An amazing book, truly. The level of detail, atmosphere, characters and the seamless writing all work to bring together a truly inspirational retellinAn amazing book, truly. The level of detail, atmosphere, characters and the seamless writing all work to bring together a truly inspirational retelling of a classic legend from the point of view of the women....more
Quite a weak ending. I didn't really enjoy the first half of the book where she turned back into a child, because it felt completely different from thQuite a weak ending. I didn't really enjoy the first half of the book where she turned back into a child, because it felt completely different from the first two books. However, it was still entertaining and I love Margaret Weis' style....more
**spoiler alert** Just finished it this evening and I have to say, that Rick Riordan is just getting better at what he already does best: mixing the r**spoiler alert** Just finished it this evening and I have to say, that Rick Riordan is just getting better at what he already does best: mixing the real world and mythology by taking you through an incredibly fun, action-packed romp.
I really enjoyed how the whole series is setting itself up, especially the introduction of the Roman aspects of the Gods and the 'other' demigod camp (that has a mind-wiped Percy, what a brilliant twist)! I loved reading about the old beloved characters as well (I didn't think I would like Annabeth so much, but I actually dug her quietly determined worry and the fact that she now calls Percy her boyfriend). Thalia as Jason's sister? My mind boggles at the brilliant and wholly appropriate retconning.
The action was fun as well. I enjoyed meeting a whole load of new minor gods. I liked how Riordan manages to 'namedrop' old references, from villains escaping Tartarus (Midea, Midas) to the battle of Troy and Helen's mirror-knife. The fight scenes were gripping, unbelievable, yet realistic at the same time. And I also enjoyed how Riordan kept you guessing before each big Greek/Roman reveal, it was like a little triumph when you guessed it early and a big 'oh yeah' moment when you finally got told who it was. Ah Gaea. You'll be a formidable enemy. It's making me want to research the creation of the Giants, NOW.
My only gripe is that I don't find myself particularly attached to the three new main characters. I find Leo and Jason's voice quite hard to distinguish between one another, and while I'm sympathetic towards Piper, I think Annabeth was a much better version of what she's trying to be (and Thalia and Rachel for that matter). I think two out of the three of them having famous movie star parents also bugged me for some reason. I guess it is difficult to write steadily in shifting third person perspective, but Riordan's style is so distinctive that I guess it's his voice taking control of the whole book, not so much the characters. I didn't necessarily mind this and hopefully each character's narrative will get more distinctive as the series progresses.
All in all, I really enjoyed it. Bring on The Son of Neptune!...more
I always say that I'm not going to see a movie until I read the book, but this one was definitely a classic andOriginally published at Winged Reviews.
I always say that I'm not going to see a movie until I read the book, but this one was definitely a classic and one that I was recommended and pulled in to see by a lot of my friends. To be honest, I didn't even realise the source material was a book.
I have to say that unlike most book-to-movie adaptations, this one was remarkably close to the source material. I guess I should have expected it because the writer, William Goldman is a screenwriter by trade and he also did the script for the movie. And the movie isn't a classic by chance. It's a tale of love and adventure, humour and fantasy. It has sword fights and giants and princesses and poison. It's has machine that actually sucks the life out of its victims. It also has one of the best movie catchphrases of all time. I did and always will love this story.
What I do have to say about the book in particular is the way the author starts telling the actual story. He's writing as a caricature of himself whose favourite story as a child was The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern, from the fictional country of Florin. He finally tracks down a copy to give to his own son to discover that his father only read him the 'good bits', leaving out the tedious history and customs that made the book three times as long and three times as dull. He decides to write an abridged version and have that published instead, which is the story we all know and love.
