12-year-old Percy Jackson has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, he never stays at a school for more than a year...and he's about to find out that12-year-old Percy Jackson has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, he never stays at a school for more than a year...and he's about to find out that he's a demigod.
When Percy is attacked by one of Hades' Furies, he's dragged into a world with satyrs, monsters, and most importantly, Greek gods. But as a son of one of the "Big Three" - Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades - who are always jealous of each other's power and fight all the time, he is blamed for the theft of Zeus' prize possession: his lightning bolt, the most powerful weapon on Earth. Percy must go on a quest to the Underworld to discover who framed him and return the lightning bolt to Mount Olympus - conveniently located on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building - before the summer solstice.
As an epic fan of Greek mythology (pun intended), I couldn't put this book down. I even took it to class with me and read it during lectures. Rick Riordan took the old classics and modernized them into a relatable, humorous world where Medusa owns a garden shop specializing in stone figurines for your yard and satyrs play Hilary Duff songs on their reed pipes. This book had me laughing out loud, and I'll definitely be reading the rest of this series....more
There was something about this one that didn't fit as well with me as Percy Jackson. I just didn't love it the way I did his previous serie3 1/2 stars
There was something about this one that didn't fit as well with me as Percy Jackson. I just didn't love it the way I did his previous series. I mean, it wasn't BAD. It just wasn't as compulsively readable. I didn't fly through the pages, laughing at every chapter, and desperately wish for the next book after finishing it.
Actually, it took me almost a year to read this book - I started it last July, finished about 75%, then put it down and didn't pick it back up until today.
However, I've got to say that Rick Riordan's worldbuilding is still spot on. I was even more impressed with his integration of myth in this book than I was with Percy. Egyptian mythology is a tricky thing because it's really complicated. Also, it's weird...considering one of their creation myths involves the world coming into existence after a god masturbates. (Umm...ewww?) But Riordan took this crazy type of myth and made it into something that sorta makes sense and wasn't nearly as creepy as it could have been.
So hats off to you, Rick Riordan. You're still my favorite MG author, and I'll still read the next book (especially since I've heard it's better). I still have faith in you!...more
From the stunning cover to the last sentence dripping with Greek mythology goodness, Starcrossed is a 2011 debut to watch. I was hooked by the premise and held by the pantheon of interesting characters that ranged from a sociopath bent on revenge to first-time lovers full of teenage angst.
I went into Starcrossed a little wary. I was excited, yes, but I was worried after reading all the reviews that said this was a Twilight knock-off. Yet while I'm very protective of my beloved Iliad, I must respectfully disagree with the reviewers who claimed Josephine Angelini is a Stephenie Meyer wannabe. Not only is the writing better, but I found the plot more complex and well thought-out. Plus, there isn't just one or even two cute boys - there are three!
There's no way I could write a review about this book without discussing the romance. Each page is packed with it, and I've got to say I really appreciated the fact that Angelini didn't go with the usual love-at-first-sight plotline. (Thank you, Josephine!!!) There is certainly a level of attraction between Lucas and Helen at first, but it was realistic. Their relationship developed at a nice pace, and I liked that there was no kissing or dropping of the l-word until way past the halfway mark. This rang true for me, and I never felt like Angelini was holding out on me with the romance - there's definitely romantic tension that starts from the very beginning; it's just a gradual thing instead of a collision.
While Lucas was the technical hero of the novel, I've got to say that he wasn't the boy to steal the show for me. That prize most certainly went to Hector. Maybe it was just because of his namesake (who is one of my all-time favorite mythological characters), but I couldn't help wishing he would find a happy ending with someone. Of course, that would most likely take away from his douchebag-iness charm, so I probably wouldn't like him after that. I think I loved him so much because he was a jerk. (I have a problem, obviously.)
That being said, Lucas was still a likeable character. My only criticism of the book would probably be with his character, as I still don't feel like I have a real handle on who he is, and after reading almost 500 pages about the guy, I would like to know more, especially after we had some scenes from his POV. But he just isn't a strong personality, so I think I'll end up appreciating him more later in the series, like Simon from the Mortal Instruments. Right now, it's hard to look past the dominant personalities of Helen, Hector, and Claire, but I'm looking forward to finding out more about him in later books.
While I'm on character of Helen, I've got to say that while, at first, I found her slightly annoying in her absurd shyness, she really grew on me throughout the story. Though she does want to take care of her friends, she doesn't have a martyr mentality (i.e. Bella Swan Syndrome). I also liked that she had her own individual fighting style, though I sometimes wished she had a few more flaws. She was a bit like the perfect girl at times. Of course, Helen of Troy had a bit of that I'm-perfect-so-you-should-worship-me thing going on, as well, and that connection only fuels the plot.
