At last, the breathtaking, action-packed finale of the #1 bestselling Trials of Apollo series is here! Will the Greek god Apollo, cast down to earth in the pathetic moral form of a teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, finally regain his place on Mount Olympus? Lester’s demigod friends at Camp Jupiter just helped him survive attacks from bloodthirsty ghouls, an evil Roman king and his army of the undead, and the lethal emperors Caligula and Commodus. Now the former god and his demigod master Meg must follow a prophecy uncovered by Ella the harpy. Lester’s final challenge will be at the Tower of Nero, back in New York. Will Meg have a last showdown with her father? Will this helpless form of Apollo have to face his arch nemesis, Python? Who will be on hand at Camp Half-Blood to assist? These questions and more will be answered in this book that all demigods are eagerly awaiting.
It has been a real hot minute since I wrote a review, so this one may be short and how just how rusty I am.
The Trials of Apollo series is one that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and I genuinely sad to see come to an end. The way that Rick Riordan writes Apollo aka Lester Papadopoulos makes me laugh every time and is filled while such entertaining and consistent wit. It feels true to how the god would of been in all the myths.
Throughout the series we have seen characters from across the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series grow and evolve getting glimpses into where their lives have headed since the end of their respective stories. As a reader that thrives on character connection this is something that I absolutely love seeing.
The overall plot of ‘The Tower of Nero’ ties together all the loose ends from the previous 4 books of the ‘Trials of Apollo’ series. Allowing characters, readers and listeners the closure that is needed after such a saga of events.
I am honestly sad to see the end of this series and really hope for more Lester Papadopoulos in the future.
A sweeping, multi-layered romance with a divine twist, by the Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa, set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II.
It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.
Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.
Julie Berry is an American Author who has written 12 books so far in her career, with The Lovely War being her most recent release.
The Lovely War follows our wondrous Greek Gods, namely Aphrodite, Aries and Hephaestus as Aphrodite defends herself as she and Aries are put on trial for their affair. To defend herself Aphrodite tells two stories of love from the first world war. Throughout which we begin to see the world and the god of Love does.
The way that Julie Berry tells the stories of these for characters doesn’t make it feel like a historical fiction. Most of my previous experience with historical fiction has been dry and difficult for me to feel engaged in. As I saw reading ‘The Lovely War’ I felt transported back to the story of the first world war and the experiences of these characters. I was utterly invested in the outcome of their lives.
Hazel and James’s love story was one that I was wholeheartedly invested in. The Character were well written and had so much dimension and depth. You could really see how their characters change and develop through the war and what that does to a person and their connections within society.
Aphrodite as a narrator was an aspect of the book that I found really interesting. Looking and the relationship between love and war from the perspective of love was something I hadn’t seen before. I really enjoyed that the narrator was a character and seeing the little additions and notes the character makes throughout the story.
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “dislike” but I felt that I was so invested in the story that when the main four characters we follow were treated badly I was really sad. I really didn’t like the racism that was clear in the times of the first world war, but I feel like that’s more of my own issue.
Overall, ‘The Lovely War’ is a transformative book that sends the reader back in time as they listen to a tale weaved by a god. The experience is one that can make someone appreciate the love that they have in their own lives.
Plot: 8.5/10 Ease of reading: 8/10 Character Development: 8/10 World Building: 8/10 Quality of Writing: 7/10 Overall: 4.5/5
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. AndSimon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
Throughout One of Us is Lying we follow the perspective of multiple different characters. We begin with a Breakfast Clubesque set up with out protagonists in detention. All from different walks of life. We have all the classics from stereotypical groups. As the book progresses we move quickly from a heart warming 80’s movie to an intense murder mystery. It really put a twist on the classic high school story.
As we learn more about each of characters as a reader I began to make predictions about the whole ‘Who done it?’ situation. I was definitely not correct in these, eventually I did predict some of the twist, which I will not divulge here at all, but I believe at this point I think most people would would figure it out before me.
