March 19, 2014

Review - Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Rick Ryordan

There may be spoilers for any of the books in the series, but I -think- I managed to write it spoiler-free.

All Olympians please forgive me. Or is it Half bloods that you call yourselves? But I didn't love this series.

I liked it. And I kind of almost loved it. But I couldn't. I love Nebador, I love Mists of Avalon, I love Lord of the Rings and I love Harry Potter, but Percy Jackson is... Shallow. It's a story without depth.

So I was trying to write a review for each of the books, but I read them one after the other, during one week, and I can't really tell them apart... So I guess I'll just write one review.

The thing is, while Hera Queen of Gods and Hera, Queen of Mortals are great books about the greek gods and goddesses, where they show their true nature, their issues, after all, the Greek gods and goddesses aren't perfect, they have their good and bad points and each to their own skills, in Percy Jackson, we can almost divide people into good and bad, the good guys and the bad guys, when Greek narrative isn't about the good and the bad, it's about people and how anyone can be anything, for a price, and how you can be both good and bad at the same time, because decisions have to be made and sometimes, there is no right way.

In the end, all Half-Bloods are awesome, great, good people, in general. They just need the right push of love and recognition. And all gods and goddesses are kind of evil (cold and harsh) except... Poseidon, I guess, since he's the main character's father. That's not how they are usually represented. They can be mean and cold, but they can be loving and caring, when there's something to be done or when they can get something.

Also, Percy is a child. I mean, of course, when we start reading he's around 12 and he's supposed to be a bit clueless and childish and girls that age (Anabeth) are supposed to be more grown up-ish, but by the time we finish the series, they are 16 and the only thing they evolve is... They become boyfriend and girlfriend. Basically, after saving the world a few times, almost dying and all, all they manage to grow is trust your friends, love people, value family and get a relationship? Nope, sorry, can't handle that.

Overall, it's a fun and entertaining series for teens aged 12 to 16. But it's not a great YA classic for all ages, like some of the same genre. I may or may not review them one by one, if I eventually change my mind or my memory improves and separates the books... But I wouldn't expect it.

January 27, 2014

Review - Hera, Queen of Mortals by T. D. Thomas (Goddess Unbound #2)

Hello there! So, after I finished reading Hera, Queen of the Gods, quickly, I immediatly dived into Hera, Queen of Mortals, Book 2 of the Goddess Unbound series. Also, right after that, I jumped into the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, so I will make some comparisions, if you don't mind. Also, there will be spoilers for Hera, Queen of the Gods, as it's impossible not to.

You can read my review of Hera, Queen of the Gods here.

After we solve the main plot on the first book, all the Gods go back to the heavens, but something is wrong. Ekhidna is on the loose and she's plotting something real big. She's hidden big parts of Earth, using the same kind of cloud from the first book, so the Gods can't see.

An army is around and now the Gods will take turns on Earth and try to find out the issues and fix them. Hera feels responsible and, as such, she volunteers to stay fixed on Earth. The others will take turns, but she will only go back to the Heavens once it's all solved.

Yes I stole the image from Amazon.
Hera and Demeter are on Earth and they are looking for Heroes. This time, instead of Gods trying to solve everything, they will find the humans with a Hero's soul, the ones that can be "sort-of-divine", they have one power, just like the Gods, and will help the Gods to solve their problems. This time, Hera came with the power of telling the future, which I didn't like. Sure, it was handy and it helped a lot, but somehow mind controlling was cooler. Also, this time, we get to see many more monsters, so many, actually, that I didn't get to remember the name and powers of all of them. While on Book #1, we only saw Harpies and Phytons, on Book #2 we get to know at least 4 or 5 different kinds of monsters and it gets kind of confusing...
((BIG SPOILER)) Even if Justin dies on Book #1, we have him, sort of, in Book #2. Not going to spoil more than that, but to say that it's an interesting relationship and that I'm interested in how it'll continue. I'm a bit frustrated about the power abuser that he becomes when he's... On Dream-mode, so to say.

