“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..

Postscript to my Recommended Reads from 2012

My 12 Recommended Reads from 2012 story was just published on GMA News Online – Lifestyle: click!

Sidenote: I wasn’t able to include purchase information for the books on the list, so here they are:

  1. The Fault In Our Stars – I saw signed first edition hardcover copies in various Fully Booked branches, so if you’re going to purchase this book, try to find those. This is also part of the John Green Box Set, which is available in all the major book stores.
  2. The Casual Vacancy, Gone Girl, Cinder, Trese 5, The Raven Boys, Bring Up The Bodies, Kwentillion, This Is How You Lose Her, and The Song of Achilles – are all available in local book stores.
  3. Interim Goddess of Love – Because this is published independently by Mina, you can check out her website for purchase options. That Kind of Guy, meanwhile, is available in local book stores.
  4. You can purchase Lauriat on Amazon.com.
  5. Lower Myths – is an e-book available through Flipreads.com. A Bottle of Storm Clouds is available in local book stores and online via Lazada.com.

I had to choose the 12 books for that list carefully so that I can cover a wider variety of books. I don’t think I really succeeded because I know there are a lot of non-fiction, literary fiction, children’s/middle-grade books, and other excellent local literature that I never mentioned. But then again, I only feel comfortable mentioning books that I’ve read or that people/sites that I trust actually recommended.

There are also other good books from my 2012 reading list that did not make it there for several reasons: 1) They weren’t published in 2012 (although I did cheat with “The Song of Achilles,” but that’s too good to not recommend); 2) They are part of a series (I cheated with “Bring Up The Bodies” as well, but that can stand alone as opposed to other sequels I read); 3) There are just other books that are more worth recommending.

Since I don’t need to follow the rules I set above here on the blog, just for the record, here are my other favorites from my actual 2012 reading list:

  • Moondogs by Alexander Yates (4 stars) – I never got around to reviewing this after our book club discussion. This book is set in the Philippines, and everything–the people, the places, the culture, the history–feels authentic despite being written by an American. Sure, Yates lived here for some time, but it still isn’t easy to get that authentic feel, even for some Filipino authors. I also loved Yates’ characters, most of whom, are larger than life. The fantasy elements were fun to see in action, especially when it involves Reynato Ocampo’s X-men like gang, although not so much when we’re dealing with other characters. Over-all, it’s a fun read. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (4 stars) – The idea of an origami finger puppet of the awesomest Jedi Master ever spewing vague wisdom is already great on paper, but it’s so much better on folded paper. (Okay, even I have to wince at that, but let’s run with it.)
  • Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor (5 stars) – Beautiful and enchanting.
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (5 stars) – A sci-fi classic, and now that I’ve finally read it, I get why. Despite being written decades ago, its core themes and ideals remain relevant, especially since our modern world is still not free of certain oppressive entities who would ban or burn books in a heartbeat. Until now, I still don’t know what is that one book I would want to be assigned to memorize if I ever joined a secret society of “mental librarians.”
  • The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan (4.5 stars) – is a great finale to Riordan’s “The Kane Chronicles.” The way he Riordan-ized the Egyptian deities here continued to be almost pitch-perfect, and he ties up all the plot lines and character arcs nicely. I didn’t like how he handled the thing with Anubis, though, so I will knock 0.5 stars from my rating.
  • Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima (4 stars) – This is my “surprise” book this year. It isnโ€™t my usual fare, and yet I found myself finishing the entire series despite being required to read only the first book for our book club. Until now, I canโ€™t quite pinpoint what it was that made me want to finish the series, sometimes even at the expense of other books that I told myself I absolutely had to finish then. Most of the Cycle is bleak, even depressing, and there are big chunks of text on religion, philosophy, and history that do not affect the plot but are mostly there only to reinforce certain themes or ideologies. My pet character didnโ€™t even make it past the first book! So yes, indeed, this was a big surprise to me. The even bigger surprise is Iโ€™d probably read another Mishima book if I can get a copy of one.
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (5 stars) – The War is on in this sequel to the beautiful Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Taylor does away with her more poetic prose for this one but her writing is no less vivid. She has successfully moved her characters into strategic places on her plot chessboard while giving them more depth than they had in the first book and also developing more of her mythology. And our villain is more solid this time. There are some nice additions to the List of Characters That I Hope Will Not Die But Probably Will, and I still love Akiva, who will remain on my list of Literary Boyfriends. I am very excited for what’s to come in this series.
  • The God Equation and Other Stories by Michael A.R. Co (4 stars) – I love good geeky Filipino speculative fiction and my favorites here are “The God Equation” and “In The Eyes of Many”. Co’s writing is particularly strong in the titular offering, as he manages to not alienate non-math loving readers even as he spews out a lot of technobabble. The majority of the stories often feel rather open-ended despite the plot threads coming to a satisfying close; I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just the writing style. Or maybe it’s just me. Nevertheless, the story ideas are great and they make me want to check out more of Co’s work. [Availability: Books on Demand | Kindle Edition]
  • The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (4.5 stars) – I’m in the middle of writing a full review of this. I’ll update this post when it’s live. ๐Ÿ™‚ UPDATE: click!

