I've mentioned before how much of a fan of Usagi Yojimbo I am, so I'm not going to go through all of what makes the series, characters, and stories soI've mentioned before how much of a fan of Usagi Yojimbo I am, so I'm not going to go through all of what makes the series, characters, and stories so good. This is the 32nd collection of stories featuring the character, and that longevity alone should tell you how good they are. In fact, I've found myself recommending this series to people who are looking for comic recommendations, regardless of what their main interest is. You want something with good art? Usagi Yojimbo. You want something with good characters? Usagi Yojimbo. You want good stories? History? Something for all ages? Stories with courage and honor and a touch of humor? USAGI YOJIMBO.
Two Hundred Jizo continues with the story of Usagi, our wandering rabbit samurai, and anyone who has read and enjoyed his adventures before will find a lot to like here. Usagi represents the samurai ideal, and he and the people with whom he surrounds himself are honorable and admirable, while the people he goes up against in his adventures are avaricious, petty, and rash. It's easy to define the good guys and the bad guys in the story, and Sakai does an outstanding job of pitting them against each other in short morality plays that are fantastically drawn, and are inspired by real Japanese history.
This collection has a few bonus stories included, as well, with a couple of comical "interviews" with Usagi by Stan Sakai himself, and one at the end of the collection where Sakai shows us how he goes from idea to finished product when he creates a story. He doesn't just repeat a story already included in the collection, either; he creates a new story to showcase his creative process. It's a fascinating examination into his craft, mostly because it's such a simple process.
If you haven't started reading Usagi Yojimbo, you should, and as soon as possible. You might want to start at the beginning, so volume 29 might not be for you. If you've been reading the series up till now . . . well, I suppose you've already read this one, too. We should be friends!...more
I wasn't sure what I was going to think about this book. My wife didn't like it that much, and the main characters weren't very likable. But this wasI wasn't sure what I was going to think about this book. My wife didn't like it that much, and the main characters weren't very likable. But this was the same guy who wrote Stargirl, so it was hard for me to quit reading. I felt like if I stuck with it, the payout would be pretty good. Sure enough, it was.
The thing is, getting to what makes the book so good isn't easy. David is a nine-year-old boy who has lost his mother, and now lives in a new town with his grandmother while his dad spends his weeks out of town working. David has a lot of anger, and he directs it toward his grandmother, who takes it because she feels like it's how he copes with his mother's death. Primrose is a thirteen-year-old he meets in this town, and while she has some Stargirl-like characteristics, she's about as abrasive an unlikable as David is. She has a lot of anger toward her mother, who is a flighty woman who tries to make a living as a fortune teller, enough so that she has moved out into the driveway to live in a wheel-less van. David and Primrose strike up an unlikely friendship that is driven as much by their contempt for each other as anything else. Regardless, they grow very close.
David and Primrose each have something they wish to experience with their missing parents: David was supposed to do something with his mother the day after she died; and Primrose is looking for something that she thinks all children should experience with their mothers. By the end of the novel, David and Primrose are able to provide those things for each other, since their life situations are such that it would be impossible for them to get that from their mothers. It's a little predictable, and ends on an almost saccharine-sweet note, but the relationship between David and Primrose carries the story. That I could still care about what happened to them both when they were both so disagreeable was impressive in itself.
The book seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it book, and I can see why, but I really enjoyed the story. It might have helped that I started with Stargirl, which is a much more positive book, but considering that the book deals with death, it wasn't setting out to be a positive story to begin with. But the journey from there to here is certainly interesting....more
In The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick created one story in two media, prose and art. In Wonderstruck he does the same thing, but this time there aIn The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick created one story in two media, prose and art. In Wonderstruck he does the same thing, but this time there are two concurrent stories taking place. Instead of alternating the story between one medium and another, he tells one story with art and one story with prose. I loved the way Selznick told the story of Hugo, using art in place of narrative to keep the story moving, but I found the technique he uses in Wonderstruck to be more effective. Part of it is due to the characters and the importance of one medium over the other in relation to who they are, but I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you why.
The dustjacket on the book says little about the story inside, save that it's about two people from different time periods who are on a mission of self-discovery, and really, that's all anyone needs to know about this story. Part of what makes it such a joy to read is the way Selznick reveals the story one tiny piece at a time, and spoiling anything about it would only take that joy away from anyone else. It's somewhat frustrating, since I want to talk about the moments of brilliance that pepper this book, but if you've read The Invention of Hugo Cabret, then you should have an idea of what's in store.
