Book Review: The Battle of The Labyrinth

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

There’s not much to say about this one. I started off this series a couple months ago really enjoying the first book, but with each book I liked it less and less. I don’t know if it’s series syndrome, where the first book is the strongest and nothing can hold up to that, or I’m just missing something that makes me under appreciate the story as it progresses.

This book felt so darn slow. I was constantly waiting for something to happen, especially something amazing that would lift the book up to the level that The Lightning Thief was. I kept reading, waiting for that something to occur, and I kept reading, and kept waiting, and still nothing felt like it was happening. The whole traveling through the labyrinth part felt like the author was just trying to make the book the same length as the previous book, but while there were some things happening during that large portion of the book, I just didn’t care. I’m starting to hate Percy and even Annabeth is getting on my nerves.

I’m glad that this series is almost over. Part of me just wants to stop here, but with only one book remaining, I will eventually continue on so that I can say I finished the series, but I’m honestly not looking forward to it.

Series Review: .hack// Legend of The Twilight

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About ten years ago, my husband bought me this trilogy after I had showed interest in the .hack video games. Since then, the books, along with the games, sat on my shelves severely neglected. Finally, I decided it was time to read this trilogy.

I realized very quickly that this wasn’t the best starting point for me. After a quick internet search, I found out that there are many different .hack series, inlcuding the games, other manga and anime series and this was not the first of them. Even so, I decided to keep reading and hoped it would all make sense in the end.

Despite not having read, watched or played any of the previous series, I came to enjoy this trilogy. It does vaguely reference things that happened in the previous series, but you certainly don’t need to have read or watched the other series to get through this one, it just helps.

These books were pretty quick reads. I got through all three in one day. Really my only big complaint is that sometime I could tell which character was talking. They all look vaguely similar, especially the hair styles, so when it’s a close up of their face, I didn’t always know who was talking. Also, there were times when I wasn’t sure if a character was thinking something, saying something or if it was some other external dialog going on.

Overall, I liked these books, but I felt that I would have enjoyed them much more had I read the series in order, and of course watched the appropriate anime and played the right games before diving into this one. That being said, you certainly don’t need to do that. If you want to read this trilogy and not touch the other .hack series, then you can do so without being lost.

Book Review: Scarlet

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After finishing Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, I wanted to jump into Scarlet. Much like with Cinder, I decided to go blindly into this book. All that I knew was that it was a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and that somehow it would meld into Cinder’s story.

This book was a bit slow at first. I found myself not entirely pulled into the story, though I felt that it would get better with time, and it did. Needing to introduce a whole new cast of characters and a new setting, of course it would take a few chapters to get things rolling. However, it took a lot longer than I expected for me to really get into the story. In fact, it wasn’t until the last hundred pages that I really got into this book. It was during that last hundred pages that the book truly shined and it made up for all the slowness from before.

One thing I really loved about this book was Scarlet herself. The fact that she was a farmer made me instantly love her character. It is certainly not something you see in YA books and I would honestly love to see more of them in other series. Outside of the farmer aspect, she character did feel a little flat at times, but throughout the story she did get some good charcter devolpment that made her better overall. I liked that we got a more background on Cinder and the connection that some of it had with Scarlet and her Grandmother.

I have to admit though, and I’m probably one of the other people who felt this way, but I really didn’t care for Captain Thorne. I found his character annoying and I just wanted him to stop talking.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Sure it had it’s slow moments but I feel like the last bit of it completely made up for that. I would definitely recommend this series, at least up til this point, to anyone who hasn’t read it yet. I look forward to continuing the series and seeing who lies ahead for these characters and what the other characters along the way will be like.

Book Review: Warcraft Legends Vol. 1

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For a number of years now, close to 12 to be exact, I have been playing and following the lore of World of Warcraft. Technically my love of this world started well before this, back to when I was younger and watched my day play the original Warcraft game and then I ended up playing too. Although it wasn’t until I started playing World of Warcraft that I truly because immersed into the full story and lore of the games. Because of this, I have been slowly accumulating and reading all of the books set in this world. Up until recently I had only been reading the novel, though I knew there were plenty of comics and graphic novels to be found. Finally, I decided to dive into the graphic novel aspect of the series and started with the Legends series.

The Legends graphic novels had four different stories in them, following different characters and hit on different aspects of the lore. Overall, this was an okay book, but I feel like I would have liked it more had it focused on a single story, instead of these short stories and snippets of stories.

