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 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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Book 22: Bastard Out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison

Bastard Out of Carolina - Dorothy AllisonBastard Out of Carolina is the story of Ruth Anne “Bone” Cartwright. It’s a story about survival and about perseverance. Although I thought it was sad, it was empowering. I can understand why it wasn’t required reading in High School, but with everything we hear and read on the news these days, may as well have been.

The novel starts off with Bone recounting the story of her birth and her mom’s struggles to get a birth certificate for her that doesn’t have ‘ILLEGITIMATE’ stamped across the bottom third in bright red letters. And the struggles keep coming for Bone and her mom. Her mom, after marrying a loving man who dies within a few years, finally has met a man ‘Daddy Glen’ who treats her right, however as the book progresses we learn how he treats Bone.

I found the character Aunt Raylene fascinating for her steadfastness and her apparent removal from the rest of her family. Between her geographical distance and the authors’ description of Raylene through Bone’s eyes, I questioned her sexuality well before its revelation.  Perhaps it’s the type of literature I’ve read recently or the author’s descriptions, but it didn’t take me long to question whether Raylene was a lesbian, the revelation of which was incredibly important as the author used the comparison of Raylene’s lost (female) love to the love of  Bone’s mother and Daddy Glen.  Perhaps this is a glance into the author’s personal politics, but who knows.  I appreciated the normalization and the ‘what you do in your own home/bedroom doesn’t matter to us as long as you keep it there’ mindset of the Cartwright family and I think it speaks wonders that Bone chooses Raylene to live with (and Raylene chooses Bone) at the end of the novel.

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