Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse | Book Review

Title: The Titan’s Curse
Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians #3
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: May 5, 2007
Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: 312
Format: Kindle eBook

IT’S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you’re the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive…

As this is the third book in the series, there might be spoilers!

Oh man, this series is SO fun to read! Why didn’t I read these before? Haha, anyway, I found myself enjoying this third installment quite a bit. It was just as fast-paced and action-packed as the first two, but I found myself seeing Percy and his friends starting to mature as they get older with each book, starting to grow into their young teenage years. So not only do they have to face the monsters, gods, and other such things in their environment, but they also are starting to really come into their own and to discover more about themselves.

This particular book follows Percy, Thalia, and two Hunters who are usually hunting with the goddess Artemis: Bianca and Zöe, in their journey to not only save Artemis, but also Annabeth.

It felt like Percy was dealing with a lot more inner turmoil and emotions in this one than the last two. Being left alone or cast out, depending on where he was, he definitely seemed lonely a lot of the time. But through that, there was a determination to help his friend Annabeth, to save her from wherever fate might have taken her.

Thalia – who used to be a tree thanks to her father, Zeus, who changed her into one so as to save her life – is navigating her own feelings on her father, as well as her own situation and whether or not she fits into a prophecy told about a child of the three big gods betraying them. Though we see everything through Percy’s eyes, I still felt a sense of anger and frustration of Thalia at her decisions, and how she makes an ultimate decision so as to not be the one spoken of in the prophecy – which I thought was very mature for her to decide.

Bianca, and her younger brother, Nico, were such a mystery in the book, but when the reveal happened as to who they were, I had guessed it just before I read it. It was still shocking, but oh man, I wonder if and how they’ll return and how the situation could play out in the future. Although, I’m sad about Bianca, but also I found her to be very selfish in leaving her brother behind to join the Hunters, but… Ah, I don’t know what else I can say on that because of what happened to her in the desert.

And then Zöe. Oh man, I thought she was very mature for her “age,” though, to be fair, she was thousands of years old at that point. I didn’t quite understand the hostility between her and Thalia, though it was explained eventually later on, but I still thought that maybe they could have gotten along more. However, I did almost cry at the end with what happened to her because I really grew to really like her, and I wanted to know even more about her past, but I don’t think we’ll get any more than what we got.

And of course there were new villains to face in this story – a manticore, as well as a god who helped the Titans long, long ago – and it was interesting to see how it played out! I actually really liked the villains, in terms of villainry, and I’m interested to see if the betrayer god will make another appearance later on.

Overall, the plot was fast-paced, and it included a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting, as well as a few that I was. I found this particular installment to be really good, and probably my favorite of the series so far. There was a lot more at stake in this book, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Percy and the crew because I’m sure, especially after that ending, that there’s going to be a lot more trouble for the young teens to go through.

★★★★☆

Magical Readathon | TBR

Hello there, magical people~ I hope you’re doing well. Today I’m going to be talking about the Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast over on YouTube. This readathon is themed around the Harry Potter universe and includes classes in twelve subjects at Hogwarts, as well as twelve potential careers (and extra seminars and courses) you can take in your time at and after Hogwarts! This seemed like such a fun activity, and I was a bit too late to join the last few times I saw the announcements, but I’m finally early and ready to try this readathon for myself!

Now, if you would like all the details about the readathon, there are links in the video that Book Roast talks about the announcement here, but to summarize, it’s an event that’s taking place for the entire month of April from the 1st to the 30th, and during that time you pick books based on the prompts given for each of the twelve classes, and each class comes with a prompt designated to it:

  • Ancient Runes: Heart Rune – heart on the cover or the title
  • Arithmancy: Magical qualities of number 2 – balance/opposites – read something outside of your favorite genre
  • Astronomy: Night classes – read majority of this book when it’s dark outside
  • Care of Magical Creatures: Hippogriffs – creature with a beak on the cover
  • Charms: Lumos Maxima – white cover
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: Grindylows – book set at sea/coast
  • Divination: Third Eye – assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read
  • Herbology: Mimbulus mimbletonia – title starts with an M
  • History of Magic: Witch hunts – book featuring witches/wizards
  • Muggle Studies: Book from the perspective of a muggle (contemporary)
  • Potions: Shrinking Solution – book under 150 pages
  • Transfiguration: Animagus lecture – book/series that includes shapeshifting

You can also pick a career path to take after your Hogwarts career (this is totally optional) and allows you to focus on and potentially narrow down which books from which class you read. Careers include: Alchemist, Astronomer, Aurologist, Auror, Broom Maker, Care of Magical Children, Culinary Sorcerer, Curse Breaker, Graphic Designer, Healer, Herbologist, Hogwarts Professor, Journalist or Writer, Librarian, Mage of Visual Arts, Magizoologist, Metal Charmer, Mind Medic, Ministry Worker, Potioneer, Quidditch Referee, Seer, Spell Maker, Trader of Magical Tomes, and Wandmaker. (For more on these, check out the video I linked above!)

