The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

apollo1_riordanApollo Haikus
Uncle Rick can do no wrong
Camp Half-Blood Part 3

After the battle with Gaea, Zeus put all the blame on Apollo. Why, you might ask? Because Gaea duped Octavian, a half-blood son of Apollo, and Zeus’ logic dictates Apollo should be punished by casting him out of Olympus and turning him into a teenage boy with acne. For the sun god, there is no worse punishment.

One of the primary characteristics of Apollo is his constant need to complain. Which, in the first few chapters in understandable. He has lost everything that defined him. His godly powers are pretty nonexistent. He is entirely mortal, even weaker than his demigod descendants. Eating ambrosia or drinking nectar won’t help him ease his pain. It’s rough for the sun god to no longer be the center of attention. It does get annoying at times, but I think it will work in showcasing Apollo’s growth over the series.

Just like Magnus Chase had cameos from his cousin Annabeth Chase, the Apollo Trials has cameos from Percy Jackson. Plus, learn about what all the rest of the half-blood gang through dialogue! Most of them are in college or preparing to do so. Even the storyline with a certain boy-who-lights-himself-on-fire’s storyline gets continued. It lets other characters like Will and Nico and other new friends get a chance to shine.

The best new face brought to this story is Meg. Don’t even think about calling her Margaret. She lives off the streets of New York and is one of the first demigods Apollo encounters. She’s a tough twelve-year-old but still is pretty naive. She’s unaware of what happened in the previous books, as would readers who haven’t finished The Blood of Olympus. There are some pretty major spoilers in this book about that one. As for her godly parent … I always find it fun to try to figure that part. But as a hint, it’s a god or goddess we haven’t heard much about. Meg has claimed Apollo to her service, the person he has to serve to prove to Zeus he’s learned his lesson. But Zeus has turned Apollo mortal twice before. Hopefully, his third strike doesn’t mean Apollo has struck out.

Filled with the great humor we have come to expect from Rick Riordan as well as hilarious haikus to open each chapter. Back at camp, everything isn’t going great. The oracle isn’t giving prophecies which makes it impossible to go on a quest to figure out why the oracle isn’t giving out prophecies. Communication isn’t working, campers are going missing, and no one knows what to do. It’s up to Apollo, Meg, and their friends to uncover and stop a conspiracy to rid the world of Olympians once and for all.

-Nicole G., 12th Grade

The Hidden Oracle, the first book in the new Trials of Apollo series, is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

Teen Read Week: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

swordofsummer_rickriordanWhen I first heard about this book, my brain zeroed in on the last name Chase. Related to Annabeth Chase, perhaps? Rick Riordan doesn’t fail to disappoint. Magnus Chase is her cousin (first cousins on their human side) and she is spotted immediately in the first chapter. I got so hyped about a new series from Riordan that ignored a minor oversight: I had little to no knowledge about Norse Mythology.

Fortunately, Uncle Rick understands. There are some clues leading up to the reveal of which god Magnus is the son of. (Here’s a hint: it isn’t Thor) I just didn’t see it because I don’t speak runes. Most of the mythology stuff is explained to go with the plot and never seems like a history lesson. I’m not sure how accurate it is by saying dwarves listen to Taylor Swift, but I’m sure other ideas like the nine worlds is there.

Expect some of the great humor that you know and love. The renaming of a sword to Jack. Ancient gods or goddesses referencing pop culture. First person internal dialogue with just a bit of sass. And the chapter titles. If I wanted to explain what the book was about, I would just display the table of contents because even though they seem random and bizarre, the chapter titles accurately describe an aspect in what happens next.

I really don’t want to spoil any of it, but don’t expect another Percy. No one will ever live up to him anyway. This is a new kid, with a new personality, and a new story to tell. Is it better than Percy Jackson? No. But is it still worth the read? Absolutely.

-Nicole G., 12th Grade

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library

Book Review: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

percy-jackson-greek-godsWelcome to the ancient myths you know (or vaguely remember) from Percy Jackson’s perspective. It is completely biased with Percy directly stating which gods he loves, which gods he hates, and which god should build him a golden llama (come on Hephaestus!) So why should you read this book? Are some of Greek names so hard to spell, much less pronounce, that you want to make fun of? Do you wonder what Percy would do in an ancient greek myth situation? Have you ever thought about how the Greek myths affect everyday language? Do you enjoy your public service announcements such as drugs are bad and alcohol is for adults? Well, all of those are included here (even the last one; Percy needs to cover his legal bases when talking about the god of wine).

A lot (but not all) of the Greek myths are covered, everything from Zeus’s many affairs, to Hades kidnapping his niece, to Hermes first theft, and so much more. I really don’t want to ruin too much more because it’s fun to just discover what crazy things the gods are up to next. Well, in the past, but you know what I mean.

