Showing posts with label gods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gods. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

[Review] Angelfall (Penryn & The End of Days #1) - Susan Ee: Angels and the Apocalypse




In ANGELFALL, the world has been destroyed by angels and people are forced to hide in the ruins of their cities. 

What intrigued me: Angels. I missed the angel hype a couple of years ago and am now in full obsession mode.


A typical post-apocalyptic dystopia

The setting of ANGELFALL isn't much different from what you'd expect from a dystopia, and the only thing that makes this world differ from the usual apocalyptic wasteland in YA, is the occasional angel flying above their heads.

It's a survival story at the core, a lot of walking, a lot of stalling time. Naturally, this isn't always easy to read, I caught myself skimming the generic descriptions of building ruins and empty streets and litter. The scenery is so generic that it almost doesn't need any descriptions at all if you've ever seen a post-apocalyptic movie in your life.

I longed for every little bit of explanation about the angels that didn't quite come. With novels with supernatural elements that are out there in the open in the real world, it's very important to me to understand how this happened. The only glimpse we get is that Penryn mentions that the messenger of God Gabriel came down to Earth and was immediately shot. That's it. Very frustrating, generally the book just throws things that happen at you and doesn't explain a lot, probably a technique to make people buy the second book. And yeah, I shamefully have to admit, it works.

Thank the heavens (or not?) for a realistic romance plot

Ee absolutely had me hooked through the character of the angel Raffe. Penryn's and his dynamics are hilariously wonderful and his dry humor and arrogance incredibly entertaining. Of course we have some obligatory side romance, but it's very subtle. 

The first time in a long time that I actually thought to myself that this story could really happen. It's very realistic, they actually take time to even just not be awkward in conversation. No premature declarations of love here. They don't even really care about the other one surviving this whole ordeal until 60% in. It's refreshing to see a relationship and friendship(!) develop at a realistic pace.

Another thing that absolutely needs to be mentioned is the ableism in this one. I was so happy to see a wheelchair user in the form of Penryn's little sister. This is a magical cure narrative. If you're a wheelchair user looking for representation, this isn't the book to pick. I'm extremely disappointed with Ee making that decision and it severely impacts my rating and opinion of this book.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

ANGELFALL is easily one of the better dystopias out there, however it could use some more world building and is ableist. Leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.



Additional Info

Published: August 28th 2012
Pages: 288
Publisher: Skyscape 
Genre: YA / Dystopia
ISBN: 9781444778519

Synopsis:
"It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again."(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite book about angels?

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Review] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) - Sylvain Neuvel: Giant Robots and Outer Space




In SLEEPING GIANTS, a little girl finds an enormous robot hand made of metal in the woods and the military immediately grows interested in it.

What intrigued me: The tagline they used in promotion got me. World War Z meets THE MARTIAN? Um yeah, get on my shelf ASAP.

Perfect transitional read for people who don't like Sci-Fi

SLEEPING GIANTS is told through interview snippets and diary entries from multiple characters. All in some way connect to a mysterious man who is secretly in control of the operation to get the robot to work.  Most of it is actually dialogue, which I loved. 

It makes this way easier to read and hides the fact that this is a pretty heavy Sci-fi thriller with political elements. Especially for people like me who shy away from epic Sci-fi or political thrillers, this could serve as a nice transitional read to get more into the genre.

I definitely struggled a little with the tone of the novel. Most of the plot is told from the perspective of military officials and scientists who use highbrow language and complex scientific processes to explain things. Even though Neuvel tries to simplify all concepts and processes, I found myself zoning out whenever someone started talking about chemical elements. This is very minor though, because the story about the ancient robot hand will eventually suck you in and force you to keep on reading until your eyes burn. It happened to me. At some point the story just starts to become so gripping and you get so invested that it's almost impossible to put it down. 

Enchanting and thrilling

I was surprised to grow attached to the characters and their fate. Neuvel manages to paint multi-faceted character relationships by telling the majority of the interactions in retrospective. If two characters who aren't the mysterious interviewer and another character interact, it's always told after it happened and through the eyes of one of the people who were there. 

You'd think that format would get tiring after a while but it really doesn't. I'm so glad Neuvel wrote this almost exclusively in dialogue, because I'm sure I would've zoned out or even quit the novel altogether if that story was told in a classic way. Like this it's easy, it's handy, it fits the plot. I enjoyed this a lot and found myself unable to predict any of the twists, which is really rare. SLEEPING GIANTS is a very unique, almost experimental read that will surprise and enchant you.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Following the events in SLEEPING GIANTS almost became an addiction. It's really impossible to put down and a fantastic thriller that you should read if you like conspiracies and aliens. It put me in the worst reading slump ever because it's so genius!



Additional Info

Published: August 8th 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Sci- Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453316904

Synopsis:
"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read SLEEPING GIANTS?

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

[Review] The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson #5) - Rick Riordan: Cluttered and Halfheartedly written

In the last book of the Percy Jackson series, Percy and the Gods of Olympus are preparing for the final battle against the Titan Kronos.

What intrigued me: There's no reason for me not to pick this one up! I loved the third and fourth novels. Unfortunately, it could only go downhill from there.

A Very Chaotic, Messy Storyline

THE LAST OLYMPIAN needs a lot of time to get the story started. What I loved about the previous books is that there was a straight storyline they were following and you knew exactly how close the heroes were to their goal at all times. This one doesn't have that. 

