Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
The Heroes of Olympus #5
Published October 7th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.
The Blood of Olympus is the grand finale of The Heroes of Olympus series.  The stakes have been rising steadily higher, the giants have been defeated, only to make a comeback - maybe Riordan should have called this series 'The Heroes of Olympus Battle Giants Over and Over and Over Again'?! Nah, that's not as catchy as The Heroes of Olympus I suppose. In any case, this is the end of the line for Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Jason, Hazel, Frank and Piper. And let's not forget Nico, Reyna and Coach Hedge! After marathoning the entire series, the feels were strong as I began my journey to the end...

The Blood of Olympus is once again told from alternating POV's, this time being Leo, Piper, Jason, Nico and Reyna. The addition of Nico and Reyna almost made up for the complete lack of Percy and Annabeth. But not quite. It was a real joy to get to know both Nico and Reyna, with Nico being an early favorite and Reyna fast becoming a new favorite. Obviously I love both of them even more now!  I was also happy that we finally got to know Jason better. After being introduced to him sans his memories in The Lost Hero, the poor guy has largely been given the shaft. It always seemed like a waste to me so his growth and character arc here was quite satisfying.  Leo, another early favorite was a big plus too, and I have to say that it's a really good thing that we got that last chapter there at the end...otherwise, I would not have been a happy camper. I was less enthused with Piper's POV though. I never minded her really, but I never loved her either and I'm not sure why Riordan decided to make her into such a priority...but anyways.

The thing is: true heroes like Percy and Annabeth ended up taking a back seat to the likes of Piper, which seemed not only unfair but a disservice to the lead characters - not to mention all of their fans. It felt like getting a sequel Harry Potter series, only to have Harry take a back seat to a bunch of younger noobs. Uhm yeah, how about NOPE! Not cool. Never gonna happen. When you establish your main hero, you can't just then have him sit it out while others take over.  Needless to say, after how heroic Percy and Annabeth were in The House of Hades, it was a huge letdown to have their presence whittled down to virtually nothing here. Percy had temper tantrums, took idiotic risks and largely sat out the important quests while all the new characters stepped up. Annabeth was rendered completely hopeless while Piper saves the day single-handedly. Whaaa?! Yeah, I wasn't a fan of how my favorite characters were handled at.all. It was more than them not having their own POV; it was the fact that they didn't actively take part of the action like they should have.

Plot-wise, everything moved steadily, up to the climax.  That whole section left me unimpressed.  The action lacked a certain momentum at that point and when the big battle came around, it seemed like it was over before it even began. It was very anti-climactic.  In the original Percy Jackson Series, I thought the strongest installment was book 4 and the same holds true here.  If anything, The Last Olympian is a stronger series ender than The Blood of Olympus ended up being. The Last Olympian was an adrenaline rush, start to finish.  Here, the story lost a lot of steam at the end, especially considering how intense the previous installment, The House of Hades ended up being.

My issues with the conclusion aside, I had a lot of fun marathoning The Heroes of Olympus books.  I can't remember the last time I read a series straight through like that and it's something I have to start doing more of again.  I've grown to love all of these demigods and I already miss adventuring with them!

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Harry Potter Moment #140

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a  meme hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts  and Me @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself!  How to join up &  upcoming topics here.

Hi hi! How is everyone doing? After a month of craziness at work, I'm back to my usual schedule and had lots of down time early on in the week...which was seriously welcome. I hope you're all hanging in, after all - it's Friday tomorrow! And if that isn't enough to get you all excited:

You accidentally did magic for the first time, where were you and what did you do?


This one's a thinker!  I've been trying really hard to consistently narrow my answers down to a single one, but in all honesty, it couldn't be done this week. There was no way. I think...I think I'd either be at home or outside somewhere in nature if I was to do magic for the first time.  Home is safe and as an introvert, I spend a lot of time there, and that held true when I was younger too. On the other hand, being in nature, in the woods or something has always felt magical to me, so I could see tapping into some latent magical powers that way too.


As for what kind of magic I did? I think I'd either fly, make myself invisible or talk to animals - specifically cats ♥ I kept thinking of the letter Lily sent to Sirius with the picture of baby Harry flying all over the house on his first broom. Which tugged at my heartstrings and made me want to cry. Again as an introvert, being invisible is really appealing to me, hence my fascination with Harry's amazing cloak! Then again, talking to animals would be a dream come true.  Riddle gave the skill a bad rap but I could bring it back...or create an army of cats. I haven't decided yet.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #43

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!

