Friday, March 28, 2014

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth Review

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
Published: March 6, 2008
Synopsis: In this fourth book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, Percy and his friends are faced with even greater dangers that are threatening Camp Half-Blood and Olympus itself. They embark on a quest through Daedalus' ancient labyrinth to find the inventor himself and stop Luke and Kronos's army from destroying the camp.
My rating: 5/5 stars
First off, I realize I skipped reviewing The Titan's Curse and I have excellent reasoning behind that: these books just got so good that it's saying something that I've put them down long enough to write this review. =)
[Note: This review is somewhat spoilerly. Don't read on if you haven't finished the book.]
My reaction to reading the first two Percy books was mostly that they were fun reads that I'd continue when I got the chance. However, since the third book, I haven't been able to put them down. Holy Hades they just got that amazing!!!
I loved every aspect of this book. It is probably my favorite one yet although The Titan's Curse is a pretty close second. There was just so much adventure and humor and sadness and edge-of-your-seat suspense. There were times when this book made me laugh out loud and other times when I was gripping the pages so tightly that I'm surprised the pages aren't horribly wrinkled. And the emotions... *sniff* our little Percy and Annabeth are growing up.
Percy and friends met so many interesting characters along the way this times around - Nico (even though he was technically introduced in book three, he had a bigger role in this one), Briares, Calypso, Daedalus, Pan, Rachel. I loved the themes that were attached to all these new characters. The power behind the belief in yourself and in others - even if those others aren't worthy of it like Briares and Daedalus weren't at first. The importance of letting go - the way Nico had to let go of Bianca and learn to trust Percy. I especially loved the not too subtle theme of taking care of the environment. I closed this book wanting to plant a garden in honor of Calypso and Pan.
Surprisingly, my favorite quote came from Dionysus, "But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword... Sometimes small things can become very large indeed." (pg. 346 of the US paperback ed.)
Enough reviewing... must read last book...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Forsaken Dreamscape Review

Forsaken Dreamscape by Lani Lenore
Published: February 11, 2014 
Synopsis: Four years have passed since Wren returned from Nevermor and so far Rifter has not come back for her. Believed to be a mad murderess, Wren has been locked away in an asylum for crimes she knows she is innocent of. The day comes when Rifter finally returns for her. However, Wren quickly learns that everything, including Rifter himself, has all changed because of the corruption that's befallen Nevermor. Wren sets out on a journey through the darkened lands to find the separated Wolf Pack and reunite them with their leader and save Nevermor. However, Wren discovers that nothing she trusted to be true is as it really seems.  
My rating: 5/5 stars

First off, before I get into this review, a slight bit of history first: I first discovered Lani Lenore's writing sometime around 2001 or 2002ish when her stories were posted on and FictionPress. I had accounts on both that I'm sure are still there with all of the awful writing that I produced as a twelve year old. I'm pretty sure that it was Neverland: The Forsaken Dreamscape that first introduced me to Ms. Lenore's writing. As huge fan of all things Peter Pan, a dark fairytale version of the story that I love was insanely compelling and I was not disappointed. I went on to read everything I could from Ms. Lenore and even went out of my way to find and play American McGee's Alice so I could better understand her story, Behind Sanity. Years later when I found out Neverland was in the works to be rewritten and published as an original trilogy, I could not have been more excited both for a new Neverland story and for Lani Lenore as an author. She truly is an inspiration for all of us tiny aspiring authors out there.

It's been about a year since I read the first book in the Nevermor trilogy so going into this second part, my facts were a little fuzzy. But, that certainly did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying this second book. I had read this book in its original fan fiction form about two or three times already. However, after having already fallen in love with the way Lani Lenore formed each individual character coupled with the beautiful world she created in the first book, Forsaken Dreamscape suddenly took on much more depth than it had as simply a fan fiction of Peter Pan.

Nevermor was a land of beauty, adventure, and dreams in the first book and now, four years later, Wren returns to find it has become a darkened, corrupted place of nightmares. It's a place where she can't trust anyone not even Rifter for whom she still has strong feelings. Although this book is definitely a lot darker than the first book, there was so much excitement and thrill that it was hard to put down.

My favorite part of this book was the characters. A lot of books that I've read recently have characters that are similar to one and other and don't have distinct voices. However, in Forsaken Dreamscape, each character has their own unique personality and voice that separates them from each other and I love how they interact together. Every character is fleshed out as individuals so well, each with their own story and agenda that by the time you've reached the end of the book, they've all poked their way one by one into your heart and settled in for the long run.

I really, truly cannot wait for the last book of the trilogy especially after that cliffhanger ending. In the meantime, I definitely intend on purchasing physical copies of both these books to add to my shelves (and reread a bunch of times). Why is 2015 so far away?!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters Book Review

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Published: April 1, 2006
Synopsis: In this second book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Percy has spent an uneventful year at his new boarding school. Now knowing that he is a demi-god, a normal school year without monsters trying to kill him is surprising. However, that all comes to an end on his final day with giants attack him and his Cyclops half-brother, Tyson. From there, Percy and Tyson are joined by Annabeth on a quest to save Camp Half-Blood.
My rating: 4/5 stars
Another fun action-packed adventure from the Percy Jackson series. Again, like the Lightning Thief, I really enjoyed this book. It was a great quick read filled with action sequences, humor, and awesome magical sea horses.
What I really liked about this book that made it different from the first book was backstory building. We got to learn a lot more about when Annabeth, Luke, Grover, and Thalia first made it to Camp Half-Blood. I'm a bit of a stickler for world building and character backstories so I really enjoyed the chance to learn more about the other major characters of the series. It always gives the story more depth when we get to know and understand all of the characters rather than just the main protagonist - this is especially true of books written in first person.
In the book, Percy essentially follows in Odysseus' footsteps and travels through the Sea of Monsters to find the Golden Fleece. Granted, Odysseus was trying to get home and was not searching for the Fleece or trying to save his best friend from marrying a mostly-blind Cyclops. Percy's journey became rather predictable for anyone familiar with the Odyssey: he fights Charybidis and Scylla, encounters Circe, the sirens, and Polyphemus.  However, even though with its predictableness, The Sea of Monsters was definitely an enjoyable read and I can't wait to continue with the series.
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