I feel like Riordan is just trying to give a storyline or cameo to all of his characters, so they can all have their moment of glory in the last book. It's cluttered, and it's full of unnecessary halfheartedly-written side quests that weren't really enjoyable to read. I didn't really understand why the characters were doing anything, they seem to be rushing from scene to scene, preparing for battle or trying to convince someone else to help them. 

With all those mini side quests comes also a frequent change of scenery that throws you off track and leaves you wondering what they were doing there in the first place. Riordan really lost himself in trying to make this battle epic and trying to cram as many characters and mythological concepts in this as possible. Because the heroes have dealt with Luke and Kronos in the previous book before, having these two as the final battle antagonists is repetitive and boring to read. 

Disappointing Character Development (or lack thereof)

Riordan's biggest strength in this series has always been Percy's voice to me. Percy is funny, a sweet and loveable guy, and just overall a wonderful protagonist. It's remarkable how spot-on Percy's voice is and has been for the entire series, however judging by this being the last book - he hardly went through any character development at all. While it was charming and relatable to have this oftentimes super oblivious main character before, after five books it really gets annoying to have Percy realize even the most obvious things last. He's not a leader and it hardly seems realistic to have anyone follow him into battle. Annabeth in a heartbeat, but not him.

In general I have never been a fan of the character development in Riordan's books, and never really thought any character aside from a handful of Gods and side characters (Apollo, Artemis, Zoe, Nico) was even remotely developed enough for me to actually care about them. 

In other reviews I've often read about how everyone loves the relationship between Annabeth and Percy- which I find is pretty much non-existent (Enlighten me please if you disagree). I was hoping to finally get behind the fascination that these two seem to have for everyone - but no, I'm still confused. This didn't make the novel better or worse for me either way, but is simply proving my point that even after five books I still feel like most characters remain blank slates for me.

Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A very disappointing conclusion to the series. I personally found it lacked structure and was very drawn out, and I wish I just hadn't read this and pretended the series ended after the fourth.



Additional Info

Published: May 5th 2009
Pages: 361
Publisher: Puffin
Genre: YA / Mythology / Greek 
ISBN: 9780141321288

Synopsis:
"All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos's army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan's power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time. "
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you seen the Percy Jackson movies or read the books?

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

[Review] The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson #4) - Rick Riordan


In THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH Percy and his friends have to travel through King Minos' maze to find its inventor Dädalus before Luke.
Previously (The Titan's Curse): The Titan Atlas teamed up with Percy's arch enemy Luke, a son of Hermes. Atlas could ultimately be defeated by Artemis and Percy, but Luke is still in the process of trying to reawaken the remaining Titans to re-build the rivaling city to the Olymp - Othrys.


After absolutely loving THE TITAN'S CURSE I couldn't wait to finally read this one. I wasn't disappointed. About six months have passed since book three, Riordan starts the story similar to the third one, with an encounter with mythological beings. I was very sad that Riordan decided to kill off Zoe Nightshade, because I loved her as a character. With Rachel Elizabeth Kane, the mortal that can see through the veil and that Percy met briefly in THE TITAN'S CURSE, we have another interesting side character joining the crew. I love that Tyson plays a bigger role in this novel again, I missed him in the third. His approach to problems is always amusing and refreshingly different.

Annabeth functions as a leader in this novel and I'd rather have her swap roles with Percy. What's so interesting about the Percy Jackson series is that Percy is technically the main character, but is never the chosen supreme leader that has all the strategy down. Percy mostly mindlessly walks into situations and just wins out of sheer luck and/or stupidity. It's impossible to dislike him. I just love how Riordan uses Percy's lack of knowledge about Greek myths to explain them to the reader through other characters. While I think I do know quite a bit about Greek mythology, Riordan references really obscure myths that I'm pretty sure only a small portion of readers have encountered before. I was very grateful for the little glossary of mythological beings at the end of the book.

Unfortunate Pacing to Introduce More Mythological Beings

One of the things I have to criticize is that there are too many cameos of the Gods in this one. I hardly think that they would have the time to descend to Earth to help Percy and his friends every few chapters. You might argue that it's only because the Olymp is at war and Percy and his friends play a significant role in that, but - I just don't buy it.

Unlike in the third I felt like the plot was a little dragged out. The main storyline is the heros' quest to find Dädalus, but they are distracted by other mythological beings all the time. The way they found him towards the end feels like a cheap solution that they could've figured out way earlier if they'd just been persistent and kept asking the Gods. Or maybe used rational thinking. Therefore this novel doesn't read as easily and quickly as the third. I just wanted them to finally find Dädalus and take care of the bigger problem. The fight with Kronos has been going on since the first book and at this point they're just stalling. I'm still excited for the fifth and final book, but I don't think that the fourth was really an essential part of the whole. However, it's still a good read.

Rating:

★★★

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I was tempted to skim pages at some point, but I ended up reading everything patiently. The story just sucks you in and Riordan's writing is brilliant. I'm still not a huge fan of Annabeth, but Percy makes the waiting worthwhile. I can't wait for the fifth novel. I guess I recommend.



Additional Info


Original Title: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 1st April 2009
Pages: 362
Medium: Hardcover
Genre: YA / Mythology / Greek

Synopsis:
"Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to diabolical. 

In this latest installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos' army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. 
To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet."(Source: Goodreads)




What's your favorite Greek mythology read?

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