It was interesting to see the growth in the characters and that throughout this difficult time where they are suspected of murder as well as having more personal information divulged to the members of their high school. All the characters show growth… that I love.
There were a few characters that I did not like! One in particular, a side character was genuinely the worst person ever and I hated him,to the point where I thought it might ruin the book for me! Luckily, it didn’t and I decided to stick through to the end.
The end of this story is FIRE. I’ve recently discovered that as a reader I love a great plot twist or plot development, i eat them up!
The overall premise of ‘One of Us is Lying’ combines some of my favorite things, I love anything breakfast club themed as well as stories that keep me on the edge of my seat. This is definitely a tale that will stay with me.
Plot: 7/10 Ease of reading: 8/10 Character Development: 7.5/10 World Building: 6/10 Quality of Writing: 7/10 Overall: 4/5
Gliding over the treacherous Green in a shaky aircraft that she has no idea how to land, Violet Bates is still in shock. The harrowing events of the previous night play over in her mind as she asks herself question after question.
Why did Lee Desmond Bertrand behave the way he did?
What is the truth about the mysterious silver egg stowed beneath her seat?
What happened to Viggo and where is her brother? Is either of them still alive?
When Violet manages to reach the toxic ground alive, she has landed in a world of unimaginable danger. She has barely time to catch her breath before she is sucked into a perilous journey at breakneck speed – to uncover secrets guarded for centuries and find the only two people that matter.
The Gender Secret follows the events that occured at the end of The Gender Game. We follow Viggo and Violet in the wake of the dramatic cliffhanger we were left on at the end of the first book as well as unravelling some epic betrayals.
The ideas that are examined throughout the the first two books explore gender diferentiation, stereotypes and how the world would look if we it were divided into two cities/countries run by each gender. It was interesting to see how the prejudice grow throughout the stories and how they are ingrained in each culture.
Violet and Viggo as characters are both morally questionable and as a reader I can say that it definitely made them more interesting to read about. They have already developed so much from the events in the first book that I felt more interested in where their stories we heading.
The Setting of The Green, Matrus and Patrus – which I take to be a post apocolyptic USA – allows the reader to really exeperience the dystopian nature. The Greens descriptions of toxicity and the creatures affected by it gives ‘The Wilder Girls’ and ‘Annihilation’ vibes that allows the reader to see the severity of being out there and experiencing that wilderness.
The developments in the plot of the Gender Secret develop the world exponentially from the Gender Game. We begin to see the implications of a world divided by gender.
There are many ethical questions that are raised throughout be beginning of this series that cause questions about what it would mean for our world if something became more evident. This gives readers an experience that fuels many feelings and thoughts as well as promoting discussion.
Plot: 6.5/10 Ease of reading: 5/10 Character Development: 6/10 World Building: 6.5/10 Quality of Writing: 6/10 Overall: 3.5/5
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
The Bear and the Nightingale follows Vasilisa a young girl living in on the brink of the wilderness in a fantasy version of Medieval Russia. She lives in a town that believes in both the christian church and the stories of old. After her mother passes away Vasilisa’s father heads to Moscow and brings home a new wife.
Vasilisa soon discovers what happens when a truly devout woman decides that within the town household spirits will no longer be honoured and is backed by the new town priest. From the moment they arrive things begin to go downhill, from freezing winters to failing crops Vasilisa becomes highly worried about her family’s ability to survive the harsh winters.
So, this book has A Lot going on. Vasilisa is a fantastic main character. She is wild and brave and not afraid to stand up to the norms of medieval Russia where she is oppressed and expected to be obedient. I really liked how she was wild at heart and cared deeply for the household spirits, even when it caused her to be labeled as a witch.
The story as a whole was interesting and definitely something I hadn’t read before. Russian myth is not something I am familiar with however it is definitely mythology I would be interested in finding out more about. The story definitely had some magic woven into the hardships of winter described.
