Showing posts with label greek mythology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label greek mythology. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Review] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) - Sylvain Neuvel: Giant Robots and Outer Space




In SLEEPING GIANTS, a little girl finds an enormous robot hand made of metal in the woods and the military immediately grows interested in it.

What intrigued me: The tagline they used in promotion got me. World War Z meets THE MARTIAN? Um yeah, get on my shelf ASAP.

Perfect transitional read for people who don't like Sci-Fi

SLEEPING GIANTS is told through interview snippets and diary entries from multiple characters. All in some way connect to a mysterious man who is secretly in control of the operation to get the robot to work.  Most of it is actually dialogue, which I loved. 

It makes this way easier to read and hides the fact that this is a pretty heavy Sci-fi thriller with political elements. Especially for people like me who shy away from epic Sci-fi or political thrillers, this could serve as a nice transitional read to get more into the genre.

I definitely struggled a little with the tone of the novel. Most of the plot is told from the perspective of military officials and scientists who use highbrow language and complex scientific processes to explain things. Even though Neuvel tries to simplify all concepts and processes, I found myself zoning out whenever someone started talking about chemical elements. This is very minor though, because the story about the ancient robot hand will eventually suck you in and force you to keep on reading until your eyes burn. It happened to me. At some point the story just starts to become so gripping and you get so invested that it's almost impossible to put it down. 

Enchanting and thrilling

I was surprised to grow attached to the characters and their fate. Neuvel manages to paint multi-faceted character relationships by telling the majority of the interactions in retrospective. If two characters who aren't the mysterious interviewer and another character interact, it's always told after it happened and through the eyes of one of the people who were there. 

You'd think that format would get tiring after a while but it really doesn't. I'm so glad Neuvel wrote this almost exclusively in dialogue, because I'm sure I would've zoned out or even quit the novel altogether if that story was told in a classic way. Like this it's easy, it's handy, it fits the plot. I enjoyed this a lot and found myself unable to predict any of the twists, which is really rare. SLEEPING GIANTS is a very unique, almost experimental read that will surprise and enchant you.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Following the events in SLEEPING GIANTS almost became an addiction. It's really impossible to put down and a fantastic thriller that you should read if you like conspiracies and aliens. It put me in the worst reading slump ever because it's so genius!



Additional Info

Published: August 8th 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Sci- Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453316904

Synopsis:
"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read SLEEPING GIANTS?

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

[Review] Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge: Insta-Love and A Shadow As A Love Interest


In CRUEL BEAUTY, Nyx is sacrificed as a bride to the evil demon prince Ignifex, and intends on killing him to end his reign of terror over their kingdom.

What intrigued me: Was in the mood for a swoony high fantasy romance thingy.

Very awkward writing and world building

The first thing that struck me and kind of lowered my enthusiasm for this is writing. It does read like Hodge is trying to write archaic and ancient-sounding, but isn't quite able to deliver. The result are awkward sentences that are unintentionally hilarious. Generally this does read like a corny historical fiction romance-type of story. It took a lot of getting used to the way she writes and it definitely does not compliment the premise.

The story itself is promising, the premise is interesting (despite being only a retelling), and Hodge does manage to put her own spin on the story. However, I'm not a fan of her approach. The whole idea of getting Nyx into the Ignifex's castle absolutely reads like a mere set up for a love triangle. I was absolutely disappointed to see the novel take this direction, because it has quite the interesting world, with hermiticism, an element of Greek mythology, being the main influence on it. As in, just a side element to fill up the story and give the illusion of actual world building.

I do love a good Greek myth-inspired story and was excited for this, but it just doesn't feel right. The entire "world building" feels like an easy excuse to write about the romance, and I'm not a fan of this.

Insta-love, a love triangle, and zero appeal

I knew what I was signing up for when I started CRUEL BEAUTY. What I didn't sign up for is having this story play into every cliche ever that you've seen in YA. Literally everything. From guys consisting just of eye colors and snark, to the inevitable love triangle, to instant love. 

I have seldom encountered such an unfortunate way of starting a love triangle - it takes two pages between Nyx meeting the second love interest and kissing him. Even more unusual is that the love triangle is between the demon Ignifex and his shadow. It sure reads a little awkwardly and weird, and the plot twist is extremely predictable. I was rooting for Nyx to be a cold-blooded hate-driven killer, I knew she was going to fall in love with the beast, but not easy like that! It took about 3 pages for her plan to vanish into nothingness because of a pretty boy... eh... shadow...cursed human...thing...ish. 

