So it has been maaaany months since I read this book, and to be honest, I’m a bit tempted to read it again, like, right now in anticipation of Blood of Olympus coming out October 7. So I will probably add to this at a later date. But for now, I will just say that Nico di Angelo is the child of my heart, and Jason Grace is a gift.
41 / 50 Books in 2013

So it has been maaaany months since I read this book, and to be honest, I’m a bit tempted to read it again, like, right now in anticipation of Blood of Olympus coming out October 7. So I will probably add to this at a later date. But for now, I will just say that Nico di Angelo is the child of my heart, and Jason Grace is a gift.

41 / 50 Books in 2013

Alright, so I’m well over nine months behind on book reviews. *heavy sigh* Bear with me, here :)
I finished The Mark of Athena sometime toward the end of last November, and enjoyed it a lot.
Perhaps when I next reread it I will write a more substantial review, but overall, I greatly enjoyed the focus on Annabeth, and the friendship development among the whole crew. Lots of good, sassy one-liners, but also some real crucial character analysis and amazing demonstrations of what healthy friendships and working relationships look like.
Spoilery discussion under the cut. (40 / 50 Books in 2013)
[[MORE]]
Good relationship modeling
In chapter 17, shy and awkward Frank approaches Annabeth to ask her for help with the Chinese handcuffs they all had been playing with earlier, which he didn’t understand and had to transform into an iguana to get out of.

“I don’t like being in the dark about this,” he muttered. “Could you show me the trick? I didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone else.”
Annabeth processed his words with a slight delay. Wait…Frank was asking her for help? Then it dawned on her: of course, Frank was embarrassed. Leo had been razzing him pretty hard.
Nobody liked being a laughingstock. Frank’s determined expression said he never wanted that to happen again. He wanted to understand the puzzle, without the iguana solution.
Annabeth felt strangely honored. Frank trusted her not to make fun of him. Besides, she had a soft spot for anyone who was seeking knowledge—even about something as simple as Chinese handcuffs.
She patted the bunk next to her. “Absolutely. Sit down.”

I love, love, love that Riordan takes us through Annabeth’s thought process in understanding why Frank came to her, specifically that he was embarrassed and worried about being ridiculed. As I previously mentioned, I think it is wonderful and very important that he makes such an effort to model good communication behavior.
Now, on Frank’s side. At the end of this conversation with Annabeth, he also admits to her that he is scared of Leo and his ability to summon fire. In chapter 37, while waiting for Hazel to rejoin them, Frank starts a conversation about it with Leo:

“She talked to me earlier,” Frank said abruptly. “Hazel told me you figured out about my lifeline.”
Leo stirred. He’d almost forgotten Frank was standing next to him.
“Your lifeline…oh, the burning stick. Right.” Leo resisted the urge to set his hand ablaze and yell: Bwah ha ha! The idea was sort of funny, but he wasn’t that cruel.
“Look, man,” he said. “It’s cool. I’d never do anything to put you in danger. We’re on the same team.”

It’s totally in-character for Leo to have that reaction, and I like that Riordan shows that Leo might have that reaction initially but also that Leo thought about it and reconsidered. Then, in chapter 38, they jump down into an unlit tunnel.

“What now?” Frank asked. 
“Okay, don’t freak,” Leo said. “I’m going to summon a little fire, just so we can see.”
“Thanks for the warning.”

Leo understands that fire is extremely scary to Frank, possibly enough to trigger a panic attack. In real life, some things that induce panic, anxiety, or fear are unavoidable. Here, if Frank had his druthers, I’m sure they would have flashlights, but they don’t. However, Leo is aware of the situation and knows that even though the fire is necessary, it is not necessary to bring it out without warning, which will probably freak Frank out. I love, again, that Riordan casually models how to be cognizant and considerate of things that frighten people.
Introspection
In chapter 31, Jason sends Percy to take a rest, with a jocular “Give somebody else a chance to save the ship, huh?” But lying in bed, Percy can’t sleep and instead settles in for some intense self-reflection.

