Quick Review: The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan

I think what I like about this series is how Rick Riordan really explores how messed up some of these myths are. The things that the Gods do are just really unjustifiable and forces Apollo to face them as a human. For the last four books, Apollo has been living as Lester and all of his fragile human failings. For the first time, he has really mourned the death of a human for the first time. Jason’s death still shocks me because in these type of books, the heroes never die. They always find some way to live, particularly in Rick’s world where he has found some pretty creative loop holes to keep his demigods alive. Kudos for him for bucking his own trend. It’s still sad nonetheless. Jason’s death hangs over all of them, particularly those at Camp Jupiter. Frank, Hazel and Reina are already reeling from the previous battle and now they have to move on without Jason and his leadership. Apollo is grieving and has to face his own mortality. Two of the three Emperor’s are planning on attacking Camp Jupiter, with the last king of Rome. To survive he must come to grips of with some of the worst things he did as a God and the people he hurt along the way. It’s truly touching to see Apollo face his humanity and learn from his mistakes. He knows he can’t change what happened but he’s learning he can be a better person and be better God. There is one book left and I can’t wait to see what is in store for him and Meg. Not to mention, with them going back to New York, means that I’m sure we are going to get another Percy cameo. Yes!

What I'm Reading Now: Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Damn! Just look at the cover!!! I’m so excited to see what awaits Zelie and Amari.

Review: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

So, I finished reading this book in May. It’s the only book for Asian Lit Bingo that I finished in time to actually put on my bingo card. Then, I started writing this review at the end of June. I’m now finishing it. What the heck is wrong with me? (I mean, aside from the second half of the year being very busy.)

This is an amazing book. It’s a quiet book and a warm book and a heartbreaking book. It was really, really beautiful. The prose was really, really beautiful. It opens with narrator Mikage trying to figure out what to do next now that her Grandmother, who was the last of her family, has passed away. The utter sense of loss, both at the loss of her Grandmother and the loss of what one should be doing, felt so real. Mikage finds that she doesn’t want to leave the kitchen. She’s taken in by Yuichi, who knew and cared about her Grandmother, and Yuichi’s mother Eriko. As she gets her life back together, she spends a lot of time in that kitchen. She then quits school to work in a kitchen. There were so many kitchens in this book and they reminded me of many kitchens (like the one I was sitting in when I started this review and the one I’m sitting in now as I finish it).

Anyway, I loved this book, and I think if you like quiet books about life and love and loss, you’ll love this book, too.

Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

What a way to end a series. Jude is not the same girl she was at the beginning and neither is Cardan. They both have grown up so much over the three books. I’m so proud of them. Jude is an exile after Cardan secretly marries her and then exiles her for killing his brother. She’s more then a little depressed because well she got out maneuvered by Cardan. She’s more then a little bit of a whiplash. One minute she’s getting married and the next she’s back in the human world, living with her sister and brother. How did this happen? How did she lose control so quickly. Things take a turn when Jude takes on a dangerous job for a fairy and learns Cardan’s reign is in trouble and then her twin sister, Taryn comes to pay a visit and drop some serious news. Jude must go back to Faerie and help her sister and in no time she’s back in the Game of Thrones. She’s kidnapped by her father, who’s making a play for the throne. She discovers his plan and does what she can to get back to Cardan. Cardan for his part is the same sarcastic king he was but he’s also matured into his role. We have known that he was in love with Jude and didn’t know how to deal with his feelings because 1. She’s human and 2. he never got much love as a kid himself. He knows that he was born under bad stars and people never expected much from him. He didn’t give them much in the last book by drinking for most of it but he’s been better. He plays a part in Jude’s rescue and really takes down his walls for her. This totally throws Jude off her game because its not the Cardan she knows and it’s almost too good to be true. When Madoc finally makes his pitch for why he should be king, Cardan does something so surprising for him that he little transforms the kingdom. Jude is tested like she’s never has been before. She has the power but it’s tenuous at best. To hold on to it will she follow the bloody past of her father? Will she make one more bad bargain? or she will use her one advantage over all of fairies and be human? I want say too much more because I don’t want to spoil it but it’s good. I will admit, I knew what Jude was going to do before Jude did but it wasn’t any less satisfying. I really love when Holly Black when she writes fairies because she no one understands them better. I also love how she seamlessly integrates her other fairy characters into the story without it being too obvious or forced. It’s clear that they all live in the same universe and opens up the story in so many ways. There is so many ways she can take it. This trilogy may be over but she definitely left it open for certain story lines to continue on in other stories and I’m here for it. I am so here for it.

