My Rating: 5 Stars
If you’re like me and never cry with books, I will tell you now there’s a first time for everything.
Set in the Age of Heroes, The Song of Achilles re-tells the story of one of the most famous names of the time, Achilles, told in the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles’ best friend and lover. As a young prince, Patroclus is exiled to the court of King Peleus, where he trains and studies with prince Achilles. Despite being completely different, their friendship grows through the years until it develops into something deeper. The kidnapping of Helen of Sparta sets in motion a series of events that test the lovers in ways they never expect and will change their lives forever.
I must begin by saying I felt a lot, too much and intensely the story of Achilles and Patroclus. If you read or know the outlines of Homer’s Iliad, you will remember that the story doesn’t have a happy ending. Even so, Madeline Miller, while staying true to Homer’s work and the known Greek myths, created a masterpiece that traces perfectly the evolution of a young friendship into a soul-binding romance. She gives depth to the characters, creating the perfect and solid backstory of Patroclus and creating a more human image of the demi-god Achilles.
The style of writing is lyrical and Homer would be proud to read it. Miller writes elegantly yet simply. You flow through the story from beginning to end without missing a single detail. As you read, you have the feeling you hear a harp and a soft voice narrating the novel. The descriptions give colour and detail to Ancient Greece from its palaces to its wars. Miller doesn’t forget the historical details either. They’re perfectly mixed with the fictional story; the typical traits and societal behaviours during the Trajan War period they strengthen it the story and make it more real.
The characters, as I mentioned before, are close to perfection. Achilles, the hero known for his brutal nature and arrogance, is presented in a completely different way. Yes, he’s a spoiled brat, in the beginning, not forgetting his royal heritage and situation, but he grows up to be a man divided between his heart and his duty. Yes, he’s ruthless and hot-headed, but at the time, he’s gentle and it’s clear in his actions that he truly cares. Patroclus is the complete opposite of Achilles. He’s far from being a war machine like it was fully expected at the time, to be someone that cares deeply about others and manages to put others before himself. He thinks with the heart and together with his innocence, he manages to catch the attention of Achilles from the very beginning. On the other hand, his need to end the suffering of the people and to protect them becomes his downfall. His relationship with the demi-god is perfectly developed and the way they grow together both physically and emotionally grows on you from the beginning to the end.
A masterful work of art that will stay in my heart for a long time. This novel book sheds a new light on the famous story of Achilles, and the many layers of the story will surprise you and mark you. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough.
My Rating: 5 Stars
An absolutely brilliant plot: mesmerizing narrative and gripping from page one.
What if the ancient Aztec civilization survived the trial of time and still existed today? In a world of stone pyramids and wild parties, the old traditions prevailed and the belief that a blood sacrifice is needed for the sun to rise is still practiced like clockwork. This is the reality that Maya lives in. She is the daughter of an upper-class family that spends her time partying with her friends and the man that claimed her as his wife. Her life is turned upside down when she gets kidnapped by a group of rebels that want to put an end to the theocratic regime. Maya learns that everything she has been told in her life is a lie and that the sun will rise with or without a human sacrifice. Will she join in the rebellion to save the people or will she be the next offering to the gods?
A brilliant novel that I will re-read many times over.
The storyline is solid, well-structured and consistent. It’s very rich in historical facts and they are slowly revealed through the novel, so it doesn’t overwhelm the reader with information.
The pace builds up very nicely in the beginning and then it's complete non-stop with action, filled with twists that make the story impossible to predict and pure adventure. This world is so well created that it seems like it actually took place. It was a breath of fresh air to read more about Mayan culture, their cults and rituals since it’s a story of a civilization that I know little about. Val Bodurtha presents a deep knowledge on the subject and presents it beautifully. Not only that, but it also shows a knowledge of politics and religion and how society promotes equality but in the end, it’s structured, my classes. The Aztec society is built by the elite and the ones that aren’t. Unfortunately for the peasants, that title comes with a deadline as a sacrifice is needed to gain the favour of the sun deities.
The characters are very well characterized and they truly seem to come out of the pages. They are flawed with moments of arrogance, ignorance but also courage and growth. Maya, the female protagonist, is a spoiled brat at the beginning of the story, she doesn’t care about anyone but herself and her inability to see through her own circle is annoying. But, I’m glad to say, she improves throughout the novel and actually becomes a mature young woman, driven by the need to help others and change the course of so many lives that were meant for a short life-span. The main male lead is Tezca and he is the definition of a fearless warrior. He leads the rebel group, organizes raids and builds the plans to overtake the theocratic ‘government’. He definitely adds energy to the plot and his intelligence makes the plot more believable and solid. The secondary characters are just as important and they give the support that changes the course of a few occurrences during the adventure.
Even though this book is classified as YA, I recommend it to all audiences. It has some juvenile moments but the storyline is brilliant and it’s very different from any setting the reader may encounter. It definitely deserves all its 5 stars.