Like this, CRUEL BEAUTY unfortunately lost all its appeal to me and paired with awkward writing and clumsy world building this is not my kind of story.


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

My expectations were too high (mainly because of the hype). CRUEL BEAUTY tries to create the illusion that it's different and new, when it's just your average romantic retelling.

There are better Beauty and Beast retellings out there, and there certainly is better high fantasy out there that doesn't feel as awkward as this. 



Additional Info

Published: January 28th 2014
Pages: 352
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA / Fantasy / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062224736

Synopsis:
"Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love."(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite fairytale retelling?

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

[Review] The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson #5) - Rick Riordan: Cluttered and Halfheartedly written

In the last book of the Percy Jackson series, Percy and the Gods of Olympus are preparing for the final battle against the Titan Kronos.

What intrigued me: There's no reason for me not to pick this one up! I loved the third and fourth novels. Unfortunately, it could only go downhill from there.

A Very Chaotic, Messy Storyline

THE LAST OLYMPIAN needs a lot of time to get the story started. What I loved about the previous books is that there was a straight storyline they were following and you knew exactly how close the heroes were to their goal at all times. This one doesn't have that. 

I feel like Riordan is just trying to give a storyline or cameo to all of his characters, so they can all have their moment of glory in the last book. It's cluttered, and it's full of unnecessary halfheartedly-written side quests that weren't really enjoyable to read. I didn't really understand why the characters were doing anything, they seem to be rushing from scene to scene, preparing for battle or trying to convince someone else to help them. 

With all those mini side quests comes also a frequent change of scenery that throws you off track and leaves you wondering what they were doing there in the first place. Riordan really lost himself in trying to make this battle epic and trying to cram as many characters and mythological concepts in this as possible. Because the heroes have dealt with Luke and Kronos in the previous book before, having these two as the final battle antagonists is repetitive and boring to read. 

Disappointing Character Development (or lack thereof)

Riordan's biggest strength in this series has always been Percy's voice to me. Percy is funny, a sweet and loveable guy, and just overall a wonderful protagonist. It's remarkable how spot-on Percy's voice is and has been for the entire series, however judging by this being the last book - he hardly went through any character development at all. While it was charming and relatable to have this oftentimes super oblivious main character before, after five books it really gets annoying to have Percy realize even the most obvious things last. He's not a leader and it hardly seems realistic to have anyone follow him into battle. Annabeth in a heartbeat, but not him.

In general I have never been a fan of the character development in Riordan's books, and never really thought any character aside from a handful of Gods and side characters (Apollo, Artemis, Zoe, Nico) was even remotely developed enough for me to actually care about them. 

In other reviews I've often read about how everyone loves the relationship between Annabeth and Percy- which I find is pretty much non-existent (Enlighten me please if you disagree). I was hoping to finally get behind the fascination that these two seem to have for everyone - but no, I'm still confused. This didn't make the novel better or worse for me either way, but is simply proving my point that even after five books I still feel like most characters remain blank slates for me.

Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A very disappointing conclusion to the series. I personally found it lacked structure and was very drawn out, and I wish I just hadn't read this and pretended the series ended after the fourth.



Additional Info

Published: May 5th 2009
Pages: 361
Publisher: Puffin
Genre: YA / Mythology / Greek 
ISBN: 9780141321288

Synopsis:
"All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos's army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan's power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time. "
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you seen the Percy Jackson movies or read the books?

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

[Review] Dreaming of Antigone - Robin Bridges: Greek Plays, Drugs, and Manic Pixie Dream Boys





In DREAMING OF ANTIGONE, Andria's twin sister Iris died of a heroin overdose. Andria has been suffering life-threatening seizures all her life and is counting down to getting declared seizure-free for six months by her doctor, so she can get her driver's license.

What intrigued me: The absolutely stunning cover.

A little over the top

DREAMING OF ANTIGONE is one of those typical coming-of-age novels that try to hook you with a side of romance and a deep topic of choice - in this case poetry. The whole novel has sprinkled in parts of poems that Andria and a mystery person in her school scribble on their desks. The premise isn't necessarily new, I've read books about similar scenarios before. The boy she's communicating with is of course her late twin sister's ex-boyfriend, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy Deluxe. And of course they fall in love.