Top Ten Bookworm Delights

1. Pre-ordering books. That giddy little feeling when you check your favorite book site and see that you can officially pre-order a coveted new release or sequel. I get chills just thinking about it.
2. Discovering an older book and having it become a new favorite. There's nothing quite like going back to older gem that you've never read before and being completely swept away until you turn the last page and go: I finally get what the fuss was all about.


3.When a beloved author announces plans for a new book. Sometimes an author's style just clicks with you so you know that you'll love whatever they put out next!
4.When the next installment in a beloved series gets an official title/release date/cover. The thrill of realising that, with a release date/title/cover, the books release date is finally getting closer. Eeep! Fun fact: my past two birthdays have been marked with ToG news. In 2015 we got the cover for QoS and this year we got an official title for ToG5: Empire of Storms :O


5. Rereading favorite books/series. I've gotten out of the habit of this one, but one I've vowed to start up again this year! I plan on celebrating HP Month this July with a long overdue HP series reread :D
6. Getting an email notification that a coveted pre-order book has shipped out. Further to my first point, getting that long awaited email saying that a long-awaited pre-order is finally on it's way to you. Heaven. 
7. Becoming so engrossed in a story that you forget to do things like eat and sleep. Nothing quite beats the feeling of a book that consumes your mind, body and soul so completely that you cease to function as a normal human being. I am one with my book.


8. Finding a home for a new favorite book on your shelves. Making room for your new pretty. Setting it down in it's new spot. Staring at it in contentment. *Sigh*
9. Getting/organizing a new bookshelf/bookcase. I'm overdue on this one personally but I never forget the thrill of putting all your books on that crispy new bookcase and basking in it's glory.
10. Snuggling up indoors with a good book and a warm cup of tea on a rainy/snowy day. #bliss


What are some of your favorite bookish delights?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fandom Mashup #50

Fandom Mashups
Fandom Mashups is an original feature here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.  The idea is that every week, I propose a unique fictional scenario and then build my personal dream team of five fictional characters from five different fandoms to complete the task!  Anyone is welcome to join in on the fandom fun - all I ask is that you link back to me somewhere in your post :)

Hello friends! How is everyone doing today? My crazy stretch at work is finally over for the time being - the next one will be at the end of June so for now we're back to regular scheduling! Today is also my beloved kitty Nox's birthday ♥ Before we get to chilling and celebrating though:

WEREWOLVES! You've stumbled across an actual pack of werewolves. Unsure if they're friendly or deadly, you decide to investigate. Who you gonna call - to check things out with you?

Sam Roth

As a fellow werewolf and a good one at that, Sam would be well placed to scout out the werewolf pack and give us some insider info! He can be trusted whether he's in wolf form OR in human form, which would be a relief.

Remus Lupin

So long as it's not the full moon, Lupin would have lots of knowledge to share with us, as well as some tips as to if the pack is friendly or deadly.  Oh and hopefully he can brew that handy potion for us all too!

Sam Winchester

Sammy's had more than his share of experience dealing with Werewolves. He's level headed enough to give them the benefit of the doubt, but if they end up being trouble, he'll take them down in no time.

The Tenth Doctor

Fans of the show know that Ten has actually encountered a Werewolf and lived to tell the tale! He also put Rose's safety as his top priority so if I'm going to take down a pack of Werewolves, I want him there! Plus Ten will be sure to give these creatures a chance, should they be friendly!

Klaus Mikaelson

In the event that this pack isn't friendly, Klaus' status as a hybrid will most definitely come in handy.  We'll probably need the rest of this crew to keep him in line, but it'll be worth if if these wolves need to be taken care of. Just sit back and watch the fur fly!


Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: Mistborn: Secret History

Mistborn: Secret History
by Brandon Sanderson  (Mistborn #3.5)
Published January 26th 2016 by Dragonsteel

Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy.

As such, it contains HUGE SPOILERS for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire), The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning.

Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best.

In short, this isn’t the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy—but it has been a while—you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.)

Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story’s existence is, in a way, a spoiler.

