Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

A young school boy finds out that he is half god but being half god means you have enemies. What has Percy done to deserve enemies? Who are the enemies? And what is the purpose of being half god?

Rick Riordan does a very good job of intergrating the Greek gods into an urban setting. It reminded me very much of Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods' but less mystery and more action. The Greek gods play a very important role in the story but the focus is really on Percy and the other half-bloods in the book. The storyline follows Percy Jackson who is framed for stealing a very important godly item. To accompany him is Annabeth the offspring of Athena, and Grover a Satyr who's job is to protect Percy on his quest.

There was a little bit of hype surrounding this book and I am glad that I wasn't let down. Nothing felt too cliche and the twists of all the minor gods and demons just made the book that much more interesting. The only problem I see is that a lot of greek names are introduced and it could be a little confusing for the younger readers. However, if you have a little inside knowledge you won't even notice the infinite names.

I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the Percy Jackson series.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Review: Best Served Cold

*Started my new job a few weeks ago and have been flat out. Here is something I wrote a while back.*

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. Monza Murcatto a once loved and trusted general was betrayed, stabbed and thrown off a mountain. However one thing the betrayer did not plan was for her to survive. Now Monza is planning her revenge on the seven men that had a hand in the betrayal.

Joe Abercrombie first made fame with the book
The Blade Itself, book 1 of The First Law Trilogy. From this series Abercrombie has gained world wide fans for his witty humour, in depth characters with their monologues, and brutal piece by piece violence.

Best Served Cold unlike the previous series is a Stand Alone book.

For those that have never read Abercrombie, you will not lose any sleep over not having read the previous series because this book is completely self enclosed and requires no prior knowledge to be enjoyed. Best Served Cold employs humour, gore, torture and *cough* romance *cough* all to the extremes. Abercrombie will wow you with great in depth characters that you will fall in love with, wince at the torture scenes when bits of flesh are seared away and be absolutely shocked as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. The other great thing about this book (if you buy the UK version) is the beautiful cover (First Law covers are also beautiful).

For those of you that have read the First Law Trilogy, I think you should take this book with tredipidation. The good things about this book is that Abercrombie has worked on everything he was criticized on for the First Law. Maps have been inserted into the book. Instead of the usual ‘place at the front’ map, it is on the cover of the UK version of the book. The book is also divided into parts, each part is set in a different area. These areas are enlarged and placed before the start of each part (genius!). The creativeness of Abercrombie is also evident in how he rearranges old minor characters into this book. He almost secretly inserts these old characters into completely new characters with new roles; with new importance’s and that was a nice surprise. The other thing I also liked about this book was that it is a stand-alone novel. Too many books out there now are a part of a trilogy or 12 book series and it is refreshing to read a relatively new author produce a stand-alone novel.

The other good or bad thing about this book is besides the main story of vengeance, is that this book is just the First Law squished into 500 pages. The world is the same, the monologues are there, the rough sex, even the types of characters are the same; a barbarian from the north, a poisoner (torturer), a mass murderer, an inquisitor and people you just can’t rely on. The fact that they are all the same (practically) draws attention away from the fact that Abercrombie’s strength is character writing.

However a talented writer is a talented writer and in reality this is a good book. My expectations were just a little high. Go read some Abercrombie.