Book Review – Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Title: Battle of the Labyrinth

Author: Rick Riordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2008

 

Today I bring you yet another Percy Jackson book, and to be honest I’m not quite sure what to say about it.  I know that my review of this book is hindered by the fact of how long it took me to read the book.  Of course the time it took me to read this book was not to the discredit to the book.  I just happened to burn myself out on reading.  As you know I post one of these reviews on a weekly basis but it is not easy to always find the time to read a book a week lets I only review comics and really though I do those often enough I like to present something of substance on occasion.  Thus while I remember the story my thoughts and feelings are rather neutral.

 

The story was a decent read as we follow Pert and Annabeth on Annabeth’s quest to find the Daedalus in the Labyrinth to stop Luke’s army from taking over the camp via the Labyrinth.  It is an interesting story in the sense of the adventure the characters go on as while on this mission Grover is on one of his own to find the dead god Pan for if he doesn’t he’s demoted and forbidden to continue to search. The character some across many creatures and foes and while it was packed with adventure and other side issues and quests my one complaint was my lack of knowledge of various mythological creatures.  While they were explained I felt at times that I should know what the creatures were but they were certainly obscure creatures in my mind which in some ways detracted from the story for me.

 

As you progress through the story you are also presented with the strong idea that someone dear to the readers is going to die per the prophecy of Annabeth’s quest.  Yet things are magically worked where none of the characters die and while it is nice not to mourn the loss of a beloved character I sometimes would prefer if the story delivered on a promise rather than go oh look the indicated death was more figurative than literal.  Which annoys me a little.

 

Over all, the book was decent the revelation of Daedalus was good a bit surprising though it was easily and clearly hinted at.  Then the book sets up for the final in the series and I am curious as to how it will turn out considering in a lot of ways everything has been leading up to this story.  As to when I will get to it, I don’t know.  In the end I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages.

 

Book Review – Titan’s Curse by Rick Rhiordan

Title: Titan’s Curse

Author: Rick Rhiordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2007

 

After reading a whole slew of books from the Keys to the Kingdom series, my brain was set for one sort of adventure than the one that Titan’s Curse provided me. That isn’t to say that the story isn’t a good one, it just took me a while to get into it. Yet once I did get into the story I was pulled in. The action and adventure in the book was quite good and a decent story was crafted with some additional new and interesting characters.

 

Of the characters that we are introduced to I think oddly enough my favorite was Apollo. I loved how he was interpreted and he was a joy to read even though his part in the story was small. Still he was a lot of fun to me being kind of one of those cool uncle type characters that was all about having fun and having the cool car that drove the sun across the sky. Honestly and truly a lot of fun in my opinion.

 

Anyway this story is a bit different from the previous stories in which Percy goes on a quest with Annabeth to fight off the evil plots of Luke and Kronos. Instead within the first chapter (or by the second) Annabeth is pretty much taken out of the story and will not be the person Percy will travel with. He travels with a whole new cast of character that you get to know in this book the only familiar character in the man story aside from Percy if Grover.

 

Over all, I enjoyed the book but I do have one complaint it is an issue that I dismissed in other books thinking it was an idiosyncrasy on my part or a matter of fatigue and slight drifting attention (as the world outside of the book has a way of drawing our attention even from the best of books). Yet this book it was very clear that Rick has a way of jumping scenes without warning or preamble. There were points where I would be reading along and had to stop flip back a page and make sure that I didn’t miss something, the gears switched so fast and without warning that it put me off. I know that this book is designed for a middle grade reading level and so some descriptors and development moments will be skipped, glossed over or even summarized. This is fine for the level of reader that this book is but honestly I think Rick would not have been amiss with just a sentence or two of transition here and there instead of something along the lines of ‘the battle is won’ on this page and the next page everyone is chill and going ‘find your cots we are bunking for the night’ at a vastly different location than where the battle took place. It takes a few paragraphs to gather that the characters have continued their travels and nothing interesting happened till just then. This was frustrating and broke me out of the story a few times.

 

In the end, I think, despite the jumping scenes , that I would still give this book a 4 out of 5 pages as it was still an enjoyable read and I do have intents to read the next book in the series but not before I get through the pile of books that are sitting in my living room and riding in my bag.

Book Review – The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Title: The Sea of Monsters

Author: Rick Riordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2006

 

Having read the first book of the Percy Jackson serried I decided I needed to continue the series and finally picked up the second book to re-read it as my first read may have been abridged. Finally having the time I was able to clip through the book and it was a decent read. I will admit that book was much more enjoyable the first read through and it engrossed me more the first time than it did now. I don’t like to repeat much so it was a bit of a struggle to get through the book.

 

That being said this is a story of Percy going on another quest to save Camp Half-Blood with the help of Annabeth and his new found half- brother and Cyclopes Tyson. In addition to his quest to save the camp he is also set with the difficult task of saving his best friend Grover the Sytar from the clutches of yet another Cyclopse. Not only is Grover’s life on the line in this quest but so is Percy’s as there is now a bond between him and Grover such that if Grover were to die so would Percy.