p.s. I’m still 3 books behind on my 2012 Reading Challenge of 53 books, so it looks like I have to cram in the next few days. Wish me luck. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Scoring the Book: “The Serpent’s Shadow”

For some weird reason, I cannot force myself to write my review of The Serpent’s Shadow. That isn’t to say I didn’t like it, because I enjoyed it so damned much that I crashed Kindle for PC several times when I got bookmark-crazy.

So instead, here’s a Scoring the Book post, and I chose Live to Rise by Soundgarden, from the OST of The Avengers. Our heroes are like the Avengers of Ancient Egypt, aren’t they? People with different skills and powers who were brought together to save the world.


 
I particularly like the chorus of the song, which reminded me of Ra, the old bat. ๐Ÿ˜›

Like the sun we will live to rise
Like the sun we will live and die
and then ignite again.

Search Term Indulgence: “The Serpent’s Shadow” Philippine Release

WordPress has this cool feature included in their blog stats tracking where they list the search engine terms that lead users to your blog. It is often a source of entertainment for me. Weird, I know, but I get a kick out of finding out the things people look for on the internet and how and why they eventually got here. You know, because I totally do not write about weird stuff like where a certain celebrity’s tattoo is located and what the design is. Right? Right??? ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’m going to indulge some of those search terms when I can. Why? Just because. ๐Ÿ˜›

Today I chose to “answer” one of the more ummmm… tame search terms (the others are far more interesting, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to answer those)–“the serpent’s shadow philippine release,”–which I assume means there were several people who wanted to find out when Rick Riordan’s latest book will be released here in the country.

The answer is: It’s out now! The major bookstores have it priced at Php695 for the hardcover, and Php375 for the trade paperback. I suggest you call your favorite store’s branches to check for availability, but most of them should have copies in stock now. Don’t forget to use those discount cards! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜€


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

I’ve “Fallen in Love” with the cover of Lauren Kate’s “Rapture”

 
It’s no secret that I’m quite invested in Lauren Kate‘s Fallen series, especially after being given the chance to interview her (twice), and to get a glimpse into the kind of work she puts into each of her novels.

One of the things that I love about the books is the striking book design and cover art. Brazilian artist Fernanda Brussi Gonรงalves photographed and edited all of the cover images, and, if I’m not mistaken, she’s also the model in the photos.

Yesterday, Lauren revealed the cover art for Rapture, the conclusion of the Fallen series, which will be released on 12 June 2012.

I’ve always thought that we would finally see Luce’s face on the cover of the last book after that bit of a tease in Passion, but I like how this turned out. It feels right that Luce is wearing white (Rhyme on!) It also makes for a dramatic contrast with the darkness of Fallen, the sadness and isolation of Torment, and the colors of Passion. Together, the covers tell the story of Luce’s journey from darkness to enlightenment.

      

But before that, Lauren will also release Fallen in Love on 24 January 2012.

Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine’s Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding-and losing love. Arianne pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first -and last- time, Daniel and Luce will spend a night together like none other.

Lauren posted a chapter sampler from the Shelby/Miles story on her website: click! It’s super cute, especially if you like the idea of pairing up Shelby and Miles. (I do!)

In other book-related news:

– Rick Riordan announced that he will release the Kane Chronicles Survival Guide on 20 March 2012. “Fans of The Kane Chronicles series will adore this gorgeous primer on the people, places, gods, and creatures found in Rick Riordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series. Boasting lenticulars, an easy-to-assemble trading card pyramid, and full-color diagrams and maps, this deluxe, lavishly illustrated guide teaches readers how to compile secret messages, read hieroglyphics, and recite ancient magic spells. Featuring enough information and extras to satisfy avid followers and budding Egyptologists alike, this guide will cast a spell on readers of all ages.” Looks like it’s the same concept as the Percy Jackson Ultimate Guide. This comes before the publication of the still untitled Kane Chronicles #3 on May 2012.

– Publisher’s Weekly recently posted their Best Books of 2011 list, and two of my favorites, The Scorpio Races and Daughter of Smoke and Bone are on it.

– Scholastic is going to release a bunch of movie tie-ins and companion books for The Hunger Games to mark the release of the film. May your fandom budget be ever in your favor!