“The Staff of Serapis” by Rick Riordan

Staff of SerapisTHE STAFF OF SERAPIS (Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles Crossover #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Read Date: 14 April 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In this adventure, Annabeth encounters more oddities in the subway than usual, including a two-headed monster and a younger blond girl who reminds her a little of herself.

Review Summary: A more cohesive, more imaginative, and mythologically richer crossover than “The Son of Sobek”, but still too formulaic.

*SPOILER WARNING FOR PLOT DETAILS* Continue reading

“The Son of Sobek” by Rick Riordan

THE SON OF SOBEK
Author: Rick Riordan
Read Date: 26 June 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Carter Kane is investigating rumored sightings of a monster on Long Island when he runs into something else: a mysterious boy named Percy Jackson. And their meeting isn’t exactly friendly. . . .
 
 
 
 
 

“The Son of Sobek” is a dream come true for many Riordan fans as we see a crossover of two of his popular mythological worlds.

Before I even read this short story, I already imagined that Percy Jackson and Carter Kane will get involved in some kind of…well, a pissing contest, really. And hey, what do you know, they did! It was predictable, but of course, since Riordan wrote this, it was also hilarious.

I like that they each had a moment to shine while fighting the Long Island Monster, and that they each were in awe of the other’s powers even though they didn’t understand how everything works. They each had to put their trust in a stranger, and the dynamics of that relationship set in the middle of a battle was definitely interesting to see.

I’m not sure if I’m up for a longer crossover. This was a good experiment for Riordan, but the Greek and Egyptian worlds are so different that I’m not sure if we can have stories that are as seamless as the melding of the Greek and Roman worlds in “The Heroes of Olympus”.

Riordan certainly kept the door open for more crossovers, but for now, I would rather that he make up another new mythological world or focus on finishing “Olympus”.

But really, thanks for this one, Rick. It was fun!

Read this book:

  • If you are a fan of Rick Riordan
  • If you’ve read either the Percy Jackson books or The Kane Chronicles series.
  • If you fancy some Crocodile Dundee in your Greek or Egyptian mythology..

To Hell and Back Again: A Demigod’s Tale (or so we hope)

Rick Riordan has revealed the cover and synopsis for “The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4)” at BEA. The book will be published on 8 October 2013.

house-of-hades-us-coverAt 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.

The post at Hypable.com mentioned that Riordan said this is the book that Percy and Annabeth shippers (I refuse to call them by their ‘ship name even though I root for them being together) have been dying to see. I don’t know about you, but I prefer no dying.

The cover art and the synopsis definitely look and sound ominous, and I expected that. Or rather, I prefer that, but had second thoughts about Riordan going there. If he was willing to age people up for the romance, though, he should be willing to age them up in terms of the stakes and the sacrifices, so I’m not going to settle for anything less than Percy and Annabeth going through a more harrowing experience than they did in the other books. After all, Riordan IS putting them through Hell, right?

not-me

I dread the “book that Percy and Annabeth (still refusing to use ‘ship name) shippers have been waiting for” part, to be honest, because damn it, does this mean we are going to get hit by the Relationship Anvil more times than we deserve?

Okay then, I’m buying a heavy-duty magically-reinforced helmet.

Postscript to “The Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan

Title: The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Read Date: 8 October 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Status Updates: click!
Review Preview: Rick killed The Book on board the Argo II with a Relationship Anvil
——————————————————————————————————————————

I’ve already said my piece (at least most of it) about “The Mark of Athena” in my review, which was published on GMA News Online (click!). But before I finally close the book on this…well, book, here are two postscripts.

The Voices

Sis Lianne asked what I thought of the other voices in the book aside from Percy’s.

Actually, I like Percy least in “The Mark of Athena” because of his hyper-awareness when it comes to Annabeth. I think I’m experiencing a kind of “Percy culture shock” considering this is the first time we truly see them together as boyfriend/girlfriend.

“The Mark of Athena” is also the first time I can remember Percy ever entertaining some rather selfish thoughts.