Athena had once told Percy his fatal flaw: he was supposedly too loyal to his friends. He couldn’t see the big picture. He would save a friend even if it meant destroying the world.
At the time, Percy had shrugged this off. How could loyalty be a bad thing? Besides, things worked out okay against the Titans. He’d saved his friends and beaten Kronos.
Now, though, he started to wonder. He would gladly throw himself at any monster, god, or giant to keep his friends from being hurt. But what if he wasn’t up to the task? What if someone else had to do it? That was very hard for him to admit. He even had trouble with simple things like letting Jason take a turn at watch. He didn’t want to rely on someone else to protect him, someone who could get hurt on his account.

It can be a hard thing to be that self-aware, and I think it’s great that Riordan models, through Percy, the sort of thinking that is good for us all to do in terms of looking head-on at our flaws (even if no goddess has pointed them out to us). It’s very interesting, too, the way he connects Percy’s true desire to keep his friends safe to the potential danger of putting the entire responsibility on his own shoulders. In this scene it’s not discussed outright, but it suggests, through the mentions of Jason and Annabeth needing to do their own parts, that no one person is up to every single job, not to mention that maybe Percy’s friends want to be able to protect him in addition to him protecting them.
On a similar note, though I don’t remember in what chapters, there was also some very interesting introspection on behalf of Piper and Leo. Piper realises that she would ask for Jason’s life to be spared over anyone else’s because he’s important to her. She recoils from that realisation and feels bad about it, but she does have that feeling, and she (and we) get to explore that reaction and examine it, which I think is incredible.
Leo talks very openly about his feelings of loneliness and never being good enough and how much he cares about them all (especially Jason and Piper) but worries they will leave him in the dust some day. That’s a very real worry, and I just love that these complex emotional things are so seamlessly woven into the adventure narrative. I admit that sometimes they get a little over the top, but it really makes me happy to see characters discussing emotion so openly, crying openly and not shaming each other about it, being supportive and relying on each other.
Our view into Annabeth’s mind while she was underground was more frustrating to me. Admittedly, we never saw anything from Annabeth’s perspective before this book. The first five books were all 1st-person Percy POV and (I drastically simplify) she spent most of her time calling him Seaweed Brain and getting them out of fixes. Then what we saw of her in The Lost Hero was her being head counselor of Camp Halfblood and running off to save Percy, from the perspectives of three people who were just meeting her. So she’s probably had a lot of emotions before that we’ve just been unable to see.
But in chapter 36 she has several thoughts in the narrative along the lines of “oh if only Percy were here wahhhhhhh then I could be brave.” What I’m NOT saying is that all girls have to be “strong” to be good female characters (please see madlori’s excellent quote (second long paragraph)). What I am saying is that Annabeth has always been take-charge and save-Percy’s-butt, and though I stand by what I said before—that we’ve never gotten to see into her head really—it seems waaaaay unlikely that she can put on such a good act of being the Fearless Leader if she’s really that scared all the time. If that’s really how she is, that’s super cool, but I don’t think it was well developed at all.
Final thoughts
Now, back on a more positive note, I loved that Bacchus preferred Diet Pepsi to Dionysus’ Diet Coke. I love that Bacchus was just as bad at remembering names. I loved Frank having to remind Coach Hedge that he is a Roman demigod and also Canadian, and does not know anything about historical exploits of his American Greek cousins. I’m also curious if that Cherokee story about the skeleton dog is a real myth. I couldn’t find it in googling, but who knows.
There was more questionable Latin in this book as well, but overall much better on that front.
Overall, I thought the exploration of the Seven and all their relationships in this book was fantastic, but there is still room for improvement. However, Riordan continues to floor me with the effort he makes toward openly addressing a lot of friendship issues and general issues of how to be a good person.
[N.B. Some of these words have been posted before (in a much less organized fashion) on my other blog.]

Alright, so I’m well over nine months behind on book reviews. *heavy sigh* Bear with me, here :)

I finished The Mark of Athena sometime toward the end of last November, and enjoyed it a lot.

Perhaps when I next reread it I will write a more substantial review, but overall, I greatly enjoyed the focus on Annabeth, and the friendship development among the whole crew. Lots of good, sassy one-liners, but also some real crucial character analysis and amazing demonstrations of what healthy friendships and working relationships look like.

