Viria is amazing. All the images are credited to her.
Okay, here we go. Spoilers ahead.
I’m not a fan of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. Honestly, I’m not fully sure why. I had issues with how it expanded the world (for the same reasons as in The Kane Chronicles), how it tied up (or dropped) most of its plotlines, and the lack of lasting consequences (especially with character deaths). Or maybe I was just too old when I read it. But the main issue I’ll address is the female characters. Yep, this is the ‘strong female character’ post every blog needs.
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, is one of the best books I’ve read, and I don’t say that lightly. Both the story and the characters are compelling, and even though it’s a prime example of genre fiction it still has several strong themes.
One of the biggest things that stood out to me was the twist at the end. It changed my whole expectation of the world and the morality the author was operating under, and it explained a theme that had been building, unnoticed, through the book.
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, is a wonderful book. The writing is beautiful, the story sucks you in like a movie does, and the characters are engaging and loveable- especially Kvothe.
It’s good that Kvothe is loveable, being the main character and all, but I was actually surprised by how much I liked him. He’s the ‘more clever and skilled than everyone’ character that can so easily be flat and boring. His ‘flaws’ are a fiery temper- which is often a praised character trait- and pride, which is well-founded due to his talent. To top it all, his eyes change color based on his mood. In short: Kvothe is a Mary-Sue.
But despite the general hatred for Mary-Sues, it works.
The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan came out right after the Percy Jackson series (you can read my review here), but they had a much different effect on me. I remember eagerly pre-ordering The Red Pyramid (book one), but I didn’t finish The Serpent’s Shadow (book three) until a couple years ago, long after it was published.
I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. And my honest opinion? I loved it.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel to The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz (check out his website!) You can find my review of book one here, and the synopsis of book two on Amazon.
However, sequels are often hard to pull off. Not only do they need to be great books on their own (and we all know how hard writing those are), but they need to advance the world, further develop the characters, and raise the stakes. As if that wasn’t enough, they need to be sure to appeal to readers of the first book. But as far as I’m concerned, The Tomb of the Sea Witch pulls it off.
No spoilers ahead.
I remember reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan, for the first time. It was technically my brother’s series, so he got to read them before me. I read faster than him, so I would wait in agony for him to finish the next book. I felt like Tantalus- so close to what I needed, but still so far… Good times.
This series is up there with The Hunger Games and Harry Potter for books I’ve reread too many times to count. But why is that? Is Percy Jackson amazing literature? Nope. But it’s something that, in some ways, is even better. It’s a lot of fun to read.
Shadow and Bone is the first in a series by Leigh Bardugo. While the book as a whole was pretty underwhelming, one thing took me by surprise: the attractive, brooding ‘bad boy’ love interest was actually evil. And portrayed as evil. And the main character thought he was evil. And he had nothing explaining away his evilness. He was the bad guy. Crazy, right?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is one of my favorite books ever, for many, many reasons. The writing, the characters, the story… and yes, the romance.
For a book to be listed as a favorite of mine, an honor I bestow on very few works, it needs to be of excellent quality. But not only that, I need to enjoy it. I need to have fun reading it. In Jane Eyre, a lot of that fun is seeing Jane’s strength and passion. And, I must admit, a lot of that fun is seeing the romance blossom between her and Rochester.
Gregor and the Code of Claw is the fifth and last book in the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins.
I love this series (if you couldn’t tell…). Eight years ago, I had stopped rereading Chronicles of Narnia, my first book love. I wasn’t read much fantasy at that time- sticking mainly to mysteries or other ‘real world’ genres. But then I got this entire series as a birthday gift and devoured it in four days. Continue reading
Gregor and the Marks of Secret is the fourth of the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins.
In Gregor the Overlander I talked about how focused and subtle it was in its war themes. By the fourth book in the series, the message is much blunter, with Gregor outright questioning the place and necessity for war. Although this approach probably wouldn’t have worked in the earlier books, by now the series has built up to a point where it can support a harder look at the issue. (Spoilers ahead)