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The Dark Prophecy

the-dark-prophecy.jpgTrials of Apollo bk 2

By: Rick Riordan

Apollo is still a human, still Lester and has to find the second oracle. This one has a strong personal connection to him, one he is reluctant to look too closely at. This oracle is not only part of Apollo’s dark past, it also has the potential to drive him, or anyone who uses it, mad. To make matters worse this Oracle is guarded by the second member of the Triumvirate, a mad emperor who also belongs in the darker parts of Apollo’s past.

Accompanied by Leo and Calypso they find themselves at the Waystation, a place of refuge run by two ex-hunters of Artemis. Apollo has not just one thing to do in order to find the Oracle, he has several mini quests that need to be undertaken, one is rescuing a young girl who may be family. Along the way he reconnects with Meg and even though she betrayed him, it is clear the two are destined to continue forward together.

The action as always is swift and fun. Apollo himself gets a bit annoying for me, there is only so many times he can say how great is or was as a god, when really he was a bit of an idiot. Other characters do a great job of balancing him out. Leo is brash, like Apollo though he isn’t as pompous and is therefore more appealing. The relationship between Leo and Calypso is hesitant and lovely. Emmie and Jo who run the Waystation add weight to the story, that being told through Apollo’s eyes has a tendency to become rather flippant. These two characters weave humanity, love and family through the adventure. Meg is the perfect foil for Apollo’s pomposity. These books are a lot of fun, but I find Apollo a much harder character to enjoy following than either Jason or Percy.

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The Hidden Oracle

xthe-hidden-oracle.jpg.pagespeed.ic.eQ1MXlIOfDBy: Rick Riordan

The Trials of Apollo Bk 1

Apollo is in a whole world of hurt, he is used to being a god but now he is a 16 year old boy stuck in the mortal world because Zeus has cast him down. He now has to find what it is he has to do in order to regain his godhood. To add to his mortification he is rescued from his first beating by twelve year old Meg. He persuades Percy Jackson to take them both to Camp Half-Blood hoping that whilst there he can find some answers but the Camp is in chaos, things are not as they should be, campers are missing and the oracle is not working. How can you go on a quest when the being who issues the quests is unable to do so? Somehow Apollo needs to confront his fears, overcome the limitations of his now teenage, human body and deal with betrayal such as he has never felt before.

This is a fun entry into the world of demigods. Apollo is a funny and at times irritating character with his self-importance and egotistic ways. The blending of a teenagers imperfections with the mind of an ancient god makes for some very amusing moments. Twelve year old Meg is the perfect foil for the fallen god, her street smarts and ultimately damaged personality contrast beautifully with his grandiosity. It is going to be interesting to see where the character of Meg is taken, all the demigods have issues and most have parental issues but it seems that Meg’s issues have the potential to touch on some darker territory. The pace as always with these stories is fast, the action at times quite nasty. Riordan has given us a horrible yet interesting villain (an no I won’t tell you who it is – no spoilers). It is always nice to go back to the camp and see what has changed and what hasn’t, new campers who come to the fore. I look forward to the next instalment of this series.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 3rd May 2016

Key Words: Action, Adventure, Humour, Mythology

ISBN: 9780141363936

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

I received my copy from the publisher
the-magnus-chase-and-the-sword-of-summer
By: Rick Riordan
Book one of the Magnus Chase series

Magnus Chase is homeless, has been for two years, extended family is more than a little dysfunctional. He has friends, of sorts, Blitz and Hearth, they keep an eye out for him. Magnus was managing, that is until he died. That was things got really strange because a girl on a flying horse saves him. Magnus finds himself at the Hotel Valhalla, where he meets others who have been saved by Valkyries. His Valkyrie has issues of her own and Magnus discovers that not everyone wants him there. In fact if he is to survive, if that is what he is doing, then he has to go on a quest. Doing this though means first of all finding a way out of Valhalla. With Sam, the Valkyrie and her secret as well as Blitz and Hearth who turn out to be far more than simple homeless folk, by his side, Magnus sets out to retrieve Frey’s sword and not free the Fenris Wolf. Simple as quests go, really. All they have to do is navigate their way through parts of the nine realms and get the things they need to prevent Ragnarok. Easy.
And that is all I am going to say. Mostly. If you’ve read Riordan you know to expect a fast paced story with plenty of action, characters who balance bizarre with humour to keep things as real as they can. There are a few ties to the world of Percy Jackson, but again, no spoilers. The characters work well together and the mythology is a consistently tight and entertaining background.
Thoroughly readable (as in hard to put down) and highly entertaining.
Highly recommended.
Publisher: Puffin
Published: 6th October 2015
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 528 pages
ISBN: 9780141342429

Magnus Chase

So this is almost upon us…
the-magnus-chase-and-the-sword-of-summer
And I know you are totally going to love it. I did. I will post a review when it is released in October but till then you have to know I loved it.