Spoilery discussion under the cut. (40 / 50 Books in 2013)

Read More

Did I mention we were having a Labor Day sale at Ebooks Direct this weekend?

dduane:

image

We are. 50% off everything. No discount codes to deal with… the store has handled the markdowns by itself. (It’s clever that way.)

Do feel free to reblog this and spread the news around if you like. (Especially since it’ll make me feel a little better. I have, would you believe it, an infected toe* which is saddening me somewhat.)

*Sorry for the possible TMI. At least you don’t have to walk on it. Ow.

(via lizzieraindrops)

theanimationarchive:

I don’t even have to tell you why this is important or why you should support the Kickstarter to bring back Reading Rainbow; you know why. So go do it!

(via unprofessionalamber)

So I have quite a few 2013 books still to post… Here we go! (Spoilers below) 39 / 50 Books in 2013
Woooo, Percy returns! I still like the third-person POV, but I honestly laughed with delight when I realised how consistently Percy’s voice is portrayed even from an external narrator. Well done, Rick Riordan :)
So broad strokes: Hazel and Frank are A++. I want to hug them. I want to hug everybody. Frank’s grandmother is the complete greatest, that is all. I thought Riordan did a fabulous job illustrating the differences between Greek and Roman society, and I deeply appreciated the presence of Italic deities and those with no Greek counterparts. (Terminus the TSA agent. Bless him.)
Mars and his differences from Ares were wonderful, and I’m glad they brought him to the forefront. Interestingly, the supreme power of Mars combined with the Romans’ distrust of Neptune almost makes Frank more powerful than Percy to the Romans, especially once you take into account that he is a descendent of Neptune as well. How very interesting.
I was also fascinated by the explanation of New Rome in the west and the Greeks in the east, especially the bit about the Eastern and Western Roman empires, the Byzantines… I’m just floored by the ways Riordan adapts these concepts. “That’s why,” he explains through Frank in Chapter 9, “whatever country we settle in, Camp Jupiter is always in the west—the Roman part of the territory. The east is considered bad luck.”
Funny things… Dakota and his Kool-Aid were hilarious, though not nearly as much as Iris and the Rainbow Organic Foods & Lifestyles Co-op (full of ROFLcopters). That is how you write to your audience. Also when Mars wrote the prophecy for the quest and silently threatened Octavian with a grenade. That was hilarious and also something Octavian totally deserved.
The Twelfth Legion Fulminata is fantastic all around, and hooray for Fulminata being an accurate adjective there! Other linguistic-y things and more about Octavian and Ella (Ella and Tyson—be still my heart. Cuter than cute.) will follow at the end, under the cut ^_^
Finally, before that, I have forever and eternal emotions about Percy’s desire for a future with Annabeth at New Rome, which ties in beautifully to the last line, which was so touching: “‘Come on,’ he said. ‘Let me introduce you to my other family.’”
[[MORE]]
So, speaking of Octavian, he was a fabulous character. I have to quote this whole bit from Chapter 13:

Suddenly Percy understood what an effective speaker Octavian was. He sounded reasonable and supportive, but his expression was pained. He carefully crafted his words to put all the responsibility on Reyna. This was her idea, he seemed to say. If it went wrong, Reyna was to blame. If only Octavian had been the one in charge, things would have been done more sensibly. But alas, he had no choice but to support Reyna, because Octavian was a loyal Roman soldier.