Now, I have to say I liked Book #1 better. Not sure why. Possibly because on the first one, we have the Gods as characters and they are already known, so we can work with character development from a known base. With the heroes, on book #2, we don't have their background and at the same time, they are developing and we are trying to find new heroes and everything seems a bit rushed. Hera, however, is weaker, more human than ever. It's an interesting character development and I guess it's interesting because Hera is one of the Gods that we hear the least about. She's usually just the wife of Zeus who gets jealous and curses people who he fall in love with, mostly. So it's something new to see her for herself.

Comparing to Percy Jackson, you can see clearly that Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a series intended for 12 to 15 year olds. Even if Percy is 16 when the book finishes, I don't think it was intended as a book for older teens. It's innocent and sort of childish, while the Greek Myths aren't.The Goddess Unbound series is much more interesting, it's intended for older audiences and even if the Gods take over teenagers bodies, you can feel they're older teens, the heroes are teens, but they are older teens too, it's never mentioned, that I remember, but you can see in their attitudes and feel it. I'd say it's a book for post-teens (young 20's) and I'd like to see the Gods go on taking bodies of older people, so we can see the story develop in a more mature way.

Also, I'd like the books to be longer. The story has many nuances that could've been explored but weren't, because it was a bit rushed, I'd like to see more relationship between the characters - not have their personality described and determined by a couple of sentences - and some plot developments felt rushed too. I see lots of potential, but we have to keep up with the Book #1 rhythm.

You can read my review of Hera, Queen of the Gods here.

January 14, 2014

Review - Hera, Queen of Gods by T. D. Thomas (Goddess Unbound #1)

Hello there! After a long period of extreme work and a decent period of vacations, I'm back to reading and blogging (hopefully).

The latest series I've been loving is the Goddess Unbound series by T. D. Thomas. I've received the first book in 2012, actually, and seem to have misplaced the file until I found it during my vacations and read it in one day. It was amazing and I was dying to share with you but, more than anything, I needed the sequel, so I got that one and the review is coming up soon too.

When the Fates go missing, most likely kidnapped, Hera, Queen of the Gods, has to descend into the mortal world to try and find them in a city that is being kept in the dark from the Gods, with a dark cloud stopping them form seeing. She and 6 other gods take mortal bodies - teen bodies, for teenagers understand it better than anyone that it's all about power - and start looking for the Fates. Zeus, Hera, Athena, Demeter, Artemis, Apollo and Hermes take mortal bodies and roam the world, looking for any sign or information about the Fates, who took them or what they are planning on... When they stumble into Justin, a mere mortal teen boy.

Strangely, Justin seems to be able to tell there's something wrong with those people who used to be random students at his school and are now banded together using weird "nicknames". When their cover story doesn't work well (not as easy to hide the truth when you are using your powers and a giant is after you), they are forced to tell him the truth. He's taken along and proves himself quite useful, but I won't spoil anything.

One of the interesting points was that the Gods were only allowed to take one power each, because the mortal bodies couldn't hold all of their powers. Hera took the power of mind control, through her eyes, Zeus took strength, Athena mind reading, Demeter plant control, Artemis shapeshifting, Apollo healing and Hermes invisibility. But since they are used to having so many powers, it's hard for them to survive with only one and when they find out that these mortal bodies are more frail than they thought, well, things start getting scary.

Monsters keep going after them, specifically, Pythons and Harpies. All the time. Everywhere they go. So not only they have to fight the monsters and, usually, run, because they aren't as powerful as they would be and there are many monsters, they still have to find the Fates, whoever kidnapped them AND stop whatever plan they may have that, the Fates being as powerful as they are, most likely is something like destroying the fabric of reality.

It is supposed to be a YA story, since the main characters are either teenagers or in teenagers' bodies, but I can barely picture them as 17-18 year olds, it seems like they are so mature, even the non-god(esse)s ones, that it's hard to picture them as young teens. Besides, the themes on the book and the way they're portrayed is quite grown up, which makes it hard to believe it's YA. So I wouldn't recommend for young or impressionable people, but older teens, that would be awesome.