There’s always another secret.
Mistborn: Secret History. It's right there in the title: this is a SECRET history.  That being said, there is very little that can be discussed here, plot-wise because everything is a MASSIVE spoiler for The Mistborn Series. The blurb says that this novella contains major spoilers for the original Mistborn trilogy and only minor spoilers for the Wax and Wayne series, but like many other readers, I disagree.  This book contains MAJOR spoilers for all of the Mistborn books. DO.NOT.READ.this book unless you are fully caught up, up to The Bands of Mourning, otherwise that ending will not have the effect that it should. Which is: blowing your mindhole.

Moving on to what we can actually discuss here.  Secret History is the novella that Mistborn fans have been waiting for. The one they deserve.  This book changed everything for me.  I feel like I understand my beloved series on a whole other level now.  Sanderson has given us background for the entire series, complete with the logic that was behind certain key twists that might not have sat well with some readers.  Every single detail of this story has been transformed. My understanding for the series has deepened and been fully transformed.  I have this intense craving to reread the entire series all over again just to be able to fully revel in what I'd missed the first time around.

With a simple 149 page novella, Sanderson has broadened the scope of his entire universe tenfold. Lord Ruler knows, I've raved about the man's writing skills time and time again but now? Even I'm left speechless!  Yes, this novella is a MUST READ for fans of the Mistborn Series. You can not continue to exist without having this book in your life. I was completely swept away from the first page and remained riveted through the very end. The feels though!! I was not prepared for so many feels to assault me and leave me broken and crying in a heap.  Secret History is all that and more!

There is always another secret. And with Secret History, Brandon Sanderson has outdone himself in that respect. If you survive reading this, I'll be here to hug it out afterwards.Very rarely do novellas earn a 5-star rating for me but this one did just that. And then some. My first 5-star read of 2016!

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Harry Potter Moment #139

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a  meme hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts  and Me @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself!  How to join up &  upcoming topics here.

Hello friends! I hope this Thursday has been good to you all so far :)  I have a feeling we might have done a similar topic to this one in the past, but who can be sure? I certainly didn't have the time to go through all of the old ones from before I was hosting, or even participating. In any case, hopefully our new participants will enjoy this one:

Favorite DADA Spell?


Defence Against the Dark Arts is such a useful class with tons of life saving spells. How to pick just one?! Who could forget:


Or when Moody taught his class to fight off the Imperius Curse?!  Or when Harry took over in the fifth year and taught all his classmates every single spell he's used against Voldemort. Like:

Oops, wrong fandom^^

Anyway, out of all those awesome spells, my favorite has got to be:


Not that I'd ever want to have to use it...but if you're going to run into a Dementor...well...you can't give a Dementor the old one, two. Amirite?!  The bottom line is, I'm most terrified of Dementors so this spell is my favorite.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #42

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!


Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh (or at least chuckle)


Percy Jackson and The Olympians - One of the best things I can say about this series is that it's funny; often laugh-out-loud funny. Percy's sass and Riordan's witty writing style are a happy making combination.

Heroes of Olympus - This might be cheating, but I read the PJ books awhile back and I'm only catching up with this sequel series now. Despite the characters being older, I found myself laughing out loud multiple times with each new installment.

The Lunar Chronicles - The characters here face some dark times, but they do it with humor. Hell, just thinking about Iko and Thorne makes me smile!

Charley Davidson Series - This is easily the funniest PNR series I've ever read. You just know going in that you'll be cracking up throughout - and there's nothing better than that :)

Avatar the Last Airbender - Fans of the animated series know this show is hilarious and I'm happy to say that the graphic novels continue that trend! I'm not caught up on all of them yet, but the 6 installments I've read all made me LOL!


Anne of Green Gables - This one is more of a heart-warming kind of funny, but Anne made me laugh on more than one occasion growing up and even as an adult, she never ceases to entertain :)

Ready Player One - Sure, the setting is dark but the humor is strong with this one. The protagonist, Wade, knows how to use sarcasm and wit to wonderful effect!

Harry Potter Series - Maybe not the most obvious choice but who here didn't crack up more than once thanks to Ron, Hermione, Luna, The TWINS...not to mention Harry's famous sass XD

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You - This isn't the usual kind of book I feature here on the blog, but my best friend bought me this one Christmas and I laughed my ass off. Cat lovers should really check this out!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Another one that's more cute than snarky but it made me chuckle more than once. It's so adorable you can't help but smile.

