Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan is the 4th book in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. In this book, questers have to go into the fabled Labyrinth, where time is different than the outside world and there are openings all over the world. Annabeth and Percy are going and they have to bring the girl who can see through the mist, Rachel, whom Percy met at the Hoover Dam in the previous book. Since Rachel can see through the mist she is able to guide them to the center, where they are searching for Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth and the only one who may be able to help them stop Kronos' minions from finding the key through the maze and therefore keep Camp Half-Blood safe from an invasion. But will they reach Daedalus before Luke does? And can Percy trust the new sword instructor's gift?

This book was AMAZING. I am so glad that Rick Riordan knows how to make a decently long series without ruining it (unlike James Patterson with the Maximum Ride series...). I loved the twists and turns, and honestly, Mrs. Leary is great. The choice that Daedalus makes, in the end, is what turns out to be best, although I'm sure it was hard to make. I was also glad that Percy was able to find Nico because in the last book I was worried about that kid.

It's hard to pick something I didn't like in this book, I think it really just runs along the lines of the others where there's a lot of violence and darkness for these guys to be just kids. But of course it's only in more recent history that kids aren't expected to get a job or start having responsibilities until the age of 18 so it's kind of truer to that I suppose.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of Children's fantasy and Greek mythology.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan is the third book in the "Percy Jackson & the Olympians" series. In this book the campers at Camp Half-Blood continue to fight again Kronos' forces and try not to lose any more campers to his side. Percy, Thalia, and Annabeth go to help Grover, who has found not one but two new half-bloods at once. They are brother and sister, and while Percy, Thalia, and Annabeth are trying to get the two of them to safety they are all attacked and Annabeth is carried off while Artemis and her Hunters end up showing up to attack the beast. Thalia, Percy, Grover, and two of the Hunters end up going on a quest to save Annabeth and Artemis and to try and stop Kronos' plans. They suffer losses along the way and make some startling revelations.

I thought this was a good book! The different ways that Rick Riordan involves the original Greek myths are very well done and interesting. Getting to see Atlas and the Hesperides woven in here was very fun and seeing how Kronos was manipulating everything, although bad, was interesting.

I think my main complaint so far is that this is marketed as a children's series but there's a lot of violence, maiming, and death in this series. I feel like sometimes there's a bit much for kids but maybe with today's culture it's not all that bad.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of Children's Fantasy and Greek myths.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan is the second book in the series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians." In this book, Percy must save his friend Grover and deal with drastic changes at Camp Half-Blood. Chiron has been sent away because the tree that protects the camp has been poisoned and the new camp director is not as pleasant. Percy is not officially given the quest to save the tree but he ends up going anyways with the help of Hermes who also wants Percy to try and help Luke. Percy has Annabeth and a cyclops named Tyson to come with him, but has trouble accepting Tyson as a half brother. The three of them journey to the Sea of Monsters to save Grover and get the key to saving the tree: The Golden Fleece. But is Percy just playing into the hands of Kronos? And will the Golden Fleece actually save the tree?

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the struggle of Percy to accept Tyson as family was very accurate and well done and I was glad that, in the end, Percy was proud to call him brother. I also enjoyed seeing Clarisse in this, even if she caused more trouble than she should have. But I will be interested to see how Ares and his sons and daughter deal with Percy in the future.

The centaurs in here were interested but I kind of which they hadn't been portrayed like they were. I always think of centaurs as more stately, like Chiron, but these guys were kind of idiotic party animals (pun intended ;)).

I give this book a 7 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of Fantasy and Mythological stories.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is the first book in the popular series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians." In this book we learn about Perseus "Percy" Jackson, who has trouble in school and doesn't know who his biological father is. One day while on a field trip he gets into a little more trouble than he was anticipating which leads to his mother and him getting attacked by the Minotaur. This in turn leads them to Camp Half-Blood, where Percy learns about his heritage. Not long after finding out his who his father is Percy is sent on a quest with two friends, Grover and Annabeth, to stop an all out war. He meets plenty of family along the way and learn things about himself and his family history as well as how his powers work. But the most important things he discovers isn't something the gods are willing to listen to him about. Can Percy stop the war and will he listen to warnings much less be able to stop them?

I really enjoyed this book. I find it fascinating when people take age-old mythology and make it modern, it's so much fun. I thought the quirks like most half-bloods, aka demigods, have ADHD because it's their natural fight instincts kicking and causing them to see too much or the fact that they have dyslexia because their brains are hardwired to read Greek, were awesome. The person who betrayed Percy in the end was good too, I thought the author did that well.