So for this readathon, I want to get back into the swing of reading novels (as has been in the case in almost every post I’ve made lately lol), but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself as it’ll be the first actual readathon I participate in this year. Picking a career was tough, but I decided to go with Writer, and I might double up with Graphic Designer, if I have the time and energy to do so. I’ll also be taking a bonus course called Merpeople Linguistics.

Let’s break this down!

Writer O.W.L.s Needed

  • History of Magic
  • Muggle Studies
  • 1 other subject of your choice (I chose Astronomy)

The books I chose for this Writer O.W.L. are:

Graphic Designer O.W.L.s Needed

  • Ancient Runes
  • Charms
  • History of Magic
  • Transfiguration

The books I chose for the Graphic Designer O.W.L. are:

And for my extra course/seminar, the Merpeople Linguistics course, I’ll be reading a book for Herbology: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. This one will be a reread for me.

Oh man, it’s a lot to take in, but I’m very excited. All of these books (except for Heartless) are also on my POPSugar Challenge for 2020, so I’m killing two birds with one stone.

I’m definitely aiming for just the first three books in the Writer’s career O.W.L.s as I don’t want to overwhelm myself, but I think having plenty of options is good for this challenge.

There will also be other challenges hosted on the Twitter, @magicathon, and there’s also a discord for you to join if you want! (Links in the video listed earlier in this post!)

Are you going to be joining the readathon? Which career are you aiming for? Is this your first O.W.L.s? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

Strange the Dreamer | Book Review

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

You know, I started reading this book what feels like forever ago, and I put it down not because I was bored with it or anything – quite the opposite! – but because I was in a reading slump of sorts. Now that I picked it back up and finished it over the last two or three days, I’m SO glad I did because WOW, was this a great book.

Laini Taylor never ceases to amaze me with her works. She is one of my favorite authors, and this book definitely showed me why. The writing, of course, was elegant and poetic in many different ways. She has a way of describing feeling and the human emotion in such depth that it makes you feel like you’re experiencing what that character experiences, rather than just sitting back and watching it happen.

Among those well-written words are the characters and the plot of the story, both of which I feel are both dynamic as they are complex. The story unfolds in a fantasy world (though it feels a lot like Earth), with gods who lived among the people, great creatures that could tear a person apart, and many mysteries that have yet to be revealed. The world itself felt very large, but also very small, given most of it is told from Lazlo’s point of view (as well as several others).

Besides that, the characters themselves had such varying histories behind them that I felt drawn to learn more about each one. Lazlo, an orphan made librarian, seemed like such a dreamer that he felt very naive and new to much of the world. I loved his love for stories and how he would often describe the world around him as something very poetic and beautiful.

Sarai felt so troubled, so tired, and I felt like I could feel how tired she was. She was holding onto old anger that she no longer held in her heart, but a curiosity that was sparked in kind thanks to Lazlo and his dreams.

The other godspawn, as they’re called – Minya, Ruby, Feral, and Sparrow – had all such distinct characteristics and personalities, and powers. They each felt real and had their own share of problems, worries, etc.

Among other characters, such as Eril-Fane and Azareen, who share horrible pasts due to the gods, there was one that stood out a lot that I felt frustrated with but also very intrigued by: Thyon Nero. He’s the son of a king and queen who were losing their kingdom, until one day, Thyon managed to turn things into gold. But he has a lot of secrets, and a bad personality, but I can’t say that I don’t want to see more of what he’s capable of.

The story to save Weep – the town whose name was stolen – is one of adventure and many questions and uncertainties. I could feel the sorrow of the city even in the small bits and glimmers we got through the other characters.

Honestly, this book was so wonderfully done. If you’re looking for a book with fantastical elements, deep emotions explored, dark pasts, and hopeful futures, then you’d enjoy this novel.

★★★★★

POPSUGAR 2020 Reading Challenge

Image source: POPSUGAR Photography

Hey! So I wanted to make a list of books I hope to read this year that can fit the categories for the POPSUGAR reading challenge. I don’t have all of the prompts filled as I might find other books to fit the prompts, plus I’m giving myself options since my goal is to read 25 books this year, not 52. (But if I do all of these challenges, then yay for me!)

I won’t necessarily be reading these in the order listed, either, since I’m such a mood reader. I also picked as many books as I could already on my shelves, on my kindle, or on audible that I already own.

So anyway, here’s the official list with my choices for books, and here’s where you can find their pretty printable list on their site!

