Quick Review: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

the burning maze

**Minor Spoilers**

I have to say this is best of the Trials of Apollo series so far.  We’ve settle in nicely into Apollo/Lester’s to rescue the oracles from the Triumvirate and earn his place back on Olympus but the stacks are much higher than ever before.  If I had one issue with Rick’s works is the lack of consequences for the main characters.  The life of demigods are often faced with many deadly trials but somehow always managed to live.  After a while, the near death experiences lose their impact when the reader knows the character is going to live because they are after all the hero.  True as readers we want them to live and have their happy endings but you can’t keep stating how dangerous demigods lives are if they never truly see the consequences but I digress.  Apollo and Meg explore the Burning Maze with the help of Grover. This leads them to California where the west has been dealing with unprecedented wildfires.  Either Rick knew that California would dealing with wildfires in real life or just coincidence.  It would be nice if a few demigods could go in a maze, defeat an enchantress and stop the wildfires but alas it doesn’t work that way.  The maze brings them to Meg’s former home and the help of Piper and Jason.  Our heroes face the third Emperor who is by far the most dangerous.  More than anything, we are seeing the most growth in Apollo is this one.  He’s still Apollo so the ego is still big but it has had some bruising.  He’s starting to understand his own humanity as he’s understanding that he is no longer immortal and is truly vulnerable.  Apollo is slowly embracing his humanity and with that comes all the joys and the pain that comes with it.  More than anything, if he is going to complete his quest he is going to have to become more human and depend on his friends to do it.  The stacks are much higher than they have ever been in one of Rick’s series and making of powerful series.

Quick Review: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

ship of the dead 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!

Spoilers under the Cut. Continue reading

Books I’m excited to read this fall

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.

Just released

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake – the sequel to Three Dark Crowns.  Three sisters with three different powers but only one will survive to be crowned Queen.

October 3

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – Book three of the excellent The Diviner’s series.  To quote Evie, it really is the Bees knees.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan – It really is a shame that this is the last book in the series because Magnus has been amazing.  I do hope he shows up in Rick’s other books the way Percy has.

October 10

All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater – Maggie is awesome and we love her and have no doubt this will be awesome too. Also Yeah! for standalones!

November 7

Renegades by Marissa Meyer – I believe this Marissa Meyer’s first book not based on fairy tales.

The Speaker by Traci Chee –The Follow up the The Reader that both Kate and I loved.

The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin– The first book in the Shaw Confessions series, the companion series to the Michelle Hodkin’s Mara Dyer series.

Quick Review: Reunited by Colleen Houck

reunited 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.

Quick Review: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

dark prophecy 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.