Book 65: The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus #5) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The Blood of OlympusThis is one of those books that I probably should’ve re-read the entire series before reading. So much has happened in the novels, especially if you go all the way back to the first Percy Jackson book, but even just within the five books of this series it’s been a long journey.

As much as I want to say this was the best book in the series, I honestly think The House of Hades was better. And this is for a couple of reasons. If possible The Blood of Olympus had TOO much action. I get that this is the end of a series which is a spin-off/second half of another series, but this book just didn’t stop with the epic battles. Sure they’re facing the end of the world and Riordan said it best,

“Today, one way or another, their journey would end.” (378)

But honestly, the book left me exhausted and not in a good way. It felt like there was so much that happened off the page that I couldn’t keep track of who was where and what was happening. There are spoilers to the series and this book so don’t read past here if you’re planning to read it.

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Book 49: L’America – Martha McPhee

McPhee, Martha - L'AmericaHonestly, I’m sad I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would. Seriously, I’ve given it the lowest rating of the year so far. I bought it in one of my bulk buys at the 2011 Boston Book festival and haven’t thought of it since. It came up on my list when I used random.org to select my next book.

Even though I finished it, I just could not invest in this book, and that’s never a good sign. It started off slow, and thankfully did pick up a good bit, but still finished slow. Seriously go read the paragraph long sentence that was the final sentence of the novel. Not fun.

I think where I struggled to enjoy the book and where the author struggled to write the book was in converting an excellent idea into a manageable and digestible amount. Thankfully, the book wasn’t longer, but it really struggled through the first half. Beth felt like a whiny idiot (she was a teenager) and Cesare just felt frigid and unapproachable. This definitely changed toward the end, but it didn’t change fast enough or thoroughly enough to make me want to bump up my rating.

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Book 72: The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The House of HadesIn this, the penultimate novel of The Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan sets the scene for a HUGE finale in the last and final book. I’ve had my name on the wait list for this book since I finished The Mark of Athena back in February or whenever the library first let me add my name to the list and I will do the same thing with the final installment, The Blood of Olympus.

This book picks up right where The Mark of Athena left off and keeps filling up details and providing more and more tension before everything snaps between Gaea and the demigods and gods. To be fair the series could end with this book and I wouldn’t be mad as there was a pretty succinct ending to this novel versus many of the other cliff hangers I’ve read before like that at the end of the last novel. This one although much sadder, the characters and readers of the series are growing up, was much more encapsulated.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS so if you plan on reading these books, I would not recommend reading after this point. There might not be any for this book, but there may be for earlier books in the story, but no promises – this is the fourth book in the series.

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Book 29: Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World – Sharon Waxman

Waxman, Sharon - LootSorry for the long post in advance, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book about museums and antiquities and I forgot how much I love them and how much they make me think!

This book has been on my to-be-read shelf since July of 2011 and I can’t believe I waited this long to read it! I will never forget my first Anthropology class in undergrad and the professor going off on a tangent about the looting of the museums after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It pretty much guaranteed I would be an Anthropology major. (I later switched to cultural anthropology and focused on gender in the media, but still the people were awesome!) The intrigue, the drama, the affairs and the crimes, it could be a spy novel if it were fiction and not fact! This book will count as a bonus book for my 2013 Mount TBR Reading Challenge.

What’s important to note is that this book is not academic, Waxman wrote the book for a general audience and in this she succeeds. There are very few things that would go above someone’s head who doesn’t have a degree or a heavy interest in Ancient History, Anthropology, Archaeology or Art History. She, or her editors, appear to have been very aware of this and kept to the journalistic research intent of the book.

However, this also work against her and ultimately I felt the entire purpose of writing the book got lost. Someone on Goodreads tagged the book as ‘ending goes south’ and that’s an apt description. Waxman keeps building the crescendo and it gets to a point where you just want her to tell you what happens. And then she reminds you that all of this is still happening and things are still changing rapidly totally dampens the bang that could’ve ended the book.

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Book 15: The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus #3) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The Mark of AthenaI can’t wait for the next in this series to come out!

When it does, I’m going to re-read the first three all over again because there were so many details I only vaguely recalled AND their just fun reads! (Although this might not happen as The House of Hades‘ scheduled publication is August 2013, but I hope to get the chance!)

From what I do recall from the first two books, this is definitely more action packed and definitely not lacking. However, in the end it was just as much a tease as the others. For the entire book I held out hope that some of the major plot lines of the series would be wrapped up, but only one of them was (which was definitely nice). I was, however, very glad that the seven demigods from the prophecy were finally together and the teen angst in the book definitely added to the plot (although I’ve yet to read an author who does teen angst as well as J.K. Rowling).

What’s great is Riordan is slowly perfecting his new style of writing (third person narration) and I think he’s improved over the last few of his novels. In addition he’s stuck with his strengths of weaving disparate stories (and cultures) together and creating a crazy cacophony of non-stop action.

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