I've got to say I'm quite impressed with Angelini for her to have me enjoying a book that's essentially retelling the Paris/Helen love story from The Iliad. I hate Paris and Helen from the original, so that was a real accomplishment. I'm just praying that there will eventually be an Achilles figure. How awesome would that be?! There would be serious fangirl love if that were to happen, even more so than there is now.
So for those of you who are scared this is going to be another Twilight, have no fear! I honestly found the comparisons weren't that intregal to the story and were easy to look past. And there's a lot to love about Starcrossed, from its wicked cool inclusion of myth to its haunting setting. This is definitely a debut to pick up and add to your shelves!...more
*Warning: There is about to be a LOT of talk about mythology. Ye be warned.
First, let's talk about how Josephine Angelini is a goddess herself for writing a book about The Iliad. It's an incredible story that, in my opinion, isn't read by enough people. Sure, we know the story of the Trojan Horse, but how many people know that the Trojan Horse doesn't even appear in Homer's epic? And how many people could name a single Trojan warrior besides Paris or Hector? So for giving another generation this breathtaking story, I commend Angelini.
Now, I would also like to say that she and I don't agree wholeheartedly with ways to interpret myth, and that's okay. She doesn't stick to the original story so much that she's crippled by it, but I was a little disappointed by some of her choices. First, the Paris/Helen plotline. I have NEVER liked that story, even in the original. Helen was manipulative and selfish (even if she was forced to go to Troy by Aphrodite, which some stories claim), and she was a double-crosser. Not cool. Then you've got Paris, the womanizer, who doesn't care that he's taking a woman from not only her husband but also her CHILD. Also not cool.
So the fact that these are the main characters in Angelini's books gives me the heebeejeebies a little. I'm not comfortable rooting for them. And while I like this Helen more than the original, I still can't hop on board the Lucas train. Mostly because of the incest issue. Everyone knows that Helen and Lucas are first cousins at this point, but neither of them can seem to keep their hands off each other. This irritates me. I understand the link between the forbidden romance of having carted her away to Troy/can't be together because of family relations, but seriously? Find other people to love.
I also have a sinking feeling that Achilles is going to be a bad guy. He's mentioned super briefly at the end of the book, and I wasn't a fan of the context. Angelini seems to take up the tradition of Western Culture in glorifying the Trojans and vilifying the Greeks, which I've never liked. (Team Greeks!) The Myrmidons are also mentioned in this book and DEFINITELY not in a good way. It hurt my heart, considering Patroclus and Achilles are my absolute favorite characters in The Iliad (Hector, the only truly noble Trojan in the entire story, being a close third).
Oh, Hector. Angelini's Hector really grew up in this book, and I loved all of his scenes. I read a comment by Angelini who said she was surprised by how many people like Hector because he's sort of bad news, but I didn't see that at all. You can see him becoming the general, ready to take charge of his forces. Gah, I was doing ten million little happy dances on the inside when I read this quote:
"The new Hector was formidable, and for the first time in three and a half thousand years, (view spoiler)[Automedon (hide spoiler)] did not scoff at the Scion to bear the great warrior's name. He was the first to deserve it." (p.409)
Squeeee!!! I just wish Hector was a bigger character. Also, I'm super scared that Angelini is going to follow the original and have (view spoiler)[Hector die *sobs* (hide spoiler)]. I will be a very unhappy camper if that happens.
I would also like to mention that SO MANY of my favorite mythological characters made appearances or got mentions in this book that I was practically hyperventilating on every page. Just to name a few...
For realz. Angelini did her homework. Thank you! And *sputters* HUBRIS?! I was definitely not expecting that to appear in a YA book, but it was epic. Like in the Greek sort of way.
Oh right, I'm supposed to actually tell you about the characters and pacing and all that junk. Sorry. I got a little carried away with all the Greek mythology goodness. :)
The characters were all right. I'm still not 100% sold on Helen. She's a little too kickbutt for me. I didn't like that she could (view spoiler)[ defeat ARES, of all people (hide spoiler)] - I don't care if you're a Scion, that's just not possible. And she sorta irritated me with her always wanting to be back with Lucas. She flip-flopped between a modern adaptation of the original character that I found a little too modern and the original "face that launched 1,000 ships" that always drove me crazy. It was probably too much to ask for me to love her as a protag - I hated what she was based on, so I don't think I'll ever love her.
