While, as I write this review, one of the other books on my shelf is The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft, I have to admit my ignorance when it comes to the Cthulhu Mythos and the Necronomicon (I didn't reach those stories yet). I mention this, because the premise of SUMMONED is that H.P. Lovecraft's account is based on real events and that one of his characters is Helen Arkwright's uncle. I see from another review that I have missed some references. Possible, but even reading this story without any prior knowledge, I had no problems grasping its context and content.
SUMMONED is the tale of a teenage wizard, Sean, trapped in a trial of sorcery and forced to defend himself and the ones he loves against the most puissant Master of Magic—Nyarlathotep or the Black Man. While his journey takes him through several action-packed adventures, the biggest test is one of discovery and knowledge. Sean is not just another Harry Potter, or even worse a blend of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. He is an insecure teenager, tempted by the allure of power through knowledge. He finds the strength to fight the antagonist not due to mindless courage, but due to desperation to protect his family and friends. In the end it is this love for his family that yanks him away from Nyarlathotep's temptation. If there is a aspect that IMO could be improved in this story it is the protagonist's reaction—his behavior seems a bit immature for a sixteen-almost-seventeen-year-old near-adult.
Otherwise, the other characters are nicely rounded for a YA story—the father is overly protective, due to being the only parent, the best friend is brave and wise, though overly critical, Helen—his sister is learning—is as wobbly on her path to discovery as Sean. By the end of the story everyone gains not only more understanding about the essence of magic, but also about their loved ones. Everyone is more tempered in their reactions and criticism and more willing to admit their own errors and lack of knowledge.
The author crafts some imaginative settings, as for instance Geldman’s Pharmacy in Arkham. The idea of a dual place, which is perceived differently based on the magical-ability of the viewer, might not be new. Nonetheless I found its descriptions fresh and captivating due to the minute details, like the old-fashioned soda fountain.
With an almighty god hungering for Sean's magical ability and a secret society advocating a formal wizard education, the ending indicates that Sean's adventures have just began. Adventure, mystery, magic, evil gods who pose as benevolent, and heartwarming family and friendship links—this book includes something for everyone young at heart. I really liked the first encounter with the world of SUMMONED and I would definitively continue to read about it.(less)
Of course I did remember, but in the process I realized that for me what is spectacular about this novel is not the time-travel aspect, but the realization of magic. In my opinion the instance in which Harry produces that larger-than-life Patronus Charm in order to save Sirius from the swarm of dementors is everything magic should be: awe-inspiring, formidable, all along being backed-up by true emotion. It is in fact probably the best magical act that I read in any book and I remember giving me goosebumps when I first read it.
And yes, the book does have quite a bit of time-travel (fitting very well in, what I call, the immovable history school-of-thought), but it is only a tool used to facilitate the plot, not the central theme of the novel. It is this that threw me off when finding it listed in the time-travel category: to me this is a pure fantasy novel (and a peculiar one, in that respect, since it mixes low-fantasy and high-fantasy in a coherent whole).
To end here, this is a great book for all those young at heart.(less)
Evil and obtuse kids backed up by extra-evil vampires bully good and bright kids. The end. Or not really, since I could hardy listen to half of this n...moreEvil and obtuse kids backed up by extra-evil vampires bully good and bright kids. The end. Or not really, since I could hardy listen to half of this novel without falling asleep with boredom. This book is not even worth the time for writing a proper review.(less)
******Full Disclosure**** This was an ARC copy, that was received through the GoodReads Advance program. I am grateful for the chance to have read thi...more******Full Disclosure**** This was an ARC copy, that was received through the GoodReads Advance program. I am grateful for the chance to have read this novel, which I might not have purchased otherwise. -----
Having not read a comics book since I was 10 (I'm 35 right now), I welcomed "Anya's Ghost" with amusement and rather childish eyes and I wasn't disappointing. It is smart, realistic (being an immigrant myself, even if not Russian, I can tell you that the "back in Russia" comments are very much true), incredibly funny (if for now other reason, this book deserves 5 stars for the line "I could lose myself forever in that dark hair and those sweet love handles"). It has enough fantasy to keep the narration interesting, and it doesn't follow the most expected storyline.
Finally, the drawings are very realistically done - real bodies, real people, no Hollywoodish body images. (less)
Truth being told, I didn't even finish reading this book (although I did get through 60-70% of it). As I mentioned in my previous reviews, I thought t...moreTruth being told, I didn't even finish reading this book (although I did get through 60-70% of it). As I mentioned in my previous reviews, I thought that the second book in the series was a letdown. Compared to that, the third one is even worse, although plot-wise is better than the second.
The main fault I find is that, although the first book had (in my opinion an older-than-15 target audience), as the series went on, the target age seems to decrease. Cat behaves at the very best as a spoiled brat. She is infantile and foolish (although by now she is supposed to be 27) and sometimes talks like a silly teenager.
Sadly all the great humor from the "Halfway to the grave" is only long-gone by now, replaced by puerile jealousy, so ridiculous that if I were Bones, I would have left her without a second thought. (SPOILER: She punches one of his former lovers only when the woman tried to save her life, but has no problem to make-up and more with Tate although Bones is close-by and can read her mind. Yuck!)
Overall simply a pitiful sequel! I'm pretty sure I will not continue reading this series!(less)
Finally I pushed myself to finish this book after I started it more than two months ago, read only about 30% of it, then read six other books in the m...moreFinally I pushed myself to finish this book after I started it more than two months ago, read only about 30% of it, then read six other books in the mean time. The main problem I found was that the first half was very very slow-moving and not that interesting. While I understand that the authors had to slide into the story, it felt unnecessarily long and rather bland.
The second half however was much better paced, having also the benefit of some healthy humor. The character of Pshaw-Ra is what brings life into this book. I also really liked the fact that the cats' language is so much more "elegant" and elaborated than the one of humans.
The action in the second part if well structured and unlike some reviewer mentioned (maybe not on GoodReads) the fight scenes are not R-rated. I also don't agree with the reader who said that the the story is told from the cats' perspective: the POV changes throughout the entire book, occasionally being one of the cats. I think that person was trying to make a point that this is a YA novel, which is true, although not because of the POV but because of the rather simple literary style and lack of character development.
In conclusion, based on the ending, I don't regret reading it, although I think it could have been better.(less)