How about you guys? What's the funniest books you've read?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fandom Mashup #49

Fandom Mashups
Fandom Mashups is an original feature here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.  The idea is that every week, I propose a unique fictional scenario and then build my personal dream team of five fictional characters from five different fandoms to complete the task!  Anyone is welcome to join in on the fandom fun - all I ask is that you link back to me somewhere in your post :)

Hello all! Happy Sunday - my favorite day of the week ❤️ I have another busy work week ahead so I'm soaking in the laziness today haha! But before I do...

Some crazy brainiac supervillain has imprisoned you in his fortress complete with puzzles, traps, riddles and deadly brain-teasers. Your only advantage? You have means of communicating with the outside world to ask for help. Who are you going to reach out to?

Batman

This villain sounds suspiciously like The Riddler so I have a feeling that Batman would be a major asset here^^

Hermione Granger

Girlfriend is gifted with puzzles, riddles and the like. You just know she'd have it all figured out in no time.

Annabeth Chase

The daughter of Athena would compliment Hermione nicely wouldn't she - between the two of them, who needs anyone else?!

Sherlock Holmes

Speaking of geniuses. Sherlock could probably beat them all...but sometimes he has glaring holes in his knowledge, so I'd rather be safe than sorry. As part of a team, my bases are covered.

Sam Winchester

Sam is a fellow nerd, but his experience in researching obscure facts is why he made the team. Those skills would come in handy!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Review: The Bands of Mourning

The Bands of Mourning
by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #6)
Published January 26th 2016 by Tor

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
*An ARC was provided by Raincoast Canada in exchange for an honest review.*

WOW. Just.Wow.  I can't even right now. Seriously.  I may just write this entire review in sentence fragments. Because.I.Cannot.Deal.  I'm not even sure I fully understand the implications of what was revealed throughout this book and especially at the end... My mind is still reeling. For real.  I thought I was equipped for dealing with Sanderson and his mind-blowing revelations but I seriously can't even right now!!

Ok...

Ok.

I'm going to try to reign this in and come up with a somewhat coherent review. I promise: full sentences ahead! (mostly)

So. The Bands of Mourning is the latest installment in the Mistborn Series. That makes it book 3 in the new Western-Era sequel series featuring Wax and Wayne, and book 6 overall within the Mistborn Series as a whole. This new sequel series featuring Wax and Wayne started off innocently enough, but with every new book, it has become more deeply enmeshed in the mythos of the original trilogy. The connections to the first three books becomes deeper still here, effectively changing what we've held to be true these past YEARS.  Obviously I can't go into specifics here but the fact that Sanderson has so clearly shook exploded the foundation of everything he built thus far speaks a great deal about his skills as an author - especially at the point we're at in this series!

Plot-wise, things move at a very steady pace. Had real life not consistently insisted on butting in while I was reading this, I would have finished it much quicker. It felt much more thrilling than the previous installments in the Wax and Wayne series - probably because our ragtag group of heroes set off on an adventure outside of Elendel, and the Lord Ruler knows I'm a huge fan of journey-type adventures.  Wax, Wayne, Marasi and Steris are searching for the mythical Bands of Mourning, items apparently crafted and worn by the Lord Ruler hundreds of years ago... and then hidden away. Items that could grant the wearer phenomenal cosmic power!

Like that^^

As I mentioned, all of our favorite characters return here and having them all work together this time around was a real treat. The inclusion of Steris - whose character has grown in leaps and bounds throughout this series - was absolutely a highlight for me.  As boring as she seemed in the first offering, she has quickly become a standout character amongst the group and I love her for sneaking up on me like that! Marasi has shown her fair share of evolution here as well and as always, I applaud Sanderson for writing strong, capable women. *slow clap* Wayne offers comic relief yes, but he likewise gained depth here especially. The way he reads people, studies strangers for the purpose of imitating them later is still fascinating to me!  Not to be outdone, our main hero Wax has been through a hell of a lot, and it shows in The Bands of Mourning. He's angry, and a bit of a loose cannon but that makes him all the more enticing. All in all, these are a solid bunch of characters that I've grown to love almost as much as Vin, Kelsier, Elend and Sazed!