The artwork is incredible. It's lush and evocative, and full of little details for devoted readers to pore over. I love the crosshatching style that Selznick uses in his artwork, and I like the way he uses graphite to evoke a sense of texture in all of the illustrations. The paper used to print the book is smooth, but looking at the pictures, you'll be tempted to rub the artwork just to get a sense of that texture he creates. You might even think that some of that graphite will come off on your fingertips, too.
I don't know if this story is better than Hugo; since he's already written a book in this style, it won't strike anyone as new, and the story isn't any more or less resonant than Hugo. He does seem to have developed his talent for combining the two types of storytelling, so at the very least there's a sense of maturity to the story that, while Hugo doesn't lack, at least isn't quite as mature as this one. Anyone who enjoyed one, though, deserves to read the other, too....more
It's no secret that this trilogy is about killing God. Even if the underlying story of the entire trilogy didn't spell it out for you, Pullman himselfIt's no secret that this trilogy is about killing God. Even if the underlying story of the entire trilogy didn't spell it out for you, Pullman himself does in different interviews. He takes pride in it, in a way that to me seems like the way a bully will take pride in the way he beats down those weaker than he is. He seems to gloat about it, not just in his interviews, but in the narrative of the story itself.
I mentioned in my review of The Subtle Knife that the story itself sometimes lacked subtlety in the way Pullman told it, and now that I've finished the entire series, I can see that the entire trilogy lacks subtlety. It's not that the theme of the trilogy is a topic of discussion. There's no need to talk about what Dust represents, or what Pullman could be saying about churches in the real word based on how he portrays the church in the books, or even what the Authority could represent; Pullman states it bluntly in the books themselves, leaving no interpretation of events to the reader. He went into this series not with a story, but with an agenda, around which the story developed. It reminded me of the worst of Cory Doctorow's fiction in that respect.
I feel like it's important to note that I'm not attacking this series as a Christian offended by the ideas in this books. In fact, I'm an atheist, so it seems like this sort of story would be something I would appreciate. I just find the entire series inconsistent. If you're writing a series with an atheist agenda, why set up a world of spiritualism at all? Why use that as a backdrop for the entire trilogy, and go so far as to include a physical representation of people's souls? What's the point in building up that kind of world and make it the basis for the most genuine relationships in the books if you're just setting all that up to destroy them? Wouldn't it make more sense to frame the story outside of any religion, mysticism, or spiritualism to avoid that kind of association?
The books could have been much more impactful and interesting if Pullman had used more symbolism and ambiguity along the way. Aside from not alienating the group of people you might be trying to reach, the message would have been received more effectively had it been planted instead of being pounded into the ground. I noticed in one interview with Pullman regarding this series that he was surprised that there was more controversy over the relatively harmless magic in the Harry Potter series when his series was much more overt in theme. I think it had to do with the potential for those ideas to actually reach the reader. Not that J.K. Rowling is pushing an atheist agenda on her readers, but when you couch those kinds of ideas in a compelling, exciting, powerful story, they reach further into the audience. With Pullman's lack of subtlety, the tone of his story comes across as antagonistic, arrogant, and petty.
In the end, I just didn't find the series to be all that interesting. The Golden Compass was a good read that resonated with its potential, but each successive book became less interesting. It didn't help that each novel centered on a different world, thus breaking up the flow of the story that was established in the first book. I know the series is considered an epic tale comparable to The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia, but aside from Pullman effectively capturing the relationships between people and their dæmons, I don't see that at all. Even Lewis' Christian allegory isn't as brow-beating as this series is....more
Like Castle in the Air, House of Many Ways is less a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, and more another story that happens in the same world that featurLike Castle in the Air, House of Many Ways is less a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, and more another story that happens in the same world that features the central characters from the first book. I actually like that idea more than having the books be direct sequels (I think it opens the stories up to be more than just revisiting the main characters again), but I've discovered that how much I liked each individual book depended on how much I liked the main characters.
Howl's Moving Castle was a book where I had a hard time getting into the characters, since they weren't all that likable from the start. They grew on me, though, and by the end, it was them that made me like the book as much as I did. With Castle in the Air, I liked the main characters right from the start, and it turned out to be my favorite of the series. House of Many Ways, though, was a lot harder to get into because of Charmain.
