Review: The Sailweaver’s Son — by Jeff Minerd

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: The Sailweaver’s Son (Sky Riders of Etherium, #1)

Author: Jeff Minerd

Rating:  ★★★★★★ (6 of 5 – One of the best books of all time!)

Genre/Pages: Steampunk Fantasy / 310

Summary: “The Sailweaver’s Son combines traditional fantasy with a dash of steampunk and takes readers to the world of Etherium, where mountains rise like islands above a sea of clouds and adventurers travel the sky in sail-driven airships.

When fifteen-year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.

Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage and treason. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. Rumors spread that the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of loathsome but ingenious underground creatures. The King’s advisors call for war, hoping to win much-needed Gublin coal.

To prove his innocence, solve the mystery, and prevent a misguided war, Tak must do what anyone knows is suicide – visit the Gublins and find out what they’re up to. When the wizard’s adopted daughter, an oddly beautiful and irksomely intelligent girl from the Eastern kingdoms, asks Tak to help her do just that, he can’t say no.

The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.”

Cover Review: Absolutely beautiful. This is the kind of cover I love to see on a book. The artwork is well-done, the colors are aesthetically pleasing, and the scene actually presents a solid idea of what the book is about. 

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I don’t give out six star ratings very often. It takes a very special book to receive my highest of ratings, and Sailweaver’s Son was completely worthy of it! This book automatically ranks among Percy Jackson and the Ranger’s Apprentice/Brotherband series’ as one of the single best MG/YA books ever. 

Plot: The world building was exquisite, and unlike any concept I’d ever read before. I also think this book did a beautiful job handling the after effects of war on Tak. Too often I see MG/YA characters carry on as if nothing of importance had happened after they kill their opponents. I think Jeff Minerd portrayed war with realism, while still respecting the age of his readers.  This is a steampunk fantasy world of teenagers flying airships and going on diplomatic missions for the king. This is a story of friendship, of compromise, and of peace talks. This book is more than just a fun adventure world to escape to — it’s a story people (myself definitely included) will be reading to their children for years to come. 

Characters: These were characters worth cosplaying. They were crazy awesome. They were realistically brave, dedicated, and adventurous. They were characters that I would happily read a dozen more books about. These are characters that I continue to think about and wonder about even after I’ve closed the book. Like Gregor the Overlander.  I loved these characters so much, I could hardly put this book down. 

 

Content Advisory: Death and war. Threats of torture. Lots and lots of death, but not horribly graphic… Just heartbreakingly real. 

To Sum It Up: It’s books like these that made me start this blog — books that don’t have a mainstream publishing agency promoting their book, but are a million times better than almost any book mainstream published. These are books that I need to tell the world about, because The Sailweaver’s Son makes it possible for the reader to Escape Reality — One Book at a Time ;) I highly recommend it to readers 10 and up. 

Side note: Jeff Minerd told me that he is currently working on the second book in the series, The Wizard’s Daughter. I’m super excited!

 

Review: The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo, #1) — By Rick Riordan

Toa
Cover image and summary from Goodreads.com

Title: The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo, #1)

Author: Rick Riordan

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Mythology / 376

Summary: 

“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.”

Cover Review: ★★★★☆ (4.5 of 5). As always, John Rocco’s work is gorgeous. I wish more authors would hire REAL artists to do their book covers, not all that lame photoshop junk that’s normally on covers. The real, gorgeous artwork like this is the best in the industry!

Book Review: Usually, you’re supposed to love a book’s protagonist from the very first page. But in The Hidden Oracle, the opposite is actually true, and it was a refreshing break from the stereotypical MG novel formula. The most rewarding part of this novel was growing to love Apollo, and the godly jerk that he can be, haha. Also, pretty much every Percy Jackson character makes a cameo of some sort in this fantastic book — our beloved hero Percy included! And is there anyone who DIDN’T miss Rachel Elizabeth Dare? No? I didn’t think so. Getting to see her again was amazing!

 

I’m really tired and am not really feeling like writing a review in my typical format. Honestly, I’ll just be happy when I get this one published. I haven’t been doing a very good job of staying on top of these things, unfortunately.

Rick Riordan does NOT disappoint with this latest book. HUGE story arcs that go back to the very beginning of the PJ&O series are coming to light and being explained – and frankly? It’s crazy awesome. Nostalgia and over arcing plots aside, though, this story still plays out to perfection. Our newly introduced characters are complex, flawed, and completely unpredictable. And seeing the god Apollo as a mortal, interacting with our friends at CHB (his children included)? Well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Content Advisory: Some death and fighting, but nothing graphic.

To Sum It Up: Rick Riordan has outdone himself once more, and I cannot wait for the second installment of ToA. Adventure, laughter, betrayal, fighting… The Hidden Oracle has it all. I recommend it to Readers 8 and up.

