Posts Tagged ‘rick riordan’

Good morning and welcome to another reading roundup.

This week I finished Naomi Novik’s League of Dragons, the last in the Temeraire series.  As I mentioned in my last reading roundup, I skipped the intermediate seven books of the series and relied on Tor.com’s reread.  That wasn’t such a great idea in hindsight.  While there was a lot to love about the book – especially the narration (Simon Vance, people!) – I expect some of the emotional punches passed me by.  I did very much enjoy the whole theme of draconic rights and Temeraire’s commitment to improving his kind’s lot in life.  What did irk me though was the sudden switch in goals.  It seemed that every time our protagonists came near to achieving their goals, the posts were moved and they were sent off on another errand.  It did all come together in the end, but it did bother me at the time.

I gave League of Dragons three and a half stars out of five.

My library hold of Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown came through earlier and I’m enjoying it very much indeed – much more than I had anticipated.  I would place it in the genre of fantasy of manners in that it has a fantastical element but takes place in an Austen-style Regency setting.  This is a subgenre I definitely want to read more of.  Austen it is not, but the style is reminiscent of that era and I’m loving the characters.  The fact that our protagonists are a man of colour and a woman adds a fascinating aspect to the novel. I’m about half way through, so expect a full review at some point.

Onto some housekeeping;  my husband and I are setting off on vacation so I will be taking a short break from blogging.  Expect more reviews and roundups when I return!

Like many bookworms, I’m sure, planning my vacation reading list takes as much work as packing clothes!  At least with a Kindle, I’m not limited by bulk of how many books and audiobooks I can take.

For this summer trip, I’m planning on some light fare, nothing to heavy.  We are travelling by train, so a perfect time to catch up on reading.  I’m planning on following up with the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne.  As of now, I’ve read five of the currently published eight books.  The reason I’ve not finished the series yet is because they are absolutely wonderful – the audiobook is awesome – and I’ve been saving them for an appropriate time.  The characters and the humour are just perfect.  Now seems like a good time to catch up.  This is a series I’d definitely recommend in audiobook format.  Do yourselves a favour and check it out.

While we’re away Rick Riordan’s Hotel Valhalla – Guide to the Norse Worlds should hit my Kindle download queue.  That should also be a nice, light holiday read.  

If I’m in the mood for something a bit more meaty, I will continue with Kate Elliott’s Cold Fire.  I have been enjoying it, but it kept getting pushed to the back of my list by library books that had to be read before being returned.

So I’ll catch up with you when I get back.  Till then happy reading!

Reading roundup – August 12th 2016 was originally published on Canadian eReader

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The Trials of Apollo Book One The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan is the start of a new Greek mythology series from middle grade staple Rick Riordan.  This new series centres around the god Apollo, who has been stripped of his godly powers by his father, Zeus.  Naturally, adventures and shenanigans ensue.

For me this read a little younger than the Heroes of Olympus series, more in line with Percy Jackson.  Apollo’s human persona is aged 16, but he spends a lot of time hanging around with 13 year old Meg which naturally makes the feel of the book somewhat younger.  Also, there is no emphasis at all on romantic relationships.

What I liked

Riordan’s writing style.  After many series including Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Riordan’s light, witty style should be familiar to most readers.  If you enjoyed the earlier books, you will certainly enjoy this one.  They are very funny.  I breezed through The Hidden Oracle in an afternoon.  While it is not necessary to have read the earlier series, I would strongly recommend doing so before picking up this latest one.  There are many references to characters and events from previous entries that, while not necessary to enjoy the story, are enhanced by knowledge of both of the other Olympian series.

The protagonist. I was amused by Apollo – his attitude and the circumstances he kept finding himself in.  In theme it’s very similar to Marvel’s Thor movie in which a god becomes mortal but takes some time to adjust to his new situation.  I enjoyed Apollo’s character development and how he changes throughout the course of the adventure.  I do have some concerns if that level of character development can be sustained through the other four planned books in the series, but time will tell.

Catchups on our other favourite demigods.  In this book we touch base with our heroes from the previous series.  It was good to hear how Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Leo and the others are all getting on with their post Gaea lives.

What I didn’t like

Perhaps because this was aimed at a younger audience, at times it was a little formulaic, especially if you know the previous book.  Still, it’s more than made up for by Riordan’s wit and humour.