Charmain is a bookworm, and at the start of the novel, she's sent to her uncle's house to keep it in order while he's away for a while. When she gets there, the place is a wreck, with dishes and laundry scattered all over the kitchen, but she doesn't want to do anything about it. Once an apprentice arrives and more or less forces her to start doing chores, she does them, but complains the whole time about it, and her way of dealing with it is to seclude herself and ignore it as much as she can. She's pretty insufferable, and since she's the main character, it's harder to get into the story or really care about what's happening around her. In Howl's Moving Castle, we ultimately learn why Howl and Sophie are acting like they do, and it helps us like them, but Charmain never changes.
Fans of Diana Wynne Jones or fans of the series will probably want to read this novel, but I can't honestly recommend it, even for Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer's cameos. It might have been a better book had it been a standalone book in another universe, but even then, Charmain would have to be a more likable character. It was ultimately disappointing....more
Sometimes it's hard to pick the next book I want to read (new stuff usually beats out old stuff, and the new stuff I have is numerous enough to make iSometimes it's hard to pick the next book I want to read (new stuff usually beats out old stuff, and the new stuff I have is numerous enough to make it difficult to select what I really really want to read next), so it's good to implement a system to help me pick the next one. This time, I decided that I had been putting off finishing up some series I had started, and figured I would go through them in reverse order from the time I read the first book. That put the Howl's Moving Castle series at the top of the list.
It's not a secret that this book is the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle -- it's a series title in Goodreads, and it's noted there on the cover of the book itself, too -- but I think readers would get the most out of it if they didn't know that it was a sequel to begin with. As it is, you don't find the connection between the two books until halfway into this one, and even then, you won't understand all of the connections until you read the entire book. Neither Sophie, Howl, nor Calcifer are the featured characters in the book, and while that isn't a bad thing (Abdullah carries this story well enough on his own), it's misleading to think of this as a sequel to the first book. Instead, think of this as another book set in the same world as Howl and his castle.
Castle in the Air opens on Abdullah, a carpet merchant in Zanzib, a fictional Arabian city, who buys a magic carpet. That carpet takes him on an adventure of his dreams -- quite literally -- when he meets Flower-in-the-Night a beautiful princess who is destined to marry the first man she meets. Abdullah being the first man she meets (for her father the king kept her isolated until he could ind a suitable husband for her), she falls in love with him, and he with her, but of course the princess then goes missing and it becomes Abdullah's purpose to find and rescue her.
Howl's Moving Castle wasn't always the most compelling book I had ever read -- it had a lot of charm and was a happy story, it just suffered a bit from pacing -- but Castle in the Air is just a straight-up fun book to read. It had the perfect cast of characters, enough so that even though I was expecting it to be a sequel, I was never disappointed that it wasn't, and had the right amount of intrigue and plot to keep me turning pages. It had me laughing at parts, grinning at others, and by the end of the book, I was engrossed with the joy of the story.
So, even if you haven't read Howl's Moving Castle (and, honestly, you really should), you should read Castle in the Air. It's the kind of story you want to share with other people, and envy them the excitement of getting to read it for the first time....more
I adored Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, enough so that as soon as this book hit the stores, I went out to buy it. What impressed me theI adored Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, enough so that as soon as this book hit the stores, I went out to buy it. What impressed me the most about the first novel was the way that Riggs managed to capture the heart of a relationship between two people, enough so to make me feel so connected to them that when one of them died, it was a gut-wrenching affair. This isn't an easy thing to do in fiction (at least, in some of the fiction I've read, it appears to be a hard thing to do), but he managed to do so within about 30 pages. I still recommend that book to folks, for that very reason.
Hollow City, on the other hand, doesn't have that deftness of characterization. In fact, most of the characters feel very two-dimensional, including the main characters who were introduced to us in the first novel. I'm not sure if this is because the author assumes we're already familiar with them, but it was a bit disappointing to miss what made the first one such a joy to read.