The Blood of Olympus

Heroes of Olympus bk 5
By: Rick Riordan
the-blood-of-olympus
The conclusion to the heroes of Olympus series and a book I have been waiting all year for. Yay! It’s here.
There are still some very hairy challenges ahead for our seven demigods. They have come so far and battled through so very much, the end is almost in sight but so much still hangs on their decisions. Nico, Reyna and Coach Hedge are doing everything they can to get the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half Blood, it’s proving taxing, especially on Nico who has taken on most of the heavy lifting and the toll it is taking on him could be permanent. The others are on there way to the final destination but not without opposition as Gaia’s forces have obstacles and forces to push them back along the way. The demigods need to work together if they are going to win.
I loved this conclusion. It is action packed and moves all the way through at a lightening pace. Each demigod has grown throughout this story but this one is very poignant for Nico, Reyna, Leo and Jason. I particularly like the way Nico’s story is worked out but I won’t say any more about it. The blending of the mythologies works well, the twisted nature of Octavian who has a similar goal to the central heroes but he is driven by power and the desire to rule. The thing with a book like this is there really isn’t a lot to say at this point. The world is very familiar to those who have read the rest of the books, it is a well woven mix of the familiar and mythical. It is like stepping back into a place where you get to catch up with good friends. Riordan finishes this well.
The short story at the end with Annabeth and Sadie Chase, is a fun little teaser.
Loads of fun and if you haven’t read any of the Percy Jackson books, then I ask why not? Do yourself a favour and give them a try.
Highly Recommended
Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 07 October 2014
Format: Paperback 565 pages
Categories: Science Fiction Fantasy
ISBN 13: 9780141339252
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Percy Jackson & the Sea of Monsters – Movie

So I did see it and yes I had issues with it but at least this time I didn’t quite want to throw my shoe at the screen like I did with the first film.

(Though I wouldn’t mind having one of these in my back yard)

The young cast seem more comfortable in their roles (though they are older than the characters are supposed to be) and there were a few casting changes, obviously some names didn’t want to come back. On the whole I think they did this book a bit more justice than the first, though there are plenty of things they miss out (Percy’s dreams of Grover), and they make loads of changes (how Percy and Tyson meet) both of which may very well be a bit annoying. I think with these movies they’d be better saying they are based on the books because as adaptations go they play fast and loose with quite a few details. Still an enjoyable way to spend a little time (unless you are a loyal fan of the source material), but the books are definitely better, sure that’s my opinion and you are more than welcome to your own.

The House of Hades

By: Rick Riordan

9780141339191

Heroes of Olympus Bk 4

Percy and Annabeth are trapped in Tartarus, their only hope is to journey across the land of the dead to the Doors of Death. This will perhaps be the most testing and brutal of all trails they have gone through. To make matters worse monsters are regenerating at an increased rate and none of them like the demigods, in fact Percy and Annabeth are the reason quite a few are in Tartarus in the first place. Still they have each other and that will get them through much and then there is Bob, a surprise addition to their team, and one that could just tip the balance.

On the surface Jason, Hazel and the others are trying to get to the House of Hades so they can be at the doors to help Percy and Annabeth. This is not turning out to be as simple as flying there. Gods and monsters are doing everything they can to stop them. Hazel discovers that Hecate has a plan for her, Frank fights his fears of his parentage and comes into his own and Nico faces up to his deepest secret. Will all that be enough, with the God’s being split between their Greek and Roman selves,  and the Roman demigods determined to attack Camp Half-Blood? Gaia must be stopped but is that even possible with the team split up this way?

An awesome action filled instalment of the Heroes of Olympus series. Percy and Jason are still obviously leaders but it is not all about them. Percy and Annabeth have a real partnership and together they are much stronger than could be expected. So much of this adventure hinges on Hazel learning new skills and how to have faith in herself and Frank stepping up to be the son of Mars that he is. Frank’s story arc in this is one that builds slowly but reaches an awesome crescendo and it is going to be interesting to see where he goes in the next book. Nico’s torment is something we finally have some light shed on and it is so sad in some ways, you just want Nico to be able to move through it, it too is something that we are left wondering about. Leo too gets the chance to have some growth in a rather unexpected way (but I’m not giving any spoilers).

The pace never wavers and as such this book like those before it is hard to put down. The world Riordan creates is varied, full of the familiar and unfamiliar, and it blends together seamlessly. It seems totally fine that one minute the heroes are using magical and advanced technology and the next it’s all swords and flying horses. These books are addictive, the blend of action and mythology often leaves me wanting more.

Recommended.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 08 October 2013

Format: Paperback 565 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Mythology

ISBN 13: 9780141339191

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page.

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