I just didn't connect to the characters at all, which is probably also because they don't seem like real people. Bridges tried to spice the story up by splattering in bits of highly sensitive topics. From heroin addiction to child abuse to suicide - you'll find everything in this. And frankly, it's just too much. Things like this don't happen in high school and even if they did, you'd think that the parents would at least comment once on it. Or that the children would be more aware of it. Despite Andria's twin sister recently having died, there is virtually no grief in this. Frequent clumsily written, cryptic dreams, but not actual grief. I just didn't buy it.

Lack of plot

I think DREAMING OF ANTIGONE would have been better off if it had been written with a different audience in mind, maybe as a work of Literary Fiction. Like this, it just reads like Bridges tries too hard to hide the fact that there is nothing to the novel, there is absolutely no story, and the little we get is very, very predictable. I do like the chronically ill main character, but something just didn't sit right with me, Andria's narration reads very detached, very devoid of emotion. Again, she doesn't feel real, none of the characters do.

The little nods to the Greek Play were more exhausting than a nice addition. Bridges didn't manage to show Andria's fascination with Antigone, and all the similarities to her own life just feel forced. I caught myself skimming halfway through all passages summarizing Antigone, and I just didn't feel like it's necessary.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

DREAMING OF ANTIGONE just wasn't for me. If you like coming-of-age stories and don't mind the occasional poetry excerpt, maybe you'll feel differently.



Additional Info

Published: March 29th 2016
Pages: 304
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9781496703545

Synopsis:
"Every star has its own path… 

“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him."(Source: Goodreads)


Do you like stories inspired by Greek plays?

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

[Review] The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson #4) - Rick Riordan


In THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH Percy and his friends have to travel through King Minos' maze to find its inventor Dädalus before Luke.
Previously (The Titan's Curse): The Titan Atlas teamed up with Percy's arch enemy Luke, a son of Hermes. Atlas could ultimately be defeated by Artemis and Percy, but Luke is still in the process of trying to reawaken the remaining Titans to re-build the rivaling city to the Olymp - Othrys.


After absolutely loving THE TITAN'S CURSE I couldn't wait to finally read this one. I wasn't disappointed. About six months have passed since book three, Riordan starts the story similar to the third one, with an encounter with mythological beings. I was very sad that Riordan decided to kill off Zoe Nightshade, because I loved her as a character. With Rachel Elizabeth Kane, the mortal that can see through the veil and that Percy met briefly in THE TITAN'S CURSE, we have another interesting side character joining the crew. I love that Tyson plays a bigger role in this novel again, I missed him in the third. His approach to problems is always amusing and refreshingly different.

Annabeth functions as a leader in this novel and I'd rather have her swap roles with Percy. What's so interesting about the Percy Jackson series is that Percy is technically the main character, but is never the chosen supreme leader that has all the strategy down. Percy mostly mindlessly walks into situations and just wins out of sheer luck and/or stupidity. It's impossible to dislike him. I just love how Riordan uses Percy's lack of knowledge about Greek myths to explain them to the reader through other characters. While I think I do know quite a bit about Greek mythology, Riordan references really obscure myths that I'm pretty sure only a small portion of readers have encountered before. I was very grateful for the little glossary of mythological beings at the end of the book.

Unfortunate Pacing to Introduce More Mythological Beings

One of the things I have to criticize is that there are too many cameos of the Gods in this one. I hardly think that they would have the time to descend to Earth to help Percy and his friends every few chapters. You might argue that it's only because the Olymp is at war and Percy and his friends play a significant role in that, but - I just don't buy it.

Unlike in the third I felt like the plot was a little dragged out. The main storyline is the heros' quest to find Dädalus, but they are distracted by other mythological beings all the time. The way they found him towards the end feels like a cheap solution that they could've figured out way earlier if they'd just been persistent and kept asking the Gods. Or maybe used rational thinking. Therefore this novel doesn't read as easily and quickly as the third. I just wanted them to finally find Dädalus and take care of the bigger problem. The fight with Kronos has been going on since the first book and at this point they're just stalling. I'm still excited for the fifth and final book, but I don't think that the fourth was really an essential part of the whole. However, it's still a good read.