 

It is a bit of a whirlwind of a story as Percy faces off against a number of classic monsters in the sea of monsters. It was still a decent read and rather good the fist time through. I know what I particularly enjoyed was the end of the book as there is a nice little twist that makes you want to delve right in to the next book in the series as what happens at the end of the book is a major game changer for the rest of the series.

 

Over all, I think I would give this book a 4 out of 5 page review simply because it is a good young reader that can hold the attention of an adult fairly well without being too much for a young reader either. The story is well written and the way Riordan has updated the Olympians and the monsters or old is clever. I look forward to reading the next book as I have not read it before.

Book Review – Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lightning Thief

Author: Rick Riordan

Format: Paperback

Published: 2005

 

I had heard things about the Percy Jackson series in the past and I admit I’d been curious for some time particularly when the whole bug-a-boo came down about Christopher Columbus directing the first film just like he did for Harry Potter films.  Why people were upset by this I don’t know but then again the internet is a weird place to be honest.  Anyway it wasn’t too long ago that I took the time to read the book, but failed to review it.  I admit the first time I read the book and I enjoyed it fairly well.

 

Having read the book I stumble upon the movie and decided why not?  Now I will be first to say that I do not ever expect the movie to be the living book I expect changes and tweaks along the road but when I saw the movie I cannot express how many times I was ready to throw my remote across the room, and how many times I stopped the DVD, because I was that frustrated I skipped parts just to see how much they mucked other things and if they could accomplish a few basic facts of the book and by basic facts I’m not meaning Annabeth’s hair is supposed to be blond but was rather brown (I can live with that.)  No I’m talking the actual quest they went on, how the flying shoes were used (which is a major plot point) and what actually happens in the underworld which is where the characters go on their quest.  I will start off with saying that the movie got it wrong to the point that they eliminated the major villain of the entire series in this movie; because of this I don’t know how they managed a second movie.

 

Anyway instead of ranting on the movie I’ll focus on the book which is about a middle school boy in 6th grade who is dyslexic, and has ADHD and is in a school for troubled students because of this and because every school he goes to he gets kicked out.  He is proud of the fact that he was almost to the end of the year and hadn’t been kicked out when he goes on a field trip that is always trouble to a museum with Greek artwork and statues.  From there he gets in trouble with a nasty piece of work teacher Mrs. Dodds who turns into a Fury and attacks him.

 

From there Percy gradually learns that he is in mortal danger and is a half-blood, a demi-god, a hero and he is being blamed for stealing Zues’ master bolt.  He discovered to which god sired him and he is then thrown into a rather dangerous quest to go the underworld where it is believed that the master bolt is being held.

 

I don’t want to give spoilers but the story has a lot of adventure and some rather good twists through out it and it just keeps with a nice even pace.  Over all I thoroughly enjoyed the book even with it being my second read through and I am sure I’ll enjoy re-reading the second in the series and then finishing out the series I find Rick Riordan’s writing to be easy to read and enjoyable and very age appropriate for a middle grade student to read.

 

Over all I would give the book a 4 out of 5 stars simply for the ease of getting lost in the writing style and story that is being presented.  I find the tale to be very well told and I advise to never touch the movie, particularly if you like Greek Mythology.  The story takes place during the summer and the characters go to the underworld, in the movie Persephone is present in the underworld.  If  you know any of your Greek Mythology then you know how wrong and problematic that is!  (Particularly when the book notates her lack of presence and why.)  Long story short, read the book don’t watch the movie.

Writer Wednesday – Nichelle Rae

Let’s start with the basics.
Who are you?

 Nichelle Rae

 Tell us (briefly) about you and a bit about what you’ve written and what you’re working on right now.

 I’m a new independent/self-published author of the epic fantasy book called Only A Glow. Only A Glow is the first book in a 7 book series on its way out called The White Warrior. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I spent a little over a year living in Tennessee before coming back home for family reasons. I loved the time I spent in Tennessee. My next move will be to California this coming summer with one of my best friends. I need to get out of these confounded New England winters. 🙂

 What are your earliest book-related memories?

 I read Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews when I was in 7th grade. Since that book I have read at least another thousand or more. I love to read. Wouldn’t you know it, epic fantasy is my favorite genre, but a great epic fantasy is hard to find. I also love mysteries and young adult books.

 What are your three favorite books?

 I have so many favorites. If I have to narrow it down I would have to say: Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, and The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. (Other honorable mentions include Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordian, Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, and The Dark Elf Trilogy by R. A. Salvatore.)

 How many books to do you read at any given time?  What are you reading now?

 I can only read one book at a time because when I read a story, I want my complete and utter attention on it. I want to get to know the characters, their story and really absorb what the author is saying. Lately though I haven’t had much time to read because I’ve been busy with getting my own series out and trying to promote it.

 Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I _________.

 …feel content and happy and love where my mind goes with the story.

 To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.

