Monday, May 30, 2016

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan


Title: Percy Jackson's Greek Gods
Author: Rick Riordan
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Myths/Fiction
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: High Violence, Bad Behavior, and lots of High Gross Out Moments
Premise: "Percy Jackson, a modern-day demigod, tells the origin stories of the gods of Olympus and provides an insider's point of view - with plenty of attitude - in this illustrated collection"-- Provided by publisher. "A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week. So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. "If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that." Dramatic full-color illustrations throughout by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco make this volume--a must for home, library, and classroom shelves--as stunning as it is entertaining"-- Provided by publisher. 
Opinions: If you want to learn about the Greek myths, but some of the more traditional tellings are way too daunting, then this is book is your solution. I love studying mythologies and was fascinated with Riordan's ability to bring them to life in new and intriguing manner (and besides, I am a huge Percy Jackson fan--the books, not the movie). In this particular book you learn all about the history of the titans, Greek gods, and other mythological beings with the modern day humor only teenagers can master. The stories are fascinating and frequently gory (as many mythos are), and yet Riordan faces them head on in a manner that makes them still pg-13 (which is an impressive feat) and all told from Percy Jackson's viewpoint.

Note: Keep in mind, the Greek Gods are not known for being moral compasses. They often had affairs, committed murder and other heinous acts, that might not be appropriate for your particular teen. So I recommend that parents either read this book first, or read it with their kids so that you can have any necessary discussions. I mean, I'm an adult (half the time) and even I cringed at some of the stories, even after they were cleaned up. So be prepared.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

To read my review of the first book in this series, click here: Cinder.


Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Dystopian/Steam Punk/Fairytale Retelling/Sci-Fi
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: Moderate Violence
Premise: "Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Half way around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner" (King County Library System).
Opinions: In Scarlet the point of views switch between Scarlet (a new vision of Red Riding Hood) and Cinder (Cinderella) from book one. The concepts and twists in this book are amazing and a breath of fresh air. I love the interplay between characters. I admire the creativity in Meyer's world building. I actually LOVE the men more in this book than the women--wolf and Captain Thorne leaped of the page (or well audio system) for me. While Scarlet's character was fascinating, her mood swings were a bit much for me at times, and yet they were completely and utterly understandable. I actually listened to this book on cd while in the car, and the voice actor did a beautiful job making each character stand out well in the story.  The struggles both Cinder and Scarlet faced were three-dimensional and the way Meyer's interwove their stories beautiful. The violence was a bit gory at times for my taste, but did fit with the overall stories. I'm very intrigued to see where the next book in the series, Cress, goes.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan


Title: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: Mythic battles in modern settings maybe slightly much for younger readers
Premise: "Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother's mysterious death, he's lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he is tracked down by a man he's never met -- a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision" (King County Library System).
Opinions: This book is EPIC!!!!  I have always loved Norse mythology. Now Rick Riordan brings it to life in modern times with absolute brilliance and humor. Even better is that he does awesome tie-ins to the Percy Jackson series by mocking the stories he wrote. Then, to top it off, he makes references to Doctor Who. Seriously, Rick Riordan's writing just keeps getting better and better. The first line of every chapter was spot on brilliant, and the last line of each chapter jaw-dropping. The characters are well developed, diverse, and intriguing. Trying to keep all the Gods and their history straight was a bit overwhelming at times. Plus, like most mythologies, some aspects are violent and gross, but Riordan does a fabulous job keeping it all teenager approved.  I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.