Also, the first novel was fairly self-contained, as far as the setting went. The children were all on Miss Peregrine's island, safe, secure, and isolated; in Hollow City, the children are forced to leave the island, taking them on a journey through a lot of different places as they attempt to save Miss Peregrine's life. It made the novel feel very disjointed and forced, since it felt more like a string of random occurrences than a well-crafted plot. It might have been the photos that drove that development, though. In the book, it was clear when Riggs was reaching the point where he was describing the photo (other than the photos being the point where something really strange was about to happen, the level of description changed to make it very clear), and it felt like he was structuring the story around the photos rather than the other way around. I don't remember the details of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children well enough to know if it felt that way in that book, but I don't recall noticing it.
Speaking of forced, the relationship between Jacob and Emma felt that way, too. It wasn't that I didn't buy it so much as I didn't understand its relevance beyond how Riggs used it to create some tension near the end of the story. It seemed like it could have been a more central subplot, but instead it felt like it was used just as a means to an end. A young peculiar and an old one; why not take more time to develop the challenges there, instead of just throwing that potential away?
All that being said, though, it's clear that Riggs is a good writer. He has moments of poignancy, both in his writing and in how he sets a scene, enough so to make me take a step back from the story and admire the way that he puts his words together. He seems to have a good understanding of human nature, and a good way of translating that into his stories. Even if the story gets a little clunky, those moments kept me reading, and besides, I can't pretend like I wasn't engaged through the story. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.
So, yes, I enjoyed the novel, but I wanted to enjoy it a lot more. I'll continue reading the series, if for no other reason than to pick up after the cliffhanger ending of this volume, but I hope the next one will feel more like the first one....more
Take one piece Monty Python, one piece Looney Tunes, and a dash of The Usual Suspects (maybe just a skosh, even), and what you wind up with is somethiTake one piece Monty Python, one piece Looney Tunes, and a dash of The Usual Suspects (maybe just a skosh, even), and what you wind up with is something called Fortunately, the Milk, Neil Gaiman's latest kids' book. It's short (not short enough to be a picture book, even though there are a lot of illustrations that are pretty critical to the story), witty (just enough to keep the grown-ups interested, but not so much that it flies over the kids' heads), and entertaining (perfect for everyone), and it's just what one would expect from Neil Gaiman.
In this story, two kids are getting ready for breakfast when they realize that they are out of milk. Their dad takes it upon himself to go out and get some milk for his children (the fact that he will also need some for his tea is just a happenstance), but then they're left waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more, When he does come out, the first question the kids have is "Where have you been all this time?", and the answer he gives is the story we find in this book.
This book is a bit of a love letter from Gaiman to his fans. There's nothing serious or profound about the book (there's really not even a plot), but it contains a lot of typical Gaiman imagery, language, humor, and settings, which is what makes his books so much fun to read. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is a book that deserves to be read aloud, all in one sitting. Whether or not you want to read it to kids (its intended audience) or your significant other is up to you....more
My appreciation for Jasper Fforde and his novels knows no bounds. The Thursday Next series was and continues to be brilliant; the Nursery Crimes serieMy appreciation for Jasper Fforde and his novels knows no bounds. The Thursday Next series was and continues to be brilliant; the Nursery Crimes series, while not quite as interesting, was still terribly clever; and the beginning of the Chromatacia series didn’t disappoint. So it was without hesitation that I bought this YA novel, since it had Fforde’s name on the cover.
In The Last Dragonslayer, Fforde takes us to a modern-day England where magic is present, dragons exist (well, a dragon exists), and people are having premonitions of a big, big change coming soon. The main character, Jennifer Strange, runs an agency that uses wizards for modern-day repairs. Apparently, it’s a lot easier for wizards to magic out old pipes and replace them with something better, instead of a plumber ripping out walls to have to do the same thing. Wizards don’t live the glamorous life, but they can still make a living. But when a new wizardly recruit joins the agency, and the premonitions of the last dragon dying start to become more prevalent, things start to become more and more engaging for Jennifer.
The story is very much a typical Fforde one, but not because it has the cleverness and witticisms of his previous works. In fact, I found that a lot of that was missing in the book; is it because the book was targeted for a younger audience, and he didn’t want to lose his readers? I don’t know. But what really makes this story a Fforde one is through the character of Jennifer Strange. She is very much a Thursday Next clone in personality. She’s clever and fast-thinking, and smarter than those who are trying to undermine her efforts. She manages an organization that’s always threatening to come apart at the seams, and knows all the ins-and-outs of the regulations that run the organization. She’s become so familiar with the oddness of her job that she takes all the new quirks and weirdness of her days in stride. She even has a pet with a one-word vocabulary! I guess if the character has proven to be successful, then it’s easy to import that same character into a story for a younger audience, but I was disappointed that she was so similar to Thursday.