That is such a Roman thing to do. That attitude smacks of Cicero and the Catilinarian Orations, and I absolutely love it. And it’s a great moment for Percy as a character, too, because he realizes/remembers that there are ways to be powerful besides being a swordmaster. And Octavian does it all without any of Piper’s charmspeak. Aghhh, as frustrating a person as Octavian is, he is a wonderfully written character.
Next, ELLA! What an important character. [OK, so I decided my thoughts about her were too important to get stuck under this cut, so I posted them right over here, and would love if you’d read them.]
Other linguistic-y things… We learn that Frank’s family name, Zhang, means “master of bows”. Having recently delved into Mandarin, I was curious about this. According to what I could find, legend does indeed have it that the surname 张 (trad. 張, pinyin Zhāng), whose components mean “bow” and “wide”, was first given to the man who invented said weapon. So, awesome incorporation of that myth!
This also brings me to the myth of the city Li-Jien. When I first heard this, it sounded way too coincidental to be true. A town whose Chinese name sounds like the English derivative of the Latin word for a group of soldiers, where Roman soldiers actually lived? And yet! This myth bears fruit as well. The people in the area of the ancient city Liqian (to use the current Romanization system, pinyin) have some physical characteristics that made others wonder if they had some European ancestry.
This is now generally believed not to be the case, but one historian once suggested that a band of Romans were captured at the Battle of Carrhae, resettled at Liqian, and eventually may have been mercenaries for the ancient Chinese people of that area. So, scientifically probably bogus, but a terrific story, and an excellent play on words! (Ignoring, of course, that the Romans would have pronounced the word legio as LEGG-ee-oh =P)
The slightly-more-frustrating part of Frank’s story is that Riordan moves back and forth aimlessly between Mandarin and Cantonese, using various Romanization systems in no systematic way. In Chapter 10, in a conversation with Frank’s grandmother (bless her), we get gwai poh (to describe a white-skinned goddess), the names Fai and Zhang, and an indication that his family speaks Mandarin, as that is the language in which the goddess addressed them.
Gwai poh (鬼婆, jyutping: gwai2 po4) is a fairly well-known phrase for a white woman, but it is Cantonese. Likewise, “Fai” is not even a viable sound in Mandarin. It is definitely a sound in Cantonese, but I have been unable to find resources for what character it might be as a name. On the other hand, Zhang is definitely Mandarin (would probably be spelled Cheung if it were Cantonese), and then the goddess speaks to them in Mandarin. So… I wish there had been some more consistency there. Anyone who is more knowledgable about these things should feel free to comment.
Finally, after all that, they keep using the Latin word podex to mean “butt”, and there is very little extant use of that word. Culus would have made more sense, as far as I can tell. (Though, admittedly, it doesn’t have the good sounding -ex ending.)
Whew, done. =P

So I have quite a few 2013 books still to post… Here we go! (Spoilers below) 39 / 50 Books in 2013

Woooo, Percy returns! I still like the third-person POV, but I honestly laughed with delight when I realised how consistently Percy’s voice is portrayed even from an external narrator. Well done, Rick Riordan :)

So broad strokes: Hazel and Frank are A++. I want to hug them. I want to hug everybody. Frank’s grandmother is the complete greatest, that is all. I thought Riordan did a fabulous job illustrating the differences between Greek and Roman society, and I deeply appreciated the presence of Italic deities and those with no Greek counterparts. (Terminus the TSA agent. Bless him.)

Mars and his differences from Ares were wonderful, and I’m glad they brought him to the forefront. Interestingly, the supreme power of Mars combined with the Romans’ distrust of Neptune almost makes Frank more powerful than Percy to the Romans, especially once you take into account that he is a descendent of Neptune as well. How very interesting.

I was also fascinated by the explanation of New Rome in the west and the Greeks in the east, especially the bit about the Eastern and Western Roman empires, the Byzantines… I’m just floored by the ways Riordan adapts these concepts. “That’s why,” he explains through Frank in Chapter 9, “whatever country we settle in, Camp Jupiter is always in the west—the Roman part of the territory. The east is considered bad luck.”

Funny things… Dakota and his Kool-Aid were hilarious, though not nearly as much as Iris and the Rainbow Organic Foods & Lifestyles Co-op (full of ROFLcopters). That is how you write to your audience. Also when Mars wrote the prophecy for the quest and silently threatened Octavian with a grenade. That was hilarious and also something Octavian totally deserved.

The Twelfth Legion Fulminata is fantastic all around, and hooray for Fulminata being an accurate adjective there! Other linguistic-y things and more about Octavian and Ella (Ella and Tyson—be still my heart. Cuter than cute.) will follow at the end, under the cut ^_^

Finally, before that, I have forever and eternal emotions about Percy’s desire for a future with Annabeth at New Rome, which ties in beautifully to the last line, which was so touching: “‘Come on,’ he said. ‘Let me introduce you to my other family.’”

