Mythology

Book Review: The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King
Author: 
White, T.H.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Once and Future King, by T. H. White, is a great fantasy classic that is a retelling of the saga of King Arthur. The novel is stuffed with a mix of wonderful emotions that blend together to make a very unique fantasy story. The characters are all developed very well, especially the protagonist, and the plot fits them very well. The book has some very sorrowful scenes, but does a fantastic job of spacing them out with its humor. The only downside to the book is that it is for high-level readers.

If the story was put into a bit simpler language, it would relate to more people and reduce the amount of strain placed on the readers' mind while trying to interpret it. Overall, The Once and Future King is a great fantasy novel, but its use of complicated language takes away from the world it creates.

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven L

Book Review: Soul of the Sword

Soul of the Sword cover
Author: 
Kagawa, Julie
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Soul of the Sword picks up directly at the end of the events of the first book in the series, Shadow of the Fox. If you haven’t read Shadow of the Fox, and you like Japanese mythology, what are you waiting for? Pick it up now! Also, skip this review, because spoilers.

If you liked the first book, you’ll like this one too. I did not remember the first book that well as I read it last summer, but Kagawa writes this in such a way that it’s easy for the reader to jump right back in. Most of our characters (save Tatsumi, because he’s mostly a demon now) get further development, and Yumeko in particular really seems to have grown a lot throughout the course of the book. My favorite character, the ronin Okame, has an exceptionally fun development. The worldbuilding, which was fantastic in the first book, continues to be alluring as Kagawa further fleshes out what was already a well-drawn world. The plot, like the first book, is fast-paced and while this is definitely something of a bridge book, it’s a bridge book that is really fun to read.

Readers of Rick Riordan who are looking for something a little more grown-up, or folks who like their fantasy to be steeped in mythology, you won’t go wrong with this series. I’m excited for the next one to come out. 4 stars – I really liked it!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen & Netgalley for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Soul of the Sword will be available for purchase on 18 June or you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In the first book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief, Percy the protagonist has been accused of stealing Zeus’ Lightning bolt. Percy must get it back to avoid all out war among the gods. Along the way he makes some new friends and meets some strange characters.

This book is one of the best books I have ever read. This book is very unpredictable. My favorite types of books are the ones that are unpredictable and this one has one of the best twist ever in a book. This book did well in the bookstores and was made into a movie. However, in my opinion, the book is substantially better than the movie. The book has lots more parts that are really funny and the movie leaves out great parts of the story. I would recommend this to anyone interested in mythology as it is based on Greek gods and their over the top stories. Yet, this is an excellent book and is good for almost everyone, even if you are not a Greek mythology expert because it is pretty easy to follow along.

Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexander M

Book Review: We Hunt the Flame

We Hunt the Flame Review
Author: 
Faizal, Hafsah
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

Zafira has gained respect amongst her community for being the only person brave enough to dare the forest of a the Arz – a rapidly growing magical forest from which most who enter don’t return. She’s known as the Hunter. However, all respect Zafira has gained would be lost if folks were to find out that she was a girl. Nasir has a name of his own: Prince of Death. He assassinates all who cross his autocratic, despotic father, no matter how he feels on the subject. As the Arz grows and resources get more scare, both Zafira and Nasir find themselves on a journey to find a magical relic long buried on a dangerous island long presumed lost.

Another nearly impossible to write description! The worldbuilding in this thing is complex, and its really hard to give a short summary of the plot outside of “awesome” girl and scary-but-hot boy go on a quest for a magical object. While I do love complex worldbuilding, it bogged down the story for the first 40% of the book, and I kept getting confused by which peoples had what characteristics if they weren’t the peoples of our main two protagonists. Speaking of our two main protagonists, they were the least interesting characters in the story. Zafira is your standard strong-but-still-insecure-attracted-to-the-bad-boy YA fantasy protagonist, and Nasir kills people for no reason. The author tries to describe it away (his girlfriend will be brutally tortured), but this guy kills hundreds of people to (maybe) spare the lives of a few. Utilitarian he is not.

Anyway, after a lot of labored worldbuilding, we finally get to the island and team up with some other folks on the same quest. After this, the book is a lot of fun for about 30%. The characters have great chemistry, and the new ones are all dynamic and interesting people (beings) who we learn about slowly through the switching perspectives of our main characters. There’s a heist vibe and some great chemistry between friends and enemies alike . If that section had been the whole book, you would be reading a very different review. However, unfortunately, the book then focuses on a romance between our two leads, and I never found it to be convincing or compelling.

TLDR: This book was so close to being a really fun read, but a forced romance between two largely un-compelling leads overcame my love of the supporting characters, their chemistry, and some really fun worldbuilding elements.

I think folks who liked The Gilded Wolves or the Throne of Glass series will find things to like here. For this reader, it was mostly a miss. 2 stars – it was ok.

Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Netgalley for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. We Hunt the Flame will be available for purchase on 14 May, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

An excellent introduction to Greek mythology and adventure, Percy Jackson and the Olympians provides an engaging storyline and an interesting set of characters. Perfect for early interest in literature and mythology alike, it is one of my first favorite series of books. Although it's a childish book, it attracts readers of all ages with its fun dynamics and interesting plot line. It is a clever modern twist on traditional stories. I would recommend reading for ages 9 to 12, but it can be enjoyed at any age.

Reviewer's Name: 
Settare R

Book Review: The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book "The Red Pyramid" by Rick Riordan is an excellent read for pretty much any age group. The main characters, Carter and Sadie Kane, embark on their first adventure in this book. When their dad accidentally summons an Egyptian god and is entombed in the Underworld, these twins must risk everything to find him. With the help of their mysterious uncle, Carter and Sadie must practice using their hidden magic to defeat anything in the way of them and their father. "The Red Pyramid" is an amazing story with lovable, relatable characters and the ending will want you craving more!!

I enjoyed this book and when I finished it in 7th grade, I was glad to find out that there were two more books in the Kane Chronicles. "The Red Pyramid" is suspenseful and you will not be able to put it down. I loved all the characters in this book and have already read it three times. The main reason I chose this book was because one of my friends recommended it, and I am so happy I decided to read it!! The whole book was exciting and I would be happy to read it a fourth time. I am excited to read more books by Rick Riordan and hope they are just as great as this one.

Reviewer Grade- 8th grade

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaylei F

Book Review: The Odyssey

The Odyssey
Author: 
Homer
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This epic poem is one of the most fascinating pieces of literature I have ever read. Following the story of Odysseus, it is an epic journey where gods and mythical monsters try and impede his journey home. There is mythology intertwined with adventurous storytelling, and the style of writing, while obviously more difficult than modern writing, is not too challenging that it makes the poem hard to read. I would recommend reading it for both its historical significance and because of how interesting the story itself is. While it will take some time to get through, the story, I believe, is worth the time. The monsters that Odysseus encounters barter with him and tell him stories that deepen the plot; his interactions and relationships reveal mysteries and provide new motivations or points of interest.

Everything is complexly interconnected and it does take a bit of historical context or background knowledge to understand all parts of the story, so it is an undertaking. However, the fantastic and timeless story is entirely unique. I would give it five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

An excellent introduction to Greek mythology and adventure, Percy Jackson and the Olympians provides an engaging storyline and an interesting set of characters. Perfect for early interest in literature and mythology alike, it was one of my first favorite series of books. I would recommend reading for ages 9 to 12, but it can be enjoyed at any age!

Reviewer's Name: 
Settare

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Percy Jackson series is one of my favorite series’ because it combines two topics that I really like, Greek mythology and action/adventure. Greek gods and legends are typically very epic and exaggerated so combining that with a very relatable boy creates an amazing result that I think only Rick Riordan could have come up with and developed.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians; The Lightning Thief, a fictional novel by Rick Riordan, follows the journey of a boy and his relationships and encounters with Greek legends and myths. Percy Jackson is at first what some might call a “loser” and often gets picked on at school and has trouble concentrating on academics. Percy’s whole life changes when he discovers that his dad, which he hadn’t known before, was the all-powerful Poseidon making him a demigod. After Percy finds out who his dad id he is sent to Camp-Half Blood, a cleverly named camp for demigods, because his home is no longer safe for him. In Camp Half-Blood Percy makes himself at home I makes new friends by impressing people with his powers which he didn’t even know he had. The fun and games is quickly over when learns that someone has stolen the lightning rod from Zeus, the king of the gods, and the top suspect is none other than Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon. On Percy’s journey to prove to Zeus that he is not the thief he is accompanied by his two best friends Annabeth and Grover.

I personally think that it was quite a genius idea to have the main character be just an average boy that gets bullied and picked on at school because it makes him relatable. I think that in one way or another everyone has been bullied before and it makes Percy a very relatable character and I also think it kind of acts as inspiration for us.

Reviewer's Name: 
Seth

Book Reviews: American Gods

American Gods
Author: 
Gaiman, Neil
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book follows ex-convict Shadow, once he is released from prison and enters into a new job as the assistant to Mr. Wednesday (more commonly known as Odin). Shadow doesn’t believe the fact that he is surrounded by gods, until Mr. Wednesday introduces him to god and god and shows him undeniable evidence. Mr. Wednesday is using Shadow as a mean of amassing the older, more forgotten gods into an army ready to retaliate against the new gods of the modern era. Technology, for example, is depicted as a god, but a socially removed and young god. This has been one of my absolute favorite books to read because of how it explores the change in worshiping from ancient gods and folklore into technology, media, and trends. The book is so complicated because it brings together ancient gods of cultures from around the world.

Each have different origins and purposes, and the role Shadow plays as the representation of humanity only intensifies the surreal feeling of the book.
I liked how I was able to relate to Shadow, as bring subject to the controlling factors of society, whether they be demanding gods or media outlets. I appreciated how well-researched the cultures written about were, and how there isn't a page in the book that doesn’t bring about another point to think about, something like morality or control. The book is also very entertaining and a fascinating storyline, and I would highly recommend it to any reader. I would give it five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

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