Yes the magical system has changed from it's beginnings in the first three Mistborn books, but with The Bands of Mourning, we get to see shades of the past - as well as allusions to the future that are both thrilling and worrisome.  And THAT ENDING?!! EPIC!  I'm sure it doesn't need saying at this point but I won't rest until The Lost Metal comes out - and with no release date set, the wait will be long and torturous indeed! >.<

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Harry Potter Moment #138

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a  meme hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts  and Me @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself!  How to join up &  upcoming topics here.

Hello my lovely Potterheads! How are you all on this fine Thursday? I am (finally) well rested after 4.5 days off following 3 crazy work weeks. Sigh. Anyway, we've got the mother of all topics lined up today so let's get to it:

Would you rather practice magic with Harry or Dumbledore?

Holy impossible choice Batman!  Reading through the books that first time, I kept dreaming of the day when Dumbledore would fully step into his role as teacher for Harry. Needless to say being taught by Albus Dumbledore is THE dream.  But you know my feelings about The Boy Who Lived and considering how successful he was a teaching an entire class during OotP, I have to say that being taught by him is at the very top of my fantasy bucket-list. If I can't be taught by both (please, please, PLEASE),then  I'd have to pick Harry Potter.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #41

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!


Ten Book/Series Every Fantasy-Lover Should Read
Surprising topic choice, right?^^ I may have even done a post like this before...oh well.



The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings - The father of all fantasy.  I can't imagine not having read these books now. I wish I'd read them back when I was in school  Tolkien's descriptive style can take some getting used to but it's worth it!

The Chronicles of Narnia - Despite being disappointed by the turn the last two books took, I have no regrets about reading this series. The magic here inhabits the world itself: the animals and the plants.  It's a unique take on fantasy that remains rare, despite its influence.

Alanna: The First Adventure - Here I'm recommending the first book more than the actual series because the first installment was by and large my favorite. The original girl-disguised-as-boy story and the unique magical items and adventures were a lot of fun.

His Dark Materials - When I started this trilogy, I was worried it'd take a turn like the Narnia books did, but I needn't have worried.  This story stands on it's own as a wonderful example of fantasy, parallel worlds and magical adventure.

Mistborn - My introduction into adult fantasy was through this series and it remains an all-time favorite of mine. The world-building!  The magical system! It's all phenomenal. Sanderson is a genius.



Harry Potter - Shocker. Everything that could possibly be said about this series and it's impact on the fantasy genre has already been said. Just read the freaking series already *throws boxed set at the unbelievers*

The Old Kingdom - A light Necromancer called Abhorsen battling against all of the dark Necromancers and leagues of Undead. Talk about original!  The characters, the writing style, the magical system, the setting: ♥

The Stormlight Archive - I may have discovered Sanderson through Mistborn, but The Stormlight Archive took my obsession to a whole other level. This is epic fantasy at its finest. Don't let the page-count intimidate you, the story makes the pages fly by!

Throne of Glass - This is a perfect example of the series that starts off as fantasy-light, but seamlessly grows into full on high-fantasy. The result is stunning! Every new installment has been a game-changer.

A Darker Shade of Magic - A traveller and occasional thief. A female pirate with a thirst for adventure. Alternate Londons, some magical, some not, some outright terrifying.  Oh and a magical cloak! Fantasy fans need this book in their lives.

Thoughts on any of these? What are your favorite Fantasy reads?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fandom Mashup #48

Fandom Mashups
Fandom Mashups is an original feature here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.  The idea is that every week, I propose a unique fictional scenario and then build my personal dream team of five fictional characters from five different fandoms to complete the task!  Anyone is welcome to join in on the fandom fun - all I ask is that you link back to me somewhere in your post :)

Hi hi! Happy Sunday!  Before you all get to chilling like villains (pun intended) we've got some things to take care of:

The world (barely) survived an Apocalyptic Event (which maybe you caused? Shhh!) and everything is in ruins. Oops! Your first job? Rebuild.  Who do you call on to help you?


Katniss Everdeen

Katniss has some experience rebuilding after a disaster and she's also a leader figure which the world would need right about now. (oops!)

