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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly -Archive > 2018-08 - Mythology Reviews

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Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2803 comments Mod
Can you believe that I am ahead of the game this month? At least by US standards, lol. At any rate - now that we have all perused the Mythology list, let's review the books we actually end up reading! I'm looking forward to everyone's take on their book.

Also, remember in order to be considered to by the October shelf picker, you must post at least one review in this thread

Happy Reading!


message 2: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Zaccaria | 87 comments I read The Dark Wife.

Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny. But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

I love Greek mythology and the f/f twist made this all the more enjoyable. TBH I was expecting fan-fiction writing but was pleasantly surprised. Some of the dialogue was iffy but otherwise, I quite liked this tale.


message 3: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 813 comments My book for this shelf was Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith, which I finished yesterday.

I wasn't impressed. It's supposed to be a transformation story, but there didn't seem to be any transformation in it. Aside from one of the couples being lesbian, it was an ordinary love story of the type where the couple fall in love at first sight and are perfectly matched and have no conflicts. Plus the main character's idea of fun is going into bookshops and breaking the spines of new books, which will not endear her to many booklovers, I fear :)


message 4: by Karin (new)

Karin | 797 comments Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke 1.5 stars (audiobook is very well done, though)


You may read the summary if you haven't already heard of this, but suffice to say it's an alternative history set in England, Italy and Fairy centering on two magicians but with a few other main characters whose POVs we also see. It's fair to say I haven't been interested in tales of magic since I was a teen, and it's also fair to say that I haven't been interested in darker novels since not much later than that, and this is both of these. I think the writing is fairly strong, but am not completely sure because the audiobook production is stellar and that could have influence that for me.

Why did I plough through this? 1. It was on audio and I have been doing a great deal of driving so listening to books helps. 2. It will garner me many points in a reading game. Had it only been for one of the two I am not like to have finished.

And yet, and yet....

Despite all of this if Clarke were to write a sequel and it was recorded by the same person, I might just listen to it to see if certain things are resolved.


message 5: by Slayermel (last edited Aug 16, 2018 11:18AM) (new)

Slayermel | 664 comments I finished Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman and gave it 3 stars

It's a YA novel that seemed to have quite a few similarities to the Thor movie (Avengers series). Frost Giants, Loki, Odin and Thor are all part of the story.
I have to say I did enjoy it but did find the storyline way to young for me. Definitely something I will try to remember for when My daughter gets a bit older and we are out of the picture books, beginner readers category.


message 6: by Slayermel (last edited Aug 20, 2018 08:53PM) (new)

Slayermel | 664 comments Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1) by Rosamund Hodge Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I gave it 3 stars.

While at first glance I did not see how this book was shelved as mythology as it seemed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, there is quite a bit of Greek mythology imbedded in the story itself.
This was a very interesting retelling of Beauty and the Beast, except the story is darker and more twisted than any Disney version.
I find this book hard to review, as parts of it I really enjoyed and other parts left me a bit bored and my mind wondering.
The characters were interesting and the mystery to the story kept me intrigued, even though I had a bunch of it already figured out. Ignifex the demon lord I found fascinating, and Nyx his bride by offering just irritated me with her flip flopping of feelings, anger, love, pity......she was just way to mean spirited for me.
I guess over all I'm glad I stumbled across this one as it did have me coming back for more constantly, and it had me read something a little bit different from my usual selection which has been a lot of mysteries and stephen king of late.


message 7: by Karin (new)

Karin | 797 comments Slayermel wrote: "Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1) by Rosamund Hodge Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I gave it 3 stars.

While at first glance I did not see how this book was shelved as mythology as it seemed to be a..."


It is darker, but of course the original fairy tales were all darker than the ones we see on Disney, and usually than what the Grimm brothers recorded from what I've heard. I no longer remember how much I liked it as no stars made it over to GR.


message 8: by Marina (new)

Marina (sonnenbarke) | 1344 comments I've read (actually, re-read) The Tempest by William Shakespeare, which for some reason was shelved several times as mythology even though mythology has only a short cameo in it. I had first read it in 2005 for a university exam and loved it at the time - I loved it this time around, too. I couldn't help recalling to mind Peter Greenaway's movie "Prospero's Books" which was based on this play. I think this play can be read at multiple levels: postcolonialism, politics, betrayal, and so on. I read an Italian translation, but while reading I still recalled many of the original lines as at university I had read a version with parallel text. Wonderful. Not my favorite Shakespeare play, but still 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.


message 9: by Sassafrass (last edited Aug 26, 2018 01:27PM) (new)

Sassafrass (sass-a-frass) | 603 comments I read From Gods and finished on 8/25/18. It's the first book in a series where the main characters are half-blooded gods and goddess, descended from Greek gods and goddesses.