Lucas was also irritating, for the same reasons as Helen. However, the introduction of the new character was great. I love Orion! And I found it interesting that his name is Orion...when he's actually supposed to represent Aeneas. (Eeeeppp! Virgil reference!) I sorta loved the culmination of Greek and Roman mythology in his character, as he leads the House of Rome. Very cool mixing there.
And really, Hector just stole the show for me. I had a hard time focusing on anyone else when he was in a scene. If I could picture any actor as him, I'm pretty sure it would be Chris Hemsworth.
Yup. Definitely Chris Hemsworth.
This was definitely a solid sequel. I liked the deepening of the mythology, and I really like where Angelini is taking the story. She's setting us up for a great finale in the third book, and I'm just going to take a stab in the dark and say there will be lots of carnage.
Angelini is definitely an author to look out for. She does a wonderful job at making mythology accessible and interesting for reluctant readers. I just hope her books will spur people to read the originals.
I know a lot of people found Starcrossed to be a rehash of Twilight, but I think they'll find Dreamless diverging from the Twilight plotline. Yes, there's a love triangle. But it's not really there. And I found it pretty much wrapped up at the end of this one, unless Angelini is going to throw a major wrench in the plot. It's obvious who Helen will end up with, and her connection to the other was understandable.
Also, I'd like to make a small mention of the POV. It's 3rd person omniscient...sort of. I think it was supposed to be 3rd person limited, but there's a lot of head-hopping, people knowing things they couldn't know unless they could read minds. That was a bit weird. But I just accepted it.
And there were tons of typos in the ARC, but I'm sure those will all be taken care of in the final copy.
Oh! And if you're curious, here are some original texts that have characters and themes she discusses or introduces in the story. You know, in case you want to read further (which you TOTALLY should!):
- The Iliad, Homer - The Aeneid, Virgil - Metamorphoses, Ovid - Bulfinch's Mythology, Thomas Bulfinch - "Oedipus Rex," Sophocles["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I legitimately loved this book. I had no idea it would be so funny or cute. It's a perfect mixture of chicklit and fantasy, with lots of sarcasm and nI legitimately loved this book. I had no idea it would be so funny or cute. It's a perfect mixture of chicklit and fantasy, with lots of sarcasm and naughty deities thrown in for good measure - The Devil Wears Prada meets Homer.
Shar and Meg are frenemies of the best kind - the kind that actually like each other underneath all the irritation. Their interraction had to be my favorite part of the book. I loved watching them snap at each other and eventually support one another as they go through the crazy experience of trying to avoid becoming sirens. The friendship they form can be related to by a lot of women, I think. They fight over shoes, boys, and beliefs, but when they are faced with the fate of becoming Hades' pooper scoopers for Cerberus, they have each other's backs.
Oh, Hades. He was hysterical. So many YA books romanticize the gods and make them brooding immortals with lots of angst. But Bennardo and Zaman created petty deities that are more interested in their own affairs than helping mortals. Hades is, quite possibly, the most seductive and creepiest god of them all, constantly trying to force himself on fashion-obsessed Shar. His means of seduction were hilarious - he literally tries to get into her pants by offering her designer shoes from Milan. I'm pretty sure I snorted when I read this:
[Shar] "I was hiding in the supply closet. It was only supposed to be for a minute. [...] But then Hades found me and took me to Ferragamo's. Tried to buy my body with shoes." But Meg was probably the funniest character. Her bleak sarcasm was great and kept the story in perspective. My favorite line of hers came when she was looking at the iPhone Hades gave them for emergencies and information about the gods:
"Well, I found an app for the portals..." Her fingers skimmed over the iPhone. "And a bunch of other stuff too. Listen to this: Abacus. Sundial. Don't be a Creten" - she peered over the iPhone at me - "for those who want to know about godly etiquette. But wait, there's more: Lost? Try the Go Homer GPS." She paused, and curled her lip into a disgusted sneer. "Feeling Illiad? At least he has Pandora." Lines like these, along with the fact that Shar is allergic to the feathers that sprout on Meg's body whenever Meg uses her siren powers and is always popping Claritin, and the curvy girl gets the guy really solidified my love for this book. It was such a welcome relief from all the serious paranormals and dystopians out there. Shar reminded me a lot of Rebecca Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of A Shopaholic, and Meg was a great anti-fashion balance.