Percy swallowed back his anger. He wasn’t sure if he was mad at Annabeth, or his dream, or the entire Greek/Roman world that had endured and shaped human history for five thousand years with one goal in mind: to make Percy Jackson’s life suck as much as possible.

So when did everything become all about Percy Jackson? But I do get that he is entitled to a bit more angst–1/7 of the fate of the world rests on his shoulders, after all. But that line is rather glaring.

LEO: I liked Leo because his voice is a break from all the angst and the overly-romantic pining. I also love his humor, which is reminiscent of Grover from the first series. It’s difficult to not like Leo, really. More Leo next time, please, Rick.

ANNABETH: Annabeth’s voice didn’t irritate me as much as I initially thought it would. I like that, as in the first series, she’s still very focused on her personal quest. I just didn’t like all the conscious romantic stuff.

PIPER: Oh, Piper. I liked her in “The Lost Hero.” And while I still have a soft spot for her, I didn’t like her PoV much here. She has romantic pre-occupations and insecurities more than the three other voices, and I’m not sure why Riordan chose her rather than Jason or Hazel as a PoV character. It seems there’s a conscious effort to build up Piper, what with her saving Jason several times and all. But the way she’s written…yeah, I just want to hit her on the head with that Relationship Anvil.

Speaking of Jason, the way he’s written here is the opposite of Piper–there seems to be a conscious effort to play his character down a little now that Percy is back–and that’s a pity because I liked him in “The Lost Hero,” too. Despite people saying he’s a Percy substitute and a poor one, I had hopes that he would turn out to be a more distinct and likable character. But I think both Jason and Piper are victims of the books’ “hero troika going on a quest” formula in the first place. This formula is tried, tested, and so loved that you can’t fit new characters into that formula and reasonably expect them to not be compared or to live up to Team Percy. I accepted this for “The Lost Hero” and “The Son of Neptune,” but I expected something more creative in the way these other characters are handled in “The Mark of Athena.”

Aphrodite will not be happy with me

The romance, the romance, the romance. I just can’t get over it.

People who regularly read my reviews would attest that I’m all for romance. I am happy for all the characters who have found partners; I just didn’t like that people were being identified or even defined by their relationships, especially in a story like this.

The romance does add to the character development, but I think the themes of coming to terms with who you are and where you’ve come from, of friendship, of courage, of pride and its pitfalls, of learning from history–these are more important to highlight. Riordan managed to strike a balance in this aspect so well in “The Kane Chronicles”, so I expected the same subtle hand here.

I do get why the characters act the way they do. Percy and Annabeth were separated so painfully in the first two books of the series, so the separation anxiety we see here is logical. But I don’t need to see it manifested every time they have to go on separate missions. Piper is understandably insecure because her relationship with Jason is built on a very rocky foundation that is threatened by the ghost of Jason’s past. But it does not do wonders for a character who has to spend an entire quest side by side with the likes of Annabeth and even Hazel.

As I said in my review, there seems to be an effort to age the story up a little because the people who grew up reading the first series are in their teens now, and that’s okay. But other than the romantic pre-occupations, I don’t sense as much maturity when it comes to other aspects of the characters (not that the romance is mature); they seem to act in much the same way they did back during the first book series. I suspect the Quest Formula doesn’t give a character much room to grow, but I’m willing to suspend my final judgment on this until the end of “The Heroes of Olympus”.

Someone who read my review tweeted to me that she feels the same way I do, and she suspects that maybe she’s already starting to outgrow the series. That made me think because I’ve never experienced that before, not even with other children’s books or juvenile fiction. To be honest, sometimes my tastes can be quite juvenile. But I do admit that I didn’t find this book and the characters as funny (except for the Leo stuff and Coach Gleeson singing his own version of the Pokemon song,) or the integration of mythological characters and elements as impressive (Hercules? Meh.)

Do I feel like I’ve outgrown the series? I’m not sure, but I hope not. I do still care for the characters and still look forward to what Riordan is going to put them through. Until I know for sure, I’m going to chalk up all my complaints about this book to the Relationship Anvil that bludgeoned all the other thrills for me.