 

 

Review: Sword of Summer – By Rick Riordan

First of all – I am still alive! I sincerely apologize for the hiatus I took. It was not something I wanted to do, but I overloaded myself with coursework this past semester, and a hiatus was necessary. Never fear, my friends! I have returned! Now on to the review!

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer

Author: Rick Riordan

Rating★★★★

Genre/pages: Mythology/499

Synopsis: “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 . . .”

My Review: I’ve been a diehard fan of Rick’s work since I read the first PJ&O book nearly six years ago. I remember when he first announced that he would start a Norse series “in 2015” and I would sigh about how very far away 2015 was. And now it’s gone! Anyway, I think MC&GA is going to be a fantastic series. It’s certainly off to a phenomenal start with SoS! I mean, I’ve read some crazy stuff, but starting a book with a death… that’s pretty cool, Rick.

Hero/Heroine: Magnus and Sam. What’s not to love? A street-smart teen with mysterious ties to the Norse, and a cousin by the name of Annabeth, combined with a hijab-wearing valkyrie? Well, it’s pretty crazy, more than a little weird, and plenty of fun. I’ve heard some people complain that Magnus was too much like Percy, but I didn’t really see that. He had the same endearing Rick Riordan sass and sarcasm, but they remained very separate and unique characters. I would love to see them meet, though. They’d be quite the pair. And Sam! Sam is epic. And I love that they have a very Percabeth banter, without the romance.

Plot: The formula is pretty much what you expect from Rick’s books: regular guy figures out he’s a hero, saves a bunch of people, prophecy/mission that has to be fulfilled within about a week, etc. It’s a tried and true formula, but that doesn’t make the book any less wonderful! The actual details of the plot and the characters kept me fully invested and on the edge of my seat. You never really know what’s going to happen when you’re dealing with Rick, and Sword of Summer is FAR from predictable. You will be wholly satisfied with this epic installment in the modern mythos of the Riordan universe.

Content Advisory: Some mild violence. Death.

To Sum It Up: An absolutely magical adventure by everyone’s favorite mythological author – Rick Riordan. Mixing modern with myth and a healthy heaping of sass, Rick creates a story that will thrill readers for years to come. Here is to the next generation of the Riordan universe! I recommend it for readers ages 8+.

Review: Blood of Olympus – by Rick Riordan

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image iinks to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus, #5, AKA BOOK THE END)

Author: Rick Riordan

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.

Genre/Pages: Mythological Fantasy/502

Rating: ★★★★ (5 of 5)

My Review:  For me, the end came quietly. This will not be an all-caps review. My emotions were not all caps. It was a quiet, gentle, agony… but it left almost a sense of peace — definitely a sense of … not happiness … more like, serenity. When I finished it, it wasn’t a throw-the-book-across-the-room-shove-your-face-in-a-pillow-and-scream moment. I gently closed the book, placed it next to me on my bed, laid down, covered my face with a blanket and pillow and softly began to cry as I quietly mumbled nonsensically. Absolutely spoiler-free, it went something like this (add lengthend sylablles and shaky breathes as needed): “and now I’ll never know. What if — . What if — . and now I’ll never know. Rick, you’re so mean. why are you so mean, Rick? I’ll never know. It’s over. forever. The end of an era. But, what if — .” It was a daring conclusion, and I’d never read anything like it. It was wholly original. In other words, this was an epic conclusion to a phenomenal series.

Hero/Heroine: Well, there ARE ten main character, so this’ll probably get complicated. Narrators: Piper, Leo, Reyna, Nico, and Jason. Other main characters: Percy, Annabeth, Hazel, Frank, and (kinda sorta), Octavian. Rick does a fabulous job of creating separate characters with seperate roles, without getting them confused, or lessening the role of any one character. A lot of people complained that Percy didn’t have a major role. Wellll… he DID get 5 books in PJ&O, Son of Neptune, AND House of Hades. He’s already played the majority of his role in the final stand. The others had to step up. Equal importance does not mean they all have the same job. Okay, off my soapbox. Anyway, this is the first time we get a POV of Reyna and Nico. They were both FABULOUS. I love Reyna. I thought we were allowed to discover a lot of important background info on these characters, they developed greatly. In fact, Rick Riordan responded to a tweet of mine about Reyna:

Screenshot 2014-10-21 at 8.49.56 PM

Plot: It wasn’t as shocking or world shaking as some of his other books have been, but it was still wonderful and perfect, in a completely different way. There was never a dull moment, but the whole book had a sense of EASE to it. I loved how it all went down. It was the perfect balance between the characters, locations, and Points of View. I think Rick did a wonderful job of wrapping up each character’s story, even if they didn’t have a POV. This book was perfect.