I also loved that a number of the gods appeared in the story, not just Hades. There's also Demeter, who doesn't want the girls to fulfill their contract with her hated son-in-law Hades, as well as Persephone, wife to the God of the Underworld himself. Hera even makes an appearance. And all of their personifications reminded me a lot of the way Rick Riordan does it in Percy Jackson: modernized with a lot of mocking humor. But really, Hades took the cake. His outfits of tight pants, designer shoes, and shirts unbuttoned to reveal his chiseled chest were all hysterical. And Persephone's leather-fetish was equally amusing.
If you're looking for a relief from heavy books, this is a great read! It's fun, frothy, and adorable. I would recommend this especially for girls who enjoyed the Percy Jackson series and would like to read something similar from a female point of view. I'm really hoping this is the first in a series! ...more
I really loved the first in this series, Need, but I wasn't nearly as capitvated by Captivate. Mostly, this was because Captivate didn't feel like a complete novel. It felt more like a novella that bridged the gaps between books 1 and 2, like it shouldn't stand alone. I never felt a true sense of plot - what exactly was the main point of this book?
That being said, I still read it in two days. Jones writes very readable books. Her pacing is really fast, and there's never a dull moment with this book. While Zara's wit and quirky humor weren't as apparent in this book as they were in the first, I still liked her a million times better than so many other paranormal heroines. What ever happened to the spunky heroine in supernatural books? It's like Bella Swan entered the picture, and authors thought all heroines had to be passive and quiet. Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with a quiet girl. I just like to see the outspoken girls being represented, as well.
While I really like Zara, I can't say I'm much a fan of Nick and his irritating habit of calling Zara "baby." He still feels more like an archetype than an actual character to me. For some reason, I just don't feel any connection to him whatsoever. And it can't be just because the books are short, because I love the new boy Jones introduced in this one: pixie king Astley. He was only in like 150 pages of Captivate, and I'm already way more in love with him than I ever was with Nick.
One thing that really interests me about Nick and this series, however, is Jones' inclusion of Norse mythology. Zara discovers in this book that warriors are being almost harvested by valkyries to go to Valhalla, where they will be trained to fight in a final battle for Odin.
Umm...this is amazing.
I'm really looking forward to reading book 3, Entice, just so I can see how Jones explores this interesting exploration into mythology. You don't find many books about Norse myth, so I'm pumped.
While this wasn't my favorite book and I didn't like it nearly as much as I liked Need, I will certainly be reading Entice...I'll probably just wait until it comes out in paperback....more
Greek mythology meets a gut-wrenching contemporary - this book is a wonderful mix of genres that all culminates into a painful, beautiful explorationGreek mythology meets a gut-wrenching contemporary - this book is a wonderful mix of genres that all culminates into a painful, beautiful exploration of myth versus reality. I sprinted through the pages, wondering if Kate would succeed in saving her mother and gaining immortality, and now that I've finished it, I can't help but dream about book 2.
Truth: I'm obsessed with Greek mythology. Therefore, this storyline intrigued me from the very first page. Like when I read Rick Riordan, I found myself trying to guess which characters were supposed to be which gods, and how all the mythology worked out in real life. While I was originally under the assumption that this was a retelling of the Hades/Persephone story, I was mistaken: this happens after that story. It's sort of a continuation. Because of that, I really had no idea what to expect.
At times, this book reminded me of Melissa Marr's first Wicked Lovely book, the one where Keenan is trying to make Aislinn his queen. There's definitely that same sense of become-my-queen-or-I'm-going-to-die, but this one felt different. Henry was so broken and hurting that I just wanted to give him a hug. And the same goes for Kate. They were perfect for each other because they had so much in common, even if he was an immortal god and she was a teen.
While I did really like Kate and Henry, I wish I could have seen even more character development with them. Honestly, the only reason I didn't give this book five stars was because I didn't want it to end. There needed to be more to read! I also wished Carter would have used the classical names for the gods, at least once for each character. She has a list in the back of which character is which, but I felt like it would have made more since in the story. I wanted her to call Henry Hades at least once.
Don't miss out on this one! If you enjoy myth or a good fantasy, definitely grab a copy of Aimee Carter's debut novel. And really, how can you resist that cover? It might be my favorite of 2011 so far. Gorgeous!...more
I had a really hard time rating this book because I wish I could give it two ratings: one for the actual story and one for the way it utilized (or didI had a really hard time rating this book because I wish I could give it two ratings: one for the actual story and one for the way it utilized (or didn't) mythology. So the four stars goes to the story and I would have to give 1 1/2 stars for the mythology because it definitely failed to impress.