Rating:

★★★

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I was tempted to skim pages at some point, but I ended up reading everything patiently. The story just sucks you in and Riordan's writing is brilliant. I'm still not a huge fan of Annabeth, but Percy makes the waiting worthwhile. I can't wait for the fifth novel. I guess I recommend.



Additional Info


Original Title: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 1st April 2009
Pages: 362
Medium: Hardcover
Genre: YA / Mythology / Greek

Synopsis:
"Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to diabolical. 

In this latest installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos' army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. 
To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet."(Source: Goodreads)




What's your favorite Greek mythology read?

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

[Review] Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) - Jennifer Estep


In TOUCH OF FROST Mythos Academy student Gwen Frost is thrown out of her everyday routine when one of her fellow students is getting murdered. With her ability to find lost objects and learn about the owners of said
objects, she might be the only one that's able to find out who killed the student.


What intrigued me: I wanted to read this book in the first place because I was looking for another series to fill the void that the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead left in my heart. The premises are very similar, except that the school Gwen goes to isn't full of vampires, but full of descendants of mythological warriors.

Stereotyping Is the New Black?

It's written very, very opinionatedly. The main character Gwen doesn't waste a second to label everyone. Every student in her school gets a label that most often times isn't only really sexist, but also extremely narrow-minded and offensive. Gwen parts all students into groups like "the jocks", "the sluts" or "the mysterious guys" who just about do the same things as "the sluts", but yet somehow it makes them cool and mysterious instead of trashy, simply because they're guys.

Gwen herself doesn't really have a personality, she's just going around judging everyone. She's the typical nerdy heroine that doesn't have a lot of friends and is special because she isn't like everybody else. Multiple times she puts emphasis on the fact that she doesn't belong and what's even more baffling to me is that she doesn't, at no point in the story, take interest in the fact that she's surrounded by mythological beings.

For every other person this would be exciting and interesting, but Gwen just thinks that the stories about Greek and Norse gods are bedtime stories, despite the fact that she has magical powers herself. I found it so frustrating to listen to her and to watch her ignore all the magical and super interesting things that are happening around her. She's a very exhausting and oblivious character.

Black & White Thinking Everywhere

It's so frustrating that you have this brilliant setting and this unique world, but yet Estep ruins it all by not making an effort to build her characters properly. The big antagonist in this novel are Loki and all his worshipers. There is no explanation as to why they would want the world to end in chaos, but they just do. They aren't afraid to kill everyone who comes in their way, no matter whether they're students or grown wo/men. The equivalent and therefore the good ones are the soldiers-in-training from Mythos Academy.

I always have a problem dealing with novels that portray a clear line between good and evil. Obviously, there are shades of grey as well, but Estep makes no effort to try to make that clear to the reader. Just like Gwen labels everyone into either saint or sinner, her world is divided into black and white.

Rating:

★★☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I love the setting, I love the idea, but I absolutely hated the protagonist for the narrow-minded non-sense she says. I wouldn't recommend this to young impressionable readers exactly because it fuels stereotypical thinking and this is not what we need in a world that is already filled with hatred and the suppressed need to label people.

I tried to look over it all and just focus on the story, but it's hardly possible if you're bombarded with sexism in every other chapter. Estep had the chance to write a brilliant novel judging from the premise, but she ruined it through Gwen's attitude.



Synopsis:
"My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. 

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. 
Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died..."

What Do You Think About Sexism and Stereotyping in Literature?

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Monday, March 9, 2015

[Short Story Review] Starcrossed City (Starcrossed #0.5) - Josephine Angelini





In STARCROSSED CITY, a short story prequel to the Starcrossed Trilogy by Josephine Angelini, we find out how Ajax and Daphne, "Helen's parents", meet for the first time.

What intrigued me: Having just finished the second novel of the trilogy DREAMLESS, I stumbled upon this gem and had to read it. I wasn't particularly a fan of Daphne's character in the novels, but I guess she's just written to be a very unlikeable character.

Entertaining voice and characters

In STARCROSSED CITY, Daphne is a senior in high school. The story is told from her point of view and describes her first day in a new school. The unique thing about this story is the character voice. She talks in short sentences, describing things without trying to sound fancy and just going straight to the point. I can't tell whether I should write this off as laziness on the author's side or simply count this as adding to the character of her narrator. Daphne is just as unlikeable as in the the main series, constantly thinking about how she's superior to everyone, hating everything and just being overall very overdramatic. It's equally entertaining as it is exhausting to listen to her.

