Book Review

Book Review: Children of Ragnarok (Runestone Saga #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Length: 544 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Balzer + Bay
Release Date: November 8th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sweeping adventure, breathtaking twists of fate, and immersive worlds based in Norse mythology are woven into this first volume of the Runestone Saga, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Realms and Shattered Realms series.

Ever since Ragnarok—the great war between the gods and the forces of chaos–the human realm of the Midlands has become a dangerous place, bereft of magic, where most lead lives of desperation.

Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones. Between fishing, going vikingr, and working his modir’s farm, the family has remained prosperous. But Eiric stands to lose everything when he’s convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is his half-systir, Liv, whose interest in seidr, or magic, has made her a figure of suspicion. Then a powerful jarl steps in: He will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reggin Eiklund has spent her life traveling from town to town, performing at alehouses all for the benefit of her master, Asger, the fire demon she is desperate to escape. Then after one performance that amazes even Reggin herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make her an irresistible offer: return with them to the temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.

Eiric, Liv, and Reggin’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, the site of the Temple at the Grove, a paradise fueled by magic. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface, and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.

GREAT SERIES STARTER.

I have missed reading Chima’s books!!! I am a super fan of the Seven Realms series and I was so happy to get my hands on her newest saga.

This had all of the hallmark things I love about YA fantasy and all the things I needed to feel convinced to get my hands on the next book. I love all of these characters and the background and layout we have for them. It’s a full cast with multiple points of view and a wonderfully woven storyline that I can’t wait to see further connections arise.

I loved the mythology aspects and Nordic lore. It has the epic vibes of an the best kind of reading escapism. They’re a lot of characters that I can’t wait to know more about. Eiric, Reggin, Liv and more. This book is scratching the surface of what’s going to be an intense ride.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, near death experiences, physical altercations, weapons altercations, small scale battles

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Book Review

Book Review: The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 516 pages
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Nico had warned them. Going through the House of Hades would stir the demigods’ worst memories. Their ghosts would become restless. Nico may actually become a ghost if he has to shadow-travel with Reyna and Coach Hedge one more time. But that might be better than the alternative: allowing someone else to die, as Hades foretold.

Jason’s ghost is his mother, who abandoned him when he was little. He may not know how he is going to prove himself as a leader, but he does know that he will not break promises like she did. He will complete his line of the prophecy: To storm or fire the world must fall.

Reyna fears the ghosts of her ancestors, who radiate anger. But she can’t allow them to distract her from getting the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood before war breaks out between the Romans and Greeks. Will she have enough strength to succeed, especially with a deadly hunter on her trail?

Leo fears that his plan won’t work, that his friends might interfere. But there is no other way. All of them know that one of the Seven has to die in order to defeat Gaea, the Earth Mother.

Piper must learn to give herself over to fear. Only then will she be able to do her part at the end: utter a single word.

Heroes, gods, and monsters all have a role to play in the climactic fulfillment of the prophecy in The Blood of Olympus, the electrifying finale of the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.

FINISHED.

Another good series is through! What a ride this one has been and wow do I adore this audiobooks.

I can’t get enough of all of the characters. There were a lot to keep up with in the finale and it was a great accomplishment to not feel like anyone truly overshadowed another. Some characters were meant to have more of the spotlight and others not as much and that all worked out as it made sense to the plot.

Plenty of action and enjoyable commentary. I liked the soft moments (PERCABETH) and deep conversations that these teens are having. I love that these books cover many topics but at an approachable and appropriate level for younger audiences.

To me something is missing that makes me want to give it all the stars. These books are wonderful and I’ll recommend them easily, there’s just something that I want more of in the end.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: many physical altercations, large scale battles and war themes, loss of life and many near death moments

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Book Review

Book Review: The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 597 pages
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Hazel stands at a crossroads. She and the remaining crew of the Argo II could return home with the Athena Parthenos statue and try to stop Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter from going to war. Or they could continue their quest to find the House of Hades, where they might be able to open the Doors of Death, rescue their friends Percy and Annabeth from Tartarus, and prevent monsters from being reincarnated in the mortal world. Whichever road they decide to take, they have to hurry, because time is running out. Gaea, the bloodthirsty Earth Mother, has set the date of August 1 for her rise to power.

Annabeth and Percy are overwhelmed. How will the two of them make it through Tartarus? Starving, thirsty, and in pain, they are barely able to stumble on in the dark and poisonous landscape that holds new horrors at every turn. They have no way of locating the Doors of Death. Even if they did, a legion of Gaea’s strongest monsters guards the Doors on the Tartarus side. Annabeth and Percy can’t exactly launch a frontal assault.

Despite the terrible odds, Hazel, Annabeth, Percy, and the other demigods of the prophecy know that there is only one choice: to attempt the impossible. Not just for themselves, but for everyone they love. Even though love can be the riskiest choice of all.

Join the demigods as they face their biggest challenges yet in The House of Hades, the hair-raising penultimate book in the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.

BOB SAY HI.

Yeah that hurt.

Anyways, another solid read for this series. I love it on audio and definitely recommend that avenue. The narrator does a great job and I can usually listen at a pretty fast pace too (and not miss anything).

I adore all of these characters yet again and love the expansion of getting to see Tartarus and all the dealings and monsters that happen down there. I was anxious the entire time for Percy and Annabeth because I will RIOT if I don’t get the kind of ending I want for them. It happens right?!

Many characters go through get arcs and I am impressed at how well each dynamic is kept up. I never feel like one aspect of the story is lacking or that a character isn’t getting enough page time. The rotation between everyone has created such well defined personalities and people. I love getting to know everyone more each time through their struggles and triumphs.

I did feel like this book ran a little long. But that was my only issue with it. Some action scenes dragged on a bit and I really noticed the pattern that was occurring so I was ready to move on to something else by the end. I am excited to finish this series!!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: intense physical altercations also involving magic, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
Length: 480 pages
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 5th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

WICKED.

WOW. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I had kept away because I honeslty wasn’t super interested until a trusted friend raved about it and thought I’d enjoy it. She was right!!

This was a twisted version of the Greek gods. It was full of violence (really, a lot of violence) and a never-ending struggle to become a new god. At first, the whole concept was confusing, but I felt by about 100 pages in, I grasped everything that was happening and why. I loved all of the gods and how vibrant every character was.

Lore did start to feel loooong towards the end. I remember having to push through the last 150 pages or so because everything just kept going. If it was a little shorter I think it would have packed a harder punch for me. I also mentally couldn’t get past the fact that the city of New York just let all of this happen every 7 years *shrug*. That’s my own issue with urban fantasies. I can’t get past the unrealistic aspects in a realistic world sometimes.

“Sometimes the braver thing is to accept help when you’ve been made to believe you shouldn’t need it.”

I really liked Lore as the main character. She was incredibly strong and indepdent. Yet (as above quote mentions) she found the ability to lean on others. Lore took nothing lying down and fought over the seven days to ensure her surival and those of her friends. The romance was perfectly accomplished too! It was sublte, on the side, and with the build-up of history made absolute sense. I was definitely shipping them and loved the nuances of their dynamic.

This was truly a great standalone fantasy. It gave a story that was action-packed and full of the strength of survival.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: very bloody/gory
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of family members (including parents and young siblings), murder of young children, sexual assault, proposition for marrying a child, mass murder, gun violence

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