Quick Review: Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

At the end of the Raven Cycle, Blue and her Raven boys found what they were looking for. Gansey found he didn’t need a wish from a dead Welsh King. Blue is was not just an ordinary girl living among unordinary girls. Adam that he was more then just poor abused kid and Ronan that he could move on from his grief. Well, apparently there is more for Ronan and his brothers Declan and Matthew have more to work through. Call Down the Hawk starts the fall after the end of the Raven King. Gansey and Blue are off driving around the country during their gap year. Adam is off at Harvard and Ronan is home dreaming at the Barns. Ronan and Adam are still together but the distance is hard. Ronan thought he wanted nothing but to live at home but finds that he wants more than just dreaming. His older Brother Declan, wants to live a boring life where he goes on unnoticed. Matthew is just his happy self except for when he wonders for no reason. It turns out being a dreamer is more dangerous then one might think. It’s not just collectors like Colin Greenmantle that wants Ronan but a secret society of hunters that believe that dreamers like Ronan will bring the end of the world. The Brother’s Lynch soon meet Jordan Hennessy and her many dream selves and things start to unravel quickly. For fans of the Maggie Stiefvater and the Raven Cycle this is a must read. It has the same feel of mystical storytelling of it’s predecessor but moves at a much faster pace. The stakes are much higher as the body count is also higher. Ronan is still everyone’s favorite bastard. I love him. Adam is still wonderful and the best boyfriend. Declan is the real surprise. We really didn’t get to know him in the last series and what little we did was through the lense of Ronan, Gansey, Blue and Adam and well they are a little bias. Declan maybe the least magical person in the lynch family but he also the glue that keeps them together. He comes off cold and uncaring but really he cares almost too much about his brothers. I won’t say it’s better than the original series but it’s definitely close.

Quick Review: SuperNova by Marissa Meyer

So I mentioned in my Review for Rebel that what makes a good villain is one that you don’t necessarily disagree with. Nova has been playing the villain role. She’s been a double agent. Working along her enemies, the Renegades while undermining them working for the Anarchist. All because she believed that the system needed to change. The rules the Renegades have put into place were too ridged and anyone who didn’t want to conform to what they thought was right was thought of as a criminal. She and her fellow anarchist felt that all prodigies should have the freedom to live they want to live without fear of persecution. You can’t really fault her or them for that. Things get murkier, when the Renegades introduce Agent N. A biological weapon that take away prodigies powers. If any villain steps out of line, they would be neutralized. The problem with this is who decides who is truly a villain? What process will the go through to decide? When word comes down that patrols will be outfitted with Agent N and given permission to use as deemed necessary to protect themselves. Now we come to a situation where prodigies would be neutralized on site without any due process. The whole shot first and ask questions later routine. I’m sure many people can draw comparisons of this in our society. There is a lot of back and forth that goes on this book. Nova is discovered but Adrian and his team look for any reason to not to believe she is Nightmare, that they are so easily duped into releasing her. I mean, yes a lot of the evidence was circumstantial but also pretty obvious. Nova for her part, sees another way to get what she wants,thanks to her time with the Renegades but also time in prison. She soon discovers that past prejudices are hard to overcome and what you thought was true is not always the case. The epic battle comes down to Nova, Adrian, Oscar, Danna and others to put aside their differences and learn to trust each other so they can work with each other. I enjoyed the series as a whole but I do think they council needs to be disbanded and another form a government needs to put in place because as good as they are superheros, they are bad policy makers and considering that the door has been left open for more books, I hope that this will be explored more.