Read More

jenesaispourquoi:

i’d been meaning to do this for a while, but bookhobbit and effervescentkettle both tagged me and reminded me, so here are 10 books that have really stuck with me:

  • A Little Princess, by Francis Hodgson Burnet
  • Dragonwings, by Laurence Yep
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
  • Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, by E.L. Konigsburg
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
  • The Wings of Merlin, by T.A. Barron
  • Phoenix Rising, by Karen Hesse
  • Annie on My Mind, by Nancy Garden
  • Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
  • The Realm of Possibility, by David Levithan
thecumberbachelor:

lalondes:

So. Ned Vizzini has committed suicide. And this fact of his death, that it was by his own hand, weighs so, so heavy on the grief that I am feeling right now.
I am not the first young person to write, today, about how It’s Kind of a Funny Story kept me breathing during some of the darkest moments of my adolescence. I will not be the last. This is Ned’s legacy: he tossed a bright, orange-and-white ring to us drowning kids and pleaded with us to stay afloat. And we read his words, and we understood, and we eventually made our way to shore.
I was thirteen years old when I read Funny Story for the first time. I was still living in Vancouver. I picked it up at the Chapters on Broadway and Granville and cautiously paged through the first couple of chapters right there in the store. I put it back on the shelf. The very next week, my family took off on a vacation to the east coast. We stopped into a Barnes & Noble in New York City, and I found a copy and read a few more chapters. It wasn’t until Kramerbooks in Washington, D.C., that I decided, finally, to buy the damn thing and bring it home. I’ve kept it with me ever since.
It’s a special book. I truly don’t believe that a more accurate portrait of a young person’s depression exists in literature, with the exception, maybe, of The Bell Jar. And the great, unspeakable tragedy of The Bell Jar is now the tragedy of Funny Story.
The book opens, as you can see above, with sixteen-year-old protagonist Craig musing that it’s “so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.” The last page, by contrast, is a cacophony of verbs, spat out in a breathless staccato, ending with a clarion call to “live, live, live, live.” I think I must have read that page alone a hundred times now. It got me through high school. It got me through my parents’ divorce. It got me through the end of friendships. Once, in the tenth grade, it kept me from a suicide attempt.
And there, I think, lies the most important lesson: survival is not a temporary state. Healing does not necessarily have a delineated beginning and end. You have been sad before, and you will be sad again; what matters is how you interact with your sadness. You have to be kind to yourself, and gentle. You have to surround yourself with people who love you, and you have to love them in return. Every day of your life is a fight, and it helps to have allies.
Ned Vizzini was once asked what he hoped young adults would take away from Funny Story, and he said this: 

What I would like young adults to take away from It’s Kind of a Funny Story is that if you’re feeling suicidal, call a hotline. Suicidal ideation really is a medical emergency and if more people knew to call the suicide hotline we’d have less suicides.

In Ned’s memory, I will reiterate his words: if you are feeling suicidal, or depressed, or anxious, talk to someone. Call a hotline. I’ve posted a list of helpful numbers here.
Don’t keep quiet. Ask for help. You are not alone.
Live. Live. Live. Live.
Live.

i still can’t believe he died. jesus.

Books are important. Stories are important. Narratives that accurately depict people’s lives and offer support when there might not be any anywhere else are important. Bless Ned Vizzini for sharing this with us, and may he rest in peace.
May the rest of us live.

thecumberbachelor:

lalondes:

So. Ned Vizzini has committed suicide. And this fact of his death, that it was by his own hand, weighs so, so heavy on the grief that I am feeling right now.

I am not the first young person to write, today, about how It’s Kind of a Funny Story kept me breathing during some of the darkest moments of my adolescence. I will not be the last. This is Ned’s legacy: he tossed a bright, orange-and-white ring to us drowning kids and pleaded with us to stay afloat. And we read his words, and we understood, and we eventually made our way to shore.