However I can't deny that I really enjoyed being led through the story through Daphne's eyes. I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something cold, calculating and vulnerable in the way she talks and describes things. You can clearly recognize her in her younger self when reading this. The story itself isn't very interesting. It's your average start of a YA novel, new kid in a new school.

Over the Top?

Daphne goes through the day having to constantly tell off people that want to surround themselves with her. The effects of "The Face" seem to hit her way harder than they ever hit Helen, her daughter in the series. The way people are frantically trying to be close to Daphne just seems over the top. She makes an enemy within five seconds for absolutely no reason and I just rolled my eyes at that. Why would anyone try to physically harm a girl that they've just met?

The worst isn't even how two girls she JUST met try to physically assault her for NO REASON, the worst is her reaction and only objection:

"“Don’t, Harlow,” I plead, tears blurring my eyes. They don’t understand. Without my hair, I’ll have no way to hide my face. I’ll be exposed and it’ll just get worse."

Yes, Daphne, your face is so magical and beautiful that everyone will go completely nuts if you cut your bangs. Yup. I just.. I can't. I'm really glad that Angelini didn't decide to use Daphne as her protagonist in the series.

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I hoped that this story would be just about Ajax and Daphne, but it's more of a cute "and this is how I met your mom" story that doesn't lead anywhere.


Rating:

☆☆

The Series:

Starcrossed City (#0.5)
Dreamless (#2)
Goddess (#3)
- See more at: http://thebookavid.blogspot.de/2015/03/review-gottlich-verloren-ot-dreamless.html#sthash.DGWlrLkG.dpuf
Continue Reading...

[Short Story Review] Starcrossed City (Starcrossed #0.5) - Josephine Angelini





In STARCROSSED CITY, a short story prequel to the Starcrossed Trilogy by Josephine Angelini, we find out how Ajax and Daphne, "Helen's parents", meet for the first time.

What intrigued me: Having just finished the second novel of the trilogy DREAMLESS, I stumbled upon this gem and had to read it. I wasn't particularly a fan of Daphne's character in the novels, but I guess she's just written to be a very unlikeable character.

Entertaining voice and characters

In STARCROSSED CITY, Daphne is a senior in high school. The story is told from her point of view and describes her first day in a new school. The unique thing about this story is the character voice. She talks in short sentences, describing things without trying to sound fancy and just going straight to the point. I can't tell whether I should write this off as laziness on the author's side or simply count this as adding to the character of her narrator. Daphne is just as unlikeable as in the the main series, constantly thinking about how she's superior to everyone, hating everything and just being overall very overdramatic. It's equally entertaining as it is exhausting to listen to her.

However I can't deny that I really enjoyed being led through the story through Daphne's eyes. I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something cold, calculating and vulnerable in the way she talks and describes things. You can clearly recognize her in her younger self when reading this. The story itself isn't very interesting. It's your average start of a YA novel, new kid in a new school.

Over the Top?

Daphne goes through the day having to constantly tell off people that want to surround themselves with her. The effects of "The Face" seem to hit her way harder than they ever hit Helen, her daughter in the series. The way people are frantically trying to be close to Daphne just seems over the top. She makes an enemy within five seconds for absolutely no reason and I just rolled my eyes at that. Why would anyone try to physically harm a girl that they've just met?

The worst isn't even how two girls she JUST met try to physically assault her for NO REASON, the worst is her reaction and only objection:

"“Don’t, Harlow,” I plead, tears blurring my eyes. They don’t understand. Without my hair, I’ll have no way to hide my face. I’ll be exposed and it’ll just get worse."

Yes, Daphne, your face is so magical and beautiful that everyone will go completely nuts if you cut your bangs. Yup. I just.. I can't. I'm really glad that Angelini didn't decide to use Daphne as her protagonist in the series.

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I hoped that this story would be just about Ajax and Daphne, but it's more of a cute "and this is how I met your mom" story that doesn't lead anywhere.


Rating:

☆☆

The Series:

Starcrossed City (#0.5)
Dreamless (#2)
Goddess (#3)
- See more at: http://thebookavid.blogspot.de/2015/03/review-gottlich-verloren-ot-dreamless.html#sthash.DGWlrLkG.dpuf
Continue Reading...

