Gods this is such a great series. I’m sorry that it’s only a trilogy but Rick being Rick did leave it open that if he wants to he can always return to Vahalla, Magnus Chase and his friends. I’ve gushed and praised Rick Riordan in so many other reviews and this is another one. His ability to mix mythology, humor and present day is truly a gift. Yes, his these books a little formulaic. His heroes must go on epic journeys, where they must face many dangers and trials before facing a near impossible task but never does it feel tired or old. It maybe because of his cast of characters are all are real and diverse. How many young reader novels has a Muslim and gender fluid characters in the same novel? and more important how many of them are both are shown to be brave, resourceful, loyal, smart, funny and happy. The answer not many. Both Samirah and Alex are all of those and more. Throughout the entirety of the book Sam is practicing Ramadan, which is probably the first time that many of readers have ever read about Ramadan. As I have stated before about Rick’s, he’s not afraid to tackle tough subjects in his books and he does it by showing positive scenes and connecting them with the stories of our past. That no matter what a child is going through, they are not the only ones. Kids of all race, gender identity and faith can see themselves in one of his many books and that’s amazing. So keep up the good work Rick!
It’s that time of the year when publishers release titles in bunches so they are out before the Holidays. It also means my to-read list just gets longer and longer. Here are a few books I just can’t wait to read.
One Dark Throneby Kendare Blake – the sequel to Three Dark Crowns. Three sisters with three different powers but only one will survive to be crowned Queen.
Before the Devil Breaks Youby Libba Bray – Book three of the excellent The Diviner’s series. To quote Evie, it really is the Bees knees.
So I’m just going to come and say it, this wasn’t Colleen’s best work. To be honest, I was kinda bored through most of it. The first 2/3 of the book was kinda like the never ending camping trip in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Lily and Ahmose had to must trek through the cosmic universe, through the land of the dead to battle mythical creatures to help the Egyptian Gods and wake the other other Sons of Egypt, Amon and Asten. All while having internal arguments with the two other people inhabiting Lily’s body, Tia and Ashleigh so they can altogether form a fourth person to defeat Seth. Yeah, there was a lot going on there. Maybe it would have been better if I cared more for Lily, Tia or Ashleigh. Maybe it was just the pacing of the book. It felt repetitive and throwing all these unnecessary tasks and battles in her way. All these life or death situations that you knew she was never really in danger since she is the heroine and we have another 300 pages to go. To be fair some of those run-ins turned out to be important to the finale but most of it could have been completed left out and it wouldn’t have effected the narrative. I’m glad that this series is now over and she can refocus on her better series, Tiger Saga, which the fifth book has been in the works for at least four years now. Bring me back Kelsey, Ren and Kishan ASAP.
I keep waiting for Rick Riordan to write a bad book. The Dark Prophecy is not that book. He just keep coming up with fresh and different ideas of making these old stories relevant and fun. Whoever is the God or Goddess of story telling, Rick Riordan is their son. When we last left Apollo, he’s reeling from the betrayal of Meg, a new prophecy sending him to Indianapolis and the reappearance of Leo and Calypso. That’s a lot for a former God turned mortal teenage boy to handle but handle he must. When Apollo, Leo and Calypso arrive they are greeted by some very polite monsters because of course the monsters that inhabit the Midwest would be polite. they are rescued by two former Hunters of Artemis Emmie and Josephine who tells them that their daughter is missing. She had gone to the dark oracle for help from the second Emperor who has made Indianapolis his home. Of course this Emperor Apollo has personal history with making everything more awkward. As the crew tries to figure out how to defeat Emperor Commodus and get the next prophecy without going crazy they experience the same mythic hi-jinks of the other books. Yes, these book can at times feel be formulaic but it never feel feels like that. They are just fun, witty and refreshing. Rick doesn’t shy away for the more uncomfortable stories from Greek and Roman mythology or tries to wash them out either. Many of these stories are not happy or fun but then again neither is life and yet Rick never lets it get to dark. He is always able to find the absurdity in them. Bring on the next one.
The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh. Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May. Let’s see how I’ll do.
Rick Riordan has written another winner here. I think I liked this more then the first book, The Sword of Summer. It was flowed a little bit better and Magnus’ sassiness really went up a notch in this one and I loved it! He wouldn’t let the fact that he was dead and will be spending eternity preparing for Ragnarok get him down. Nope. But really what I loved about this book more then anything else is the positive representation of diverse characters. I have praised Riordan in the past for his diversity and willingness to tackle difficult situations in his books. True, his main characters have been mainly white boys but his willingness to include characters of color and other sexuality is admirable for a kids author. So far his books have featured a Latino and Latina, Chinese Canadian, Gay teenagers, Biracial siblings, Native American girl, Black boy and girl, and Muslim girl and made them all well rounded full characters without ever falling into old stereotypes. In The Hammer of Thor he introduces us to Alex a gender fluid teen. As queer rights is becoming more and more a discussion point in our society, characters like Alex are even more important. She (I’m going to refer to her as She as Alex says that she mostly identifies as a She and spends most of a book as a female but at times Alex also identifies as Male too) is a person has been marginalized and misunderstood her whole life but has a strong conviction of who she is. Gender fluid people are not often depicted in pop-culture and not with the sensitivity and strength that Riordan writes her. But not only that, Riordan draws on the fact that Gender fluid people or argr as they were referred to by the vikings had a place in ancient Norse society. I think there are many people today who sort of think that LGBTQ community are the result of recent sins of the last hundred years or so. Not true. Just like how he wrote about Nico coming out and relating it to Cupid story he does it here. So props to you Mr. Riordan.
So let’s get back to the book. In the last book, we know that Thor has lost his famed hammer and now we know that some Earth Giants have it. They must get the Hammer back and thwart Loki’s plan to marry off Sam to the Giant, which is problematic since 1. Sam is still a teenager and 2. Sam has already been promised to marry Amir. They must traverse the seven realms to find another famed weapon and look for clues as to what Loki’s real objective is. Let’s just say, it’s not just to make sure his daughter is taken care of in a good marriage. Along the way, they meet democratic zombies, abusive father elves and giants who love to bowl. It all makes sense when you read the book. Riordan has always been good balancing the humor with the action. The book never waves or drags It was just keeps going and going and I can’t wait for the next one where they finally get act like vikings and hit the seas and PERCY!