I did enjoy the art in this volume, it really was great, but I found the stories themselves to be a bit on the dull side. Perhaps that is because Richard Knaak is one of the writers and I have yet to read an interesting Warcraft book by him. I feel like the length of the stories also attributed to my not loving this book. The one shot stories felt far too short and then the story that is stretched out over all the volumes I wasn’t overly interested in. Sure I liked it, but I wish it could have had it’s own book for it just to have it more focused on.

While I didn’t love this book, I will continue to read the rest to see what other stories will pop up and how that continuing story will work out.

Book Review: Illidan

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Even though I haven’t played World of Warcraft since 2013, I still like to keep up with the overall story of the game through the books. So when the Illidan book was released, I had to buy it. But, I was also kind of confused about the book, I mean, didn’t his story already get told through the Burning Crusade expansion? Was he not defeated there? Am I missing something from my lack of in game knowledge? The answer to those questions was a resounding yes.

For a decent chunk of it, this book felt like it should have been released during or shortly after the Burning Crusade expansion. It seemed to overall retell a lot of the story there. The whole, released for ten thousand years in prison, him going to the Outland, his taking over of the Black Temple. I didn’t feel like I was getting anything new. Eventually, things seemed to change direction and give me new bits of information, but at the same time, they felt disjointed and strange.

The story follows four main characters, Illidan (duh), Maiev, Akama and Vandel. Three of these were already known to me, from playing the game, but Vandel was new. I found that Maiev was a fairly flat character. She lived for a single purpose, which is somewhat understandable, but that blinded her to other things and made her character not very appealing. I had hoped she would grow throughout the book, but in the end, she was that same tunnel vision driven person. Akama was an interesting creature. I don’t really recall much about his from the game, but he certainly had a big role in the story. His real purpose was hidden until the right time within the book, unlike other characters, whose purpose for being was revealed right from the beginning. Illidan was…well he was Illidan. I don’t know what I can say about him. Vandel felt…unnecessary at times. It’s like they needed another character to be like Illidan, but not quite Illidan and he fulfilled that role. I didn’t really feel like he reached his full potential and that there is more to his story beyond this book – and that’s probably the case in the game.

The major thing I didn’t like about the book was the authors writing. At times, it felt like he was trying too hard to describe things uniquely. I’m all for giving a story a solid descriptive base, but he was overdoing it. None to mention, there was a lot of repetitive descriptions. For example, at one point it is said that they defeated “…the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction” of the Burning Legion. Well, isn’t the tiniest fraction about as tiny as you can get? Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but that just stuck out to me as being overly descriptive.

Also, having the book span six years probably didn’t help the flow. One chapter it’s four years before the end and then the next it’s a mere five months. You’re telling me nothing of significance happened in nearly four years? That seems off to me.

There were a couple of inconsistencies as well. At one point Illidan swipes his arms across a map, knocking the markers that were on it away, and yet a page and a half later, one of his minions looks at the map, observing those markers as if they were still where they once were.

For me, I thought the book was alright, but was clearly geared towards people who still played the game. I didn’t quite understand the full differences between the Illidan story of Burning Crusade and this Illidan story that leads into the Legion expansion. There were a lot of things that felt the same, and that’s probably why I kept thinking that this book was written ten years too late. And yet, those new portions of the story seemed to be in stark contrast to what I already knew. I feel like if I still played the game, and had a full knowledge of all of the current lore, that this book would have been more enjoyable. Overall, it was okay and I am glad that I read it. I just hope any future books written are a bit more non-player friendly.

Book Review: The Titan’s Curse

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Review contains minor spoilers – but come on, this book is 10 years old so it shouldn’t be that much of a spoiler.

Oh this book. I started it with excitement, and then part way through, hit a major reading slump. When I picked it up weeks later, I was eager to finish it and yet I didn’t want to. I couldn’t be certain if it was the after affects of the reading slump or the fact that I just hadn’t really loved the first hundred pages. Maybe this book had succumbed to the dreaded mid-series slump that I find in many series, when they start strong, slack in the middle and then either pick up again at the end or struggle to bring things to a close cleanly.

I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. There was something in this book that just didn’t seem to jive. I don’t know what it was. I will say, that I was glad to see that there was a greater presence of Gods and Goddesses in this book, something I was craving in the previous two novels. Having Artemis in this one was great, and I really liked the way she was portrayed. It made total sense in a way, even if at times it was a little weird.

I think the biggest disappointment for me, revolved around Zoe. I loved this character and yet, we lose her as quickly as she comes into the story. I understand why it happened, and it made sense in the end, but damnit, I was more Zoe and I know that won’t happen.

Even though this book didn’t feel as amazing as the previous ones, I am still looking forward to reading the rest of the series. If you haven’t read this series yet, now may be the time to do so.

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.