Reading List as of April 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My sincerest apology for such a long gap between reviews, I had to juggle a lot of things that writing reviews took a backseat, way way back. I didn’t stop reading but writing reviews seem to become more of a luxury. In any case, here’re the books I’m currently reading.

Pacific Rims by Rafe Bartholomew
I’m more of a fan of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) games than basketball itself. But much intrigued by the premise of the book, the Philippines's undeniable love of basketball, I decided to purchase one and start reading. And so far, I’m enjoying it.

Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Novels and Stories Volume 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I’m almost halfway into writing my review for this but I lost the book! I intend to replace it but I’d rather finish Pacific Rims first.

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
It’s a heavy read. It’s not so easy to finish as I thought. In almost every other page I would need to scan the dictionary. Don’t get me wrong, it is a masterpiece of word art, not the type that you do with Microsoft Word. Obviously, this would take some time to finish; I might (meaning probably) insert other books while reading it.

The other books that I might bump up the reading list are those that I’ve got my eye on:

a)     Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

b)    Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

c)     The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

d)    Tinkers by Paul Harding


Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Five: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

The last instalment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is more of a battle report than a novel. As a fantasy reader, I’d rather have a bit of both. But for the most part, it is a gripping read.

Author: Rick Riordan
Released: May 5, 2009
New York Times children’s best seller series

The entire plot can be summarized by one word, war. Manhattan is destined to witness a contemporary Greek battle. Nico di Angelo, son of Hades, convinces Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, to bear a well-known curse, which could be the remaining hope to thwart the advances of titan Kronos, inhabiting Luke’s body, and son of Hermes, against the gods of Mount Olympus.

As if things aren’t bad enough, the gods of Olympus are spread thinly, Hades is refusing to fight alongside his brothers, Poseidon’s domain is under siege, while the rest of the gods are in Central America fighting a primal evil that Kronos has unleashed, leaving the Empire State Building, site of Mount Olympus, to be defended by the demigods of Camp Half-Blood against an army of assorted mythical monsters and brainwashed demigods.

Amidst the immensity and intensity, the Great Prophecy reveals its true self to be far from expected, a common feat of prophecies, a truth which will require Percy to study his mortal enemy—definitely not his favorite subject.

Reading Experience
Unlike the usual bittersweet ending achieved by other sagas; the satisfaction of a fairytale ending against the finality of a riveting storyline, Book Five feels more of a closure—the thing you look for when you want to move on. Don’t get me wrong, it is action-packed and readers will still find themselves soaring across chapters. But there’s almost nothing unpredictable or unexpected in the entire plot, except the part where the River Styx is involved.

Readers would always have room for character histories, even more for the intended readers of Percy Jackson. Character history is a tool used by writers to make the audience relate to the characters and more immersed in the storyline, which is as present as much as a tip of an iceberg in this instalment. This ingredient is used sparingly, maybe owing to the fact that everything needs to be fast-paced. But like any rollercoaster ride, there should always be a point of slowing down to build up an utterly breathtaking climax. 

Moreover, the last book of a series means tying up of loose ends, but the way it was done in the Last Olympian is rather dull and uncreative, like some final credits of a movie. I still think Riordan  has a great fast-paced writing style necessary for his target readers, but I guess I expected more for a final instalment. 

In Conclusion
It might not be a breathtaking novel, but it would make a breathtaking 3D movie.


Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Four: The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Monday, November 29, 2010

The second to the last book for most, if not all, sagas or series has a certain degree of significance that any reader should be aware of. Authors will improve on early foreshadowing they’ve laid in the early instalments, either bring it nearer to a close or make it more cumbersome, or intriguing, until one reads the last book. The Battle of the Labyrinth surely did both, but more of the latter.

Author: Rick Riordan
Released: May 6, 2008
New York Times children’s best seller series

Luke, son of Hermes, and a follower of the titan Kronos, was ready to lead their army to destroy Camp Half-Blood. He intends to use the labyrinth for his army to pass through. This discovery brought anxiety to the entire camp, perhaps how any camp should feel had they known an entire army of mythological Greek demons and traitors are to wage war against them.

Annabeth Chase; daughter of Athena, receives a quest, to find Daedalus, creator of the labyrinth, and prevent Luke’s army from getting Ariadne’s string, the string that can help one find his way through the labyrinth.

The labyrinth is known to cause madness once inside. It is also known to grow and extend, further mortifying those inside it to be more lost, the only setback for Luke, so he also sets out to find Ariadne’s string.

In the labyrinth, Annabeth is accompanied by, of course, Percy Jackson; son of Poseidon, Grover; a satyr, Tyson; Percy’s cylopes brother, and Nico di Angelo; son of Hades. In their misfortune, they found themselves, like many others, lost in the labyrinth despite Annabeth’s wisdom and inclination to architecture.

Percy seeks the help of Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Rachel, despite being a mortal, possesses the ability to see through the mist and which makes her an effective GPS in the labyrinth. So it becomes a race between their party against Luke’s army, as the countdown begins for Camp Half-Blood’s probable final hour.

But what they found in the labyrinth, was more than any of them intended, and wanted to find.

Reading Experience
Had it not been for Pacific Rims by Rafe Bartholomew, I would’ve finished reading and writing The Battle of the Labyrinth earlier. But since my reading has been preoccupied for quite some time, I only had this chance to write my review.

Riordan maintained his sprint paced storytelling prowess. It is also good news, though expected, when I say that humor is inserted in the plot’s entire run.

Though there were quite a few more additions to the original myths, he was able to include the well-known factoids about the labyrinth. No, Icarus did not make an appearance, but Daedalus surely did. More so, Riordan touched a bit more metaphysical, should I say subjects or rather concepts, when he dabbled on Daedalus’s form (that’s for you to read) and his labyrinth and its sprawling behavior.

Those who know about the labyrinth’s story would be very familiar with Daedalus and Icarus, and their wax wings, but be prepared for King Minos’s portrayal which may eventually make you grind your teeth.

Luke is bound to play a very intriguing role. What Riordan has written about Kronos and Luke in this book will make one more curious of how things would turn out in Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian.  Another character whom Riordan has made more pivotal in the series is Nico di Angelo. My interest in him being the son of Hades, grew more as he demonstrated his capability to call the dead and even command them, but I do have a special interest in the book’s last scene.

In Conclusion
In a nutshell, the pacing and build-up is nothing short of laudable, a satisfying second to the last book of the series. Reading The Battle of the Labyrinth will surely intrigue, since it feels it was meant to intrigue, the reader to join Percy Jackson in his next and last adventure.


About Me

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I'm a young professional working in a call center; a licensed nurse who's not practicing the profession, out of choice; gay, and proud to be; sporty with an active lifestyle filled with badminton and running; a reader who easily gets lost in a well-written story; a wannabe-author and wannabe-successful. But more importantly, I'm a writer with a hunger for life.

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