The only thing left to wonder about is when Percy had the time to write this book. He mentions Annabeth is his girlfriend, so it has to be after the first series. Then he mentions Piper is a vegetarian, so probably after the second series, too. Maybe around the same time he encountered Carter Kane, Egyptian magician. Speaking of which, this is a great book to get you ready for the third book in the Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover that just came out– The Crown of Ptolemy. It has Percy (his perspective) , Annabeth, Sadie, and Carter against a magician trying to harness Greek and Egyptian magic to become a god. Can’t wait!

– Nicole G., 11th grade

My Top Three Reads of 2014

People like to set goals for themselves during the new year: New Year’s Resolutions. Because of my love for reading, I am proud to say that I completed my reading goal of 50 books last year. With that amount, I finished some amazing series and books. This is my list of Top Three Reads read in 2014.

unmarked1) Unmarked by Kami Garcia

This book is the sequel to another I reviewed a while back, Unbreakable. That book is still my favorite out of all the ones I’ve read. I love the supernatural mystery of it. I was in love with it so much that I had to countdown the days to when this book came out.

**SPOILERS!! Must have read Unbreakable!**

The story begins with Kennedy at her new boarding school, where she was put after the police found and interrogated her that night in the rain. She’s on her own now. The Legion left to work. Their job has just begun, with Andras now free. But Andras has a mission too. He’s looking for Kennedy. She has to reunite with the Legion in order to capture Andras and finally get her mark.

In my opinion, Unbreakable had a better story. There was more action and different spirit encounters, as where in Unmarked it was just Andras. It wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped it would be. The ending wasn’t satisfying, either. I didn’t like it compared to the first one, but I still anticipate the third book in the series.

2) Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

**SPOILERS!! Must have read House of Hades!**

Many of you know, Blood of Olympus came out in the fall, so I got to finish this exciting series, but I was also sad that it finally ended. It starts off with the continuation of the seven demigods’ quest to deliver the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood as a peace offering to stop the war against the Romans and the Greeks. They already have enough to worry about with Gaea, the earth goddess, on her way to the wreak havoc on the world.

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire, the world must fall,
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death”

It’s time to end this intriguing series we all love.

**SPOILERS!! Must have read Blood of Olympus!**

For those who have finished this book, let’s reflect. I didn’t like the fact that Percy and Annabeth barely spoke throughout the whole book. They’re the main characters after all. Also, I wasn’t happy with the end of the book (and not just because of the fact that it ended). Gaea is supposed to be the all mighty, most powerful goddess, so I expected a full on fight with her that would maybe take up an entire chapter or two, not a fight that didn’t even last a chapter. The way she finally died was very simple and didn’t seem to take up much effort from the demigods. Another thing was how the demigods finally ended up. I’m happy for Percy and Annabeth, getting the ending they truly deserve, and Nico, meeting someone who loves him back, and Leo for keeping his promise and finding Calypso. It would’ve been nice to see exactly what happened like an Epilogue to show how they lived. I know the rest is for the readers to imagine, but that’s my opinion. Overall, the book was okay. I’m still upset, though, that one of my favorite series ended.

outsiders3) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

A couple of my friends have been telling me to read this book forever, and I kept putting it off, but when I finally did get to it, I couldn’t put it down. The story is set in the ’60s about Greasers and Socs. Greasers are considered the “low lives” in the neighborhood. They are kids who are usually not the brightest, form gangs, are poor, and distinguish themselves by styling their hair with grease. The Socs are the white boys who are rich and educated and love to beat up Greasers just for fun. The narrator, Ponyboy, shares the story of his life as a Greaser with his two brothers, Darry and Sodapop. Ponyboy is the youngest of the brothers, only 14, but he has seen more danger and destruction than one should see at his age. And of course, Johnny, Ponyboy’s best friend, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, as people say. All is normal and well enough between the two groups, until one member of a group kills someone of the other side.

This book was very interesting, showing a time when kids jumped others just to get a kick out of it, not even to steal. The book even describes a gang fight including maybe twenty members from each side, just to see who’s the best. I couldn’t believe the ending. It shocked me because it was so surprising I never saw it coming. It’s a great book, and I can see why it was my friends’ favorite.

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution involving reading or writing? Have you accomplished them? Are you making one for 2015? I think they’re great ways to keep on track. And as for these three books,  have you read them? If not, are you now interested to?

-Sabrina C., 9th grade

Book vs Movie: Percy Jackson

percy_book_movieI think this is the best place to say “The books were better than the movies” because I am going to talk about the Percy Jackson series. That saying works best with this series because the books were the best books I have ever read and the movies… not so much.

If I had not read the book and I saw the movie, then I would have thought that it was a cool story and a good movie overall. But since I read the book first, I had a 10/10 rating in my hand and a less than 10/10 rating on the screen. The movie makers aren’t even going to make a third movie because they aren’t making a profit on them.

The books are written in the perspective of Percy Jackson, which is hard to do when you’re writing, and gives a whole lot more description about what is going on. First off, in the movies, there was no description as deep as the description from the books and they left out huge things from the books that the storyline barely made sense. They also added things from the last book that totally ruined what the second book was about!