I was thirteen years old when I read Funny Story for the first time. I was still living in Vancouver. I picked it up at the Chapters on Broadway and Granville and cautiously paged through the first couple of chapters right there in the store. I put it back on the shelf. The very next week, my family took off on a vacation to the east coast. We stopped into a Barnes & Noble in New York City, and I found a copy and read a few more chapters. It wasn’t until Kramerbooks in Washington, D.C., that I decided, finally, to buy the damn thing and bring it home. I’ve kept it with me ever since.

It’s a special book. I truly don’t believe that a more accurate portrait of a young person’s depression exists in literature, with the exception, maybe, of The Bell Jar. And the great, unspeakable tragedy of The Bell Jar is now the tragedy of Funny Story.

The book opens, as you can see above, with sixteen-year-old protagonist Craig musing that it’s “so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.” The last page, by contrast, is a cacophony of verbs, spat out in a breathless staccato, ending with a clarion call to “live, live, live, live.” I think I must have read that page alone a hundred times now. It got me through high school. It got me through my parents’ divorce. It got me through the end of friendships. Once, in the tenth grade, it kept me from a suicide attempt.

And there, I think, lies the most important lesson: survival is not a temporary state. Healing does not necessarily have a delineated beginning and end. You have been sad before, and you will be sad again; what matters is how you interact with your sadness. You have to be kind to yourself, and gentle. You have to surround yourself with people who love you, and you have to love them in return. Every day of your life is a fight, and it helps to have allies.

Ned Vizzini was once asked what he hoped young adults would take away from Funny Story, and he said this: 

What I would like young adults to take away from It’s Kind of a Funny Story is that if you’re feeling suicidal, call a hotline. Suicidal ideation really is a medical emergency and if more people knew to call the suicide hotline we’d have less suicides.

In Ned’s memory, I will reiterate his words: if you are feeling suicidal, or depressed, or anxious, talk to someone. Call a hotline. I’ve posted a list of helpful numbers here.

Don’t keep quiet. Ask for help. You are not alone.

Live. Live. Live. Live.

Live.

i still can’t believe he died. jesus.

Books are important. Stories are important. Narratives that accurately depict people’s lives and offer support when there might not be any anywhere else are important. Bless Ned Vizzini for sharing this with us, and may he rest in peace.

May the rest of us live.

(via secretskeletonchris)


You’ll be missed, Ned.

You’ll be missed, Ned.

(via secretskeletonchris)

OK. I just want to point out that site from which I got the cover photo had it on a list of Top Ten Creepiest Covers for YA fiction.
It was the cover that got me.
It was a bit before Halloween, the artwork was haunting and beautiful, and I was all set for a monster story.
This is not a monster story. At least not in the traditional sense.
I have admired Siobhan Dowd’s work for several years (though I haven’t read all her books yet), and I was excited to read this work she inspired. But as I read I realised that this is not a monster story, not a Halloween story.
This is a nightmare story. This is a story of uncontrollable circumstances of real life, and the fear that comes with them.
It’s wonderfully written (I’m excited to check out Patrick Ness’s other work when I get a chance!) with beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay, and it really does deal with grief and illness and family tension in a great way, one which I think is supportive to older children and young adults who read this book, and even actual adults, too.
The final conversation between Conor and the monster was really touching, but it did feel a bit to me like it was a Very Obvious Presentation Of The Moral. Perhaps that is because I am a bit older than the target audience. Regardless, this story is a fantastic tribute to Dowd’s memory, and I’m glad I read it.
I would also add that it actually put me in tears as I was reading it on the subway, so keep some tissues handy…
38 / 50 Books in 2013

OK. I just want to point out that site from which I got the cover photo had it on a list of Top Ten Creepiest Covers for YA fiction.

It was the cover that got me.

It was a bit before Halloween, the artwork was haunting and beautiful, and I was all set for a monster story.

This is not a monster story. At least not in the traditional sense.

I have admired Siobhan Dowd’s work for several years (though I haven’t read all her books yet), and I was excited to read this work she inspired. But as I read I realised that this is not a monster story, not a Halloween story.

This is a nightmare story. This is a story of uncontrollable circumstances of real life, and the fear that comes with them.

It’s wonderfully written (I’m excited to check out Patrick Ness’s other work when I get a chance!) with beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay, and it really does deal with grief and illness and family tension in a great way, one which I think is supportive to older children and young adults who read this book, and even actual adults, too.

