Friday, May 26, 2017

Getting Caught Up: A bunch of Short Reviews and One DNF

This post is something that I’ve always resisted: a single post with a bunch of short reviews in it. Some of these were read nearly a year ago and it’s just time to pass by. I think the main reason that they have languished is that I don’t have that much to say beyond things like ‘I enjoyed them’ and ‘others have said a lot about this book and I don’t have much to add’.

So…enjoy my brief thought on a wide range of books I’ve read lately.

The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Immortals (Book One of the Olympus Bound series) is a fun urban fantasy based on the idea of Greek Gods still hanging around, if a bit reduced in power, and being up to no good. I enjoyed it. It’s tempting to say something along the lines of Percy Jackson for adults, which is horribly cliché, but not entirely a mischaracterization either. I’m tempted to pass it along to my friend who is a bit of a Greek Classicist. I imagine that I will read the sequel, Winter of the Gods, at some point.

Olympus Bound Series
The Immortals: Amazon
Winter of the Gods: Amazon

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

The Grace of Kings is the first book in the epic fantasy series: The Dandelion Dynasty. I very much enjoyed this Asian-inspired fantasy epic and I encourage you to look up much of the more in-depth commentary out there about this book and its sequel. Good stuff and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

The Dandelion Dynasty
The Grace of Kings: Amazon
The Wall of Storms: Amazon

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I read the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series at the same time as my son. I think it is a very fun book and I enjoyed it a lot. I look forward to reading the rest of the series with him (though he’s buried himself in Harry Potter for the moment). We recommend the book to a friend who is a philosopher and a bit of a Greek classicist and she and her 3 boys devoured them and then started an Ancient Greece Club at school. Which I think is a pretty positive endorsement.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Lightning Thief: Amazon
The Sea of Monsters: Amazon
The Titan’s Curse: Amazon
The Battle of the Labyrinth: Amazon
The Last Olympian: Amazon
The Demigod Files: Amazon

Chasing Embers by James Bennett

A bit of an urban fantasy about a dragon in human form, living on the fringes of modern society. The book was fun, though there was a bit too much of the ‘maiden in distress’ who needs a man to rescue her going on. Some troubling ideas about possessive relationships as well – if it was trying to be subversive, it didn’t work well. The book was good enough to finish, but I’m reluctant to recommend it.

Chasing Embers: Amazon

The Crow of Connemara by Stephen Leigh

This is a mythic fiction book about an American musician who travels to Ireland and gets caught up with remnants of the fay. Very much in the style of Charles de Lint in the way it integrates music into the modern world and impacts from the ancient world. Basically I found it to be a very pale imitation of de Lint's work. The music parts of the book felt like a plot device rather than the underlying binding of the book – it lacked any real emotional connection.

The Crow of Connemara: Amazon

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I picked this up since it’s been so highly regarded around the web. I can certainly say that I enjoyed it and look forward to its sequels, though I expected to enjoy it more based on the opinions I’ve seen about it, which left slightly disappoint. I did pass the book on to my wife who really enjoyed it, and she quickly moved on to the second book and is not reading the third. Anyway, there’s a lot out there that’s been written about this series (and how it’s coming going to be adapted as TV show), so search it out.

Shades of Magic
A Darker Shade of Magic: Amazon
A Gathering of Shadows: Amazon
A Conjuring of Light: Amazon

Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer

This is a YA level book about a young woman coming of age in a world of gods and societies living in giant trees. I gave up about half-way through the book. It didn’t really connect, the main character was more annoying than anything, and I simply got bored. So, a did-not-finish (DNF) for me.

Crossroads of Canopy: Amazon

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