Katherine Adren’s writing lends itself to the historical fiction fantasy genre. There were some beautiful description of the settings. Even being in the midst of summer here in Australia it was like I could feel the bitter cold Russian Winter being described. I find that particularly important to a book with such depth and detail as this. Without a greatly detailed and engaging setting I can end up feeling like the story is to dense and I am unable to get past the denseness to the beauty behind it.
As I listened to the story on Audiobook I found it a bit hard to keep track of all the names they were definitely not super complicated but I did find that I muddled them up quite a lot. I don’t know if that is necessarily a critique of the book or just my listening skills.
There were a few characters that I really disliked throughout the story. Vasalia’s stepmother Ana was one of them. I found her totally irrational and completely unfair to Vasalisa to the point where she was clearly treating her poorly.
I also absolutely despise and I mean despise Constantine the priest who comes to the village. It has absolutely nothing to do with him being the religious figurehead and everything to do with him being the worst person ever. The fact that he blatantly blames a child for his actions and thoughts is something that bothers me to no end. He is also quick to sacrifice anyone but himself -even his more devout follower – when given the option to protect himself by doing so. I would get so outraged while I was reading. Especially when he wouldn’t let Vasilisa run away and the only answer for him was for her to go to a convent, even though running away would culminate in the same result.
The beginning of the story is slow. It was a bit difficult to get into. There are so many events that happen in quick succession that are necessary for the story but also happen way too fast. I also found some moments unnecessary. While in Moscow one of Vasilisa’s brothers decides to become a monk. I don’t know if I missed something or if this will become important to the next two books but for ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ there seemed to be no reason that we spent so much time with him coming to the decision.
The first book in this beginning to a Historical fiction trilogy that weaves the stories of Russian mythology. It follows a wild hearted protagonist who was definitely a trailblazer born into the wrong century.
Plot: 6/10 Ease of reading: 7/10 Character Development: 6/10 World Building: 6/10 Quality of Writing: 6/10 Overall: 3/5
The Pretenders by Rebecca Hanover #2 in the Similars duology
In this conclusion to The Similars duology, Emma must figure out who she really is, decide between two boys with the same face, and stop a dangerous plan based on revenge.
Emma is still reeling from the events of her junior year at Darkwood. Not only is her best friend, Oliver, shockingly alive, but the boy she loves—his Similar, Levi—is still on the island where he grew up, stranded with his deranged creator.
More importantly, she is grappling with who she really is. Emma can’t accept the hard truths she learned last year and refuses to share her secrets with anyone, isolating herself from her friends and Ollie.
But when more of the Similars’ creator’s plot is revealed, Emma and her friends will have to try to stop him from putting a plan into motion that could destroy everyone she loves.
Throughout The Similars Duology we follow Emmaline as she attends the prestigious Darkwood Academy, where 6 clones have been enrolled. This enrollment fules huge human right debates and the schools dark histoty begins to come to light.
The Science Fiction nature of the series lends itself well to the discussion of human rights and whether cones carry the same rights as the originals. Looking at the different sides is interesting however the story doen’t really allow the reader to make up their own mind as to whether cloning and clones are right. There would have been a richer depth to the stoy if this had been the case.
None the less, the story of Emmaline and the clones is one that as a reader I found interesting. Emma’s development as a character within the second book was critical to the story and to making her a protagonist that readers have some connection with. The personal growth was minimal but the science fictional changes were imense, giving her the edge she needed to become a more dynamic lead.
The scientific elements were probably my most favourite part of the story. It was interesting to learn how the cloning began and the extent to which it runs. It could definitely make for an interesting human right debate. The clones were represented well with thoughts and ideas that were their own and an experience that would make anyone hope for better for them.
The plot twists that are thrown into this story definitely fit the science fiction genre. They added a much needed layer
Overall the story examines relationships, choice and serious human right issues all within the compass of a Young Adult story. Its a great start to what will surely be a wider debate in the future.
Plot: 7/10 Ease of reading: 7.5/10 Character Development: 6/10 World Building: 5/10 Quality of Writing: 7/10 Overall: 3.5/5
Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together at last, all must fight if Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.
Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself―and the promise of a better world.
Kingdom of Ash is the final book in the Throne of Glass series. We follow multiple perspectives throughout the story and travel throughout the lands of Arellia and beyond. The basics of the story (so you won’t be spoiled, dear reader) is that Aelin and her friends must go to war against Erawan, the demon lord who is taking over the continent.
Aelin has developed as a dynamic and kick ass character, she continues her growth throguhout Kingdom of Ash, becoming a beacon of strength, resiliance and empathy. I love Aelin as our leading lady. She shows what a main character should be, flawed and oh so human but willing to change. She also shows a passion for equailty among her peers and her people.
Our support cast is full of magical and mighty players in this hectic and chaotic war provide additions of much needed humor as well as showing us what is happening in other parts of this vast, expansive world.
The conclusion to this 7 book (plus one prequel book) series is in a word, epic. The setting of Arillia has changed so much over the course of the seven stories that it becomes almost like the reader is experiencing a whole new world. The description and detail really adds to this experience.
To say that Kingdom of Ash is a Tome is an understatement. The sheer mass of this books is something that I found off putting when it came to finally reading the conclusion to a series I was deeply emersed it. It was a commitment that I was anxious about making, however is not one I regret.
The Throne of Glass series as a whole includes so many great tropes. Competition is rife, Fae are many and the detail in back story and connection between past and present is made so semlessly and effectively.
Plot: 8.5/10 Ease of reading: 4/10 Character Development: 7.5/10 World Building: 5/10 Quality of Writing: 8/10 Overall: 4.5/5
With bold imagery and an ear tuned to the music of Homer’s epic poem, Gareth Hinds reinterprets the ancient classic as it’s never been told before.
“Gareth Hinds brings THE ODYSSEY to life in a masterful blend of art and storytelling. Vivid and exciting, this graphic novel is a worthy new interpretation of Homer’s epic.” —Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series
Fresh from his triumphs in the Trojan War, Odysseus, King of Ithaca, wants nothing more than to return home to his family. Instead, he offends the sea god, Poseidon, who dooms him to years of shipwreck and wandering. Battling man-eating monsters, violent storms, and the supernatural seductions of sirens and sorceresses, Odysseus will need all his strength and cunning—and a little help from Mount Olympus—to make his way home and seize his kingdom from the schemers who seek to wed his queen and usurp his throne. Award-winning graphic artist Gareth Hinds masterfully reinterprets a story of heroism, adventure, and high action that has been told and retold for more than 2,500 years—though never quite like this.
Gareth Hinds adaptation of The Odyssey is one the brings colour, vibrance and richness to a classic Homer tale. Both the Illiad and The Odyssey are stories I have expereienced in their ‘classic’ form and both are rich stories that had such an impact on my love of Greek history, culture and mythology.
In the Odyssey we follow Odysseus’ son ________, as he attempts to protect his mother from the hoard of men who wish to marry her after Odysseus is thought dead after the Trojian war. _____ is informed by the gods that his father is traped and that is why he is yet to return. Armed with this knowledge he attempts to find his father and bring him home.
The graphic novel reimagining of this story was one that provided vibrance to a story that can get bogged down in the homeric language that is used. I definitely found the story more entertaining in this format. The colors were muted which added to the story even more, with an art style that impacted me as a reader.
I enjoyed the combination of authors adaptation in dialogue form with the artwork for each character and scene. It felt very transportive and engaging, I found myself eager to continue reading the text.
At some moments through out the story I did find myself confusing some characters and forgetting their relation or importance to the story. The sheer magnitute of The Odyssy really can be overwhelming at times.
This adaptation of a classic Greek story is one that fits Gareth Hinds adaptation and art style. They complement eachother in a way that enriches historical and classical liturature and makes it accessible to all readers.
Plot: 7/10 Ease of reading: 6/10 Character Development: 7/10 World Building: 6/10 Quality of Writing: 8/10 Overall: 4/5