Samwise

Samwise is another character experienced with going on after traumatic events. He's strong, kind and has a heart the size of Middle-Earth.

Lihn Cinder

Are you guys sensing a theme here too? Cinder not only plays a role in rebuilding Earth, but Luna too! Her know-how and cyborg skills would be an asset.

Batman

Batman fight to rebuild Gotham on a daily nightly basis. But honestly, we'd probably need his alter ego Bruce Wayne just as much here.

Hermione Granger

Hermione could delegate the entire operation, obviously. and she'd make sure the world is rebuilt right: fairly and equally for everybody.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: The House of Hades

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
The Heroes of Olympus #4
Published October 8th 2013 by Disney Hyperion

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.
*This review contains minor spoilers, but nothing past what can be found in the blurb^^*

The House of Hades is fourth and penultimate book in The Heroes of Olympus Series, which means that the stakes have risen even higher this time around. As we approach the finale, things go from bad to worse for our seven heroes. Considering the cruel cliffhanger the previous book ended with, I already knew I was in for some dark times but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the darkness.  Exploring Tartarus was a high point here and as a whole, The House of Hades was far less predictable than the previous book felt. This is officially my favorite installment in the series so far, which seems fitting though, since my favorite book in the Percy Jackson Series was also the fourth book: The Battle of the Labyrinth. Despite a few minor issues, this was a strong offering all around.

The House of Hades features the most POVs so far, each and every one of the seven demigods got their turn in the spotlight. Some were more frequent than other though, like Percy, Annabeth, and Leo (my favorites - YAY) but Frank and Hazel got their fair share as well. For some reason, at past the halfway point, Rick Riordan decided to throw in a few chapters from Jason and Piper's POV as well. As overwhelming as it sounds, Riordan certainly is a natural at keeping the story flowing despite an increasing number of perspective changes. Since I'd mentioned previously how I felt like Jason wasn't getting enough attention - especially considering how the rest of the crew see him as a leader - I was happy to get another glimpse into his head.  To be honest, while my favorite chapters were obviously the ones told by Percy and Annabeth (with Leo coming in a close second) I really didn't mind all the POVs. At this point, all the characters feel so familiar to me that getting to spend more time with them was welcome.  Every single character here has grown so much since this series started! Shout out to Frank this time around for stepping up something fierce in a key battle and becoming a leader in his own right.

So while most of our heroes (plus Nico!) were trying to make it to Greece to stop Gaea from rising, Percy and Annabeth were stuck in Tartarus. While I felt bad for the two of them, Riordan's portrayal of Tartarus was on point.  Meeting the dark beings that resided in that place was both thrilling and fascinating.  It wasn't all darkness though, thankfully.  Bob the Titan and small Bob the kitten were obvious favorites but so was Damasen the Giant, a welcome change from the usual giants in the series so far! For their part, the rest of the crew outside Tartarus kept things interesting as well: learning magic, being marooned and the like.  As usual, the different combinations of demigods during their adventurings is always fun. I have to say that one of my favorite moments was Nico and Jason's outing. I've always been partial to Nico but now I feel for him in a whole new way. Oh and I totally ship it - you know what I mean ;)

My one major complaint? I've been listening to this series on audio and out of the blue, for this installment, the narrator changed. NOT cool.  While Nick Chamian was an able narrator, providing a variety of voices for monsters and demigods alike, I can't say I liked him nearly as much as the previous narrator, Joshua Swanson.  It might be unfair but I got used to the original narrator's voices for the characters so it took some major getting used to on my part. I did eventually settle into Chamian's flow, but the way he voices the female characters bugged me. They all sounded like snotty tweens gossiping and being catty, especially Piper. Sigh.

At the end of the day, this was a solid addition to the series.  Sure there was a ton of POV's and some too-convenient escapes from baddies, but the bottom line was that the story was exciting and there was some real character grown for all of our heroes. Every installment of the series has had me laughing out loud, which is a pretty impressive feat, and The House of Hades was no exception. Despite the darkness, I had a lot of fun with this story. Another bonus: while this book is the longest one in the series, the chapters were significantly shorter this time, which seemed to help with the pacing issues I had with the previous installments.  I'm worried what the outcome will be with The Blood of Olympus but I'm jumping straight in nonetheless!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars