Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Siege and Storm

Warning: Spoiler alert for those of you who haven't read Shadow and Bone yet.

Siege and Storm cover Leigh BardugoHoly sequel!  That's all I can say.  I am completely breathless after having read Siege and Storm (watch the trailer here).  If you've not yet begun the Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo, stop sitting there and do it!

When we rejoin Alina and Mal, they are attempting to make a new life for themselves outside of Ravka and the power of the Darkling.  But we know their peace will never last because as we all know, darkness never dies.  When the Darkling appears again, he is brings a new and if possible more horrifying power.  Even the Sun Summoner might not be enough to shed sufficient light here.

Another amazing aspect of Siege and Storm is the addition of several new characters.  My favorite being Sturmhond.  I tell you, I am so intrigued by this guy I can barely stop thinking about him.  I would really love to know what other readers think about him.  Toyla and Tamar, the unexpected Grisha twins, also pack quite a punch...literally.

Alina herself is a bit changed in this installment as well.  She is haunted by the disastrous events at the Shadow Fold.  But she also becomes drawn to her new power and the potential to increase it.  She is forced to consider losing some of herself for what might be the greater good or living the life she always thought she wanted.  My goodness Alina, you've got a dilemma on your hands, girl.

Cool things to know: Visit the Shadow and Bone Facebook to download The Tailor, a scene from Shadow and Bone told from Genya's point of view.  There are two short ebooks that are currently available that accompany the series.  The Witch of Duva is considered book 0.5 and The Too Clever Fox is 2.5.  I'll be reading those ASAP!

This book begins with excitement and ends with it as well.  The world of Ravka and its mysterious Grisha have drawn me into their grasp!  I'm so excited about Ruin and Rising that it pains my heart to wait for it.  Please read this series.  You'll love it.  Promise.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Shadow and Bone

One word can sum up the book Shadow and Bone (watch the trailer here) by Leigh Bardugo (lots of cool stuff lives on this site!): WOW!  A friend recommended it to me a couple of weeks ago.  And, since I've never gotten a bad recommendation from this woman, I proceeded straight away.  I am so glad I did.  I devoured this book quickly and proceeded straight to its sequel Siege and Storm (watch the trailer here).  This book unfolds in a world unlike any other.  Allow me to explain.

Shadow and Bone opens by introducing readers to Alina and Mal, the main characters, during their childhood.  Next we are swept to their adolescence.  Both are now serving in the First Army in the war torn country of Ravka.  After having grown up together in an orphanage, Alina and Mal still cling to their childhood friendship.  During a particularly dangerous military mission, Alina is able to accomplish something utterly spectacular.  After this, she is identified as one of the Grisha, a member of the country's magical elite led by the Darkling.  Not only is she found to have a magical ability, her ability seems to be a one of a kind ability that could quite possibly be the salvation of their country.

Suddenly, Alina is whisked away to the Little Palace where she will receive her Grisha training.  This is a new way of life for Alina.  There are comforts like she has never known, intrigue she couldn't have imagined, and pressure she has never felt.  And, there's no Mal.

The more Alina learns about the Grisha life, the more she wonders if she is really meant to be there.  Questions begin to rise.  Oh my, times are tense.

Please, please, please read this book.  Now.  Wait not.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero, Son of Neptune, & Mark of Athena

So while digging in my to read bag, I noticed two books in The Heroes of Olympus series.  This was quite unacceptable.  To be so woefully behind on my Rick Riordan is downright embarrassing.  There was simply nothing left to do but remedy the situation.

I had read The Lost Hero back in 2010 when it was released and obviously loved it, as I have all of Rick Riordan's books.  In The Lost Hero, fans of Percy Jackson are introduced to new residents (Leo and Piper) from Camp Half-Blood as well as a somewhat unexpected character who seems to be of Roman heritage instead of Greek.  It's fairly surprising that Jason Grace seems only to know the gods by their Roman aspects instead of Greek.  This gives fans a whole new avenue to explore and much more to learn about classic mythology.  And, thankfully, Annabeth is also there hoping to find the recently gone missing Percy.

As with the previous series, the demigods accept a quest.  This time they are charged with freeing Hera.  Those of us who are familiar with the Percy Jackson series know that dealing with Hera will be no picnic.  Not only must the demigods come to the aid of this tricky goddess, they must come to understand her role in  Percy's disappearance.

And this is where readers are able to join the story in The Son of Neptune.  In this installment, Percy is finally located (sigh of relief, right?).  But, like Jason, he has no memory of his past save faint notions of Annabeth.  Percy finds himself at Camp Jupiter, the Roman training ground for demigods, as a result of Hera's plan to unite the Romans and the Greeks.  Well, that sounds great, but this union won't come as easily as one might hope.  These folks have spent centuries hating one another.

In this installment, readers are able to meet two more new main characters: Hazel and Frank.  Both of these characters bring with unique abilities to the story.  As you might expect, a quest is required of these demigods as well as our old friend Percy.  This is where readers learn the true threat in this series is the old earth goddess, Gaea.  Forget all notions of a kindly mother earth.  That's not what we've here people.  Percy, who the Romans certainly identify as Greek, hopes to gain respect their respect by accompanying Hazel and Frank on this dangerous quest.

Finally, we find ourselves with a complete grasp on the fact that the Greeks and Romans must unite in order to save the world from the rise of Gaea and her wretched horde of monsters.  This is where The Mark of Athena begins.  Communication between Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-Blood has been established and the Argo II manned by Leo, Piper, Jason, and Annabeth head for the west coast to meet with the Roman demigods.  Their hope is that Jason's presence will foster a warm welcome, and that Percy's presence with the Romans will encourage the Romans to accept the help of the Greeks.  And, you know, that might have worked if only Leo had not been possessed by an eidolon causing him to launch an attack on Camp Jupiter.  Yeah, attacking a camp of Romans is not a good plan.

In accordance with the prophecy of seven, the crew of the Argo II, is joined by Hazel, Frank, and Percy.  These seven demigods embark upon the most dangerous quest yet.  They must stop Gaea and her army.  This will take them all the way to Rome, which is quite a dangerous place for a demigod.  To make matters worse, the quest is not the only goal.  Annabeth must also follow the mark of Athena in order to mend the relationship between the Romans and the Greeks.  No pressure Annabeth, but children of Athena have been trying for centuries.

Oh my!  Here is what I can tell you.  These books are worth it.  I'm so glad I got myself up to date on the series, but The Mark of Athena ends in a giant cliff hanger.   So, here I sit, nervous about what is going to happen next with no choice but to wait until October when The House of Hades will be released.  I guess that's what I get.  The up side to this, however, is that Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters will be released in theaters in mere weeks (August 7!).  Check out the official movie site and trailer here.