In summary, if you’ve enjoyed the previous books, you will certainly enjoy The Trials of Apollo.  I gave it four stars out of five.

four-stars

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan – Review was originally published on Canadian eReader

Like September, October is another big month for book releases.  Here are a few of the ones about which I am most excited.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard – The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan.  This, along with Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Quest and Marissa Meyer’s Winter are among my most anticipated books of the later half of 2015.  For those of you who don’t know, Sword of Summer is the start of a new series by the author of the Percy Jackson series which, this time, focusses on Norse mythology.  Riordan’s books are always funny, engaging and exciting and I have no reason to suspect this one will be any different.  Knowing what I know of the Norse pantheon, the opportunities for high jinx seem limitless.  

Sword of Summer will be released on October 6th and I have it preordered in both Kindle and Audible versions.

Also on October 6th Brandon Sanderson is releasing another book.  Dang, that guy is prolific.  Does he actually sleep?  This month it’s the turn of Shadows of Self, the sequel to his Alloy of Law, a steampunkesque novel set in his Mistborn world.  I love the world Sanderson created in the Mistborn trilogy and Alloy of Law, and I’m more than happy to plunk down my hard earned cash for this.

I have preordered Shadows of Self in both Kindle and Audible formats.  Incidentally, as usual, Michael Kramer is narrating the audiobook, which is a plus point for choosing this version.

Next up I have a couple of novellas in series I have been following.  These are The Favourite from Keira Cass’s The Selection series, released on October 12th and Born to Endless Night, the next in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series of novellas which comes out on October 20th.  Both of these should be fun additions to my library.  

October 27th sees the release of The Outlandish Companion Volume II by Diana Gabaldon.  I am slowly making my way through the Outlander series – currently dropping in and out of book four, Drums of Autumn.  It goes without saying that I am in love with the Starz series.  I found the Outlandish Companion Volume I to be a wonderful, insightful addition to my Outlander library and I fully expect Volume II to be the same.  As it deals with books five – eight it may be some while before I actually dip into this.  Spoilers about I am certain.

The Outlandish Companion Volume II should hit my Kindle download queue right on schedule.

If I am being perfectly honest, though, the chances of my actually reading anything – or achieving much of anything in general – over the next couple of weeks are virtually nil.  This is because today sees the release of Lego Dimensions, the new toys-to-life gaming system from Lego and Travellers Tales games.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with toys-to-life, it means that you have to buy a physical toy for it to appear in the video game.  Combine this with Lego and your starter pack comes with a set of Lego bricks and minifigures which you have to physically put together to go through the game.  Previous Lego/Travellers Tales games have been purely virtual.  Now I’m no hard core gamer chick, but I do adore the Lego games.  I still giggle like a naughty schoolgirl at the image of Lego Boromir being shot by a garden rake!  

Lego Dimensions sounds absolutely awesome.  The idea is that the worlds of the Lego multiverse are colliding.  You are led through the adventure by Batman (from the DC Comics Batman Lego games), Gandalf (from the Lord of the Rings Lego game) and Wyldstyle (from the Lego Movie and video game) and you visit each of their homeworlds.  However, Lego Dimensions brings in a whole lot of new franchises to the genre – Back to the Future.  Ghostbusters!  Doctor Who!  The Wizard of Oz!  It should be pointed out that, to unlock more than a taster of these new franchises though, you do have to shell out hard cash over and above the initial cost of the starter pack.  Previous games allowed you to unlock characters and abilities with in-game currency.  But hey, if you’ve secretly yearned to see The Doctor drive the Batmobile through Minas Tirith this is your game.  

I am especially excited for Doctor Who, although that upgrade pack isn’t available until November.  It seems that the Travellers Tales team has added some really awesome things in this – you can play as each and every regeneration of The Doctor, including the War Doctor!  The TARDIS interior changes to reflect the current incarnation you’re playing and if you lose all your Lego lives, your character regenerates as the next Doctor.

As I say though, release day for the main game was today.  I’d preordered mine from Amazon, but, to quote Vernon Dursley, there’s no post on Sundays so I will not receive it until tomorrow.  And because I am scheduled to work very long days at the beginning of the week, I’m not going to be able to start playing it until Thursday.  Dang.  That Amazon box is going to sit and taunt me for the next few days.

Ah well.  I shall return to blog some more at some point.

Let me know if you are excited about any of these releases.

Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan – ReviewBlood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Nick Chamian
Length: 14 hrs and 26 mins
Genres: Children’s, Contemporary Fantasy
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Evelynne’s rating:

three-half-stars

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan is the fifth and final book in the Heroes of Olympus saga.  In this book the seven demigods of the prophesy finally have their confrontation with Gaea.  I listened to it in audiobook format – perfect for a sick day from work where you don’t feel like doing much.

If you enjoyed the previous books, it’s very likely you will like this one, too.  It’s more of the same, with resolution of lots of plotlines.  It seems this is the final book in Percy’s world, at least for some time – Riordan is moving onto a series on Norse mythology (sign me up for that asap) – so it is nice to get some closure on these characters with whom we have spent five and in many cases 10 books.

