The Hidden Oracle (Trials Of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

synopsis

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood. (Goodreads)

quote

“He faced us. “You hear that, guys? A batch of cookies is depending on me. If you get me killed on the way to camp, I am going be ticked off.”

review

This book is about the god Apollo, who is sentenced as a mortal on Earth. He meets a young demigod named Meg and is put on a harrowing journey against an evil Roman emperor named Nero, trying to save the oldest and first oracle known to man… The Grove Dodona.

The main setting of the entire book is in New York, most of it playing out in Camp Half-Blood which is located on Long Island Sound. The setting gives you a feeling of being in the Big Apple with a mythological twist, tying into demigods and a world from mythological Greece. The setting affects Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) because before all he ever was was a stuck up Greek god who caused lots of problems. When he is exiled to New York as a mortal, it affects him greatly. He is not used to his teenage body, but quite frankly he deserves it. It makes him finally realize that mortals aren’t as hopeless and useless as they seem to him, because he has to literally step into a mortals skin, by becoming mortal from his father Zeus. He has to go through many trials while in a mortal body, which as he finds out later is harder than it looks, because he has lost most of his godly powers. Towards the end of the book, Apollo goes from thinking of Meg McCaffrey as a bratty street-urchin, but after getting bound to her bidding his perspective changes about the world. After living in New York Apollo changes his perspective and is more appreciative of humans and demigods, even his children.

There were both external and internal conflicts throughout the story. The main biggest external conflict was between Apollo and Nero and his accomplices. If it weren’t for Nero and Triumvirate Holdings, then the only problem would be the serpent at the Oracle of Delphi. Nero causes problems by trying to burn the Grove of Dodona, and capturing campers in the process. We’ll be seeing more of Nero in the future, because after all Meg is his step daughter. One really important internal conflict involves Meg McCaffrey. When she was only a young child Nero killed her father. Not to mention she still thinks Nero is a good person and her step-dad who saved her from his angry personality “The Beast”. This internal conflict eventually ends up getting her involved in luring Apollo to Nero himself. Apollo even notices that it is messed up, and he tries to convince Meg that Nero is really evil. These two main internal and external conflicts weave in and out from each other throughout the book making it a delight to read.

This book was good and had the Percy Jackson spirit it deserved, but isn’t as good as the Percy Jackson series or The Heroes of Olympus series. Overall I really enjoyed the beginning of the end of Rick Riordan’s Greek Mythology novels. This book actually started explaining lots of questions from the past books and started tying everything together in the Percy Jackson world. I really liked the character Meg McCaffrey and her quirky but fearsome protector Peaches. For what it is worth The Trials of Apollo was a great kick-off to the end of Rick Riordan’s Greek mythology novels.

Advertisements

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2213661

My Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Paranormal Fiction, YA

synopsis

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages. (Goodreads)
quote

“You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”

review

A boy gets raised by ghosts in this tale about the living and dead. As the boy gets older he encounters many things such as ghouls and bullies. But there is one person who longs for his death… a man named Jack. The boy and his allies defeat Jack eventually ending the story.

There is lots of implicit symbolism portrayed throughout this book. One that came to mind while reading it was the brooch, the cup, and the knife. These three treasures represent greed itself and is cleverly portrayed by the author Neil Gaiman. It is noticed when it is explained that the treasure is buried with its master in the first place which is quite greedy in the first place. Second, The Sleer is greedy by wanting to keep and guard the master all to themselves. As we find out, it doesn’t do Jack any good by actually becoming their master. There is even a flashback where a man named Abanazer Bolger and his friend fight each other to the death just for the brooch. If that isn’t a clever way of implying that these treasures represent greed then I don’t know what is.

