Tag: fantasy

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Book 1)

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The Lightning ThiefMeet Percy Jackson. A dyslexic, trouble-making, twelve-year-old with ADHD, few friends, poor grades, little money, and the worst step-father ever. Ever since he was a kid, Percy has been plagued by freakish, inexplicable accidents. Just when he thinks his life can’t get any worse, he discovers a startling truth – the reason for those accidents: he’s a Greek demigod – half mortal, half deity. Thrown into a world where myth becomes reality, Percy must adapt and learn how to fight off the monsters that want to claim his life. He goes to Camp Half-Blood, a camp designed to train modern-day demigods. On the way, he sees a loved one dissolve in a “shimmering golden form” in the hands of an enemy.

With no other choice, Percy joins the camp and trains, while being pushed around by some of the campers. When he is falsely accused of committing a large-scale crime – one that could start a war between the gods – Percy is forced to embark on an adventure with two companions to clear his name and fix the situation. On the way, he discovers more about the gods, new powers he never knew he had, and hope. In Rick Riordan’s endearing spin on Greek mythology in The Lightning Thief, the gods no longer seem like distant beings and the characters will cast a spell over the readers until this book remains a constant favourite.

Having read so many books in my life, it’s incredibly difficult for me to choose a favourite book when asked. However, in those situations, my thoughts always stray to The Lightning Thief. Even though I am slightly past the age for reading a book of this level, I still recall the story with nostalgic fondness.

The Lightning Thief is almost perfect in every aspect. I say ‘almost’ is not because there is a problem, but because I am cautious in calling any literary work perfect. Personally, I find it hard to discover flaws in this masterpiece. From the plot to the character developments to the conflicts, everything is set up cleanly enough so that there are no holes, but not so much that everything is laid out before you. The reader still has to interpret, infer, and piece together meanings themselves.

There is a shocking yet sensible plot twist that makes the story all the more exciting. You didn’t expect that it would happen, but now that it did, you think back to the clues the author left and it suddenly makes sense.

Riordan writes in an extremely humorous way that is suitable for all ages (although more suitable to younger audiences). I read this when I was in grade 4 or so, and I believe that it’s perfect for kids ages 10 to 14. But this is a story that never gets old.

Take a chance and enter this fantastic world that will tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone, and bring you on a mythical roller coaster. You won’t regret it.

Gone (The Gone Series, Book 1)

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GoneOne day, in the small town of Perdido Beach, everyone above the age of 15 disappears. Poof. Vanished into thin air. Why? No one knows. All that’s left are kids 0-14 years old. Confusion and panic ensue but the kids see that a world without adults can be fun and exhilarating. The kids in the town are soon joined by another group – the “troublemaker” kids from a nearby private boarding school. Together, they discover that some of them have mutations – super powers like telekinesis, healing, and shooting laser beams out of their hands. However, when supplies start running out and order begins to crumble without the adults, they begin to realize the dangers of living in such a world. The two leaders in the story clash in the struggle for power and survival. In the thrilling novel, Gone, by Michael Grant, a terrifying and ruthless world comes to life.

I’m going to tell you guys straight off the bat: this book is absolutely phenomenal. In fact, the whole series is just as riveting. Often compared to Golding’s masterpiece, Lord of the Flies, the book Gone contains the same darkness that added a thrilling element to the plot. It’s super intense, action-packed, and elaborately gives each character a part to play. But it is so much more than just a modern version of Lord of the Flies. It’s better, in my opinion.

One thing that made the book and series really stand out was the morbid aspect. It made the story so shocking and memorable in a way that personally, made me want to read it again and again. When you take into consideration the ages of the characters, you realize the gravity of the situation and how terrifying it actually is to be in their shoes. This is also a bit of a warning: the level of violence and scary things in this book is appropriate for most audiences. However, later in the series, things will become even more gruesome.

This book made me laugh and cry and I ranted about it to whoever I could whenever I could. Grant’s writing is simply outstanding and Gone is definitely a must-read.

The Rose and the Dagger

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My fellow Caliphs and Caliphas, the story of Shahrzad and Khalid is actually over. Thinking about the fact that I will never be able to see a new cover being released for this series, or that I will never be able to hold the two books in the duology as if they were new and as if I never heard of them before just cracks my heart in half. All in all, The Rose and the Dagger is beautiful, electrifying and gives me the feels once more. I’ve been waiting a year (or so) to read this sequel, and I actually just discovered that it’s a duology (well, before I read this) so I had so much rage in me. Looking back at the ending and how Ahdieh, as always, unfolded everything and answered all of us readers’ questions, I am truly satisfied. This couldn’t have ended in a better way.