[Review] Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) - Josephine Angelini


In DREAMLESS, demi-god Helen has to use her ability to descend into the Underworld to kill the Furies in order to stop all different demi-god families from wanting to kill each other.
What intrigued me: I've read the first novel.

Logic, what is logic?

After it has been revealed to our protagonist Helen that her love interest/ex-boyfriend is actually her cousin, they are both trying (and desperately failing) to keep a distance. Even though it's pretty obvious that she can't be the daughter of someone that died 19 years ago if she's 17, everybody rolls with it. Now here comes the actual problem: For the Delos family the quarrel isn't even that their son is heading for an incestuous relationship, but the actual problem is that if those two decide to have children, these children would cause the House of Theben and the House of Atreus to go extinct, because... the heir can only be claimed by one house.

It's very difficult to keep track of the different mythological objects and rules that Angelini brings into this. We have:
  • "The Face", which basically means looking like the steeped-in-legend Helen of Troy
  • "The Cestus of Aphrodite", which makes the wearer invincible
  • The concept of "blood guilt", which I don't fully understand until this day 
  • The "Twig of Aenas" which can only be used by a son of Aenas to descend into the Underworld without being a descender 
... and a bunch of other things that you have to keep in mind if you want to make sense of the story.
Angelini doesn't even bother to explain everything again in detail (which you always should in the second book if you've got so much complicated mythology!), which leaves you there pretty confused.
I was glad to have a little dictionary with characters and gods and all their traits at the end of the novel, which I really actively had to use to understand who's who and who's able to do what.


It's NOT a Twilight fan fiction anymore!

I had a hard time getting into DREAMLESS, especially because of the mythology. It's not easy to keep track of everything and you really have to think and remember everything that happens if you don't want to end up confused and angry. There's a lot of mythology that's not even accurate- or, let's say, different from the original lore. This does not mean that it's bad- Angelini just took a different spin on some of the things, which I encourage! I loved how she made Ares, the mighty God of War, a complete nutcase for example. Or Cerberus, who's usually a Dobermann or a Pitbull, a giant wolf.

I got the notion that in this one, the Starcrossed Series really stopped being just a Twilight fan fiction and started to become a story on its own. In the first novel the whole scion and blood shed issue just seemed like a bad excuse to justify the hot boy falling for the average shy girl. In the second, the characters grow and the plot lines start making sense in the bigger picture.
Even though I understood why Angelini made the decision to alternate between point-of-views, I would have loved some consistency. The main narrator still remains Helen, but there are sometimes random throw-ins from the POV of other characters. It all seems necessary and I fully understand why it makes sense to do it like this- still, either alternate consistently and go with multiple narrators from the start or make it a one-time-thing.

Rating:

★★★☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I had a rocky start with DREAMLESS and after about seventy pages I even contemplated giving up because I didn't understand what's going on anymore. Maybe it's different if you've read the first one right before, but for me it was a struggle to push through. After about hundred pages it hit me and I was diving deep into the story and needing to know what happens next.


Additional Info:



Published: Mai 2012 
Pages: 512
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Mythology / Greek Mythology
ISBN: 978-3-7915-2626-3

Synopsis:
"Can true love be forgotten?
As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.
Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out. A ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.
As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos."

Did you read the series and what did you think of it? 

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Friday, January 16, 2015

[Review] The Goddess Test (#1) - Aimée Carter

In THE GODDESS TEST, the Perspehone/Hades myth gets retold for the bazillionth time- but this time with a lot more Stockholm Syndrome and less chemistry. 

What intrigued me: I love Greek mythology.

Wait, haven't I seen these people before?

I got very excited when I found out about this novel after being massively disappointed by the sequel to Meg Cabot's ABANDON. Same myth, new characters, another chance, I thought. I felt the entire time like I was reading a very bad fan fiction to a well known novel, which mostly results from the characters being essentially the same. First we have the protagonist Kate, who is forced to grow up very fast despite being a young teenager, because she's taking care of her single parent more than they are taking care of her. She's a loner, she moves to a new town and makes friends.