I thought that the premise was interesting but felt the book itself fell short. The fight scenes weren't believable and the ended was tidied up way too quickly. And then just when you thought things were coming to an end, there was a big cliffhanger to try and get to the next book.

I'm not sure that the author succeeded in getting me to the next book. But it's possible that I may look at it if I need another mythology book in the future and I'm out of options.

I just feel the YA books that I've read with mythology in them have been done so much better.

This one was only given 3 stars by me since it was just OK.


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3411 comments Mod
I actually finished The Black Tides of Heaven rather early in the month, but have gotten very far behind in writing up reviews. Here's what I finally managed for this one, to which I gave 4 stars, though I think of it as really 3.5+:

This is a terrific introduction to the sub-genre of silkpunk. Author J. Y. Yang takes us to a world that feels vaguely Eastern, with significant elements of magic and fantasy as well as a vastly different approach to gender than our world has. The story revolves around young twins Akeha and Mokoya as each tries to find their place in a world torn between the traditionally powerful “tensors” and the competing machists. It’s an intriguing reframing of the conflict between science and religion. And I’ve rarely seen a villain more evil than Akeha and Mokoya’s mother, the “Protectorate.”


message 11: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8470 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I actually finished The Black Tides of Heaven rather early in the month, but have gotten very far behind in writing up reviews. Here's what I finally managed for this one, to which ..."

oh, you did read it! Pretty confusing but very interesting. I gave same rating as you so we're on the same page, yay :)


message 12: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8470 comments Mod
I did finish Ransom a couple of weeks ago. I gave it 4 stars due to the style of writing and thank goodness, the tangent away from the usual Greek mythology.

Well, actually, the book is a 'retelling' of The Iliad or rather a very small obscure part of it (hence why I said 'tangent' above). The first half set up the background of the siege of Troy, up to the death & desecration of Hector. Then, it veered away as author reimagined Priam's attempt to ransom back Hector's body.

I'm not a fan of mythologies esp. Greek/Roman ones because one thing I avoid in books is unfaithfulness / infidelities and well, we all know just how fickle these gods are :p


message 13: by Elvenn (new)

Elvenn | 705 comments I ended reading two books for this shelf. First, The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, a very interesting supernatural adventure set in colonial Malaysia where the daughter of an impoverished family will try anything to avoid being the ghost bride for the deceased heir of a rich family, even meeting the dwellers and guardians of the Chinese Underworld.

Rating: 4.5 stars

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Then, I read Summer Knight by Jim Butcher, another very original adventure of Harry Dresden, Chicago wizard. And if in the last book he had to deal with vampires, specifically those of the Red Court, this new story is all about fairies. About the Winter Court, the Summer Court and finding out who killed the Summer Knight before one of the sides snuffs our knightly mage or, well, the world comes to an end...

Rating: 4 stars

Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4) by Jim Butcher


message 14: by Alixendra (new)

Alixendra (travel_bug) | 16 comments For this challenge I read Odd and the Frost Giants.
Odd is the odd one in his Norse village. Crippled after an accident and ignored by his new family, he runs away one day only to stumble upon a fox, bear, and an eagle whom he helps. Turns out, these animals aren't just ordinary animals but Norse Gods under a Frost Giant spell. Odd sets out to help them get Asgard back and return them to their original forms so they don't become completely animals.

I have Neil Gaiman before and I have always enjoyed his works. I gave this a 2.5 out of 5 stars. It was good but it just wasn't as good as his other works. I would for sure read more stories about Odd and his adventures, and I would also read this story to my younger brother, cousins, or any kids I'd tutor. I personally just wish it had been longer and had a little more depth to it even for such a short story.


message 15: by Christina (new)

Christina Byrne (cmbyrne87) | 147 comments Finished The Darkest Craving. This is the 10th book in the Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter. I give the book five stars, though that could be because I tend to enjoy anything that this author puts out. The series is about a group of warriors who were slighted by the idea that a woman (Pandora) was chosen to protect and transport a certain well know box. They planned to take the box to prove she was the wrong choice and turns out it was filled with demons that then escaped. The gods punished them by causing them each to house a demon in their body. They are afflicted with whatever their demon represents, wrath, lust, lies, nightmares, etc. Each book is connected and revolves around one of the Lords. This particular book is about Kane, the keeper of Disaster. I can't really say much about the book without major spoilers since this book is SO far into the series.But just as enjoyable as every book in the series.


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