You can buy Hera, Queen of Gods (Goddess Unbound) at Amazon (link on the book title), I mean, it's under US$ 1,00! It's only US$ 0,93 and it's an amazing book, you can't say no to that, can you? No you can't, I knew that :)

So, now, click click, go buy! And keep tuned for the sequel's review!

January 04, 2014

Review Policy

I've REOPENED my Requests. I have several paper books now, but they are mostly the ones I bought and I just bought a Kindle and could take a few review books (I have over 1000 books that I either bought or donwloaded for free from project gutenberg and others, but I've been looking for fresh stuff). So, please, feel free to offer your books, according to the rules on the Review Policy page (menu above, link below, button on the right, choose your way of reaching it).

December 11, 2013

Review: Nebador Book 7 - The Local Universe by J. Z. Colby

So, now we've been through The Test, have made the Journey and survived the Selection. We've been succesful in our Flight Training, went Back to the Stars and met the Star Station. It's time to meet the Local Universe!

I've mentioned before that I  LOVE the Nebador series. And it's very well known to book bloggers that the more you love a book or series, the harder it is to review it, because you feel like you're not making it sound as interesting or cool as it really is, you feel like you're not doing the book any good. So I've been writing this review for a few months now... Not a good idea, as you start to forget what exactly you wanted to tell about the book and just keep that fuzzy feeling that it was such an awesome book. But let's try.

We have two major plots during this book and they are slightly different from previous ones. Now, we have our crew reasonably integrated with the Nebador lifestyle, but we need them to grow up as beings, to evolve, in a way. One of the "light" beings (evolved beings!) is going to watch and be with our crew, it's been decided, and interestingly, they are being assigned to advanced training before it's usual.

Their first mission takes them to try and locate a ship that has been drifting for several hundred years, there's supposed to be 3 of the ships and the crew's mission is to find it and then "deal" with it, according to what they find. With them, a whole group of "bugs" will be the experts and passengers of the Manessa Kwi, small and regular size, with mates and groups not so much like theirs, they will have to learn to respect and deal with people much different than them, for a long time (unlike the shorter interactions they've had so far) This is a mission that will teach them much, even if Ilika has explained some things before, now they will see in practice and they will be able to deal with life, death, loss, understanding of Bad and Evil. It is different when you feel it, of course. We'll see a lot of growth here, when they realize some things happen for a reason and not everything and everyone is meant to get help.

The second mission is very different from the first, when we follow 4 common children/teens, into this strange school that is different from anything in their world, called Lyceum. It's a school/monastry/religion-with-all-religions/lifestyle that teaches everyone can be responsible, respectful and that everone has gifts that can be used towards the greater good. Not unlike Nebador, it seems, and that's why, from the whole world, this school is the only one that actually meets Nebador people. They aren't informed of how's, where's and what's but they know they are from space and that they are special beings.

Our crew goes through an interesting mission here, they don't know what it is. They are supposed to find out. Also, the crew is without Ilika, which is the first time ever since they got together in their homeworld. Ilika disguises himself as a potential student at Lyceum, while the rest of the crew will show themselves to the staff as the citizens of Nebador they are, so they can work in different ways to try and find out what their mission is and accomplish it.

Obviously, they do. But the interesting isn't only the mission itself, but how they get there. They end up influencing the people outside their small group, learn more things and eventually find their mission where they weren't looking. Manessa Kwi's crew, in a way, is used to saving people or just helping them, in whatever way they see as saving. But sometimes, what a person needs isn't the same thing you believe is help. And that's actually hard to spot, empathy isn't as easy, when the person you are trying to help sees life in a different way than you do.

Again, another masterpiece by J. Z. Colby, showing children and young adults (and some older adults), that it is possible to live a better life, that a better society is possible - if only people would help - and that you should be the first one to do it. J. Z., if only every teen would read your books, I'm sure we would have a better world in a couple generations' time.

Find out where you can buy Book 7 - The Local Universe in several formats: here.
Read my reviews for Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5 and Book 6