Yes, Watson. Rick killed This Book on board the Argo II with a Relationship Anvil.

——-
Previously on “The Heroes of Olympus:
#2: “The Son of Neptune”

Miscellany: Prophecies and Fortune Cookies

If I were to wake up one morning to find out that I have acquired a superpower worthy of Heroes, I’d accept almost anything except for the power of prophecy. It seems like such a useful power if you think about it, but it’s also a burden knowing what the future holds because a normal human cannot just sit there knowing what’s about to happen and not do anything about it.

But it’s fun seeing prophecy in action in fiction, though. And if it’s Laini Taylor who’s writing about it, then I’m on board!

Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Michael Grant, Meg Cabot, Laini Taylor, and nine more of the hottest YA authors to hit the shelves explore the concepts of prophecy and prediction in this story collection edited by NYT bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan.

Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate? It’s human nature to wonder about life’s twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?

From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life’s unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction’s brightest stars.

Laini Taylor shared her thoughts about the anthology on her blog, and she also shared the first line of her story, “Gentlemen Send Phantoms.”

Once, when the moon was younger than it is tonight and not as plump, three girls gathered by a hearth to bake a dreamcake.

Damn. I think I have to read this book.

★ ★ ★

Lauren Kate released a short story set in the Fallenverse called “Daniel’s Gift.” It ties nicely into the Daniel and Luce Valentine story in Fallen In Love.

 
It kinda hurts reading about Daniel when he’s like this. 😦

★ ★ ★

During the Authors as Readers panel in the 2nd Filipino Readers’ Conference, New Lit author Mina V. Esguerra spoke about the 3 kinds of characters from which most—if not all—love interests are molded from: The Unattainable Crush, The Best Friend, and The Jerk. She blogged about it in more detail here: click! If you like reading romance stories, do check out her post; it’s a revelation. 😉

★ ★ ★

Rick Riordan revealed one of the new characters that we will get to meet in The Heroes of Olympus #3: The Mark of Athena:

This is Nemesis, goddess of Revenge. *cue Temptation of Wife theme music* *yes, here come the Korean drama references*

When I first saw her, I was reminded of War a.k.a. Scarlett, one of the Horsepersons of the Apocalypse in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. I don’t know why; maybe it’s the motorcycle. Because the Horsepersons don’t actually ride horses. Because horses are like so last century…so Book of Revelations. (But wait, the Book talks about the future, so horses are so…next century? Ummmm… Processing… Okay, never mind.) Or maybe they’re hippies or something.

Anyway. Nemesis is apparently a shape-shifter and Leo will have an encounter with her in which he does some bargaining. I have a feeling “bargaining” may actually mean “aggressive negotiations,” you know, like in Star Wars Episode II. Or maybe it involves fortune cookies because she’s holding one. Like “you can bargain with me, but first, have a cookie!”

*cracks open a fortune cookie*

*reads out the ambiguous Chinese philosophical sayings*

*interprets the fortune just as ambiguously and makes it twistier than Red Vines*

*announces that it actually means “Sorry, Leo, you lose! I get to beat you up!”*

*drags Leo into a dark alley*

*demigod vs goddess Boss Battle!!!!*

Oops.

Sorry, I got carried away. I don’t even know why I’m blogging right now when my mind is a mess from trying to hold in my fangirl squeeing (I am working in a public place right now) after watching some videos. If I did not make any sense at all, you can blame HIM.

 

Cover Reveal: “The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3)” by Rick Riordan

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close— the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .

Publication Date: 2 October 2012

“Narrated by four different demigods.” Oh, dear. My worst schizophrenic narrator fears just came true.

Cover Reveal: “The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles #3)”

 
Yesterday, Rick Riordan unveiled the title and cover art for the final book in The Kane Chronicles!

He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld.

Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

Publication Date: 1 May 2012

 
Ooh, an obelisk! Is that where the Kanes’ mom met her demise, or is that in Egypt? Hrmmm…

Riordan also gave more details about The Demigod Files (Publication Date: 14 August 2012). The story that I’m most excited to read is the one about the early adventures of Luke, Annabeth, and Thalia, which is told from Luke’s POV. I kinda miss him. 😀


Additional Information: On Rick Riordan’s blog [click!]

“The Son of Neptune” by Rick Riordan

 
The Son of Neptune
Title: The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Read Date: 10 October 2011
Goodreads Status Updates: Click here.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (I really liked it.)
Review in a nutshell: This one’s a procedural, as Riordan novels go, but Percy’s reappearance and the introduction of a new Camp gives it a boost.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring and bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem – when the Voice took over he mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for and evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wished she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery – although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially infront of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely – enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes od Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

 
 
When a book opens with the hero being chased by Gorgons–one of whom, carries a tray of poisoned Crispy Cheese ‘N Wieners as a murder weapon–you know you’re going to have a lot of fun.

The Son of Neptune is a procedural as Riordan novels go, but yes, it does pack a lot of alter-mythology fun.  We get the time-tested Three-Heroes-Go-On-A-Quest formula, but this time with amnesiac!Percy Jackson, and a new boy (Frank) and a new girl (Hazel) from The Other Camp for Demigods (a.k.a. Camp Jupiter).

Riordan does what he does best, giving us a world where modern mortals exist side-by-side with creatures and elements from Greek and Roman mythology.  I love how he is so attuned to pop culture and what kids are into, and how he manages to incorporate mythology into those.

[Spoiler Warning for those who haven’t read the book] Honorable mentions for imaginative incorporations of mythology are:  the Amazons running Amazon.com; Iris’ health and wellness shop, R.O.F.L. (and I was so surprised Riordan even knew ROFLcopter!); and Thanatos’ iPad App for Reaping Souls.  I really like Thanatos, he’s…intriguing. I suspect he’s gonna have tea with Steve Jobs soon to discuss how to improve that app. 😛 [End Spoiler]

Riordan also dishes out his trademark action-packed side-quests and obstacles.  But while they’re exciting, the Quest formula reduces the overall suspense of the book dramatically because, obviously, everyone’s going to make it out alive anyway.  There’s a bigger Prophecy to fulfill, after all.

The first Percy Jackson and the Olympians series also suffered from the same problem, but Riordan does manage to drop surprises along the way as he develops his characters and their relationships.  So while I may not worry much about whether they will live or die, at least I can worry about how they will escape their predicament and how it will affect them as characters.  If the Olympians series is any indication, then the first 3 books of The Heroes of Olympus will be like the uphill climb on a roller coaster before the big drop.

Percy’s reappearance grounds this book as Jason Grace wasn’t able to do as effectively in The Lost Hero–readers already have a history with Percy, and are therefore more invested in his Quest.  It’s easy to root for him despite his new allegiances and alliances.

This isn’t to say that I prefer Percy over Jason at this point.  I know many people think Jason is but a shadow of Percy, but I don’t believe he was intended as a substitute–it’s just that he was placed in the position Percy has long occupied in the Riordan Hero Troika Template in the first book because he is the most important character then.  I’d like to think Riordan has a more interesting plan for Jason than that.

This isn’t to say that Percy’s characterization in this book is perfect either.  While he does ground the story because he’s a familiar character, I felt disconnected from him–like he was there, but what he thinks and does do not resonate much.

This problem may be a result of the multiple point-of-view format.  The first series was written purely from Percy’s general perspective, but The Heroes of Olympus has chapters that focus on specific characters.  It’s good for moving the plot forward and for providing back story, but I miss the more solid connection with the main character that the one-POV format provided.  And since we already know so much about Percy, there wasn’t as much development on his part compared to Frank and Hazel, and even Jason, Piper, and Leo from The Lost Hero.

