Review: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Title: The Red Pyramid
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Kane Chronicles
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: hardback
Rating: 4/5
Read for: Amazon Best of 2010 Challenge

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. (goodreads.com)

My Thoughts

I cheered. A new series by Mr. Riordan. I loved the first book in the Percy Jackson series, and I was excited to read about a new mythology.

Egyptian mythology is so much different from Greek mythology, and it was a nice change of pace, especially since I read them back-to-back.

The journey the children go on is quite a wild one. It was really fascinating to watch Carter and Sadie become close, since they’ve been separated for so long and are such different people. Carter is the knowledgeable one, in terms of mythology, since he’s spent so much time traveling with his father. Sadie, on the other hand, is a bit of a smart-aleck, and a bit cynical to boot.

In time, they come to learn the truth about their mother’s death, which is something that has plagued them for a long time.

I look forward to reading the next installment of the series, if only to see what happens to the Kane siblings next.

Review: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Heroes of Olympus
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: hardback
Rating: 4/5
Read for: Amazon Best of 2010 Challenge

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god.

My Thoughts

Oh, I think I made a mistake reading this book before finishing the Percy Jackson series.

I didn’t realize, going into this book, that this is a sequel, of sorts, to the Percy series. It blends the Gods and Goddesses of Roman and Greek mythology, showing both their sides, and now we have, essentially, two Camp Half-bloods.

I found myself a little bit at a loss when events from the initial series was discussed, but most of it is mentioned in passing and wasn’t essential to the plot, so I was able to move past it and continue on without much difficulty.

The blending of Roman and Greek mythology was interesting, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I look forward to meeting a more grown-up Percy Jackson, but hopefully I’ll have finished his series before the next book comes out.

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Format: hardback
Rating: 3/5
Read for: 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. (from dust jacket)

 

My Thoughts

The book started slowly for me, but it picked up pace quickly and by the time I was 3/4 of the way through, I couldn’t put it down.
I had a hard time starting it because, despite the interesting premise, the book itself just couldn’t hold my attention. I felt like I was reading a recap of last week’s episode: “Last week, on Hex Hall.” Really, it didn’t start picking up momentum until almost halfway through the book. The first half was like a trip back to high school for me.
Although I did find this quote on page 277 hilarious: “‘my gaping chest wound, let me show you it.'” Really, I almost died laughing. I wanted to go create a LOLcat image for it. It was just so wildly out of place from the rest of the book, but it was also appropriate for the scene.
Overall, I thought the book was okay. I’m interested enough to want to read the sequel, Demonglass.

Review: Blue by Lou Aronica

Title: Blue
Author: Lou Aronica
Obtained: finished copy from publisher
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Format: paperback
Rating: 5/5

Blurb (from back of book)

Do not begin this novel unless you are prepared to be moved, willing to open your heart, and available to the possibility that life can bring you magic.

Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life.
Becky is Chris’s fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman–and now faces her greatest obstacle yet.
Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble.
Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them.
Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.

My Thoughts

Once I got started with this book, I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know what would happen to Becky, and Tamarisk, and after a while I started really getting the gist of the outcome, but I still kept hoping for something else.
I found myself relating both to Becky, as a child of divorced parents who can’t get along all that well, and to Chris and Polly, as well. It’s really hard to lose someone you love, and it’s especially hard to watch someone die from cancer, because it can be a really slow process.
There were times when I really disliked Polly, mostly because of her poison towards Chris; she dislikes him so much she goes so far as to believe that Chris is trying to take Becky away from her when Becky decides she wants to spend more time at Chris’s. There were times that I disliked her so much that I found her to be unsympathetic. It was Chris’s sadness that tugged my heart strings more, partly because he had lost so much time with Becky, and partly because, just when he was starting to spend more time with her, he loses that time.
I kept hoping for a better ending for Miea, romantically at least. I really wanted her to get back with Dyson, but I know that lives change and Miea had a lot to do, but she at least became friends with Dyson again, and it was a start. But I was also glad they were able to find a cure for the blight.
Even if you don’t read fantasy, or general fiction, I’d recommend you pick this book up and read it. It’s a very touching story, and you won’t regret it.

This book was read and reviewed as part of a virtual tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book. For more information on Lou Aronica or his book, Blue, please visit The Fiction Studio.

Mr. Aronica is also hosting a contest, specifically related to Blue. If you’d like to enter, please read the details below:

How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.

New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books, Lou Aronica has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.” This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?

Now for the details:

The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.
The pitch needs to be submitted by April 16, 2011
Please email your submission to Lou at laronica@fictionstudio.com
All winners will be notified by email by May 27, 2011.

Good luck to anyone who might be entering!

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Harcourt
Format: hardback
Rating: 4/5
Read for: 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

Blurb (from dust jacket)

In a world where people borne with an extreme skill–called a Grace–are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.
She never expects to become Po’s friend.
She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace–or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away… a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Continue reading