During and after I read this book I pondered the obvious but whimsical and bizarre theme of death. Sure it is mentioned blatantly throughout the book, but there is much more to it than what meets the eye. As we read and experience the world Neil Gaiman has created we find that we love the spooky fact of the living and the dead living and coexisting together. We also find that their are many walls, barricades, and rules that rarely make this possible. Bod is a great example of this. He was only taken in by the Owenses because of the appearance of the Lady on the Grey. This was a sign that Bod could have the freedom of the graveyard. Not any living person gets this opportunity though. There is a fine silver lining between the living and the dead. The graveyard as Neil actually explains in the creation of this book, that he got the idea from when he was a kid sitting in a library surrounded by books. The same thing applies to the idea of the graveyard. Each headstone represents a book containing knew knowledge of the people of the graveyard. A book is described as being a doorway to other worlds. This is literally true for the ghoul gates in the graveyard Bod explores and lives in. The ghoul gates are actual doorways to what is called Ghulheim. The death even dance with the living in part of the book dancing what they call the Danse Macabray. It is fascinating how much this book opens your thought on what death actually means for the living and how the living and the dead coexist in a uniquely weird way.

I really loved this book because it brought to my attention many thoughts and descriptions. I enjoyed the way Neil Gaiman set up the story making you want to find out what happens and ending the book with you wanting to devour more. Neil Gaiman has boundless ideas and themes sewn and hewn into the perplexing and shivering lines of this masterpiece worthy to be read over and over again.

Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

23395680.jpg
My Rating:★★★★★ 5/5
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
synopsis
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes. (Goodreads).

quote
“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”
review
A large dossier of hacked files from an event where a planet gets destroyed. It follows the story and relationship of two teens. The fleet’s AI goes crazy and blows up a ship because of a lethal virus, many people die, and they eventually escape from a warship called Lincoln.

The setting shifts from the icy planet Kerenza to the fleet. After that, even though there are slight changes from ship to ship the setting stays pretty constant throughout the book. But the setting immerses the reader in open space, following the tragedies that happen between the fleet of ships. First, we meet the main characters on the planet where they live… Kerenza. Kerenza is an icy and illegal mining planet where it was illegally colonized. They actually operate the mine under detection for over twenty years, until their planet is attacked by a rival mining company called BeiTech. Only a small percentage of the people from Kerenza live and are taken in by a government fleet. We meet our main characters when they describe the attack as it happens. Kady Grant uses her truck to make a break for it, but ends up running into her ex-boyfriend Ezra Mason. They both miraculously escape the planet and onto two separate ships; the Hypatia and the Alexander. This is the point where the setting contributes deeply to the whole story. Most of the story is told through conversations between mostly Kady and Ezra, but also other personnel in the fleet. We watch the whole story unravel as characters talk to one another through the their “comms”. Surveillance videos are described in full detail throughout the book, as well as recordings and information coming from the AI (AIDAN’s) core. Some surveillance videos describe virus afflicted people running through the corridors of abandoned ships because of a lethal pathogen released by BeiTech. Many people die on the fleet. Overall, the settings of the book contribute to the meaning of the text by telling the story in different perspectives, in turn making the reader feel different emotions, especially sending shivers down the reader’s spine when once normal people slowly and gruesomely go crazy.

The whole book is basically a giant conflict between BeiTech and the remaining survivors of the Kerenza attack. Kerenza is stunted and wounded at the beginning by BeiTech, another big mining company that mines the same thing as the Kerenza mine. This of course isn’t a coincidence, and BieTech’s warship Lincoln follows behind the escaped refugees of the Alexander fleet. To make matters, another problem arises. The fleet’s AI system goes crazy and destroys a ship infected with a lethal pathogen, the Copernicus. Then it all goes down from there. Dealing with a psycho AI and a lethal pathogen afflicted ship, things only get worse. The fleet barely escapes from the Lincoln and eventually Kady helps the AI destroy the Lincoln at the end and only one ship remains. The conflict between BeiTech and Kerenza is what propels the story forward, leaving my heart beating through my chest.

This is absolutely a must read for those who haven’t read it yet. I devoured the book, and savoured every word and description. Not to mention, the book is told in a unique way… through a dossier of hacked files. It combines wonderful sci-fi magic, with a spine-tingling sensation. You just can’t help but stepping into the character’s heads, and dancing in their hearts. This will definitely be enjoyed by many for years to come.