Review: Daughter of the Pirate King

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33643994.jpgGoodreads Synopsis:

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

I went into this book expecting a lot of fun and adventure. It didn’t necessarily lack either of those, but for the majority of this book I felt that there was something lacking. I think that something was the main character . . . but there is potential still for her and the author as they work towards the companion novel.
You can tell this is a debut. It’s comes off as if it’s trying a little too hard from the start and does a lot more telling as opposed to showing. The telling is what irked me for the majority of this novel. Our main character tells us everything – I mean everything. There is nothing left for us to deduce on our own through actions, mannerisms, or expressions. And while we are getting an ongoing narration of the events by Alosa, we are also getting her very arrogant opinions. While I understand that with a first person narration we are going to have bias from the narrator, I felt it was too much at times and had to set the book down because of how irritated I was getting. Furthermore, the action felt very slapstick, with such a ‘badass’ I hoped for more than literal bashing of heads together to get out of every scenario.
This all does begin to improve after the charading dies down and we get more information about the reason why Alosa is on the ship and more about her relationship with her father. The dynamic of Alosa and Riden also gets more entertaining as they play off each other’s more intimate traits. And I’m glad that whiles there’s on ongoing flirtation, we don’t fall into instalove. There really isn’t any romance at all, which I appreciated. We have the flirtation, the attraction between the two that they use to get what they want from the other, but there is no indication of deeper feeling until the end, and even then neither one is really sure enough about those feelings or their trust in the other person to admit them. While I had a lot of issues with the book in general, this was one of the redeeming qualities for me.
As we got into the bigger secret reveals and deeper into the characters minds we also start to loose some of the immaturity of the beginning of the book. The revelation of Alosa’s “secret” didn’t surprise me at all, but I can see how it adds complexity to the story. And now that we know, hopefully as we move forward she will be less cryptic. I did enjoy the few moments we had with Alosa without her tricks and masks to hide behind. If the next novel deals with that girl I would be very interested, but I will have to see what the reviews are before I commit to signing back on with Alosa.

 

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Review: The Star Touched Queen

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.

I saw a lot of mixed reviews for this, it seemed you either love it or you hate it. I was not a fan. I finished the book, but was not really eager to do so. What ultimately makes or breaks this book for people is the prose.

The writing is oftentimes beautiful and lyrical, but for me, it was mostly overdone and confusing. The elaborate metaphors and flowery language took away more than it provided in my opinion. I felt like the language disrupted the flow. I would be in a groove, then hit a paragraph of elaborate prose, and have no idea what just happened, where I was, or what the character was doing. I also thought the pacing was a major issue. What takes up the first quarter of the book doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the latter half, and we don’t get to the conflict till about three quarters of the way through.

I feel like this was supposed to be a story of a personal journey to find oneself. However, the character makes all the same mistakes as she did in her first life, and what little character growth there is doesn’t show itself till the very end. The romance was also very lacking. I get that there is supposed to be a connection between these two from their previous life together, but their relationship isn’t explained at all, past or present, besides in a love-at-first-sight way.

Overall, I was not amazed by this story at all.

Review: The Hidden Oracle

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Goodreads 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 favour.

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.

After the last Magnus Chase I was a a bit apprehensive. I didn’t feel like there was a new voice in the last one, it basically was just another Percy Jackson (who I love, but it wasn’t supposed to be him anymore). Well I am happy to report that Apollo had a very clear, individual, and new voice!

I really liked how Riordan was able to balance the age of an immortal god, with the new shell of a teenage boy. There was also the conflicting thoughts of a god and a mortal, and it was all so well balanced and believable. The new villains introduced were also very intriguing and I can’t wait to see how they play into past events and what they have planned.

Along with a great new cast of characters, we are surrounded by our favorites from the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series. So plenty of old faces popping up, but a great new focus on lesser visited characters.

I am really glad at how this first book turned out, and look forward to seeing where the series goes!