Also, when did Percy ever learn to talk Valley Girl?  I don’t recall him using “like” and “dude” that much before.  Is this what happens when Juno/Hera decides to give you Temporary Amnesia? 😛

Speaking of the new characters, I’m not very happy with Riordan pairing everybody up, to be honest.  I liked it back when it happened with Annabeth and Percy, and it seemed like a necessary plot device with Jason and Piper.  I’m a hopeless romantic, but does everyone have to pair up?! Even Tyson?!

I’m not happy with the love triangles that are sure to pop up in Book 3 either.  If this is an attempt to get older readers into the series, then it’s a cheap shot.

In addition, while it was sweet, it was weird to read Percy contemplating his Future with Annabeth. I find it weird mostly because he’s only 16.  I concede that it may be believable considering the context; however, I still think it wasn’t something that Riordan really needed to touch on right now. Percy had enough of a motivation to ally himself with Camp Jupiter without those thoughts of a future in New Rome.

 

Credit: RickRiordan.com

 
One of the big pay-offs of the cliffhangers from the first book is finally seeing the Roman camp.  Camp Jupiter is wonderfully imagined by Riordan, and presents enough of a contrast with Camp Half-Blood that I seriously thought about which Camp I would prefer to be in, given the chance.  (For the record, I think I’ll remain a Daughter of Athena and stay in Camp Half-Blood.  Unless Riordan thinks up cooler stuff in the coming books.)

Praetor Reyna and Octavian from Camp Jupiter are interesting additions to the roster of characters.  Octavian seems like he could be the Luke Castellan parallel of the Roman side, though I can’t be sure he’ll follow a similar path–the Oracular Teddy Bear Stuffings aren’t very clear on that.  😛  And while Reyna may be caught up in one of my Love Triangles of Doom, she may actually be the character that romance won’t be wasted on here.

Frank and Hazel have more compelling back stories than Leo or Piper.  They also seem a lot more powerful than Leo and Piper.  If it ever comes down to a team rivalry, the cards will be stacked in Percy’s favor.

While he’s very likeable as a character, Frank’s little family secret–his secret power–seems too convenient, especially since he learns to use it only during a crucial point towards the end.  And Frank had so many other interesting things happening to him for the rest of the book, I felt like he overshadowed Percy sometimes.  Maybe the book should have been called The Son of Mars.  😛

Riordan sets the next book up well with the arrival of Jason’s team at Camp Jupiter aboard the Argo II.  It’s time for the Great Camp/United Nations Mixer! 😛

I fear for my sanity in case Riordan decides to give the Seven Heroes of the Prophecy a POV chapter each. o_O


A special thank you goes out to Sis Lianne, for lending me her copy of this book.  I suspect her generosity was tinged with the desire to have more people to discuss the book with, and thus, the desire to make me cheat on the book I’m supposed to be “dating exclusively” providing the impetus for this little “flirtation”, as Sheila calls it.  I have evil friends. 😛

Previously, on The Heroes of Olympus series:

 

So many memes, so little time

Because I wasn’t able to blog since Friday, I’m going to catch up with some memes today!
 
 
 

 What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?  (Hosted by Should Be Reading)

 
 
I’m currently reading:
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I’m almost 200 pages into the book, and I’m comfortable with GRRM’s writing style so far.  However, I can’t be sure if this is because I recognize most of the scenes and the dialogue from the HBO series.  I remember that this helped a lot when I read J.R.R. Tolkien after seeing the movies. (What’s with the double Rs?  Hrmmm.  Note to self: Think of a pseudonym with double Rs when you publish a story someday. :P)  I think the true test of my capability to read GRRM will come when I read A Clash of Kings before Season 2 comes out.  If I find the text readable even when I’m faced with unfamiliar situations and characters, then that means GRRM (or at least A Song of Ice and Fire) is for me.  I’m still trying to decide, though, if I’m going to do that or if I’m going to hold out until Season 2 is out.  I was able to hold out on the Sookie Stackhouse books for 3 seasons of True Blood, so…

What I like about reading A Game of Thrones right now is the invaluable insight into the characters’ emotions and motivations.  While the showrunners did exceptional work in adapting the book and capturing some of those inner character moments, there is still so much that someone like me who is new to the series can take from the book.  I like the Daenerys and Jon POVs, which comes as no surprise considering I liked them on the show.  It’s a bit unsettling trying to reconcile the ages of the book characters with the actors, but they fit the personalities of the characters well enough that it’s easy to forget about age.
 
