Montag, 27. Oktober 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan


What can I say? After years of patiently waiting we finally reached the end of this wonderful series. But this doesn't mean the ending was great or even satisfying.

The Synopsis
On their final quest to defeat evil godmother (literallly) Gaea our seven demigods sail to Greece where everything has started. At the same time Nico and Reyna are on their way to Camp Half-Blood to deliver the great Athena Parthenon statue, for it should settle the blood-stained past of Greek and Roman demigods. But are they able to do it just in time before the rise of Gaea?

To be straight, I was (still am) so disappointed with this book. There was so much build-up in the four books before; all the prophecies and promises... where did it all go? 

See, I am not an evil person who only paints books in a bad light. In fact I'm doing all of this ranting of awful things because I loved this series so much, that the ending felt undeserved for both the characters and the readers. By knowing the characters for four years (and some even longer), I felt that the given ending was unjustified and rushed. To be fair, I just finished the book yesterday, so my feelings may be a bit strong in this review. I don't even think this can be called a review, rather a rant from a disappointed year-long reader.

Sigh. Let's get over it, shall we?

The POVs
The book was written from five perspectives: Jason, Leo, Piper, Nico and Reyna. This was problematic from the beginning. Not only did we get way too much coverage from Nico and Reyna's quest to bring back the Athena Parthenon, we also didn't get anything from Frank, Hazel, Annabeth and Percy - who are our main characters in the first place. This book was supposed to be about the seven demigods of the prophecy, so why did I feel like they were nothing more than background characters in this book? They didn't feel special anymore. They didn't even feel important to the plot anymore. We barely got any metions of Percy and Annabeth; I didn't even notice Hazel and Frank in this book. This book is about them. I expected them to at least narrate for the very last time. 
Belive me when I say I love Reyna like the whole fandom does but, hell no, I wasn't interested in reading from her perspective. Reyna's POV was completely unnecessary. Her actions could easily be covered by Nico; I don't get what Riordan wanted to achieve with her POV.

The Characters (or the lack thereof)
Where were our seven main characters? I felt like this book was only about Jason, Leo and Piper. I get that the series started with them and should end with them too. But unfortunately this was poorly handled. With the lack of the four others, the whole prophecy seemed unimportant and even foolish. Why did they even need seven demigods when Jason, Leo and Piper saved the world on their own? We also got to see Thalia and her Hunters and even the Amazons again, but we never got an explanation what happened after the battle with Orion. Did they survive? Were they hiding?
Fortunately there was no bad case of OCC-ness here or believe me I would rage. There is definitely some character development, especially in our new heroes, but it was expected from a Rick Riordan book.

The Deaths (or also the lack thereof)
One of the biggest things I am disappointed with. There was so much hype about who is gonna die in the last book and like we all know from PJO, Rick loves to kill his characters. Believe me when I say I hate the whole killing strive authors have, but deaths are necessary and sometimes even essentially to a plot. PJO broke me with its deaths, especially the redeeming ones. But without it, the series would lose its moral. 
But in HOO? We got nothing of those. The series was all about the Roman way of life; the sacrifices and sense of duty it takes to be a Roman (in contrast to the Greeks in PJO). My biggest bet was on Frank or Hazel. Frank, because of his strong sense of duty and knowledge of sacrifice and also his vulnerable life on a stick (literally). Hazel, because, well, she was already dead and was brought to life again, and we all know how that ends. People aren't supposed to walk opn earth again once they're dead. It's just not natural. So naturally I assumed they would both die. 
But instead? We got Leo not actually dying. Octavian's death was a mess. He never got the chance to redeem himself; he was just deemed as overly mad. Bryce' death was unexpected and confusing, I still don't understand how Nico can turn a human body into a soul. Many of the Amazons and the Hunters got killed, but it was never mentioned again afterwards.
There was just nothing to grieve about.

The Missed Potentials
This is the very last book in a this series. We will never get another book about Percy, Annabeth & co. again. So why didn't we get an awesometastic spectacular ending? The book was supposed to contain the BIG fight against Gaea and the giants. Instead the prophecy wasn't even mentioned again. I expected them to explain every prophecy like they did with the PJO books but in the end it didn't even matter. The grand build-up in the last four books with Frank's important sense of duty and sacrifice, Hazel's cheating of death, Jason's confusion of his camp loyalities, Piper gluing the team together and Leo's lack of human bonds faded away.
Again, we never got something out of this series focal point of the Roman way. First we got nothing of the sense of duty Frank is supposed to have. It could easily be a conflict point with Percy's fatal flaw, loyality. Like Athena said in The Titan's Curse:
"You do not know when it is time to cut your losses. To save a friend, you would sacrifice the world."
I thought this could turn interesting, since we already know how Percy thinks of it as not being fatal, although he was warned again and again by different gods. It could give us the dark side of Percy's heroism. 
The fact that Romans' main emphasis is cohesion and cooperation in a fight as opposed to the Greeks' solo heroism could have been intriguing, too. Sigh.

The Ending
The fight with Gaea felt... unsatisfying. There was no real struggle; it felt way too easy. With only Jason, Leo and Piper defeating her, the prophecy felt laughable. So many things were not explained afterwards: What happened to Gaea after she was exploded, what Apollo's penalty would be (I seriously felt bad for him), what the fates of the Hunters and the Amazons were, why Frank's stick suddenly felt so unimportant... 
Everyone thought Leo was dead. So why did no one but Jason and Piper grieve? There was no funeral pyre, no mention of anything. Leo's fate wasn't handled any better; how was it possible for Calypso to just leave her island? How did he even get there so fast? He was unconcious (or dead) for three days on a flying dragon? What?

