The Lightning Thief

June 12, 2009

lightningthief1Another series that I picked up later than I should have is Rick Riordan‘s Percy Jackson & the Olympians.  I knew it had won awards and praise from pretty much everywhere, but I think maybe I expected it to be a little bit too much of a boy book for me.  I was so wrong!

If you haven’t read the series yet, book 1 is called The Lightning Thief.  Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old boy who tends to get in a lot of trouble.  He’s been in numerous boarding schools already, and he’s about to get kicked out of another one.  Percy eventually learns that he is a half-blood:  His mother is mortal, but his father is one of the Greek gods.  He sets out on a quest to help his father, knowing that he may not return alive.

The Lightning Thief was really enjoyable.  It has a lot of the same elements as Harry Potter – boy hero finding out something about himself that allows him to enter into a new world, heading off on a quest still learning about this new world, and he even has two sidekick friends- Grover, a satyr who also serves as Percy’s keeper; and Annabeth, another half-blood.  True, Harry Potter also had references to Greek mythology, but it didn’t rely on it as heavily as Percy Jackson, nor did it make Greek mythology as interesting.  Several times while reading I stopped to find more information on an important figure.  Rick Riordan deserves a lot of credit for making the subject so interesting.  Another thing that I think is great about this book is that it may help kids with dyslexia and ADHD feel less self-conscious.  Percy and the other half-bloods do too as it’s a sign of being a demi-god.  The book had a lot of adventure, mystery, action, and humor.  I highly recommend it, especially to Harry Potter fans.  I will definitely be reading the rest of the series!

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The Maze of Bones

June 3, 2009

39-clues-maze-of-bonesFirst of all, my apologies for a lack of blogging last month.  I recently moved back to Illinois from Iowa, so things were/have been a little hectic.  I’ll be spending some time trying to catch up on my reading and blogging.  Now on to the book…

The Maze of Bones is the first book in the much-publicized The 39 Clues series.  It took me awhile to get around to it because I didn’t quite understand what it was all about, but I’m so glad I finally did.  In the first book, which is written by Rick Riordan, Amy and Dan Cahill attend their grandmother’s funeral and learn they, and several other people they didn’t even know were family, are listed in her will.  The will states that the heirs may either accept $1 million or pass and have the chance to follow clues to find the powerful secret of the Cahill family.  Amy and Dan choose to accept the clues and embark on a huge adventure.

The book was very enjoyable – adventurous, mysterious, and full of puzzles.  It reminded me a lot of The Westing Game (which was a GREAT thing since that’s my favorite book!) and a little bit of A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I also really enjoy).  At times, though, some of the scenes were difficult for me to envision because of how active the characters are in pursuing their clues.  Still, The Maze of Bones was a great, quick read, and I highly recommend it for middle grades, especially fans of The Westing Game or adventure or mystery books.  I can’t wait to get to the next books in the series!


Zorgamazoo

March 23, 2009

zorgamazooZorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston is definitely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year!  It’s an adventure story filled with strange creatures, a reluctant hero, mystery, bravery, and so much more.  Here’s the best part:  It’s written entirely in verse!  The whole book — all 283 pages — is in perfect rhythm and rhyme, which is certainly not easy to do, but Weston appears to write his story so effortlessly.  This book would be great for either a solid individual reader or for reading aloud.  These words would be fantastic read aloud, and the story is filled with excitement and drama.  It’s an absolute must read!

Need a second opinion?  Hear what Jen has to say here!


Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

April 24, 2008

Not only was this my first exposure to the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer but also to the typical style of graphic novels. Colfer creates a fascinating world of reality and fantasy where fairies, dwarves, goblins, and centaurs exist. However, I was most surprised by the human main character Artemis. He’s a 12-year-old boy genius, rich, extremely knowledgeable of technology, smart-alecky, and generally not a good guy. In this first book of the series, Artemis (and his private bodyguard, Butler) manipulate, threaten, even kidnap a fairy for gold. Another surprise for me in this book was the shift in point of view. Even though the series is about Artemis, readers are still able to hear the thoughts of the secondary characters, which, for me, created even less loyalty for Artemis. Still, the book is plot-driven with a lot of action, which I enjoy. Fans of Artemis Fowl would probably enjoy the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, and vice versa.

Although I didn’t wholeheartedly enjoy the story, I did like the graphic novel version of it. Sometimes I have a difficult time visualizing as I read, so the graphic novel allowed me to give my brain a break, especially since the graphic novel is not very text heavy. Reading this has inspired me to check out other series in graphic-novel form, including Nancy Drew and The Baby-sitter’s Club. I’ll review those soon.