I honestly didn't really think that Percy seemed 12 in this book. When I'm reading this I'm imagining them as older teens, I'm not gonna lie. I think the author does a good job of sticking with the idea that the kids are 12 but with how they act and what they go through I just think it feels more teenager-y than what's depicted.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of Mythology and YA Fantasy.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Kin by Lili St. Crow

Kin by Lili St. Crow is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, except that Ruby is a werewolf and not just an innocent girl. She lives with her Gran, and is Wild as she gets closer to the age of responsibility. Females are rare in the werewolf scene in the modern day and female werewolves are expected to keep their responsibility to the clan and marry and produce heirs after school to ensure they continue on. Ruby just feels like she's wearing a mask around everyone, even herself as she gets closer to graduation and especially now that her friends  Ruby has a hard time with that but when someone from a different clan, Conrad, comes to visit as a potential suitor she's intrigued by him. He feels the same way she does about being trapped by duties and they connect. But there's trouble, someone is murdering people in the Park and Conrad has issues that Ruby keeps explaining away. But when Gran collapses Ruby knows she has to act and fast to make sure that no one else is killed.

This is yet another excellent story about a different type/source of abuse and how it can sneak up when you don't realize it. Ruby doesn't realize how abuse Conrad is, and she keeps explaining away or excusing him when things happen but he is very controlling and he even hurts her. It's not until someone she loves is hurt that she is able to find out Conrad's true nature and she is almost even more trapped than she thought she was originally. I like that she chooses to take leadership and it's not that it's easy for her, but that she knows what to do better than she thought she might I guess.

This has violence in it, more so than the other books and it might be disturbing. There is mention of people being killed with an axe and it's a bit gory. If you can't handle it then I recommend not reading this book or at least skipping over those parts.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend for readers of YA Fantasy and dark fairy tales.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wayfarer by Lili St. Crow

Wayfarer by Lili St. Crow is the second book in the series and is the retelling of Cinderella. In this book, Ellen Sinder is abused by her stepmother and forced to charm as well as do household work. She gets beat whenever the 'Strep' gets angry at her for doing too well or just because she feels like it. Ellen's friends know that she gets hit but the adults in Ellen's life don't seem to notice or care enough to do anything about it. When the Strep brings home a young girl she calls her little sister(kind of spoiler: it's actually her daughter) around the same time a boy from her past returns Ellen's life doesn't really get any better. Avery Fletcher is a golden-haired boy who won't seem to leave Ellen alone, but she doesn't understand what he sees in her. She runs from her stepmother to Auntie's house but Auntie is not all that she seems, and in the end Ellen has to confront her stepmother to truly be free of her.

First off I have to say I love her name, it's like Cinderella backward! I think this is yet another wonderful retelling that keeps to the dark theme of the original tales while keeping an original spin on it. Ellen has no loving parental figure in her life since her father died and when she runs away to Auntie she thinks she finds the love and affection she's been missing for so long. But she doesn't trust her friends enough to try and help her. She thinks that everyone views her as a charity case instead of thinking that her friends just want to help her like she's helped them.

This book is dark, which means it's not a book I can just pick up and read, I can't be in a sensitive or a bad place. But it is a good book. I just wish that maybe a little more had been elaborated in the epilogue. I want to know more!

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of YA Fantasy and darker fairy tales.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Nameless by Lili St. Crow

*Note: I have written a review on this book already. However, that was 5 years ago and I wanted to review the whole series so I'm writing a new one. I like to the think I've matured and I've definitely changed in the past 5 years so it'll be a bit different.*

Nameless by Lili St. Crow is a retelling of Snow White in a very creative way. Camille was taken in by the Vultusino family when she ran in front of the head of the Family's car one winter evening. She was covered in wounds and had no name, but the head took her in and adopted her into his family. It's been 10 years and Cami, who speaks with a stutter, starts feeling weird. Odd things start happening to her and one of the new landscaping boys seems familiar for some reason. Cami has never known where she came from, but then again she may not want to. Not only does she have to deal with her past coming back to haunt her present but she has to figure out what Nico, the son of the Vultusino head and his Heir, is going to be in her life.

This book is such a good twist on the classic fairy tale of Snow White. The same concept is kept but instead Lili St. Crow gives it a bit of twist to make it her own. Cami is self-conscious because of her scars and her stutter but she has a big heart and she tries to take of her Nico and her two best friends. However, when she starts learning about her past she tries to take things on herself partly because she wants to protect her friends and partly because the memories from her past are making her think badly about herself and she isn't sure she's worth the trouble. I love she was really fighting the whole time, even if she didn't realize it.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of fantasy, retellings of fairytales, and darker stories.