The final conversation between Conor and the monster was really touching, but it did feel a bit to me like it was a Very Obvious Presentation Of The Moral. Perhaps that is because I am a bit older than the target audience. Regardless, this story is a fantastic tribute to Dowd’s memory, and I’m glad I read it.

I would also add that it actually put me in tears as I was reading it on the subway, so keep some tissues handy…

38 / 50 Books in 2013

I’ve finally made it to the second series! As I’ve been saying, these books get better and better. It’s so much fun to watch Riordan evolve as a writer. I love the multiple POVs and third-person narration in this book, and the writing seems to flow more smoothly. I was also very pleased with the way various plot lines interacted and tied up. I was genuinely surprised by the ending, which is always a really pleasant feeling! (Well, unless the surprise is terrible, but this wasn’t ^_^)
I’ve also continued in audiobooks, and this series has a new narrator. Overall, I like his phrasing better than the narrator from series 1, but his French accent was pretty bad, and some of his anglicized Greek names threw me =P
Jason, Piper, and Leo are really fun characters. Leo and Piper both have their superpowers, but they aren’t children of the Big Three or full of ~heroic drama~ the way that Percy and Jason tend to be, so it’s really enjoyable to see things from their perspective. For all three of them, it’s nice to see what life as a demigod child is like for kids whose parents aren’t quite as present or supportive as Sally Jackson.
Hmm, this turned into probably the longest review I’ve ever written, so more detailed discussion and spoilers below!
37 / 50 Books in 2013
[[MORE]]
One thing I was initially very curious about was how Riordan is going to handle Piper’s family background. So far in the first series and with Jason and Leo, no one has been from a terribly religious background, so there hasn’t been a need to explain why the Greek gods exist but others don’t.
But, Piper and her dad talk about Cherokee myths, about things her grandpa believed, and they talk about how they think the Greeks and the Cherokee were/are equally wrong: the stars are not Hercules or hedgehogs, but just burning balls of gas. I want rationalization for this, for why the Greeks are “right” and the Cherokee are not.
I am hopeful that we’ll get that. When they rescued Piper’s dad, he said,

They were monsters. Real monsters. Earth spirits, right out of Grandpa Tom’s stories—and the Earth Mother was angry with me. And the giant, Tsul’kälû, breathing fire— They said you were a demigod. Your mother was…

and Piper fills in “Aphrodite”. I love love love that Tristan McClain saw and interpreted everything through the lens of Cherokee myths, and I really, really hope that when he and Piper sit down for the “guess what, I’m a demigod” conversation again, they expand on this, and someone somehow explains it.
It would have been nice if there could have been a Cherokee name for Aphrodite provided, but, I fully admit, I know nothing about Cherokee myth and tradition, and maybe that wasn’t quite possible. I hope that there will also be further exploration of Piper and Tristan’s whole relationship, and potentially why Tristan buried his past so much.
I liked that they included bits of Spanish (accurate as far as I could tell) in Leo’s sections, though mostly it was his mom calling him mijo (Riordan has a Thing about calling people “my dear”, it seems) and then Hera as his Tía Callida. That’s an interesting name for her, as Callida is an actual name, derived from the Latin adjective for “warm” or “hot”, and Leo with fire… very interesting.
The French in the Quebec scene seemed really good, though the Piper-speaks-French-because-language-of-love thing was kind of trite. Cute, so I’ll let it go, but trite.
The Latin on the other hand… I am disappoint. I don’t recall as much direct use of Greek in the first series. There were phrases like ball’ eis korakas and stuff, but in this book there was some serious Latin, and I question most of its accuracy. (Which is disappointing, given how well done the French was. Who checked the Latin in this book?? It’s not like there aren’t plenty of classicists who would be able to look it over…?)
I liked that Piper, Leo, and Jason each got an opportunity to save the day while the other two were somehow incapacitated. That was well-constructed. Also Coach Hedge would be BFFs with Strax from Doctor Who.
Finally, I’m curious how timezones affect deadlines for quests? Noon in California is not the same as noon in New York, which is definitely different from noon in Greece, where they seem to be headed next. So then what?
Off to start book 2 now! I’m excited!