I think this plot device is bizzare, but it works. I absolutely love the little inserts. The story flows very much like someone is telling you it, which goes against the 'show don't tell' mantra that most good books have. It feels the author himself is actually reading you this story in bed, with all the dialogue he adds himself, the quirks and the even how it ends. I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot and it left me smiling long after I put it down....more
I thought it was good. It started off well, the premise and the world of Draki, but it sort of lost steam as you went through. Surprisingly short. I tI thought it was good. It started off well, the premise and the world of Draki, but it sort of lost steam as you went through. Surprisingly short. I think the thing that bugged me the most was the way they fell in love just felt a little forced. I hope they explore the world of Draki a little more, because I thought that was really exciting. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger though, so will probably end up picking up the next in the series. ...more
I enjoyed the premise of the book. Taking Nicholas Flamel and turning him and John Dee into contemporary characters is fascinating. I also enjoyed theI enjoyed the premise of the book. Taking Nicholas Flamel and turning him and John Dee into contemporary characters is fascinating. I also enjoyed the concept of the 'Elders' and how they are the old gods of mythology, which is a neat way of explaining the presence of them in modern times and being able to icorporate gods from all types of world mythology.
The book was well paced, the characters likable and the little easter eggs of knowledge really interesting. However, I have to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as other mythology-for-modern-times young adult books, like Rick Riordan's. I can't put my finger on it but it's probably to do with the author's writing style. It was less action and more description, and I just felt that I wanted to be excited more.
In any case, I am looking forward to the next book in the series when I get around to it. I expect that the series will get better with each book. ...more
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed the adventure and all the peripheral characters, and I feel like the series is going to get better with each book. I felt3.5 stars. I really enjoyed the adventure and all the peripheral characters, and I feel like the series is going to get better with each book. I felt like some plot points were a bit thin, and the problem resolved a little too easily, but I did like the Alice in Wonderland-esque quality to Meghan's journey. And I really, really like Puck. Meghan, I'm not so keen on. She seems very much like your typical YA heroine, and I'm expecting more of her, especially considering how much they are building her up to be 'special'. Ash was just fine, I think he will get some much needed fleshing out in the books to come. I'm optimistic because everyone rates this series so highly, so I will get the sequel soon. Full review to come. ...more
Fierce heroines are few and far between in young adult fiction. Sure, there are examples like Katnis4.5 stars, originally published at Winged Reviews.
Fierce heroines are few and far between in young adult fiction. Sure, there are examples like Katniss in the Hunger Games or Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series, but generally most heroines are better described as feisty or resilient and most heroines definitely need the help of their hero, not defeat them daily.
Katsa is truly fierce. She is blessed with a Grace that allows her to kill grown men with her bare hands. She can survive with little sleep or food and her senses can dodge an arrow in the dark. She has one green eye and one blue one and she is an outcast.
Graceling is a fantasy set in a fictional world of seven kingdoms (seven seems to be the magic number for kingdoms these days). In this world, some people are born with different coloured eyes, which marks them as having a Grace. A Grace is a special skill and can be in any form. It could be a baking Grace or a swimming Grace, something as mundane as sewing or something truly spectacular like Katsa’s. One thing they all have in common is that anyone with a Grace automatically belongs to the King (to be used for their purposes) and anyone that has a Grace is someone feared rather than revered. Katsa isn’t an outcast in the normal sense of the word, as she’s the niece of the King of the Middluns and is referred to as a Lady, but she is generally avoided by everyone she encounters.
The story follows Katsa through a simple errand that turns out to be much bigger than it seems on the surface. The book is neatly split into three sections, the first focusing on the errand and Katsa’s life in court, the second on a quest for answers and the third on a journey and resolution. The entire book is written beautifully, with really rich detail. Every plot twist and story development was revealed in perfect time and I found myself amazed at the depth of the book. I would elaborate more, but the pleasure of reading the book and its charm was, for me, experiencing the story unfold and witnessing each complexity mature.
Also, every character in the book was well-rounded and interesting. Katsa’s character is a breath of fresh air and truly well-developed. A young beautiful girl with the strength and passion to create a Council of covert politics and strives for truth and justice. She has no intention to marry, not because she’s stubborn, but because she has considered the implications and decided she would burden any future husband. She finds splendor in new sights and surroundings, but quickly adapts. She has the power to kill but chooses not to do so without reason. She shows affection but doesn’t fall prey to her emotions. And when Katsa does develop feelings, her priorities remain firmly on the cause.