Because I've never read a Meg Cabot book before this one (shocking, I know), I can't compare Abandon to any of her other books. But from what I've gathered, the others were all pretty upbeat and had a strong heroine. This book is nothing like that. There's a definite dark tone, and Pierce is depressed, quiet, and a bit of a pushover. All that being said, I still liked both her and this story.
I really liked the setting for the book. The oppressive heat and the spooky vibe of the entire island of Isla Huesos gave the story an added layer of depth for me. I also found the jumping around in time interesting. The story opens up after Pierce has met her death diety BF, and we see their meeting through a flashback. There are a lot of scenes like that, and I found that technique intriguing.
While Pierce wasn't a strong figure in the book, I found reading about her almost relaxing. I was never worried about her, but I followed the story from a detached place where I could observe and enjoy. This sounds like a negative reaction, but I don't think so - just different.
My biggest issue with the book was that the mythology didn't make sense. And just so everyone knows, this is not the myth of Hades and Persephone. It's not a retelling or even a reminagining. It's like when you see a movie that's "inspired by" true events: the director stole an idea and then did his own thing. That's kind of like what Meg Cabot did here - she was reading some Greek mythology, liked the idea of a death deity in love with a regular girl, so she wrote her own story that's "inspired by" the true myth. The "Hades" character in the novel isn't Hades. Nor is Pierce Persephone. Plus, we're led to believe that John Hayden's (the death diety in the story) Underworld isn't the Greek one.
So...how is this the Hades/Persephone story again?
Also, John is hardly ever in the story. I was expecting him to be a major player since he's - oh I don't know - the hero! But, no, the story just follows Pierce as she goes to her first day of high school and complains about her dad and wallows in depression.
If I was so turned off by the mythology, how could I have given the book 4 stars, then? Well, I just don't know. I did enjoy the book. I wasn't all that invested in the characters, but I was interested enough in the actual plot and figuring out the mythology that I kept reading. The book is also pretty short, so it kept my interest.
So, no, the mythology isn't good. But I enjoyed the story and will definitely be reading the next one. I just wish the book hadn't been marketed as true to the myth when it wasn't. I'll stick to my Rick Riordan books when I actually want to read something that interprets the real stuff....more
I have some mixed feelings about this book. For one, I really enjoyed the urban fantasy feel to this book. It's definitely not a paranormal romance, wI have some mixed feelings about this book. For one, I really enjoyed the urban fantasy feel to this book. It's definitely not a paranormal romance, which I loved. Coinciding with that genre, there's a lot of grittiness in this book, but I also liked that. What I wasn't a huge fan of were the pacing the romance.
First, this is a pretty short book. That's okay, but at times, it felt a little rushed. I would have preferred some more character development and some more time passing. The story takes place in a matter of days, and I've never been a huge fan of stories like that. I just feel like I get to know characters better the longer I spend with them.
Related to this was the romance. It felt REALLY fast, a teensy bit like insta-love. Ari meets Sebastian the first day in New 2 and she's making out with him the VERY NEXT DAY. That didn't work for me. I didn't buy that she was that connected to him, when for the first quarter of the book we're always told that she keeps people at arm's length because she doesn't want to get hurt. Why is Sebastian different? Why does she trust him? I felt none of that was ever really answered.
Also, I totally guessed what Ari was after the very first chapter. Maybe it's just because I know more about mythology than the average reader. (You could call my interest bordering on obsession.) But there was no real mystery for me, especially with all the talk about her hair and what not. This then led me to figuring out who the villain would be. (It's all very logical if you think it through.) But maybe I'll be stumped when I read the next book.
Now, on to what I DID like: for one, the mythology and worldbuilding. Keaton does a great job of crafting an interesting world. There were a lot more types of paranormal creatures than I was expecting, like vampires and shapeshifters and witches, but they fit into the mythology nicely. I also liked seeing familiar characters show up like Arachne. (The geek in me squealed a little on the inside.)
And these aren't your average vamps and witches. I loved how their culture has been integrated into the culture of New Orleans. Having been to that city, I can totally see how if there's going to be an entire city run by the supernatural, it would be there. It has this old world, almost creepy vibe even in real life that is PERFECT fodder for a book like Keaton's. In fact, the setting was one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved taking a tour of New Orleans along with Ari - her trip was a lot more exciting than mine. :)
I also liked that we got to see a goddess. In a lot of books about mythology, we don't ever see a single god or goddess (i.e. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, etc.). So I was excited to see that the villain herself is a goddess. Loved that! However, I'm not really sure I agreed with the choice of said goddess, but I'll suspend disbelief.