I’ve finally made it to the second series! As I’ve been saying, these books get better and better. It’s so much fun to watch Riordan evolve as a writer. I love the multiple POVs and third-person narration in this book, and the writing seems to flow more smoothly. I was also very pleased with the way various plot lines interacted and tied up. I was genuinely surprised by the ending, which is always a really pleasant feeling! (Well, unless the surprise is terrible, but this wasn’t ^_^)

I’ve also continued in audiobooks, and this series has a new narrator. Overall, I like his phrasing better than the narrator from series 1, but his French accent was pretty bad, and some of his anglicized Greek names threw me =P

Jason, Piper, and Leo are really fun characters. Leo and Piper both have their superpowers, but they aren’t children of the Big Three or full of ~heroic drama~ the way that Percy and Jason tend to be, so it’s really enjoyable to see things from their perspective. For all three of them, it’s nice to see what life as a demigod child is like for kids whose parents aren’t quite as present or supportive as Sally Jackson.

Hmm, this turned into probably the longest review I’ve ever written, so more detailed discussion and spoilers below!

37 / 50 Books in 2013

Read More

This is the first one of my (re?)read that I really didn’t remember. Maybe I never actually read it…
The foreshadowing was really well done (with Rachel in particular), and the Iliad parallels stunned me. (It helps that at the time I read this, I was reading the Iliad for class as well.)
[Spoilers below]
In particular, I loved Silena pulling a Patroklos and going to lead that attack, and I love that that intentional parallel supports the Clarisse/Silena shippy vibe I sort of got. I wish that could be more explored. Maybe he’ll write some short stories from one of their points of view and touch on their relationship. Romance or not (because they do both have other relationships), their friendship is fascinating, given their personalities, and I want more of it!
[End spoilers]
I also liked the explanation for how the Curse of Achilles worked, and the ending was really, really well done. I came out of it in some kind of astounded mix of intense feelings about Annabeth herself and her relationship with Percy. And Percy’s deliberation about his reward… yes, good.
I’m so excited to get into the Heroes of Olympus now!
36 / 50 Books in 2013

This is the first one of my (re?)read that I really didn’t remember. Maybe I never actually read it…

The foreshadowing was really well done (with Rachel in particular), and the Iliad parallels stunned me. (It helps that at the time I read this, I was reading the Iliad for class as well.)

[Spoilers below]

In particular, I loved Silena pulling a Patroklos and going to lead that attack, and I love that that intentional parallel supports the Clarisse/Silena shippy vibe I sort of got. I wish that could be more explored. Maybe he’ll write some short stories from one of their points of view and touch on their relationship. Romance or not (because they do both have other relationships), their friendship is fascinating, given their personalities, and I want more of it!

[End spoilers]

I also liked the explanation for how the Curse of Achilles worked, and the ending was really, really well done. I came out of it in some kind of astounded mix of intense feelings about Annabeth herself and her relationship with Percy. And Percy’s deliberation about his reward… yes, good.

I’m so excited to get into the Heroes of Olympus now!

36 / 50 Books in 2013

Rachel Elizabeth Daaaaaare :)
I took too long to post this since I finished it, so I don’t remember what else to say /o\
35 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)

Rachel Elizabeth Daaaaaare :)

I took too long to post this since I finished it, so I don’t remember what else to say /o\

35 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)

Cross out what you’ve already read. Six is the average

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling 
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
[The Bible] (have read some)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Bleak House - Charles Dickens
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
[Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis] (the first 2-3)
Emma - Jane Austen
Persuasion - Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Dune - Frank Herbert 
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
[Brave New World - Aldous Huxley] (i tried)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Dracula - Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Ulysses - James Joyce
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
Germinal - Emile Zola
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession - AS Byatt
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web - EB White 
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
Watership Down - Richard Adams 
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

25, assuming I can count. A few incompletes, and a side-eye at including Narnia as a whole and also The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

(via riddlerose)

They do get better and better. This one covered some important things about family, and Tantalus was pretty funny.
34 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)

They do get better and better. This one covered some important things about family, and Tantalus was pretty funny.

34 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)