What I liked

The writing style.  A Rick Riordan novel can be characterised as a mixture of humour and adventure, and Blood of Olympus is no different.  I often found myself chuckling out loud at a particularly amusing turn of phrase.  Riordan’s books are definitely a quick, fun read.

The resolution.  Riordan resolved the main conflicts efficiently and pretty much as predicted, throwing in a few character resolutions in as well.  I particularly enjoyed Nico’s and Leo’s character arcs.  There is some suggestion of what the future might hold for our favourite demigods, although sadly there are no more books to see if they are able to follow through with their plans.  As the main character of the new Norse series has the same surname as one of the Percy Jackson series main characters, maybe there will be some crossover.

The narration. Nick Chamian did the narration for Blood of Olympus.  I enjoyed it, but would characterise it as proficient rather than awesome.

What I didn’t like

Lack of narrative tension.  Despite the fact that this is the last book in the series and the fact that at least one death was prophesied, there was no point at which I actually felt one of my much loved characters might not make it.  Admittedly, the series is aimed at younger readers which might explain this.

Efficiency rather than brilliance.  Throughout the Heroes of Olympus series, Riordan has been laying the foundations for this final conflict with Gaea, and it followed pretty closely the pattern he set.  There are no unexpected twists or turns at this stage in the game.  Most of the heavy lifting in terms of character development has also been done by this point.

So in summary, while I enjoyed Blood of Olympus, I didn’t love it.  I gave it three and a half stars out of five.

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three-half-stars

House of Hades is the fourth, and presumably, the penultimate in Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series.  It continues the story of the seven demigods who are prophesied to work together to prevent the earth goddess Gaea from rising and populating the earth with her giants, presumably a VERY BAD THING.

The overall impression I had was that House of Hades was Mark of Athena part II.  It follows on directly from and continues the plot points from the previous book.  In it the demigods continue to work on the task assigned to them in MoA – to close the Doors of Death. Books one and two form a pair – Jason and Percy’s swap – and so books three and four as well.  Riordan has cleared the decks so to speak for the final push in book five, Blood of Olympus.

I also had the strong feeling that this is Riordan preparing to say goodbye to the world of Percy Jackson.  As far as I understand, his next project is a new series based on Norse mythology (Yeah!  Loki!  Odin!  Thor!  Sign me up for that!).  Annabeth and Percy’s trip through Tartarus is pretty much a Percy and Annabeth’s Greatest Hits medley as they re-encounter monsters they’ve met in previous books and reminisce.  (As an aside, if you’ve not read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians, it is worth reading it before House of Hades so that you can pick up the references more easily.)

What I liked

Each demigod gets the chance to shine.  House of Hades has point of view narration from each of the seven demigods mentioned in the Prophecy of Seven, Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Frank, Hazel and Leo.  Each of them has at least one section where they alone really kick ass and take names.  They all get some kind of “level up” and emotional development in this book.  As an aside though, for me Jason’s real heroic moment comes in his unexpectedly sensitive handling of Nico’s crisis not when he’s fighting monsters.

The comedy. These books are laugh out loud funny.  I just adore Riordan’s humour (Percy and Annabeth jumping out of their skins at a sweet little kitten!)

Greek/Roman mythology.  I do love Greek/Roman mythology and Riordan has a real knack for giving it a wonderful twist.

Nico’s storyline.  Kudos to Riordan for handling this in a beautiful and sensitive way.

What I disliked

There was nothing I disliked about House of Hades.  It’s a great, fun read.

My predictions for book five, Blood of Olympus

Normally, I’m really lousy at predicting what’s going to happen in future books.  I’m far better in hindsight.  My guess is the secret to defeating Gaea is the resolution of the conflict between Greeks and Romans.  That was Hera’s endgame when she started off this whole scenario by swapping Percy and Jason.  I think this refers to both the conflict between Camps Jupiter and Half Blood as well as the conflict between the Greek and Roman aspects of the gods.  The Athena Parthenon is clearly the key to the former, and I suspect it will have a major influence on the latter.  Fire or storm is referenced in the HoH as the two aspects of one of the minor gods and I would be surprised if that’s not the key to the prophecy – “to fire or storm the world must fall”.  I also expect that the demigods will have misinterpreted at least part of the Prophecy of Seven.

I believe all seven of our demigods will survive.  Nico though, I expect to die in a blaze of glory, making some kind of sacrifice for the one he loves.

What do you think will happen in Blood of Olympus?

Let me know in the comments.

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