Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan

I know what you’re asking: is this book as epic as it sounds? Yes. It is.

"Jason has a problem.
He doesn't remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they're all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for "bad kids", as Leo puts it. What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.
Piper has a secret.
Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he's in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn't recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?
Leo has a way with tools.
His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What's troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper's gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god."

So I would like to say good job to Mr. Rick Riordan for making a successful spin off of his super popular Percy Jackson series. This, just book, from the get go, is way more complex and complicated. Trust me.
What Riordan does is show how once the Greek civilization started to fall and the Romans took over, who they merely tweaked the Greek gods to fit into their own society. A little history lesson real quick: that’s how a conquering army keep the locals at bay: taking what they know and love already, and just changing it little by little till it is something else completely.

There are appearances by some familiar characters from the Percy Jackson Series, like Annabelle and Chiron. However, the new faces is what this story is about: Jason, Piper, and Leo. All three characters have important roles to play on the quest to search for Hera who has been kidnapped…or goddess-naped…or whatever. The action scenes are amazing and perfect for a little bit of an older crowd than what Percy Jackson was meant for.

The writing style is slightly different, told in third person, each chapter being from the point of view from one of the three main characters. All three have secrets to hide and things they are ashamed of. However, it is those secrets that draw them together and make them not only closer friends and allies, but an amazing team.
Leo was my favorite out of the three, and I think that’s because he was a more ground character. He was just a normal guy from a rough background who was just trying to wrap his head around new information that well, a little crazy to anyone else.

This book is filled with everything a good action adventure story should have: twists and turns of a mystery, a little romance, and a whole lot of amazing action.

The Renfield Syndrome - J.A. Saare

Get your shit kickers on. Rhiannon is back and stuck in the future.

“Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my. Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she’s about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better. Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things; including those most trusted around her. When she’s faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she’ll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.
After all, when it’s all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.”

So….how can I review this book with its characters and plot that would not give away everything this book has going on for it? Well, I can’t. You lovelies will just have to start out with the first in the series, Dead, Undead, or Somewhere In Between, to truly appreciate J.A. Saare’s amazing ability to take a genre that everyone thinks they know, flip it around changing it into something that you would have never expected.

What I really enjoyed best about this book, is that Rhiannon, who in general is a total bad ass with a mouth of a pirate, stays who she is throughout the whole book. Sure, there are some scenes that test her resolve and her own person ethics, however, she always comes out as a strong female who really doesn’t need saving. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a Prince Charming come and save you, to sweep you off your feet. But sometimes, the Damsel in Distress can do her own saving. And Rhiannon can honestly, most of the time, take care of herself. Trust me. Read the books.

What I love about Saare’s writing style is that there is not long drawn out prose explaining the reality Rhiannon lives in. There are no wasted words. And I like that. Sure, sometimes you need the wordiness for a complex world in a book. Saare writes with efficiency that says, in short, here is what happens and here is how it is, now let’s go open a can of whoop ass. See? No word or plot fodder.

As you can read, I didn’t really go too much into the book in its plot or characters. And that’s just because I honestly couldn’t think of a way to do so without, as River Song would say, Spoilers. But let me say this, this book for the reader who is not faint of heart, because lordy lordy, the ending is not only brutal, but it will leave you scrambling for the next book.

Well played J.A. Saare. Well played.