The Romance
It was barely there in this book, which is a plus, since Riordan tends to distract the reader with it from eventual plot holes. Which in this case were a lot to cover. Usually Riordan is pretty neat with waving the strings together, but I feel like ever since Leo's and Calypso's sudden insta-lurve in HoH, he forgot what made Percabeth such a success: its slow and steady growth from friendship to love. Nico's sudden attraction with Will Solace (and vice versa) came also out of nowhere.

The book as a standalone is actually quite solid, but for a mighty Rick Riordan book it was very disappointing. Especially that it is the very last book and there wouldn't be any other chance to recover the damage that is done. I give it 3.2 out of 5 stars.

One of the little things I was excited about was Annabeth's connection to Riordan's upcoming book series' main character Magnus Chase. Hopefully he will not let me down with his retelling of Norse myth (we all know how that ended up in Marvel's hands); his Egyptian myth book series is spectacular as always.

Dienstag, 21. Oktober 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top New Series I Want To Start

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. They have lots of interesting ideas for every week, so make sure to check them out!

This week's topic is Top New Series I Want To Start. It got me particulary interested because: Firstly, I decided to blog a bit more than a few times in a year. Secondly, I also decided to write more about books, since it is all I got into reading again this year. And thirdly, there are so many books on my to-be-read pile (around 200!) so why not organize them to keep track on my goodreads shelf disaster.

I have no particular order in my lists, but the very first one is usually the one I'm interested in the most.

1. The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
I've been obsessed with fey/faeries recently (thanks to City of Heavenly Fire!), so I've been searching for a good fey book and with this I even get a whole series deal! The plot sounds basically the same as any other YA book series: Girl feels like she doesn't fit in, girl finds out she isn't who she thought she is, girl saves the world with a happy-go-lucky sidekick and a brooding love interest. Nonetheless I'm still looking forward to it, since its sequel series looks a bit more interesting (but of course I need to read the original series first!). I plan to buy the complete collection next month or at least when I get my paycheck, so fingers crossed!

2. The Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor
If you keep track on my goodreads account you've probably have seen, that  I'm actually reading it right now! When I first heard of this series, there was much hype about the characters and the author. But being the pessimistic reader I was then, I wasn't really intrigued by the premise of an angel and a demon falling in love. It came to me as too clichéd, so I never even passed it a glance. But with the time I really came to hate the typical YA characters, so I was looking for some with unique traits and what did I find? This series. So might as well as give it a try. Also the cover of the german edition (which I'm reading because I borrowed it) is absolutely gorgeous!

3. The Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater
As you might know I absolutely LOVE Maggie Stiefvater, and her writing style in particular. She just has this unique easiness with her words you can't find anywhere. I already read her standalone book The Scorpio Races (which I also reviewed) and this was when I first fell in love with her books. So with TSC and The Raven Boys already read (which I also give props for its unique plot and setting), I decided to pick up her most famous series yet. I was very reluctant to read this, because the plot very much sounds like a Twilight Fanfiction, and I didn't want to ruin my view of her works and capabilities. But my friends have been bugging me to read this for the longest time, so I finally went ahead and picked it up yesterday. Review to come!

4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I know what you think, 'NANA HAS NOT READ HARRY POTTER? DISHONOR ON YOUR COW!'. Don't worry my friends already yelled these words at me enough to finally get the first book. To my defense, I watched all the movies, sans the very last one because that's when my DVD player broke, so it's not like I know nothing about the wizardry world. Years ago, I actually read the first book but I can't remember anymore. Coincidentally (or maybe it is fate?) I went to the flea market quite often this summer, and guess what I got for only one buck? The first book in all its first printed glory! So of course I read it in like three days, and I'm already planning to get the whole collection - when I saved up enough money of course :P

5. Divergent by Veronic Roth
I watched the movie and while the plot didn't really make me obsess about it like THG, I find the world and its system really interesting, so I might want to read it as a book. This series was also recommended by my best friend, who literally cannot shut up about it.

6. The Magisterium series by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
A book written by one of my favorite authors? And it's about a boarding school of magic? With a female POC as one of the main characters? That's an instant YES from me, nothing else. I don't care about the comparisons to Harry Potter, I just want this freaking book! (On a side note: I've never read about an Iranian character before, so that's a huge bonus interest point for me!)

7. The Seraphina books by Rachel Hartmann
Dragons AND kickass queens AND math? An odd combination but it sounds like an interesting premise!

8. The Curse Workers series by Holly Black
I tried to listen to the audiobook but it was horribly cut, so I mght as well try to read it. Also, it's Holly Black, fight me.

9. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
I actually read the first half of the first book, but gave up, because I didn't like the main character. But last friday I watched the movie (Dylan O'brien! Ki Hong Lee!) with my friends and it totally got me hooked again! Hopefully it will turn out better than what I've yet read. *fingers crossed*

10. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
These books are not the usual type of YA fiction; you can probably categorize it into dystopian fiction, but actually not really. It deals with a reverse world, in which the Whites are the oppressed people and the Blacks are privileged. I think, this is an interesting form of social commentary or rather critic. With my never-ending urge to discuss racism (I just wrote a whole essay about it yesterday) I feel like this book has been written for me to think upside down.

So this makes my top 10 (new) book series! I'm sorry for the amount of rather old series, but I feel like they deserve a mention in this list.
What are your favorite new book series you want to start? Comment down below and let me know, I would love to read your suggestions! Also, if you already did this week's meme, feel free to link me to your blog, I will most definitely check it out.