Overall, this was a really interesting book. I wish it had been longer and I'd gotten to know why Ari was so gosh darn interested in Sebastian, but I'm hoping to learn more in the next book. This is a solid urban fantasy with juicy bits of mythology!...more
There aren't many hardcore YA urban fantasy books being released these days. Most fall under the category of paranormal romance or dystopian or steampThere aren't many hardcore YA urban fantasy books being released these days. Most fall under the category of paranormal romance or dystopian or steampunk or another subgenre of the sci-fi/fantasy mega-genre. So when I saw that established adult author Jennifer Estep was releasing a YA urban fantasy about a school for descendants of mythological gods and creatures, I knew I had to read it.
And the book certainly didn't disappoint - I read it in one sitting...on the computer. Seriously, I couldn't put it down, or er...shutdown the computer. The pacing was great, the story was intriguing, and the characters were hilarious.
I loved Gwen, the MC. She was snarky and sarcastic without being bratty or whiney. She looked at the world through cynical eyes, but I couldn't stop laughing at the way she described everyone at the school and her bleak comments about life. My personal favorite line was when she described Logan Quinn, Spartan and all-around bad boy:
"Seriously. Logan Quinn was the kind of guy who could stab me in the eye with a freaking Twizzler."
While I really liked Gwen, however, my favorite character was Daphne, the valkyrie with a fetish for pink. Seriously, the girl's entire room is pink, and she shoots pink sparks out of her fingertips. She's girly and funny and a really great character. Estep could have easily fallen prey to the girly-girl-is-always-a-mean-skank cliche, but she avoided it by making Daphne a real person with feelings. I was pleasantly surprised by this aspect.
I also loved the integration of different types of mythologies. You've got Greek and Norse mostly, but also some more obscure references like Egyptian. But Estep didn't choose the major players of mythology like Thor or Zeus. Instead, she focused on lesser known gods like Nike and Loki. I loved that! It gave her story a fresh feel. With lots of books coming out about mythology, this could have gotten lost amidst all the paranormal romances involving Hades. But it doesn't. It's unique.
It's also gritty and graphic. But that coincides with the urban fantasy genre, and I found it kind of refreshing. We get a lot of books that gloss over life, but Estep utilizes the nitty gritty details to make her story sparkle. It also reflected the violent culture that Gwen is surrounded by at Mythos.
My only gripe with the story was the romance, though I feel sure that will be more developed later in the story. I kept wanting Logan to show up in more scenes, but he's really not as important in the story as I would have liked. Sure, he plays a major role in some of the battle scenes, but there's not much character development. I look forward to seeing more of him later in the series, (view spoiler)[ and I can't wait until Gwen touches him and "flashes" on him! (hide spoiler)] He has a lot of potential.
If you're looking for something edgy, dark, sarcastic, and quick-paced, then this is a great choice! It's also got a lot of great borrowed and original mythology. It reminded me of Harry Potter but with mythology...meets Veronica Mars. While I wouldn't recommend this for younger readers (there are some graphic sexual scenes I wouldn't suggest for younger readers), I would definitely recommend it for adults and older teens who love urban fantasy!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm beginning to wonder if Colleen Houck dribbled some crack between the pages of these books because they're seriously addicting.
I had no idea how Houck could follow up the amazingness that was Tiger's Curse, but somehow, she exceeded my expectations. I was left in such an emotional tizzy at the end of this book that I don't know how I'm going to wait until November for the next book.
As I've mentioned before in my review of Tiger's Curse, Houck's strength lies in creating great characters and great emotion. Sometimes, there is a lot of description. Sometimes, the dialogue is a little stilted. But honestly, that doesn't take anything away from the story for me because I'm so emotionally invested into these characters that I'm literally flying through the pages, rooting for them to get their happy endings and debating which brother I love more.
Yes, there is a love triangle introduced in this book. But it develops so naturally that it was completely believable. Both Ren and Kishan love Kelsey for similar reasons, and I can totally see why - they're lonely and in desperate need of someone who believes in them. So here comes Kelsey, who has a tendency to mother and care about everybody she meets, and you've got a recipe for serious sibling rivalry. And while I was totally in love with Ren in Tiger's Curse, I now find myself unsure as to who I want to win Kelsey's affections.
Here are the deets: Ren and Kelsey are obviously perfect for each other. And while we left Tiger's Curse with Kelsey unsure about this fact, she quickly changes her mind when he shows up on her doorstep in Oregon. For the next 50 to 75 pages, you've got Ren charming not only Kelsey but you as the reader, as well, and some seriously swoon-worthy, clean romance. I had no idea it could be that hot with them just talking. I was seriously impressed.
