I didn't love this one, I must admit. Like a lot of readers here, I started with Riordan' "Percy Jackson" series and I found them to be enjoyable, fun...moreI didn't love this one, I must admit. Like a lot of readers here, I started with Riordan' "Percy Jackson" series and I found them to be enjoyable, funny, and compelling fantasy/adventures. "Lost Hero" is off to an even better start. I picked up "The Red Pyramid" because I was hoping for another adventure through a mythology I knew almost nothing about: ancient Egypt. To be fair, there were many things to like about this book:
1. A bi-racial protagonist. I just don't see this very often in youth lit and we definitely need more of it. We need more books where diverse readers are seeing brown characters in more than just supporting roles. And not only is Carter brown, but he is very mindful of what that can mean in a "white world" and he doesn't shy away from sharing his thoughts on the subject of stereotypes.
2. I actually did learn a lot about Egyptian mythology. Thanks, Rick!
3. Riordan does pull together some genuinely funny moments. The Friskies and grilled cheese lunches made me smile.
But there are some problematic points:
1. I liked the idea of the siblings Carter and Sadie recording their experience for successors, but that narrative device quickly turned into a gimmick as each chapter inevitably featured some sarcastic aside to the sibling not currently in possession of the "microphone". Which leads me to...
2. Sarcasm. Too much of it. Between the siblings. Between the gods. Between the magicians. It was just too much. I found that the funniest moments were when the characters were allowed to just let their eccentricities shine without a snide remark from someone else in the narrative. (See Bast's Friskies and grilled cheese lunches.) The sarcasm kind of killed the humor for the most part.
3. I didn't see much variety in the Egyptian God characters. A few stood out - Thoth, Bast, and well, that's kind of it. The others just seemed to blend together. They all seemed to spout the same lines so after a while the "Magic! Chaos! Du'at!" shouts just become white noise. It was a bummer.
If you're up for adventurous kids and a world where ancient mythology is very much modern, take a pass on this series and give "Percy Jackson" or "Heroes of Olympus" a try instead.(less)
Admittedly, I was a little cautious about this one. When "Faerie Lord" was published it was touted as the finale to the series. Then along comes "Faem...moreAdmittedly, I was a little cautious about this one. When "Faerie Lord" was published it was touted as the finale to the series. Then along comes "Faeman Quest" and my first question was: why this book and why now? I thought the Faerie Wars series did very well on its own with the four books, and I was hoping that the fifth book wouldn't turn out to be a half-assed attempt to milk a little more interest out of the series.
Herbie Brennan, I'm sorry I doubted you. =^_^=
This book brought together a good mix of old and new characters, and the newbies were interesting enough to keep me from skipping over their chapters so I could more quickly catch up with my "old friends" Henry, Blue, Pyrgus, and Mr. Fogarty. Since this book is placed 15 years after the end of "Faerie Lord" it was a bit difficult to imagine Henry and Blue in their 30's, but it didn't detract from the story in a serious way.
Honestly, the only nit-picky thing I have to mention is the word "faeman." It's intended to indicate a child that is half-faerie and half-human, but the word just bothers me. It seems awkward and too overtly gendered, as if the great quest the title mentions is only worth of a faeMAN! A small sticking point, really. Otherwise a fun and entertaining read.(less)
It's not terrible. That being said, it's not particularly good either.
I love urban fantasy and this book tries to incorporate some of those elements...moreIt's not terrible. That being said, it's not particularly good either.
I love urban fantasy and this book tries to incorporate some of those elements - a paranormal center in Bucharest? Bring it on! It also makes room for all kinds of paranormal creatures, which I also love to see in a good fantasy, and I especially look forward to faerie character that are decidedly anti-Tinkerbell in looks and demeanor. There are even broader themes of social justice, though they are not addressed as well or as deeply as they could have been.
The problem with this book, by and large, is the protagonist, Evie. There's all this potential in her back story and all this possibility for a complex and multi-layered young woman, but what we end up with is a stereotypical "pink glitter and rhinestones" little girl. Evie does a serious disservice to the notion of strong female characters in YA fantasy literature. It's a bummer.(less)
This story follows our protagonist, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, in her life at a theater where all the characters of all the world's plays live. She m...moreThis story follows our protagonist, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, in her life at a theater where all the characters of all the world's plays live. She manages the daily drama of Ophelia; her best friends are fairies from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; she has a love/hate crush going on with a character from "The Tempest" and a certain sailor from "The Little Mermaid" has a thing for her; and all the while she searches for the truth about how she came to be left at the theater as a baby and raised by the crew and characters there. But she's also a teen, so she's brings plenty of sass and well-intentioned mistakes to the story.
The author has a background in theater so it makes sense that she could bring that world to life, and I think it shows in the writing that she knows what she's talking about. She made the right choice to put her story there. However, I do not have a background, or even a very deep interest, in theater so it felt as though there were parts of the story that should have been more meaningful to me if I had that "in" to the story. That being said, I really did enjoy the idea of finding out who a character is after they finish playing the part written for them and walk off the stage. In this book, they're likely to head to the green room for a cup of coffee and that's when the interesting stuff starts to happen.
The only thing I didn't enjoy was Beatrice's name - she goes by "Bertie." It's terrible. All I could think of was "Bert the Turtle" and "Bertle Turtle" and other uncomplimentary things. Beatrice is a beautiful name and I can understand as a teen wanting something a little more fun and a little less sophisticated. But Bertie? Not to mention that Bertie sounds like a pet name given to your grandmother by her elderly gal pals. Anyway....(less)