I want to thank Lanier Press and the author Val Bodurtha for reaching out and sending me a paperback of her novel in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A great sequel to the memorable first novel The Red Pyramid.
Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt got released into the world, the lives of Sadie and Carter Kane has been turned upside down. Now responsible for the House of Life in Brooklyn, the siblings train others with pharaohs’ blood, trying to get ready for the dangerous mission ahead. The most feared enemy of Ancient times is awakening and with it bringing destruction to the world and drown it in Chaos: Apophis, the serpent of Chaos. To stop it, they must do the impossible: find the god of the sun, Ra and re-establish him as the King of the Gods. Easier said than done, however, no one knows where the god retired to exile and no one has seen him in decades. So, the world is about to end and they have no idea where to start. Just another normal day in the lives of the Kane family.
This adventure keeps getting better and better! Just as the first volume, Sadie and Carter narrate the tale of their impossible missions in a witty and entertaining way and this time their adventures will them to a trip around the world.
The story-line is great, consistent and leaves nothing to chance. Every detail the reader learned in the first book is explored and easily understood throughout the story, going deeper into the characters and the plot itself that starts to become more complex than the reader would have expected. Action, funny interactions, dangerous encounters are only a few of the moments that make this story so addictive.
The writing style is typical of the great writer that Rick Riordan is known for and it keeps the reader glued to the pages from beginning to end.
The settings in this instalment change just as quickly as everything else: from Brooklyn to Egypt and Russia where the characters explore the extended influence of the Egyptian culture across the world and how powerful symbols can be.
Rick Riordan presents a new group of characters that complement the story perfectly. Bes, the god of dwarves that has the power to scare people away with his ugliness, the handsome Walt that makes Sadie’s life a bit more complicated and true Zia that makes Carter’s life a lot more difficult. Carter and Sadie grow so much in this novel that it’s Impossible not to grow attached to them. Their relationship changes as time pass and it’s a nice change to see that even though they get along better actually able to have a normal conversation, they still have their snarky comebacks and rocky brother-sister conversations.
This series keeps getting more and more interesting and I’m sad that there’s only one volume left.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another brilliant series by the renowned author Rick Riordan, and this time with Egyptian mythology.
The Kane siblings have two very different lives ever since their mother died. Carter, raised in the US, the oldest, travels the world with his father, being home-schooled and used to the fact he never stayed in one place long enough to make friends; and Sadie, taken under their grandparents wing in the UK, goes to school, has friends, but only has the chance to see her father and brother no more than a few times a year. Their lives change forever when an accident unleashes the gods of Egypt into the world, the good and the bad ones. They soon discover that the gods are unable to stay on their plain unless they take a human host, one strong enough to sustain them. Thrown into a world that was hidden from them, Carter and Sadie find themselves on a race against time to save the most important person to them and stop Set, God of Chaos, from destroying the world.
Rick Riordan did it again: a mind-blowing and involving middle-grade novel that all ages can enjoy. In this novel, he takes on one of the most complex religions and manages to make it very simple to the eye of his readers.
The story-line is very solid and the reader is taken on an adventure of a lifetime with the Kane siblings. All the mythological myths, legends, and godly characters are very well represented and their story is presented in a way that will keep even the younger readers engaged in the story and the characters. The novel is fast-paced, filled with action and unexpected twists that will leave the reader second-guessing throughout the story. There are two perspectives in the novel, both from Sadie and Carter which allows the reader to get to know them simultaneously and have a better understanding of the story.
The characters are amazing. For the first time, the main characters of this novel are brother and sister and with such dynamics that is both refreshing and very entertaining. I think readers with siblings will be able to identify to some of their thoughts about each other and their reactions. At the same time, I think the author did a great job in developing their relationship since they were raised apart. In the end, they don’t know each other that well and struggle to understand one another. Furthermore, Carter and Sadie are very different: Carter is humble, methodical, logical and with a vast knowledge of Egyptian culture; and Sadie is sassy, rebellious and usually acts before thinking. Both characters are very well-developed as well as the secondary characters, which become more important throughout the story.
I really enjoyed this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s an action-packed adventure that will impress all ages.
My Rating. 5 Stars
This a great change compared to the other collections Rick Riordan created. A hilarious breath of fresh air!
Handsome sun god all-mighty Apollo is banished from Olympus after the great battle with Ghea. He is now in the body of a teenage boy with acne and not even the shadow of his 8-pack; and, because things had to be worse, he doesn't have his powers either. With the help of the demigod Page, Apollo gets to Camp Half-Blood only to find that his oracles have gone silent and demigods have gone missing. When the ex-god is given a quest, can he make it out alive?
This new series continues after The Heroes of Olympus and it makes the start of a great new adventure with a very unlikely main character.
The story-line of this novel is refreshing and creates a solid base for the future instalments. There isn't time to grow bored with this novel, the action starts right from the beginning and the style of writing and the humour keeps the reader engaged until the very last page. Plus, since the story is told through the perspective of Apollo himself, the reader gets to know in depth this character that has as much arrogance as he has regrets.
