Easily as good as the first book, Riordan continues to translate Greek mythology into a modern context. Many of the monsters and adventures that the O...moreEasily as good as the first book, Riordan continues to translate Greek mythology into a modern context. Many of the monsters and adventures that the Olympians are facing are a shout out to some of the very same that the Greek and Roman heroes of old had to face themselves. It’s both fun and educational and a fast-paced ride for anyone who wants to get on. While simultaneously becoming immersed in the story, it’s almost difficult not to wish in the back of your mind that all of this is real, and maybe there are children who are demigods, going on quests to save the world.
It’s not going to win any major awards, and is likely not life changing, but it’s a fun, quick read that makes you root for the hero. I recommend any of the books in this series to readers 9+, skewed toward boys 9-12.
My only complaint about this companion book is that it’s too short. It’s sad that after having invested so much into the world Nix has created, we wil...moreMy only complaint about this companion book is that it’s too short. It’s sad that after having invested so much into the world Nix has created, we will never have any more stories about The Old Kingdom and the Abhorsen. Personally, I want to see many more smaller stories like this one about the exploits of all the characters and the people and creatures they’re fighting against to make their world safe and secure for their people. I want to see more about the blossoming relationship between Nick and Lirael. Otherwise, the story is fun to follow, and the other little short stories about various worlds and other things Nix has created are interesting as well.
I know that this trilogy is regarded as among the best in the business as far as young adult magic books are concerned, and I will admit that it is fa...moreI know that this trilogy is regarded as among the best in the business as far as young adult magic books are concerned, and I will admit that it is fairly unique and creates an interesting magical world, albeit closer to true Wiccan or demonic magic than the lighter Harry Potter or Septimus Heap are willing to take on. However, I find myself having an incredibly difficult time getting through the thick prose (and even the clever and fun subnotes written at the bottom) in order to get to the real meat of the story. Barteimaeus and Nathaniel are both great characters, and Bartimeaus is especially fun because even though he’s not the biggest or most powerful demon, he’s certainly clever, and reminds me a lot of Aladdin, which is a character type we could use more of, especially lately since most of our modern heroes seem to be reluctant at best, and are usually petulant and whiney. How boring is that?
Anyway, all that said, the trilogy lives up to all the hype, but I don’t find myself enjoying the read as much as I would anticipate. I recommend this trilogy, but with the caveat that you may find yourself in the same position, wading through the prose in the attempt of getting lost in a fun story.
Stewart’s writing has both the fun, lighthearted flare as well as the engaging, mysterious storyline as Roald Dahl or Blue Balliett. The way he sets u...moreStewart’s writing has both the fun, lighthearted flare as well as the engaging, mysterious storyline as Roald Dahl or Blue Balliett. The way he sets up the story by showing how uniquely the four children react to the same test and puzzles is excellent, because it allows him to use the strengths and weaknesses he’s shown from the tests in the characters throughout the story. There’s no guesswork as to what type of person each of them is, and the discovery for the reader lies in watching the adventure unfold and how each child uses his or her abilities to play a part and help save the day.
It’s an interesting commentary about the rise of Totalitarian societies that change the language in order to brainwash the people and use fear as a method of control. Certainly, this text does not have the somber assertions of Orwell’s 1984, but the treatment of the subplot carries a similar message to younger readers.
I believe, as well, that the way the writing reveals elements of the story throughout the novel will both enlighten and expand the minds of young readers, as if they themselves were one of the characters trying to solve the puzzles throughout the story. It’s challenging in a way that is fun, and many young minds will find themselves learning without even knowing it. It’s a fun read for anyone, but the target audience will more than likely fall into the 8-12 range.
At first the story is a little hard to get into since it reads much more like a mythological tale told from a bird’s-eye view rather than a cohesive s...moreAt first the story is a little hard to get into since it reads much more like a mythological tale told from a bird’s-eye view rather than a cohesive story that moves toward a climax and resolution. Soon, though, this becomes an endearing quality to the writing, as if you’re reading the history of this powerful wizard that many of Earthsea would know in lore. It’s much like reading The Silmarillion by Tolkein, which is the history of Middle Earth, or historical myth lore from various world cultures. In that way, you feel like you’re part of Earthsea, reading about your own history and heroes of legend.
On a more micro level, the text has more depth than a typical fantasy novel. Ged’s journey to adulthood is both dark and complicated, and in the end, he must embrace the evil in himself in order to overcome it, which is an interesting philosophical commentary. I find myself waxing with LeGuin about whether or not recognizing and embracing the evils within ourselves enables us to overcome them rather than being consumed by them. Our own journeys may not be as tangible as Ged’s, but who knows?
At this point this main quartet involving Ged has become somewhat of a classic set within the fantasy fiction genre, and it’s a nice fireside read. I recommend it to all readers, but the main audience will be fantasy buffs 12+.
As the second book in the trilogy it’s only natural that more of the story and the world will continue to unfold. Unlike some series where each book i...moreAs the second book in the trilogy it’s only natural that more of the story and the world will continue to unfold. Unlike some series where each book is its own story, this is one large story spread over 3 different books. This iteration, as it takes the reader deeper into the history and the titans that are clashing, becomes darker than its predecessor, which will mean that the third book will progress even further.
The action in the book is faster as the stakes are higher, but overall, this story has all of the same issues as the first book. I feel like Meyer is rushing the reader through the plot and leaving out necessary details in description, motivation, and inner character qualities that would make this more than simply another adventure story. There’s often not enough detail to create a clear understanding of the picture he’s painting, but more so than that, another 100 pages or so would add so much color to the novel if they were dedicated to helping the reader understand more about the two main characters and their worlds. I want to know more about the Thieves’ Guild to which Serafin once belonged, how he was able to get into it at such a young age, and more about his past and what motivates him. The same goes for Merle and the orphanage.
As always, Meyer is an incredibly imaginative storyteller, and the way he intricately weaves his plot structure throughout the story keeps the reader...moreAs always, Meyer is an incredibly imaginative storyteller, and the way he intricately weaves his plot structure throughout the story keeps the reader constantly guessing what’s going to happen next. Personally, I have been enjoying this trilogy more than the Dark Reflections Trilogy because there are a lot more twists and the characters seem to have a wider arc and a greater range of experiences. Above all, though, what makes this book, and the others so far in the series, so fun is the unique world that Meyer has created and thrust into the middle of the pirate myth lore, which people have a tendency to love. I recommend this book to all readers 10+.