The review section for this novel is already clogged with the kinds of effusive, GIF-laden reviews that make one's eyes bleed, so I doubt that many peThe review section for this novel is already clogged with the kinds of effusive, GIF-laden reviews that make one's eyes bleed, so I doubt that many people will ever see my review, but even if it's only a shout into the void, someone ought to criticize this book. I'm still rating it three stars for the creativity and ingenuity evident in the fantasy worldbuilding, but overall it was a rambling, overlong disappointment.
Rick Riordan is an incredibly brilliant, creative, funny, successful author, and I have enjoyed his previous books, but this one fell short of the high expectations he has set. The novel started out well, and the narrative voice was consistently laugh-out-loud funny, but the quest plot dragged on pointlessly. Perhaps there was foreshadowing for the future in some of this, and things which I overlooked shall become significant later, but for the most part, the last two-thirds of the book were tiresome, episodic escapades that introduced mythical characters and situations but did not build character or plot enough to be worthwhile.
Riordan developed his characters adequately throughout the book, but for whatever reason, I did not find them emotionally compelling. Nothing about this story endeared me to the characters beyond mild concern for their survival and success, and the plot itself was not enough to make up for that shortfall. Quest plots tend to be troublesome for writers, since they are full of dead-end turns, episodic successes, and boring stretches, but Riordan is a master of the quest plot, and could have done a lot better here. Many, many chapters in this book seemed entirely irrelvant. The strung-together events resulted in a chaotic climax that had been foreshadowed repeatedly in exposition as characters told others what their quest was about, yet seemed entirely unsatisfying. The characters went on so many pointless missions within a mission that by the end, the final showdown was yet another episodic thing to get past so that I could move on with my life.
I will read the other books in this series, because I like this author and hope the other books are better, but even so, I would only recommend this book to fans....more
This delightfully witty and subversive 1920s thriller serves as a light parody while still unfolding a satisfying, surprising mystery. The dialogue anThis delightfully witty and subversive 1920s thriller serves as a light parody while still unfolding a satisfying, surprising mystery. The dialogue and prose both were hilarious and clever, and I appreciated the tongue-in-cheek dive into the well-worn tropes and devices which other authors of the same period used with all seriousness....more
This book had a reference to Barney the Purple Dinosaur. After twenty-two volumes, I've gotten to cultural references I can understand, and it was a rThis book had a reference to Barney the Purple Dinosaur. After twenty-two volumes, I've gotten to cultural references I can understand, and it was a revelation.
But in all seriousness, this was a fantastic collection of comics, and I appreciated seeing how even though Schulz used many of the same classic ideas and "old jokes," he kept it fresh with new punchlines and entirely new comic sequences like nothing he had ever done before. I admire his amazing drawings, terrific humor, and flawless grasp of human nature, but perhaps what is most impressive about this legendary comic strip is the fact that it stayed fresh and interesting for fifty years....more
I usually avoid the juvenile books that get a lot of hype, because my natural assumption is that they are popular for dealing with Difficult Topics. II usually avoid the juvenile books that get a lot of hype, because my natural assumption is that they are popular for dealing with Difficult Topics. I don't like to read children's books that are heavy-handed, and feel that most award-winning books are more appealing to adults than children. This book is a delightful example of one that can appeal to a broad range of ages, offering a quirky, cute story, deep thoughts about life, and gentle sweetness without cloying sentimentality.
The basic premise is that Ellie's grandfather appears as a teenager, having found a scientific cure to make him youthful again, but I won't explain the story; it's so much more enjoyable to discover it by reading yourself. This book is one of the most unique that I have ever read, and I enjoyed how fresh and interesting it was, especially considering how the "different" aspects meshed so well with the familiar themes of growing up, dealing with changing friendships, and finding new interests.
The narrative voice was fresh and interesting, the author included just the right details to make the story and characters seem real, and the themes were gracefully handled throughout. The prose was well-written from a purely technical standpoint as well, and I appreciated the author's consistent use of semi-colons. They are already rare in adult books, and seeing them in middle-grade fiction was a thrill.
I was not sure what to expect from this book, but it was delightful, sweet, and clever, giving me a very satisfied feeling when I reached the end. The book is excellently relatable for its target audience, avoiding the trap of focusing on adult issues and instead addressing concepts from the whole spectrum of life: middle school friendships, finding a passion, willingness to take risks in relationships, and aging and loss. This book also inspires greater interest in science, curiosity about the world, and delight in living. As much as I love juvenile fiction, it is rare that I finish such a book desiring anew to live to the fullest, but this book makes me grateful for life and once again reminded how incredible it is to even exist....more