Her feelings eventually grow for Prince Po, a Graced prince from the kingdom of Liened who she meets unexpectedly on her errand and then again at court. Po is a great character and everything you expect from a fictional prince—he’s charming, polite and skilled (although Katsa spars and defeats him on a daily basis). He’s kind, self-sacrificing, funny and practical and makes the perfect foil for Katsa as he grew up in the only kingdom where having a Grace is honoured. His intentions and feelings are never less than genuine, but he considers their relationship with the same caution and care that she does. Refreshingly, they both do right for each other and for their positions in life.
The supporting cast is also just as diverse and likable, from Katsa’s tinker of a cousin, to the members of the Council, to the stoically mature Bitterblue. The antagonist of the novel, who I won’t mention by name, is one of the most interesting and truly chilling villains I’ve come across in a long time.
I didn’t give it 5 stars only because I felt some parts of the story were slow and I found myself becoming slightly disinterested during the middle of the book. However, I still felt that it was richer, more engaging and better crafted than any other stand alone book I’ve read in a while. It was clever and I really enjoyed it....more
The Iron Knight far exceeded all my expectations, although it was bittersweet knowing it was the fina4.5 stars, originally published at Winged Reviews
The Iron Knight far exceeded all my expectations, although it was bittersweet knowing it was the final book with these characters. It was a fantastic end of a fantastic series.
I really can't go on enough about how much I enjoyed reading this book. I'm trying to write this review without too many spoilers, but I can't promise one or two subtle ones won't come through, so please proceed with caution. It was at its heart a quest story, done really, really well. It had a hero, a group of misfit companions, lots of traveling, trials and finally a grail: Ash's humanity.
The book picks up where The Iron Queen leaves off. Meghan is now queen of the Iron Fey and Ash can't be with her because iron is poison to him. So Ash and the legendary Puck (who can't resist a good adventure) try to search the faerie realms for a way to turn mortal—to have a soul—so he can live with Meghan in her realm.
Julie Kagawa's world-building was at her best in this book. The Nevernever, a place full of trickery and the ever hostile war between the Winter and Summer courts, was brought alive through the Wyldwood, the River of Dreams, The End of the World, the Testing Grounds. My favourite place was Phaed, where faeries live who have lost their name because no one remembers them any longer. Every page that was set in Phaed made me feel an amazing mixture of chills and sympathy. In fact, everywhere our heroes went felt truly menacing and you really got the idea that they were trying to achieve the impossible.
The book also made me love who I thought I would never love, Ash, the former prince of the Unseelie Court. I know, I know, Ash is a heart throb, but I've always thought he was cold and unfeeling and I am definitely Team Puck all the way. However, having him as the narrator really made a difference. I discovered his rather dry sense of humour, and a real purpose about him that I've missed. That said, Puck also shined spectacularly and his dialogue during some of the slower parts of the book really saved it. I really enjoyed seeing their love/hate relationship blossom to the fullest. A true bro-mance indeed!
The rest of the companions from the always entertaining Grimalkin, to the Big Bad Wolf of fairy tale legend and especially the mysterious Ariella, who I felt truly brought the series full circle. The lack of Meghan definitely did the story good, in my opinion, because it gave so many of the other characters a chance to shine.
The best part of the book, was near the end. The 'dream sequence' during one of Ash's final trials, was so well conceived, had so much heart and emotion and flowed so seamlessly into the story was so heart-wrenching and well-integrated. I was heart-broken, because I believed it, even though it may not have been real. I felt a great amount of emotion, and for a book with a narrator as Ice Boy himself, that was a great feat.
Just falls short of 5 stars for me because of some of the pacing was a little slow, but I thoroughly enjoyed the banter throughout. I will miss all the characters, especially you Puck, you glorious trickster you. It's been wonderful going on a journey with them and I can't wait to read what Julie writes next....more
MOST EXCELLENT. Just a fantastic romp filled with action, magic and the genius that is Bartimaeus. I definitely need my own Djinni. Full review to comMOST EXCELLENT. Just a fantastic romp filled with action, magic and the genius that is Bartimaeus. I definitely need my own Djinni. Full review to come!...more