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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Book Review

Book Review: The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
Length: 513 pages
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

PERCY IS CONFUSED. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

HAZEL IS SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

FRANK IS A KLUTZ. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

GLAD TO SEE PERCY.

A good read! That’s how I feel about these books. I don’t want to shout at everyone that they need to read them now, but I also enjoy the ease of the writing and story. I love the characters and am excited that this one still includes some of my favorites from the original series.

It’s a bit of a slow start because it felt like a rehashing of what essentially happened to Jason in book one. After that point things picked up and I loved the additions of Frank and Hazel!

I remember chuckling a few times whenever new gods, muses and other mythological characters arrived. I love the antics and banter that come about. It’s definitely humorous and fits the younger crowd these books initally are set for. I feel like I don’t have a lot to say (like I mentioned at the beginning). This was a good one, needed more, but still would like to continue the series.

Overall audience notes:

  • MG/YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: skirmishes, battles, attempted murder
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones (including parents), amnesia

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Daughter of Sparta (Daughter of Sparta #1) by Claire M. Andrews

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Mythology
Length: 400 pages
Author: Claire M. Andrews
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Release Date: June 8th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sparta forged her into a deadly weapon. Now the Gods need her to save the world!

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

MANY THOUGHTS.

Well, one of my highly anticipated reads has let me down a bit.

Side note: I read a handful of reviews and it looks like if you Google what’s Daphne’s mythology, it can spoil part of the book. I went and Googled myself (after reading) and would say, YES IT DOES SPOIL. So please don’t search anything until after reading if you’re curious what her history is! I didn’t know before this book there was a story involving Daphne.

I loved the inital set-up and story. I liked that Daphne was trying to find a place for herself. To feel like she has a home. Add in some brothers and I was loving this little family plotline. First goddess into the ring was Athena and thus one of my least favorite tropes arrived: the travelling trope.

Most of this book is indeed spent with Daphne going from location A, B, C, etc. trying to first, figure out what is missing from Olympus and secondly, how to retrieve and fix the situation. What bothered me a lot about this was that a handful of times she ran into someone new (or saw the main villian) they would say you can’t know my name yet. And just WHY? Leaving it as a “mystery” wasn’t really a mystery. It was more annoying than anything not to say who’s who.

I didn’t know there would be a romance, mainly because it took a VERY long time for it to arise and I was suprised by it. There wasn’t anything to them. Honestly, could’ve done without and I might have enjoyed it more. The small scenes didn’t add to the whole story. I would have liked to have just seen more of Daphne being a warrior.

What I did love was the interpretation of mythology. I love books about mythology because I like seeing how each author depicts the gods and whatever story they’re using. It was great seeing many many secondary characters and remembering their general storylines as I went. I love these kind of scenarios brought to life.

By the end I was left with more forced questions than answers, trying to dangle me into reading the next book rather than the entire book convincing me I should want to read the sequel, so we’ll see. It did keep my interest for a very long time. It was towards the end where I started to slip and wanted finish the book quickly. The writing and story is there, I think I had the hype in my mind for a bit different of a tale.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy / Mythology
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: battles, skirmishes, friends being turned into creatures, animal attacks, physical altercations, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: The Harvest (Call of the Sirens #1) by K.B. Benson

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Paranormal / Mythology
Length: 380 pages
Author: K.B. Benson
Publisher: Undaunted Publishing
Release Date: August 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sometimes the most beautiful things grow in darkness.

Iris never expected to live her life trapped on land. Nor was she prepared for what she would find there. A siren isn’t supposed to fall in love with her prey.

When Jace moved to Santa Cruz, he never imagined he’d risk his life to protect a monster. He soon finds that ancient myth has become reality. And not every pretty face is what it seems.

After Iris sings her siren’s song to Jace — a hypnotic melody that leads men to death beneath the waves — both of their worlds are turned upside down. Will Iris give in to her bloodlust or will she turn her back on everything she’s ever known?

As the tide runs red with the blood of the Harvest, Iris must choose: save the life of the human boy she loves or sacrifice her chance at humanity forever.

STARTED OFF STRONG.

I wanted to love this more than I did, and it started off pretty strong. I was invested and loving the siren/mermaid vibes (because I’m always here for books about mermaids). This ended up feeling like younger YA trying to be a more mature YA.

The background and plot were interesting. I liked having Iris beached on land and forced to take care of her siren duties. It was a bit murderous and I did like that darker side to the plot. I actually got to see the siren’s in action rather than just hints of what’s happening below the surface.

Jace was definitely my favorite character. He felt natural in the story and was a high school boy in love. Jace and Iris together were pretty cute. I liked getting to follow their relationship [at first]. Where I struggled was with the random “dates” and tangents of them hanging out to make it feel like more was happening. I wish those interactions really held more sway to the overall plot rather than feeling frilly and unnecessary. I thought Jace and Iris had a good relationship overall. The way Jace was written was rather annoying, but in a good way. You could see his obsession with Iris begin to take over his life. I thought his POV chapters were great. Jace was clearly trying to maintain a level head as the pull of Iris and the ocean became stronger.

With all the time spent on trying to force me to love their relationship it really dragged out the story, and that’s where everything started to fall apart for me. This book is nearly 400 pages long, and I’d say 150 of those weren’t wholly necessary. I thought the book was well-written minus the pacing issues.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA paranormal contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses and an intense make-out
  • Violence: sirens attacking humans, drownings

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