The story also jumps back and forth from being a serious story to being a comedy of errors, but that’s pretty typical of all Fforde’s work, so that’s not so much a complaint as it is a characteristic. And it’s not a bad story, to be honest, but it just seems very weak and light, compared to his other series. To see Fforde move from the light-heartedness of both the Thursday Next and Nursery Crimes series to the more serious Chromatacia series suggested that he was moving on to deeper territory. To then read what seems to be a step backward behind all three series was a bit of a let-down. It’s a good book, no doubt, and certainly something to suggest to younger readers looking to scratch the modern fantasy itch, but I can’t help but feel like it could have been a lot better.
That being said, if this turns out to be a series, I’m sure I’ll keep reading them. Fforde’s a natural when it comes to telling a story, and really, isn’t that most important?...more
I keep thinking that Colfer has run the well dry with the Artemis Fowl series, but he keeps proving me wrong. I've been impressed with the way he's deI keep thinking that Colfer has run the well dry with the Artemis Fowl series, but he keeps proving me wrong. I've been impressed with the way he's developed the series from the money-making machinations of Artemis to being something a little more full-fledged, with Artemis becoming more likable over the course of the series. It was a risky move, considering that a lot of fans probably liked the anti-hero of Artemis, but Colfer didn't just decide to make Artemis a nice guy; he slowly steered the series in that direction. There's still some distrust from the faeries regarding Artemis, which is showcased in the opening scene of the novel, but there's also a lot of support for him from that same group. It's a nice balancing act, and Colfer has done well in pulling this tactic off in previous novels. It lends more to future stories, and expands the potential for the series.
That being said, though, I had a hard time getting in to this novel. It starts off with a scene where Artemis is suffering from OCD, managing everything to be in multiples of five, from the times he taps his finger to the number of words in his sentences. I think Colfer manages to capture the OCD well -- not just in the rituals, but in the way that said rituals interfere with his life -- but the change in Artemis' character is so severe that I thought maybe I had missed a book in the series that explained where this happened. It turns out that this affliction is part of the novel's plot, but the way the book started was so jarring that it almost lost me before I got well enough into the book.
Once I did get well enough into the book, though, it didn't really improve. The short of it is that very little happens in this book. There's a plot, and there are enough little details going on around it to keep the readers interested, but ultimately, the story is just centered around that one plot, and the orbiting subplots remain unresolved by the end of the novel. In fact, the whole story reads as one long setup for a future book. In earlier novels, the entire plot would cover the first 50-75 pages, and then launch into the larger plot, where the larger story lay. It was disappointing, in a number of ways, mostly because I know that the author can do better than this.
You probably won't be able to stop a die-hard Artemis Fowl fan from reading this book, but believe me, don't waste your time. Even if the second book redeems a lot of the details that are left unresolved with this one, it's worth waiting until that book comes out before reading this one....more
One of the things I've enjoyed about Sharon Creech's novels is the way that she takes several seemingly disconnected threads of her story and weaves tOne of the things I've enjoyed about Sharon Creech's novels is the way that she takes several seemingly disconnected threads of her story and weaves them together into a complete tale that makes perfect sense, once seen from the right perspective. They also have a habit of coming full-circle, so that it's almost like looking at a Möbius strip, and in The Castle Corona, the author doesn't disappoint in this respect.
The thing of it is, when one is more attuned to the fact that this is how the author writes her stories, one begins to be able to successfully predict large parts of the story. It spoils the surprise, and makes the story less effective. In addition, the characters in The Castle Corona aren't as interesting as other characters that she has created for other books, so it's a little harder to get into the story to begin with. They're still likable, and I think that readers will still care about what happens to them, but there just seems to be something missing. Maybe it's just the characters themselves; not a lot happened in the book, and the characters seemed to develop only a tiny bit by the end of the story. They just leave me unsatisfied, as if there were something big and huge in their lives just waiting to happen, and then the story stops just before that thing happens.