Review: Lady Renegades

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Goodreads Summary:

Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town…which means her life is on the line yet again.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.

I loved how fun this series was to read, and was able to dive back into this last installment without much pressure to re-read the series. Though I had forgotten a lot about the second book – the weakest of the series in my opinion – there were enough references and reminders for me to never feel lost in this finale.

I loved that we had a strong team of girl power in this last book, and that Harper and Bee were finally team bestie again and working well together. Everyone was just so much more grown up in this book. I was a bit surprised as to how little David wappeared, but I think it worked really well, Harper was being forced to pick her path and to weigh her role as a normal girl and a Paladin against the challenges she faced, and the betterment of people outside of herself and her little bubble.

The ending was satisfactory and adorable. And while there wasn’t as much snark in this one that has kept me laughing and enjoying Hawkins’s writing, there was enough action and interest to keep me sucked into the story and read it easily. Overall, a very satisfactory ending to a really fun series.

Review: The Sword of Summer

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Goodreads Summary:

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

I don’t think it’s a secret that I absolutely loved the Percy Jackson series, and quite enjoyed the Heroes of Olympus series. I took an interest in Greek/Roman mythology in college so it was so much fun for me to read it from Percy’s POV, even if it was marketed to start with middle schoolers. But I mean so was Harry Potter.

Anyway, based on my experience with Riordan’s two other series I was looking forward to this one since beyond what I have learned from the Thor movies – so nothing – I didn’t know anything about Norse mythology. And it was interesting to meet some of the gods, to compare/contrast them to the Greek/Roman gods, to see how the whole set up was different from and similar to the general Christian perspective of world structure as well as other mythological structures.

Also, another tremendous element of the books was Riordan’s display of diversity. We have a Muslim girl who wears a hijab, a deaf boy, and a guy who is passionate about fashion; not to mention Magnus who has been homeless for the past two years. It was so well executed too, these diverse traits didn’t overshadow the character’s core characteristics, it enriched everything.

Ok, now’s when I broach my one complaint. I found it hard to see a difference between the voice of Magnus and Percy. Percy, our original troubled kid who always has a snarky retort for things. Magnus did seem a bit less mature with his comebacks, but still. The two characters are so obviously and completely different, but Riordan’s hallmark humor was what blurred the lines and sometimes made me feel like I was reading something I had read before. I have hope that Magnus’ voice will become more polished and individual as the series continues. Also, I think I will re-read the Percy Jackson books and perhaps I will see a bigger difference with a refresher.

Overall though, it was an interesting and unique story. I appreciated the diversity and the new set of gods. I love that Annabeth has an active passive role (it makes sense to me) in this and cannot wait to see how she will be ingrained more, and how the Greek and Norse worlds will mix.

The Blood of Olympus

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Goodreads Summary:

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

I know there is a lot of mixed feelings out there about this, but I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get any perspective from Percy/Annabeth – they will always be my favorite since I started with the Percy Jackson series. Though I also get why we didn’t, and I did enjoy hearing from Nico and Reyna, I ended up liking Reyna more than I did before and I liked getting to see how Nico ticks, he’s always just been this brooding guy who we don’t know much about, and I liked seeing how much he has grown up and moved on from his crush on Percy and his feeling of isolation.

Overall, I’m happy with the ending. I do think we’ll see some more Percy/Annabeth in Magnus Chase, because he’s obviously the cousin Annabeth eludes to, which I think could be good and bad. Of course I would love to see more of Percy and Annabeth, but I think it could also lead to the disappointment in the Heroes of Olympus series, where I didn’t get as much of them as I wanted. But I don’t see them as regular characters, more like characters who make cameos occasionally, so that should work pretty well and still let us see how the two of them are doing.

A down side, I didn’t feel all that invested in this story, it actually took me longer than I thought to read it. Could be because I haven’t read any of them since House of Hades came out a year ago, but I think it’s also because, even though there were some great new characters, I was always most concerned with Percy. In fact I think I’m going to have to re-read that series soon!