Book Review: The Sea of Monsters

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The second book in the Percy Jackson series is just as good, if not better, than the first. I won’t go into a lot of detail, mainly because I find it hard to talk about books part way into a series without giving away something important to the plot. And yes, I understand that most people have probably already read these books, but for those that haven’t, I want to keep this spoiler free.

I really enjoyed this book. It picks up almost a year after the first book, yet there is no gap in the story. Right from page one I was hooked and could have easily read this entire book in one sitting, had life not gotten in the way of course. The characters have come a long way since they were first introduced to us, and even throughout this book, there is good character development. Of course they still have a ways to go, but hey it’s only the second book in the series, so more growth will come with time.

This story has a nice fast pace to it, with something always happening. There were some good twists in the plot that made it all come together wonderfully. I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about the book. I love how the new characters introduced throughout this book helped and hindered the heroes in various ways. Some of this characters had unexpected affects on Percy and the quest he found himself on.

Overall, this was a great book. I think Rick Riordan does a wonderful job of melding the present day with ancient Greek myth. I cannot wait to continue on with this series and see what Percy and his fellow half-bloods must endure and overcome next.

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

So way back when in 2010 (wow has it only been 7 years), I watched The Lightning Thief movie, and while I liked it, I told myself I needed to read the book because the books are almost always better than the movie. It took me a couple years to get the series and then a few more years passed before I finally got around to reading this book. Another reason why I waited so long to read the book, is that I wanted to details of the movie to fade from memory, so it was like walking into the book with a clean slate. I had only the most vague of memories of a few things that happened in the movie, so now was the perfect time to read it.

Right from the beginning I was pulled into the story. I like how the book started with a confession from Percy, which really helps to set everything up. It makes you intrigued about why he wouldn’t want to be a half-blood. From then on the story just keeps getting better.

The flow of this story is fantastic. There aren’t any noticeable slow points, sure there are moments where the action has died down but they don’t feel like a lull in the story, more like the calm before the storm. The mix of characters in this story is great as well. Obviously most of them are half-bloods, with a good dose of Greek monsters and Gods mixed in, along with a plentiful dash of mortals to finish it off. I have to say I really liked Annabeth’s character, which they were all great in their own way, but for some reason her character stood out to me the most.

One thing I thought was interesting is how the perspective of mortals changed when viewing half-blood and monsters. For example, a sword fight looks like a gun fight to mortal eyes. They never see what is truly going on, which os course can work both for and against the characters as they make their journey across America to get to their ultimate destination.

Really my only complaint, and it’s a small one, is that we didn’t get to see a lot of the Gods in this book. I get why, the focus isn’t on them, but on their kids. I just wish there had have been more. I’m hoping that as the series progresses that they will have a bigger role and influence in the books.

Overall, I found this to be a really good book and a great start to a series. I am really looking forward to continuing on with their series to see what else the characters must endure throughout their years at Camp Half-Blood and beyond. I also look forward to seeing my son read this book, and hope that he enjoys it as much as I did.

Book Review: The Giver

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I picked up The Giver a while back because I was intrigued by it. I had seen it on a number of book blogs and everyone seem to have enjoyed it, so I figured I give it a shot because it was a short book.

When I first started reading this book, I was pretty confused. It felt like I had already missed something, like there should have been either another book before this or that there was a prologue needed to better explain things. But I keep reading because I was also curious about everything and figured all the information would come if I just kept going.

After that first chapter, I was absorbed into the book. I found the world so strange and interesting. The vast amount of rules that everyone had to follow, and the way the society functioned as a whole was really what made me keep reading. Sure, the characters were interesting enough, but only a few were featured throughout the entire novel that I felt we were missing some aspects of life there. Even so, I couldn’t put the book down, devouring it in one sitting, which was easy given that it was less than two hundred pages long.

I realize this is quite a short review, but I really don’t see a way to talk more about what I liked about the book without giving a lot of it’s content away. So it’s just going to leave it at that.

I did feel like the ending left something to be desired. There was closure in one way, yet there were so many more questions left unanswered. I can only assume that they answers will come with the rest of the books in this series, which I will likely read at some point. Overall, I really liked this book. It was a quick yet fascinating look into a possible future of humanity. If you haven’t read this book, then I would recommend you do so.

Book Review: The BFG

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the newer releases and read an old book, especially when that book is one that you read and loved as a child. I read all of Roald Dahl’s books growing up and I loved them all, though admittedly The Witches is my favorite.

I have been wanting to reread all of his books lately, but what spurred me into reading The BFG was the new movie coming out. I had planned to read it before the movie, but that didn’t work out, so I got to enjoy it after seeing the movie.

This story is great. I think the reason why I enjoyed it so much as a kid was seeing the giant struggle with his words, which all kids have similar experiences at some point in their lives. Heck even now my words get all jumbly¬† and squiggly in my head – as the giant would say. But it also shows that even thought you don’t know the correct words, you can still get your point across.

The journey that Sophie and the BFG make together is quite fantastic as well. They form an unlikely friendship and work well together to see not only the BFG is able to capture and sent out the dreams that he does each night, but also to free the giant from the other giants.