When Kelsey's in danger, Ren calls on his brother for help. Then Ren is kidnapped, and Kelsey and Kishan must continue with the quest without him if they have any hopes of saving him. They travel to paradise (literally), fight killer birds, and try to ignore their developing feelings for one another. And I loved that Kishan was so upfront with Kelsey about his emotions. He tells her that he's in love with her but won't do anything because he doesn't want to repeat the past (i.e. fight with Ren over Kelsey like they did with Yesubai). He's got a lot of guilt, but I never thought he was brooding or Edward Cullen-ish. It was all so wonderful to have not one but two great male characters with real character motivation and distinct personalities that I don't even know what to do but give Colleen Houck a virtual slap on the back and job-well-done.
This book is definitely an emotional rollercoaster. It's also a behemoth of a book, even longer than Tiger's Curse. But I maybe just happened to read it in one day. I tried to hold off and let it last for at least 48 hours, but honestly, I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn't put it down. I don't think I've been so mesmerized with a series and so in love with characters since I read Twilight.
They're also full of genuine conflict. Ren and Kelsey actually date. *gasp* When was the last time we saw that in paranormal romance? It's almost unheard of! There's genuine love between Ren and Kishan, though they definitely have a stiff rivalry. There are insecurites about cross-cultural relationships, learning how to sacrifice for people you care about, and lessons in friendship.
And don't even get me started on the end. But seriously, it was intense. I don't think I've ever read such a painful ending to a romance book before. Sure, Mockingjay was heartbreaking, but this book took relationship drama to a completely new level. (view spoiler)[HOW COULD SHE HAVE REN LOSE HIS MEMORY?! I read a spoiler before I started the book, so I already knew about him forgetting Kelsey, but the final scene was so freakin' painful that I wanted to cry for Kelsey and slap Ren's face off. He doesn't even act like the same person. And she spent all that time pining for him and pushing Kishan away, and then she's rewarded by him not even knowing who she is.
My predictions: she's going to legit fall for Kishan in the next book because she thinks there's no way Ren will love her again, then Ren will remember who she is (based on the excerpt of Tiger's Voyage at the back of the book), and she'll drop Kishan but feel guilty about it. And he'll somehow be part of the fifth sacrifice. But if he dies I'm gonna be so mad! He deserves some happiness! (hide spoiler)]
This is a MUST read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Warning: spoilers if you haven't read the first 2 books!
Okay, to all you who understand and share my intense love for this series, let me explain theWarning: spoilers if you haven't read the first 2 books!
Okay, to all you who understand and share my intense love for this series, let me explain the rating. Because I do still love these books, and I did really enjoy this one, but after considering it, I just couldn't give it 5 stars.
First, a positive: the adventure in this book is wonderful! I feel like this is the first time that it was so good that it eclipsed the romance(s) and relationships of the characters. I was fascinated by the journey to visit the 5 dragons and all Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan had to accomplish to retrieve the Pearl Necklace of Durga. I also really loved the dragons and the fact that everything was based just as much on Chinese folklore as Indian.
That one of my favorite parts of this series - Houck's interweaving of so many different types of folklore into one series. I'm constantly astounded by how much research she does and all the planning she must have done before writing these books. Everything fits together seamlessly, and it's really impressive! That was my favorite part of the book this time around.
Now, here was the rub for me: the love triangle. Don't get me wrong, I love a love triangle done right. The Bella/Edward/Jacob plotline in Twilight was great for me. I mean, my team lost, but that's become a thing for me - choosing the losing side of a love triangle. (I should join a support group or something...)
Anyway, but I was excited in Tiger's Quest to see that Kishan was getting more face-time. I really enjoyed his character, and even though I loved Ren at the beginning, Kishan really won me over by the end. He was funny and charming and had less of a Superman-complex than Ren, which I often found a bit irritating.
So when I saw that the love triangle was going to play a bigger role in Tiger's Voyage, I was excited. More Kishan! And I really enjoyed the interplay between Ren and Kishan, and their rivalry. It was funny in the last book. And I was pissed at Ren when at the end of the last book, he didn't remember Kelsey. And who was there to pick up the pieces? Kishan. I was ready for this all to come to a head in Tiger's Voyage.
But what I found made me a little uneasy. The beginning started off good for me, with Kelsey and Ren arguing up a storm. But it was funny, and I've got to say, it was hot! Their best interaction comes when they're fighting. But I was disappointed in Kishan. He stood by and watched entirely too calmly. He lost a lot of his personality in this book. What we all loved in Quest - his cockiness, humor, and charm - were all but gone in Voyage. I hardly recognized him!