But I am not just here to criticize the movies; I am also here to talk about how AMAZING the books were. You’ve got action most of all that is really cool to picture in my mind. The description is really great because I am able to visualize and make a movie in my head about what is happening in the book! My head movies are better than the movie theater movies even! (I wonder if the director even read the book…)

Also, the Heroes of Olympus series is just as good. All these books aren’t some of those “and they lived happily ever after” stories; these books actually make you think and enjoy and relate to the characters. I know I am not the only one that is waiting for the next Heroes of Olympus book that just came out and I also know that I am not the only one who is really excited for it!

I know this Book vs. Movie post is kind of late, since the books have been out a while and the movies too, but I have just recently been reading them and watching them again. I am sorry for those of you who turned 13 and did not get chased by monsters to Camp Half Blood, but those of you who are not 13 yet, don’t lose hope! If anyone, and I am sure there are a lot of you, feels the same way about these books and movies, or if you don’t, please leave a comment below!

-Kyle H., 8th grade

Book Review: House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

house_of_hades_coverThe last book in the Heroes of Olympus series ended with a real cliffhanger. Actually, Percy and Annabeth were falling off a cliff into the depths of Tartarus. Rick Riordan’s dedication sums it up perfectly:

To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.

I was so excited that I finished it the day it was released. I wouldn’t go so far to say the wait was completely worth it, because I still wished it was available as soon as I finished Mark of Athena, but such is life if you don’t wait for an author to finish a series before you start reading.

The chapters interchange between adventures on the Argo II and the terrors of Tartarus Percy and Annabeth must endure. The characters have a deeper relationship with each other and begin to act more like a team. The prophecy is almost complete, though I anticipate some twist at the end like in the first series. All of the seven half-bloods have their perspective in this book (Percy and Annabeth have the most chapters), and major changes are happening to them.

First of all, Hazel embraces The Mist, the magical force that make things appear to be what there’re not. Frank makes Mars proud, growing and discovering his own importance. Leo has his tool belt stolen, catches his clothes on fire, and might just find a love interest. Jason is questioning his Roman heritage, after seeing Camp Half-Blood and feeling more at home there than he ever did at Camp Jupiter. Piper confronts some old enemies and charmspeaks machinery. Nico, though not one of the seven or has any chapters from his perspective, is probably one of the characters we get to understand the most after he faces a god.

As for the couple in Tartarus, their time there is very bleak. If they thought they knew the hard life of a half-blood, it can always get worse. Drinking lava water to survive is the least of their worries. Can monsters even be killed in Tartarus? There are some funny moments there; Percy and Annabeth make such a cute couple.  And, after several books of suspense, Percy’s sword can actually work as a pen. Very helpful tool when you are stuck in a place where monsters reform and even the gods never visit!

What I loved was the incorporation of old characters from the first series, as well as a major role of someone in the demi-god files. Some old monsters are back swearing revenge on Percy (Somehow they are never happy being vaporized for some reason) as well as new immortal enemies. Meanwhile, campers from Camp Jupiter arrive at Camp Half-Blood. Will a battle arise? Who, if anyone, will sacrifice their lives?

House of Hades is building up for the big finale. The ending in this book doesn’t have a cliff hanger aspect, but still, why does it have to be so long for the next one? Begin countdown for Blood of Olympus.

-Nicole G., 10th grade

Must-Read Books of Fall 2013

Between new school schedules and a ton of homework, is there time to seek out new books? Of course! Here is a list of books I am planning to read this fall. I have been waiting months for all of them, so they’d better be amazing. Hope you enjoy them, too.

dream_thieves_cover1. The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: September 17th

This is the second book of The Raven Cycle where the ley lines have woken and ensure the lives Blue and her raven boys- Ronan, Gansey, and Adam- will never be the same. For Ronan, dreams are merging with reality. Meanwhile, the Cabeswater puzzle Gansey is trying to solve has taken the interest of some sinister people.

house_of_hades_cover2. House of Hades, by Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 8th

With a cliffhanger in the previous book, the continuation of The Heroes of Olympus continues the adventure of seven half-bloods with no time for failure as they travel to seal the Doors of Death. If they succeed, how will Percy and Annabeth ever escape the depths of Tartarus?

allegiant_cover3. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth
Release Date: October 22nd

The ending to the Divergent series. When everything Tris knew is shattered, she goes beyond the fence and what awaits her may be worse than what she left behind. This book is told from dual perspectives (which I’m hoping includes Four’s point of view).
 

champion.indd4. Champion, by Marie Lu

Release Date: November 5th

The Legend trilogy comes to a close. The Republic is improving, but with a new plague and possible war, the cost to save thousands of lives might mean the one June loves to give up everything.

 
horizon_cover5. Horizon, by Alyson Noël
Release Date: November 19th

This is the fourth and final book of the Soul Seekers series. Daire must face her archenemy, the Richters. Is there a worse foe out on the horizon that could end the world? Will Daire survive? Can love conquer all?

All these books are far along in a series, so I suggest reading the previous books before getting to this list. Which book are you most looking forward to? I honestly can’t choose. Happy reading!

-Nicole G., 10th grade