More of the same from Cassandra Clare. Intriguing development for some of the characters, but story-wise, I don't feel that it's moved on much from thMore of the same from Cassandra Clare. Intriguing development for some of the characters, but story-wise, I don't feel that it's moved on much from the first book. Nonetheless, it was a fun romp, if a few too many pop culture references for my liking....more
More like a 3.5. I thought the prose was lovely, if a little too lyrical. The idea was fresh and I did respond to both Sam and Grace, who I thought weMore like a 3.5. I thought the prose was lovely, if a little too lyrical. The idea was fresh and I did respond to both Sam and Grace, who I thought were characterised well and are very believable.
Unfortuntely, I was a little thrown off by the idea of them falling in love so fast, even if they had essentially known each other for 6 years, I would've still liked more development, maybe some initial skepticism and shyness. That said, the majority of the book just floated, telling of Sam and Grace's time together. It wasn't until the last 100 pages or so, when they actually identified a problem and the plot got going that it began to be really interesting.
It ended on a happy note, although I don't know at this moment where the next two books in the series will be going. To be honest, I thought the ending was already pretty great....more
I think this book did well upping the stakes in terms of the history and mythology. It was nice to have it set in Idris, which you read so much aboutI think this book did well upping the stakes in terms of the history and mythology. It was nice to have it set in Idris, which you read so much about throughout the first two books. The introduction of Sebastian was intriguing, if a bit forced--I sometimes felt that Clare needed a scapegoat and he felt too deus ex machina for Jace and Clary's are-they-aren't-they-sibling relationship.
Other than that, I thought the action and pacing was good. I was definitely hooked. I could've done with a 100 or so more pages. I've been finding that most books, after resolving the problem don't really delve into the consequences after the climax. However, there are three more planned books set in the same timeline, so I will just wait those to come out....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 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
I Am Number Four is the next in a long line of similarly themed young adult fiction. Boy meets girl. Boy turns out to be more (or less) than human. ThI Am Number Four is the next in a long line of similarly themed young adult fiction. Boy meets girl. Boy turns out to be more (or less) than human. They fall in love. They eventually can't be together. Action and adventure ensues, along with a lot of heartbreak and near death experiences. The book is unique, however, in that it's told from the point of view of the boy instead of the girl.
John Smith, or Number Four, is from the planet Lorien and one of the last surviving members of his race who managed to escape to Earth. Along with 8 others, they make up the Garde, a race of Loriens who develop Legacies or special powers as they mature. John and his guardian Henri have been on the run from the Mogadorians, the alien race that destroyed Lorien and plan to take over Earth.
The story begins with John and Henri discovering the death of Number Three. Due to a special charm placed on them when they escaped from Lorien, they can only be killed in number order. This means, of course, that John is next and a change of identity and move to Paradise, Ohio is in order.
The book has a good concept, although it is better in theory than execution. John himself is a rather boring protagonist. He has problems like any normal teenager, but he always manages to get through them with little hardship at best. He is frustrated when his new powers develop in school and harnessing them takes daily practice, yet after failing once or twice he manages with ease. Part of me wishes that they had just started the story with John's powers fully developed as it would've taken a lot of the superficial development out of the way and got on with the story.
The only redeeming feature of the 'training' is it allows us to see flashbacks of life on Lorien and what actually happened to the planet. It was refreshing and imaginative and would nice to meet more Loriens and find out more about Loric life in later books.
While at his new school, John manages to make a new friend, a worst enemy and fall in love with the popular girl, Sarah. Most of the relationships in the book didn't seem to grow organically and everyone eventually finds out and accepts that John is an alien with an almost nonchalance. Sarah is also a relatively boring character (in fact, the only interesting character is John's new friend Sam), but John and Sarah's relationship was refreshingly pain free, and I liked that they had no qualms about being together and being in love. They stay 'together' even as John flees Paradise and I'm curious to see how the book will handle the long distance relationship. I did enjoy almost all of John's scenes with his mentor and father figure, Henri and was especially touched at the ending.
The action, however, didn't work for me. The Mogadorians were faceless entities. We are not told enough about them to empathise with their motives or fully understand their power and scale. They come out of the blue, wreak a whole lot of havoc and nearly kill everyone by transporting them into an alternate reality borne out of their special weapons. The last third of the book was a blur of chaos, fire and monstrous creatures and even I can't really fully understand how they managed to flee in the end. Six showing up armed with incredible powers and a kick-ass attitude did help move it along, although I fear that her arrival is the start of the ill-fated love triangle angle that all young adult franchises seem to relish in.
As a stand alone book, it was flimsy, but as the start of a franchise, it does a good job in introducing us to the setting and characters. The ending sets up the second book called "The Power of Six", which refers to either Six herself or the remaining six Lorien Garde left. It also leaves some unanswered questions, which is enough incentive for me to go pick up the next in the series. I am mildly optimistic that it will get better as the story goes on....more
Seriously brilliant book, in the spirit of dystopian, young adult fiction. Incredible world building, concept and adventure. More to write when I'm moSeriously brilliant book, in the spirit of dystopian, young adult fiction. Incredible world building, concept and adventure. More to write when I'm more coherent, but definitely on to the next book in the series!...more
Liked it a little less than the first two books, although I have to admit I couldn't tear myself away from the heartwrenching finale. A solid 3.5 starLiked it a little less than the first two books, although I have to admit I couldn't tear myself away from the heartwrenching finale. A solid 3.5 stars and I wish the series would continue!...more
Anna and the French Kiss is a breath of fresh air. Amidst all of the supernatural, fantasy and mythology based young adult books that seem to be dominAnna and the French Kiss is a breath of fresh air. Amidst all of the supernatural, fantasy and mythology based young adult books that seem to be dominating the market, this book is a fun read simply about the wonders of being a teenager in a foreign city.
Anna has been sent to a boarding school in Paris by her mainly absent father. Initially upset at leaving her best friend, her younger brother and a potential boyfriend, Anna eventually finds herself in a new circle of friends which includes the charming Etienne St. Clair. In the backdrop of this magnificent city, the budding film critic finds herself awed, confused and eventually in love.
The book flowed very naturally and Anna is a delightful point of view character. Perkins imbues her with charm and wit, while keeping her grounded and relatable. Her experiences and reactions come off wholly genuine. Perkins manages to string together a series of almost ordinary events in Anna's life, but keeps everything original and interesting. I empathised and rooted for Anna through every small triumph (movie theatres showing classic films, yes please) and heartache (who here hasn't been hurt by a best friend and that guy).
I remember when I was younger, I went abroad to California for a summer course. It was the first time I travelled by myself and I went into the experience with a mixture of dread and excitement. And then I met a boy and those three weeks were definitely my best teenage memories. St. Clair is that boy. He's every high school crush and summer love you've had or never managed to shake. I would've definitely fallen for his cool English accent and his easy way, but liked that he was real enough so I was just as irritated as Anna by his annoying indecisiveness and somewhat weak will. The chemistry between them was palpable and that teenage girl inside me tingled every time they were together, seriously.
The beauty of Anna and the French Kiss is that it brought back all the good parts of being a teenager. For anyone who has ever had a first love or a new experience, this book is one for you. I'll definitely come back to it whenever I need to revisit those three weeks in the summer. ...more