Enter the bitch friend Ava and the nice guy James who'll probably be part of a love triangle that'll be the base for book two. Then Henry, the mysterious, virgin, super-hot, super educated, millenia-old dream guy comes along, who hates himself and just wants to die. But oh no, he's falling for her and suddenly his life makes sense again. Come on, guys. He also has a bunch of adoptive sisters and brothers, among them are essentially all TWILIGHT characters.

No suspense!

The worst isn't even that the novel doesn't have original characters, it's that there is almost no suspense at all! The most interesting thing about a novel about Greek mythology and gods is finding out who's who, isn't it? So much room for intrigues! But no, Carter simply makes every single character who appears in the novel a god. Aside from Kate and her family. This isn't fun, this is just boring.

And then having the mysterious god no one has ever in 37293729 years caught doing it, trying to kill every lover Henry ever had, I just. No. The story only takes place at Eden Manor, the gate to the Underworld. There is no spin on the myths. We have the river Styx, Cerberus, The Pomegrenade Seeds, it's all in there. I mean, it's okay to base your novel on something, but this is nothing but a YA retelling in the most literal sense.


Rating: 

★☆☆☆☆ 


Overall: Do I Recommend?

There are so many great stories about Greek mythology and especially the Persephone Myth that you really, really don't have to torture yourself through this mess of a novel.



Synopsis:
"Every girl who had taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom - and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld - and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy - until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.

If she fails..."

Have you read THE GODDESS TEST?

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

[Review] Underworld (#2) - Meg Cabot: Greek Mythology and Abuse





In UNDERWORLD, Pierce Oliviera finds herself stuck in the Underworld. Again.

What intrigued me: Liked the first!

Abuse isn't cute

I'm going to start off by saying that the Pierce and John love story is probably the mother of all toxic relationships. There's nothing romantic about a dude that stalks you from your childhood on and one day out of the blue decides that because he's fallen for you, you have to stay with him forever, no matter what you think about that. 

And yeah, even after Pierce fell in love with him, just taking her into the Underworld and not telling her about the whole "if you eat or drink here that's it, you're immortal and staying here forever" thing - not cool. He's manipulative, he's creepy, he's selfish, he's a control freak and probably also a bit insane. The fascination I had with him in ABANDON completely poofed into nothing, he's absolutely and utterly creepy as hell.

Not sure whether our protagonist Pierce is any better. From being strong-willed and in general a character that's easy to identify with, she transformed into a whiny, clingy girlfriend who bursts into tears at even the thought of her boyfriend ever leaving her. Her world only revolves around being with John and after initial half-hearted "but I wanna see my mom" protests, she's all his. Sorry, Pierce, but you just lost all sympathy points. 

The only person who's in their right mind would be the cemetery sexton Richard Smith, who constantly tells those idiotic teenagers that they're being unreasonable, but doesn't get much recognition. It's very frustrating to see how Richard sees through everything immediately and Pierce still thinks she has to close her eyes to the obvious, because, like, omg, her boyfriend is sooooo hot.

Not really a necessary sequel?

As a sequel, UNDERWORLD isn't really what I expected. I wanted action, I wanted tears and blood, I wanted all hell to break loose, maybe the deceased all escaping the underworld at once, because Pierce thought it was a good idea to release them. 

The way Cabot arranged this, it's merely a high school alternate universe retelling of Persephone and Hades. Plus a whole lot of Stockholm-Syndrome on top. It genuinely feels like it could have all been in the first book, because we only get a lot backstory but very little new plot lines. 

The enemies remain the same, some new bad guys quickly appear and are quickly killed, nothing special. I had a hard time getting into this. Also the relationship between John and Pierce is very, very frustrating. They don't seem like a newly-in-love couple but like an old married couple that has already enough of each other. They're constantly bickering, there's absolutely no romance aside from this whole "omg I'd die without you, I'm going to take a bullet for you" thing. Eh. 



Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Because I liked the first novel so much, I obviously had very high expectations of UNDERWORLD. To me, it focused to much on the Oliviera family and their intrigues instead of actually continuing the story of the protagonists Pierce and John.

As an extra for devoted fans of the series this would be nice to know, but not as an official sequel. It failed in all points to me. No recommendation. Read the first novel and stop right there.



Additional Info

Published: March 8th 2012
Pages: 336
Publisher: Pivot
Genre: YA / Greek Mythology
ISBN: 9780545415071

Synopsis:
"Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape."(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read books by Meg Cabot?

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