Content Advisory: Duh. It’s Rick Riordan. There’s nothing bad. It’s intense, there are a some teenage deaths, but nothing horrible. 

To Sum it Up: Just read it, alright? Give it a chance. There may have been a few things I didn’t ADORE about the book, or things I wish could have happened, but Rick knows best. It was all perfect. So perfect. I love this world. This series. This is the end of an era. My childhood. It’s over.

Something new I’m starting: Using Reenin from Deviantart’s sketch Reading Zone, as a guide, I will determine which Reading Posture I was using during this book. :)

Blood of Olympus Reading Posture: Lost to Reality Reading

Click here to see Reenin's sketch on Deviantart!
Click here to see Reenin’s sketch on Deviantart!

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

Review: The Son of Sobek – By Rick Riordan

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: The Son of Sobek

Author: Rick Riordan

Summary: In this audio e-book short story narrated by Rick Riordan, Carter Kane is investigating rumored sightings of a monster on Long Island when he runs into something else: a mysterious boy named Percy Jackson. And their meeting isn’t exactly friendly. . . . Includes a sneak peek chapter from HOUSE OF HADES, Book Four in the Heroes of Olympus series.

Genre/Pages: Science-Fiction/307

Rating: ★★ (6 of 5)

My Review: I. Freakin. Loved. This. Book. 645 KB of utter perfection. It completely and totally satisfied my inner (Let’s be honest here, guys) fan girl.

Perseus Jackson. Meeting Carter Kane. And an Ancient Egyptian monster. Narrated by Rick Riordan himself. Can you really ask for anything better? Reading that short story was the half hour I’ve been waiting for my entire life. Er, well, my whole life since May 5th, 2010. You get what I mean.

Their meeting was perfectly executed, and I just love the realism of everything. Their confusion, their suspicions, their realizations… Holy Hephestaus, this was a fantastic short story! I wasn’t as impressed with the first chapter of House of Hades (at the end of this e-book), but I still have high hopes for the book. And I’m 99% sure I know who’s gonna be closing the Doors of Death from the Hades side.

Anyway, the ending of Son of Sobek? Beautiful perfection! Rick stated:

“Hopefully I’ll be able to continue that story line, so you can find out what happens with Percy and Carter next, though as I said, a lot of other irons in the fire . . .”

PleasepleasePLEASE tell me this means that Egypt with clash with Rome and Greece in the final showdown in HoO book 5! Please! But yes, he definitely left loose threads for a sequel, and I’m just hoping that is a clever way of incorporating them into HoO. Hey, A girl can hope, right?

Content Advisory: Umm… Demigod swearing? “Oh my gods”, “Holy Hera”, etc. Intense Action.

To Sum it Up: Can you say PURE AWESOMENESS? The humor, the action, the ingenuity, the sarcasm. I’ve missed Percy Jackson. This book lives up to everything I ever dreamed, and more. A great quick read in the PJ/KC/HoO world. I highly recommend it to fan-girls (and well, everyone else) everywhere who have read Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

Throwback Thursday – The Percy Jackson Series

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This is hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books. This is an amazing weekly meme dedicated to showcasing older titles that we miss and deserve to be put on others’ TBR piles.

My Pick of the Week:

 

Title: The Percy Jackson Series

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.

Author: Rick Riordan

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 1700

Published: April 1st, 2006

Book One Synopsis:

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Classic, yes. But does that make it any less amazing? Not at all. Not at all. The perfect mix of adventure, suspense, humor, realism, and romance; I absolutely adored this series. The characters are so… realistic and complex. The plots are all so intense and exciting. The settings well-written and believable. When I’m reading one of these books, I feel like I am there, in the thick of the action, with Percy and the gang. And no matter what, these books can always make me laugh. So, if you’re still one of those crazy people who have never read Percy Jackson, do it! You’ll love it.

What’s your Throwback Thursday book of the week?

“Waiting On” Wednesday – The Son of Sobek

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My can’t-wait-to-read book of the week is:

The Son of Sobek

By Rick Riordan
Publication date: June 18th, 2013.

Synopsis:

Cover image from rickriordan.blogspot.com, summary from amazon.com
Cover image from rickriordan.blogspot.com, summary from amazon.com


In this audio e-book short story narrated by Rick Riordan, Carter Kane is investigating rumored sightings of a monster on Long Island when he runs into something else: a mysterious boy named Percy Jackson. And their meeting isn’t exactly friendly. . . . Includes a sneak peek chapter from HOUSE OF HADES, Book Four in the Heroes of Olympus series.

Are there truly words enough to describe how flippin’ excited I am for this book?!?! I think NOT. A Kane Chronicles / Percy Jackson crossover??? I am SO in!

You can read an excerpt from this amazing story HERE.

What’s your “Waiting On” book for the week?