Speaking of the other giants, I always got a kick out of their names. Fleshlumpeater, Bonecruncher and Bloodbottler are just a few of the aptly named giants. These giants are not only a menace to the BFG but to mankind as well.

Some parts of the story are a little unbelievable, especially when reading the book as an adult, such as the Queen of England getting involved and accepting the giant with open arms with the help fo a dream and a few words from Sophie. Although the part where they all have breakfast together, and they partake in a bit of frobscottle and then all the whizzpopping happens. That scene is especially entertaining in the movie.

While I enjoyed the book more when I was younger, it was certainly great to visit the story once again. Dahl certainly had a way of bringing a story to like and making it appealing to both kids and adults. If you haven’t read any of his books, I could suggest you make time to do so, as they are quick and fun reads, and if you have read them before, then go ahead and read them again.

Book Review: Starfire

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I don’t often read middle grade books, but every now and then I’ll see one among my browsing and I will make the time to read it. Starfire was one of these books. I saw it randomly while looking at other books and of course the cover caught my eye. Guaranteed if a book has a horse or horse-like creature on the cover I will pick it up. After reading the description I figured it would be worthwhile reading, so it was added to my list of books to get one day and once I finally got a copy I was ready to read it.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect out of this book, after all I am a lot older than the target audience, but I dove in and gave it a try. The story had a good flow to it and I found myself easily breezing through the chapters. Not only did the pace keep my attention, but the mix of characters that were introduced as well as the storyline itself was certainly entertaining. I liked the different herds and how they varied in color that often matched with where they lived. Each herd also had different ways of thinking and living, and not just about what to do with the black foal but about other facets of life.

Star’s character certainly has a lot of growth throughout the book. He has some tough decisions to make and the path to get there is not easy. Morningleaf, who is Star’s best friend was a great counterbalance for Star. She could look past the colts faults and potential for disaster to see who he truly was underneath. Silvercloud, who is Morningleaf’s mother and Star’s adoptive mother, was the overall level-headed one in the book, which was a compliment to her mate, Thunderwing, more stern side. I could go on about the other characters in this book, but I won’t, they all have different aspects about them that added to the story and depending on who they were around they could bring peace or conflict.

Now one of the things I noticed in this book, both from reading it and looking at reviews, was the amount of violence. Now some people, the children reading this book and their parents, may have an issue with the violence, while others will be okay with it. If you do not want your child to be exposed to violence then I would recommend that they not read this book, as it contains bloody fights, bullying and all out war that results in many violent deaths.

Overall, I must say that this was a quick and enjoyable read. Obviously I would have enjoyed it more had I been younger but I can still see the appeal to this book. While this book may not be for everyone, mostly because of the violence, it does have some good lessons in it, especially when it comes to Star overcoming the bullying in his early life and proving to others he can bring good to the world when they all expect evil from him. I look forward to continuing on with this series and seeing where it leads Starfire and the other Pegasus.

They Made It Into A Movie: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

We all love our books, and there are times we wish they could come to life on the big screen. Sometimes our wish comes true and those beloved stories soon hit theaters. Yet as excited as we are for the movie version to come to be they are not always good experiences. Perhaps a character is portrayed incorrectly, important scenes are left out or changed completely, or that wonderful story has been reduced to something with no plot but amazing CG effects. And then there are times when the movie is absolutely stunning and you are left with such an amazing feeling after watching it. They Made It Into A Movie is a monthly feature, posted on the last Friday of each month, which explores one books and it’s movie adaptation counterpart.

How I First Encountered Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I missed the initial Harry Potter craze by a few years. In fact I didn’t really find out about it until after the first movie was made, and it was probably a year or so after that that I even watched the movie, and I only got around to reading the first book in the series this year.

The Book

Oh dear, what can I say about the book? I hated it. That’s what I can say about it.

I’m sorry to all those Harry Potter fans out there, but I found this book to be so boring. With each page I just wished that Harry would get killed in some horribly gruesome way. But obviously that would never happen because the series continues on for many more books.

I could say more about the book but I don’t feel like typing up all the reasons I didn’t like it. Needless to say I really don’t see me reading any others in the series.

The Movie

Well, the movie was okay. I have only seen it twice. The first time was a year or so after it came out, and it really didn’t appeal to me all that much then, but I could appreciate it for what it was. The second time was when I watched it this year to reacquaint myself with it after reading the book. Both times I thought it to be an okay movie, but really didn’t see the huge appeal to it, or why there was such an enormous fan base. I guess that could be blamed on being a few years too old when Harry Potter first came out.

There were some things I liked about the movie, and I can see how it may become more appealing with each movie in the series (I have only ever seen the first three movies, so can’t really say whether it does indeed get better or not). The acting was pretty good, the casting seems to be good as well. But once again I hated Harry’s character. Don’t know if it was the actor or just the role but boy does that kid get under my skin.

It’s a series of movies where I do not feel compelled to continue on with it.

How They Compare To Each Other

Well I have to say that the book and movie are pretty similar. There are obviously differences and changes but that is to be expected. The movie was certainly better in my opinion, but I can’t say that I was blown away by it, it just was simply more enjoyable than reading the story.