The settings where the novel takes place are already familiar to the reader which gives a feeling of familiarity but at the same remember the danger of specific places.
It was great to see old characters that the reader got so used too in the previous collections and new recruits that add spice and colour to the story. Page, the main female protagonist, is q mystery and very difficult to get to know since she's very quiet and keeps to herself. On the other hand, to see her interactions with Apollo and how their friendship grows was a treat and a hilarious journey. Apollo is not your regular main character: he is narcissistic, selfish, completely oblivious to the feelings of others and a complete drama king. Even though he has his flaws (which he doesn't see as such), he has his heart in the right place and he actually grows as a character throughout the novel. The reader will be taken on a ride of emotions with Apollo aka Lester, living through hilarious, witty comments to heart-stopping action scenes and heart-felt moments. It was very refreshing to read a book of Rick Riordan where the main character is so different from all the others he created so far.
A very enjoyable and easy read that I highly recommend to the fans of Rick Riordan, his amazing writing style and his memorable characters. I you think you've seen it all, you should definitely try this one!
My Rating: 5 Stars
First of all, I have to say I'm a huge fan of Mr Rick Riordan's work and style. I've read quite a few of his books and the feeling never really changes.
The Sword of Summer is the first book of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard collection and it was absolutely brilliant! Fast-paced adventure filled with twists and a lot of humour... I mean buckets of humour!
About the story: Meet Magnus Chase, a troubled boy that lives in the streets after the mysterious death of his mother. Growing up not knowing who is the father was, imagine his surprise when one of the people that he has been avoiding finds him and tells him his dad is Norse god. Magnus life takes a big and fatal turn that will take him on a quest beyond the world of the living and into the world of Viking myths and legends. His mission? To prevent Ragnarok, the end of days. Guided by a prophecy, together with his three friends Magnus most travel the Nine Worlds in search of a weapon that has the power to change the course of destiny. Easy right? Oh, did I forget to mention the giants, fire-giants, trolls, resentful gods?
A great start for this series. There is nothing not to like, the characters, the settings, the plot and don't even get me started on the humorous conversations and chapter titles.
I really liked Magnus as a character. His spirit, his ability to face his fears, his loyalty, his courage and of course his sarcasm make him an epic hero that I want to read more of. Sam, the main female protagonist is incredible. She is a force of nature, not afraid to speak her mind and to follow her instincts. Despite being set aside for her lineage, Sam doesn't let others opinion bring her down.
The rest of the team Blitzen the dwarf and Hearth the elf complete the picture and add the spice to the story. With this group it really shows that you can't be good at everything, you're not perfect and that's okay because you are unique and you have friends that will always have your back. Their friendship is incredible and I could feel the strong bond between them right from the start.
Is this like Percy Jackson? No. Percy and Magnus are two very different characters with two very different destinies.
The second book is all ready to go on my Reading List and I can't wait to get my hands on those pages! Highly recommend it!
Some of my favourite quotes:
“I told my new friends that I was allergic to dismemberment. They just laughed and herded me toward the combat arena. This is why I don’t like making new friends.”
“The thing about talking swords…it’s hard to tell when they’re kidding. They have no facial expressions. Or faces.”
“No, Satan would be a schlub next to this guy. This guy is like Satan’s fashion consultant.”
“I don't expend my energy trying to fight the change of seasons. I focus on making sure the days I have, and the season I oversee, are as joyful, rich, and plentiful as possible.”
My Rating: 3 Stars
Very enjoyable read even if a bit short in my opinion, maybe because I'm used to reading relatively big books. The story though is really good bringing together adventure, time-travelling, mystery and mythology.
The story starts with a museum visit where a 14-year-old boy named Jon hears the sphinx whisper to him. When he returns at night, curiosity getting the best of him, Jon is introduced to Neb, a spirit trapped inside the sphinx after being murdered by an evil sorcerer in Ancient Egypt. In order for Neb to be released, Jon has travelled back in time and find his killer. How to go unnoticed? By assuming the identity of the pharaoh's son of course.
The story is fast-paced and very easy to follow and enjoy. Jon is a very likeable young boy with a thirst for adventure and reveals a level of courage beyond his years.
I would have liked to see a more detailed description of the old Egyptian world. I'm a big fan of mythology and it would have been nice some more depth in this field.
I recommend this book for YA/children that love mythology and like quick-readings!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Tambora Books, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Greek history and mythology are one of my favourite fields not only to study but also to explore in my free-time. This is the main reason I wanted to read this book, and the promise of "new" Greek myths". It didn't disappoint at all.
This book contains 17 myths and stories of ancient Greece, written in a way that will grab the attention and the heart of its readers, no matter the age. There a few myths that I never really heard of or read about and the curiosity of knowing more just made me unable to up it down. Even the stories that everyone is familiar with are written in a different way. Stories are presented beautifully.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone that is bored of reading the same old tales of Greek mythology and is in need of a twist.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher and author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.