence and slaughter is necessary; maybe there is a peaceful way to solve the problem. But then there is the matter of whether such evil villains deserve to be let off so easily by mercy and forgiveness, whether they should be harshly and sufficiently punished instead. So, there is a little bit of moral ambiguity here.
And of course I loved the cross-species romance! But it would be nice if we got to see Arwen a bit more, though I understand that Tolkien might have wanted to keep romance in the background, so to not distract readers from the real story.
This is all I can think of for now. I may add to this review for this very worthy book! My love for the movies is no less. :)(less)