 I usually don’t re read a book. The only book I have ever read twice is Wizard’s First rule. However I’m thinking about starting to re-read the Obsidian Trilogy soon.

 How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?

 It depends on how enthusiastic the person telling me about the book is and if they tell me enough about it to spark my interest. If they’re jumping out of their skin excited as they tell me all about it, then it will be worth looking into. But if someone just tells me nonchalantly, “It’s a great book. Got great reviews too,” I mostly likely won’t look into it.

 How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?

 Very likely! If I love a book I’m one of those enthusiastic people I was talking about in the previous question. I go nuts over a book and tell people about it that want to listen. I’ve recommended hundreds of books that people have read and loved.

 What do you look for in a good book?

 That is a tough one. It has to be a combination of a few things. I need to have likeable and believable and interesting characters that I can relate to and empathize with. A good story with a few secrets to be revealed is always good, (I have no problem with unexpected twists and turns.) It needs to be well-paced so it’s not like pulling teeth to try and finish it.

 Why do you write?

 Oh there are so many reasons why I write; I love to write. I’m good at writing. Life doesn’t make sense if I’m not writing, but most of all, I want to touch people. I want to stir emotions in them and make them relate, fall in love with, empathize, and route for my characters. I want to take my readers to places that don’t exist and meet people that aren’t real just because I can, because that’s what books do. When readers love what I write, I feel like I’ve been a small part of their life and them a part of mine.

 If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?

 I would be something fun and adventurous, like a tour guide through the Grand Canyon or the Application Mountains. Maybe even a white water rafting guide. I love the outdoors and fun and adventure.

 Where do you draw your inspiration from?

 I draw my inspiration from other fantasy authors and my own life experiences. My stories are sort of an emotional escape for me. Azrel, my main character in The White Warrior series, is me 10 years ago when I wrote her. The struggles she faced and the emotions she battled and the victory’s she won. Other fantasy authors inspire me because fantasy is a very hard genre to break into because there are so many out there, so those that have made it in the genre inspire me to keep going and plugging away to get my name out there.

 What has writing taught you about yourself?

 My writing and this self-publishing adventure so far has taught me that I do have a gift to offer people, and I didn’t think I had any gifts worth mentioning for most of my life. But based on reviews of Only A Glow from my growing fan base and my friends, I have come to realize, and have confidence in the belief that I have a true gift of storytelling and putting emotions into text. I suck at grammar still, but that’s what editors are for.

 How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?

 Everyone, my closest friends and family and a few of my biggest fans, they all swear up and down that I’m going to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer. They say that because, according to them, my book had the rare ability (for them) to suck them into the story and stay sucked in. These people have all told me that they are not easily imprisoned by books, but my book hooked them, got inside them, and made them lose some serious sleep. Those are the best complements anyone can give me. The greatest thing any fan of mine can say to me is, “You’re book kept me up way too late at night. I could not put it down,” because that’s what great books do to me too. I am so honored and flattered when I get complements like that, and I can hardly believe someone is saying that about my work, about something that I created. It’s the best feeling ever.

 Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?

 I haven’t really been in the author world very long to make a call like that. I don’t know of any stereotypes that authors get labeled with because I don’t know very many authors.

 What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?

 Being heard! The hardest thing about writing is marketing your work alone because there are just so many authors out there with the self-publishing industry on a huge incline! It’s difficult to get the word out and have people listen to one person. Fellow authors are usually concerned with getting their own writing out so they can’t pay much attention to other authors, and the general public isn’t going to listen to a nobody debut novelist. It’s very hard to stand out and get noticed.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?

 I’m still too new at being an author to realize any mistakes I made. It is way too early in the process to learn from my mistakes, because it’s too soon for mistakes to be brought to my attention that need to be fixed.

 Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?

 Nothing that I can think of off the top of my head. Again, I blame being a rookie independent author.

 How do you deal with your fan base?

 With humility, gratefulness and kindness. I’m just a regular person like them. I love my fans and have become friends with a few of them. They are some of the greatest people I have met and they really love my book. One fan told me that he loved my book so much he feels like it’s his personal mission to get as many people to read it as he can. My fans are very passionate about my book and they go out of their way to tell me how much they love it, and they promote it to the best of their ability. I love my fans.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.

 HA! I’m not sure. I don’t really have any surprises up my sleeve that I can think of right now. I might have to get back to you on that.

 Anything else we should know?

 I have a book trailer for my book. It’s actually really beautiful! You can view it here: http://vimeo.com/51313772

 I want to connect with you! Let’s chat!  Find me on Facebook (where you can see the book covers of the next 4 novels, and there are 3 more book covers to be unveiled soon) here: http://www.facebook.com/TheWhiteWarriorSeries.com

 

Follow me on Twitter: @Nichelle_Writes

 

My website has more info about me and some fan art and some fun sound bites so you know how to pronounce the names, places, and things in my book. Visit my website here: http://www.thewhitewarriorseries.com

 

I’m currently working on book #2 in The White Warrior series called The Blaze Ignites and it is due to be release March 2013. 

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