2020 Challenge – Regular prompts

1. A book that’s published in 2020Remembrance by Rita Woods
2. A book by a trans or nonbinary authorThe Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar
3. A book with a great first lineAn Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
4. A book about a book clubThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
5. A book set in a city that has hosted the OlympicsThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
6. A bildungsromanThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
7. The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closedAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (I had my husband pick with his eyes closed)
8. A book with an upside-down image on the coverGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
9. A book with a mapThe City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
10. A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book clubThe Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
11. An anthologyThe Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
12. A book that passes the Bechdel testJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
13. A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to itRenegades by Marissa Meyer
14. A book by an author with flora or fauna in their nameThe Wicked King by Holly Black
15. A book about or involving social mediaTweet Cute by Emma Lord
16. A book that has a book on the coverPersuasion by Jane Austen
17. A medical thrillerThe Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
18. A book with a made-up languageWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
19. A book set in a country beginning with “C”Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
20. A book you picked because the title caught your attentionThe Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
21. A book published the month of your birthdayThe Color Project by Sierra Abrams
22. A book about or by a woman in STEMHidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
23. A book that won an award in 2019Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
24. A book on a subject you know nothing aboutThe Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber
25. A book with only words on the cover, no images or graphicsA Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
26. A book with a pun in the titleDying to Please by Linda Howard
27. A book featuring one of the seven deadly sinsPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
28. A book with a robot, cyborg, or AI characterWires and Nerves vol 1 by Marissa Meyer
29. A book with a bird on the coverThis Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
30. A fiction or nonfiction book about a world leaderBecoming by Michelle Obama
31. A book with “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze” in the titleThe Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons
32. A book by a WOCThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
33. A book with at least a four-star rating on GoodreadsThe Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
34. A book you meant to read in 2019Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
35. A book with a three-word titleWink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
36. A book with a pink coverThe Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
37. A WesternVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
38. A book by or about a journalistNext Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
39. Read a banned book during Banned Books WeekThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexi
40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – 2017: Involving a mythical creature – A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

2020 Challenge – Advanced prompts

1. A book written by an author in their 20sSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
2. A book with “20” or “twenty” in the titleTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
3. A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision)All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
4. A book set in the 1920sMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
5. A book set in Japan, host of the 2020 OlympicsPachinko by Min Jin Lee
6. A book by an author who has written more than 20 booksVision in White by Nora Roberts
7. A book with more than 20 letters in its titleThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
8. A book published in the 20th centuryNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
9. A book from a series with more than 20 booksNoragami vol 21 by Adachitoka
10. A book with a main character in their 20sMagic Slays by Ilona Andrews

And that’s it! Those are the 50 books I hope to read in 2020, but my overall reading goal is to read 25 books, so if I read half of this list, I’ll consider that a win.

Let’s chat!

What are some of your reading goals for 2020? What book would you read that takes place in Japan? Or what about a book about or by a woman in STEM? Let me know!

The Way of Kings | Book Review

Title: The Way of Kings
Series: The Stormlight Archive #1
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Publish Date: August 31, 2010
Genre: Epic, High Fantasy
Pages: 1007
Format: Audiobook (45 hours 37 minutes long)

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the 10 consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

Where do I even begin with this epic high fantasy? Well, I guess I start off by saying that I absolutely loved it, and that it’s now one of my favorites of all time.

This book was rich in setting. The world that Sanderson wrote was complex, immersive, and dimensional. The descriptions often transported me to the locations described as though I were watching a movie in my head. From the high storms to the chulls to the arrows, stormlight, and more, I felt that this world was highly immersive and well thought out.

As for the characters, there were so many to follow, but each had their own thread to add to this overarching story. From a soldier turned slave, a young woman who steals from a princess to help her family, to a war general with many mysteries in his past, as well as his present, to many more, these characters felt alive and human. The farther the story went on, the more I wanted to know about them.

I hope to see a lot more character growth in all of the characters because this world and the story surrounding them is so vast that it’s hard to imagine what they might end up going through at some point. There’s still so many questions to have answered, and I’m sure even more questions will come as the series continues on.

One thing I definitely loved was how Sanderson had many mini-arcs that each character was placed in, then a grander arc that they were all in, and then an even bigger arc that encompassed everything they were all going through, how the events that were taking place would affect them and the world, and how the possibly to stop it might come into play. It was so complex, but I found myself loving the threads to follow to see where they would lead.

As far as the audiobook itself goes, the narrators – Michael Kramer and Kate Reading – did an amazing job giving emotion to these characters and world, including doing different voices for each of the characters. The quality was really good, and I’m glad to see they’re continuing to be the narrators for the series.

As an epic high fantasy, I definitely recommend this book. It was long, yes, but there was just so much depth and many times where I laughed, cheered, yelled, gasped, and more that I would do it again to see if there was anything I might have missed. If you’re looking to get into a large fantasy series, this might be the one for you.

★★★★★