There are major events that take place, but they're few and far between, and their impact, while important, doesn't seem to have a truly lasting effect. Ultimately, I think the book's wasted potential is what frustrates me the most. I know that the author can write moving, important stories, and I even see hints of it in The Castle Corona. Knowing that she could, but didn't, is what bothers me the most about this book....more
So, we've made it to the third book, and the comparisons between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter are few and far between. In fact, now that they've beeSo, we've made it to the third book, and the comparisons between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter are few and far between. In fact, now that they've been established in the first two books, they really aren't that prevalent any more. I couldn't find much to say about the series' similarities, but I found it interesting that the series starts with the characters needing to get to the camp in a hurry, and taking a flying car to get there. Still, the circumstances are a little different, and I know that I'm actively looking for these comparisons now, so I'm probably a little more sensitive to them. Anyway....
There's not really much to say that I haven't covered in the other two books in the series, and I don't really see much point in discussing the plot that much, anyway. Anyone reading the series won't want to know what's going to happen, and anyone who didn't make it past the first book won't care, anyway. It's still fun, readable, and exciting, which are all the important things for a book with its kind of audience, so what more do you need to know?...more
With book two of the Percy Jackson series, I’ve come to find more comparisons with the Harry Potter series:
- The "Big Evil" is slowly attempting to coWith book two of the Percy Jackson series, I’ve come to find more comparisons with the Harry Potter series:
- The "Big Evil" is slowly attempting to come back to life by recruiting and taking over people to assist him. - The camp now has a set of twins who are renowned pranksters. - Percy seems to get involved in everything, one way or another, even when the quests in question aren’t even his own.
Of course, it still doesn’t matter, since the stories are compelling enough as they are, and are a lot of fun to read. Stay tuned for more similarities as I continue with the series....more
**spoiler alert** Years ago, I read the first book in the Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo, knowing that it was a shameless rip-off of the Harry Pot**spoiler alert** Years ago, I read the first book in the Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo, knowing that it was a shameless rip-off of the Harry Potter series. I was OK with it, but at the same time, I wasn’t expecting the book to be very good, and wasn’t really disappointed, but I was also going into the book with an attitude against it simply because it was trying very hard to be Harry Potter. The book failed for me before it started, really, but such is the case with books that I see as trying to cash in on another popular trend.
Percy Jordan is very much another Harry Potter clone. Let’s look at his character for a moment: He’s a normal kid, living a life of occasional weirdness, and he lives with his doting mother and beast of a stepfather. During the course of the opening of the book, he realizes that he has a lineage that is larger than he ever realized, and over time he realizes that he’s part of a larger prophecy, as well. Over the course of this discovery, he learns that he is a Half-Blood, and travels to a summer camp where others of his kind get training and an opportunity to be among their own kind. While he’s there, he makes a couple of friends along the way, one of whom is male and a bumbling sort of sidekick, the other of whom is female and an experienced, knowledgeable friend. He also makes enemies with another Half-Blood, partly because of some bad family history between the two of them. At the camp, there is one leader who is kind to Percy, and willing to take exceptional risks to help him advance, while there is another leader who takes a dislike to Percy and works toward making his existence there as difficult as possible. Percy also sets out on a quest, where it’s discovered that there’s an ancient evil looking toward world destruction and domination, and that this evil may even be stronger than the most powerful among the good guys. Of course, that evil isn’t defeated in the first book, but it’s very clear that this is only the start of a larger, epic story that will be comprised of smaller battles that are waged against the backdrop of this larger war versus good and evil.
So, it’s a thinly veiled rip-off, but the real point of it all is this: It doesn’t matter. I may be a little slow and dense, but it didn’t occur to me until the last 40 pages of the book that this was just a re-telling of the Harry Potter book, and the story was gripping and compelling enough for me to not really care when I realized it. Sure, once I started looking further into the similarities, I found myself a little disappointed, but the author managed to pull it off well enough that I found myself not caring. Plus, he made little changes in the details along the way to prevent it from being a carbon copy of the other series.
It also got me thinking about archetypal characters and stories, and how certain stories speak to a group of people on a subconscious level. In addition, I thought about how both the Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series (that I know of it so far, at least) are comprised of hero’s tales, which follow a rather prescribed format. Shoot, in relation to a story that’s told using Greek mythology, it makes perfect sense. So it may be less of a rip-off and more of a timeless story. Either way, though, it’s certainly worth reading. It’s definitely been a long time since I’ve been this excited about reading an entire series!...more