I loved this; don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t as good as the first book. I initially predicted that I would rate this five stars, because the first book changed me in more ways than I would ever expect (especially with how I look at the high fantasy genre), but this book was weaker in a few ways. Listen, I have always loved the characters, romance and ideas/themes that Ahdieh presented. My love for those book characteristics never changed or diminished. Shazi and Khalid are still my favourite couple in the entire universe, their characters/personalities as a whole are so fearless and strong, more strong than most books’ characters have, and I have always loved the setting of the desert and Khorasan and basically… everything. 

Before I get to the positives, I feel that it is best to speak about the issues. This book didn’t feel as put-together or as wholly as the previous novel, or how I would like a book to feel. Yes, our questions were answered and it turned out pretty great, but the book felt so (it’s hard to describe honestly) stiff. There were parts where I was bored (especially through the middle) and I constantly felt this tension that a random war would pop up in the midst of the story (which it kind of did/didn’t) and I was waiting for that. Also, I would have appreciated more Khalid/Shazi moments, but it is completely understandable how they had to part ways for a huge portion of the story because of the events/curse that got in their way. Also, what happened with that curse?

“You continue to wound me, you awful girl. Because I know. Had I spent a single night with you, I would never have wished for us to be parted from that day forward” (66).

As you may have known, Khalid’s curse is a large theme of book one because this affects his relationship between him and Shazi, and how the world around him looks at him, his reputation. I can’t really pinpoint what the goal of this book was. Question-answering, absolutely, romantic development, sure, but the curse was rarely mentioned and there was hardly any fantasy magical things occurring. Listen, I am not your diehard fan of spells and whatnot, but I love the way Renée approaches it, and that barely occurred. Yeah, we see Shazi experimenting with her magic carpet, but that was only a short instant. Those were the issues I spotted.

Now, to the positives, because there were a ton. I loved how Ahdieh reminded readers of who was who, what meant what, and where the characters were in terms of time and setting. I didn’t feel like re-reading the first novel because (A) my TBR pile is huge and (B) I had no time to prepare myself for the sequel so I just bought it. Thank you, Renée! I seriously needed that recap. This novel takes place right from where the first left us off. Each character is basically in a different place, and we feel this tension when Shazi and Khalid are trying to find each other.

As always, Ahdieh has handled the perspectives well. I’ve enjoyed her writing of this series because it’s written in third-person perspectives. Therefore, we could easily discover who Ahdieh is writing about because their names are mentioned. I loved every character, their rivals and their relationships.

Shahrzad is as fearless, strong and kick-ass as always. Since the time I read The Wrath and the Dawn, Shazi has resided as my favourite heroine in all of YA and in all of every single book I have ever read. I love her independence, how she doesn’t need someone by her side to get the job done. There are many scenes where she goes to find something/someone, and she goes on her own, secretly.

“When I was in the desert, I woke each day and carried on with my life, but it wasn’t living; it was merely existing. I want to live. You are where I live” (173).

BUT GUYS WE HAVE A NEW STAR CHARACTER. Irsa, Shazi’s younger sister! I adore sister relationships because they can only remind me of my relationship with my own sister. Ahdieh introduces Shazi’s character in the first chapter, and she remains an important part of this sequel because she is always by her sister and would do anything to save her, even though she is younger. We even see her fall in love, confess her deepest worries to people that we would never expect her to, and most importantly, we see a huge character development. She’s amazing.

KHALID AND TARIQ, MY FRIENDS. These are the hottest YA guys in all of the universe. Some people may disagree with me, but I actually liked their feud, because it made sense. They had reasons to hate each other. It’s a love triangle, people, what else do you expect?

The Rose and the Dagger was just absolute joy and greatness. I adore Renée Ahdieh’s writing so much that she is an instant-buy for me and I would sell all of my books to get a new book by her (okay, that is nuts and I don’t think I’d do that haha). This was just a perfect ending to the story and there were so many shocking moments, plot twists and the amount of suspense at the end of every chapter was astonishing. YOU’LL EXPERIENCE EVERY FEELING; I ALMOST FELL APART AT THE END because of something shocking and sad. Goodbye, Shazi and Khalid. I love you! (I’ll reread this series eventually because it’s too good)