 

The Hero of AgesI just finished reading:
The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Oh man, I can’t remember crying so much over a fantasy book!

It took a while to finish this as it was DENSE (700+ pages).  Dense but not too dragging, although Sanderson tends to ramble.  However, that’s expected of a Sanderson novel, and I’ve gotten used to it.  His ramblings, while sometimes long and unnecessary for character development or plot, tend to be mentally stimulating, so I find myself actually reading them and paying attention to them rather than skimming over the pages until the next plot-related action comes along.  The monologues do enrich the mythology and philosophy of the book, and I find it easier to find logic in what’s happening in the story after reading them.

This book took an emotional toll on me because of the focus on the war against Ruin and the life-changing journeys that the characters had to go through to survive it.  So much has changed since Mistborn: The Final Empire, and Sanderson did an amazing job making the evolution of the characters and the world very believable.  And because even the mythology evolved, the series has become not just a plain epic fantasy story, but Sanderson’s personal commentary on the genre.  Sanderson is not as easy to read compared to other fantasy giants out there like, say, Margaret Weis, but there are a lot of rewards for those who will persevere.  He understands fantasy very well and I believe this is what Robert Jordan’s wife saw in him and why she selected him to finish The Wheel of Time.

I found myself re-reading Book 1 (The Final Empire) several minutes after I got a hold on my emotions after finishing this book.  Life was as simple as it could be back then for the characters, and I wanted to relive those days and to try to look for any clues that Sanderson might have left then about the conclusion of the series.  I loved the scenes where Vin pretended she was Lady Valette and had to attend all those society balls and events.  She was terrified, and yet she loved the gorgeous dresses and the dancing and the frivolity in spite of her fears and prejudices, and I do too.
 
 

What’s next:
In Too Deep (The 39 Clues #6) by Jude Watson

I’m going to take a break from the epic fantasies to try to finish The 39 Clues series.

I managed to get Books 6-9 as a bundle during the Scholastic Warehouse Sale, so I might as well finish all four.  I need to catch up before everyone starts discussing the second series.  I’ve already had to endure a lot of spoilers for the first series because I came into it too late, so I’m not anxious for a repeat of that, especially considering that one of the draws of The 39 Clues is trying to figure out whodunnit and howtheydunnit.  It’s not as fun if you already know the “who” before getting to read about the “how”.

Oh, and Jude Watson! I’m very biased in favor of her last The 39 Clues contribution before this one, so this should be a lot of fun.
 
 
 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 
 
My pick for the week is:

The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2)
By: Rick Riordan
Publication Date: 4 October 2011

In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a quest:

“Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.”

Who are the other four mentioned in the prophecy? The answer may lie in another camp miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea…

Riordan left fans high and dry at the end of The Lost Hero, so this book ranks very high on my wishlist.  It’s going to be a treat to find out just how Riordan treats this section of his new series considering there were so many loose ends from the first book that he has to seamlessly integrate into this one.

Riordan’s brand of YA fantasy depicts how mythology is present in our mundane world, and it’s something that he explores with such wit and humor, so I always have fun reading his books.
 
 
 

“Want Books?” is a weekly meme hosted at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now.

 
 
The Night Circus
By: Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

I first learned about this book when I read that David Heyman, producer of the Harry Potter films, bought the film rights and was planning to produce the adaptation. Then when I interviewed Samantha Sotto, she also mentioned this. The story sounds intriguing, and it would certainly make for a great movie.

The Fairytale Nerd told me that this book is available already, but only in hardcover. My wallet is still in dire straits, so I’m going to have to wait a bit longer to get my hands on this.