And then the love triangle began to really take shape, and I've got to say, I was super disappointed. What we're presented with is Kelsey's connection with Ren and how all-consuming it is, and a Kishan who is the anchor that helps her keep her sanity. Kelsey soon has to decide which brother she wants to be wish, and she picks Kishan because he's stable...and we're led to believe this is a bad thing.
I give you the following exercepts:
I thought it would be easier, more practical, if I just picked Kishan. No, practical is the wrong word. Safer. That's the right one. Ren took risks. Ren surrounded himself with beautiful bikini-clad girls. [...] I know why he did it, but the fact remains that he still did. And if another opportunity to "save me" came along, he wouldn't hesitate. He'd once again sacrifice himself, and I'd be alone. I'd almost had the man of my dreams. But almost doesn't count.
Besides, who took care of me when Ren nobly let himself be kidnapped? Kishan. Who told off Randi when she was insulting me? Kishan. Who lets me wear my hair the way I want to? Kishan. Who said he'd be willing to let me be with another if that's what I really wanted? Kishan. Who never argues with me? Kishan. Who kepts his hands off when I asked him to? Kishan. (p. 454-455)
And this one, which really tipped me over the edge...
He [Kishan] protected me from the relationship roller coaster ride that was Ren. I loved Kishan, and I believed I could be happy with him, but I also had to acknowledge that it wasn't exactly the same. Ren's love was an all-consuming fire, but Kishan was more like...a space heater. Comfortable, steady, reliable. Both kept me warm, but one could burn me. Singe me to ashes. If Kishan left me, I would cry. I would hurt, but I would move on, sadder but wiser.
Loving Ren was like loving an atom bomb. When he went off, and it was just a matter of time before he did again, he would destroy everything around in a ten-mile radius. Of course, I always managed to be standing in the middle of the bull's-eye. Shrapnel had mangled my heart. Twice. Kishan tried to pick up the pieces and hold them together by sheer will, but there were gaps. Pieces were missing.
[...] I had to pick between the consuming love of Ren that I was so desperate for I sometimes forgot to breathe, and the steady glow, the endless kindness and comfort that Kishan offered me. (p. 433-434)
We all know Kelsey will end up with Ren on the last page of the last book. It's a given. But Voyage left me wondering if Kelsey was crazy. Why does she love Ren more?!
And this was where I was left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Houck presents us with Kelsey and Ren's relationship, one which follows the common theme of paranormal romances, in which their love is literally the only thing that keeps them alive. Ren even declares that Kelsey is the purpose of his existence. I'm sorry, but if your significant other is the purpose of your existence, your life must be really pathetic.
And, sure, that type of love makes for a really good, dramatic story. Why has "Romeo and Juliet" survived for so long (other than it's great one-liners)? Because it's a powerful love story of two individuals who were so in love that they couldn't survive without it. But how many people in the real world want this type of relationship?
To me, Kishan represented a healthy sort of love. He was supportive and devoted, but he had other things going on in his life. He didn't practically worship at Kelsey's feet like Ren did. And while Kelsey was attached to him, she could think of other things when he was around. As opposed to her relationship with Ren, which is practically a drug.
It was all very teenage angsty and annoying.
And this was what kept me from giving this book 5 stars. I'm just not with Houck on portraying this type of all-encompassing, obsessive sort of love to teens, who already think everything is the end of the world. It reminded me too much of Bella's willingness to kill herself when Edward left. While Kelsey isn't as bad as Bella, she's still tempted by that connection with Ren that will make her lose herself. And because I'm positive that she and Ren will end up together, I'm a little miffed.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe their love with tone down a bit. Maybe she'll even pick Kishan in the end.
...but I doubt it.
Am I the only one that thinks the relationship Kelsey and Ren share is not only not normal but not healthy? It took me almost a week to get through this book because I was disappointed. And even though I adored the adventure and the mythology, and did like some of the romance, I just was a little uncomfortable with the turn the story took and some of the themes.
Am I crazy for thinking this? What is everyone else's thoughts?...more
It's a good book, but I find this series just not as compelling or readable as the Percy Jackson series. I also think the Kane Chronicles books are REIt's a good book, but I find this series just not as compelling or readable as the Percy Jackson series. I also think the Kane Chronicles books are REALLY long, especially for MG.
Still, it's Rick Riordan, so you know it's going to be fun and full of adventure and mythology goodness....more