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The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan {5 Stars}

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan {5 Stars}

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 3, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG, YA
Page Length: 376 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go... an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan {4.5 Stars}

Here we go again …. Seems like Magnus Chase’s afterlife is going to be spent chasing (yes, I went there) down magical weapons that the Norse gods have somehow misplaced.  First, it was his father’s sword; now it is Thor’s great hammer, which, in this universe, can be picked up by the (very) unworthy.   Fortunately, Magnus has friends throughout the Nine Worlds who can help him on this quest, and we are treated yet again to Samira, Heath, Blitz, and new friends as the intrepid band of heroes do their best to twart Loki’s attempts to bring on Ragnarok.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan  {4.5 Stars}

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard)
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 4, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 480 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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Thor's hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon--the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn't just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer's return is the gods' worst enemy, Loki--and the price he wants is very high.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan {4.5 Stars}

Sword of Summer is the first book in a new series taking place in Rick Riordan’s universe of gods, demigods and heroes.  While it follows the same ideas as Percy Jackson & the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus, this series is set in the worlds of Norse mythology, featuring the gods of Asgard and the numerous creatures that run through the stories of Northern European myths and folklore.

This series follows the formula of the prior series, but it adds some interesting twists of its own.  The main character is a demigod, born of a moral woman and a visiting god, but he ends up being more than that, and his companions on the epic quest (there must always be an epic quest to avoid the end of the world) include adults from various species (human, dwarf, and elf) as well as another teen …. who has a complex life, to say the least.  The Norse gods, like their Roman and Greek peers, have strengths, weaknesses, and definite idiosyncrasies.  They rely upon their offspring to act in the world on their behalf, in part because past actions and choices have limited their ability to act directly.  But in this book, that reliance is also revealed to be a calculated choice.

As much as I enjoyed Riordan’s other series, this one seems to be a bit more mature – and hence more interesting.  Norse mythology, with multiple worlds and competing races of gods, is more complex than Greco-Roman myths.  The characters can also be drawn from a wider swath of races as well as from adult soldiers from many centuries who died heroically in battles and were taken to Valhalla to prepare for the eventual end of the worlds.  But the villain (in this case, Loki) is also a bit scarier with his ability to scheme and manipulate the paths and plans of gods.  Like the Harry Potter series, in which the later books were best read by the older end of the age group, the Magnus Chase series might be better suited to older middle grade readers.

Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan {4.5 Stars}

Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 6, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 528 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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4 Stars: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan is the second book of the second series and continues the story of young demigods who must forge friendships and figure out to use their unique gifts in a race to save the world …. again.

When I (Barbara) finished The Lost Hero, I knew I would be working my way through the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.  I had minored in classical studies during college and appreciate Riordan’s modern extension of the Perseus archetype into a light but engaging series for young adults. This book was my personal copy, and there aren’t any spoilers for The Son of Neptune, but there are some for The Lost Hero. If you haven’t read the first book, check out Anya’s review of The Lost Hero instead.
The Son of Neptune Goodreads Amazon
Title: The Son of Neptune
Author: Rick Riordan
Length: 513 pages
Genre-ish: YA Fantasy (set in our world)
Rating★★★– light and easy read

Setting: In The Son of Neptune, not only are the Greek gods real, but so are the Roman ones.  While they are technically the same gods, the Roman aspects of the 12 Olympian gods are more stern, serious, and disciplined — but they still fall in love with mortals and have demigod children.  The young Roman demigods, like the Greeks we met in the first series and in the Lost Hero, inherit traits and powers from their godly parents, speak Latin like a senator in the forum, have a special, secret camp, and are the favorite snack of monsters.  Mere mortals are kept unaware of this by the Mist, which obscures reality and keeps us unaware of the battles between the gods and various powers that want to destroy the world and its inhabitants.

Premise: This time, Percy Jackson is the one with amnesia and monsters hot on his tail.  He ends up at Camp Jupiter where he is as out of place as a Greek among Romans. One Roman in particular remembers who he is … and that he is not exactly on her favorites list.  Still, Percy makes friends and ends up on a trip to Alaska to save the world.  As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Juno/Hera is putting together a dream team from BOTH Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-Blood to defeat Gaea — the personification of the earth — who will threaten Mount Olympus itself before the end of the series.

Strengths:

  • Riordan’s writing is wonderful to read.  He is descriptive without being too wordy, immersing the reader in the scenes he weaves.  We come to see the world through the points of view of each of the major characters, which are interleaved without confusion.
  • Riordan also uses humor to good effect in The Son of Neptune to keep the tone of the story light.  If the heroes are joking in the face of adversity, how bad can it be, right?
  • I love the friendships that develop between the heroes.  They feel right and develop at an appropriate pace out of shared principles, choices, and actions.
  • In The Son of Neptune, each character has his or her strengths and weaknesses.  Often the heroes complement each other, which shows young readers the value of collaboration and valuing one’s own gifts.  But the heroes also show that you don’t necessarily have to like doing what you are good at.  The son of the god of war does not particularly like what he inherited from his father – but these abilities are used wisely save the day on a number of occasions.
  • Although the Son of Neptune occurs at about the same time as The Lost Hero, it was not repetitious.  The two stories run parallel until the very end when the two sets of heroes meet, leaving the reader to wonder who will comprise the seven heroes of the prophecy.

Weaknesses:

  •  The formula is beginning to be a bit too repetitious.  The frantic journey of less than a week to get somewhere, find something, and save the world at the last minute is exciting but … tired.  And having a hero with a guilty secret – again – seemed definitely like a lazy way to bring in dramatic tension. 
  • The female characters are strong and gifted, but after a series and two books, I’m hoping that the third book will really let Annabeth shine as the daughter of Athena.

Summary:

If you have been enjoying the two series up to this point, you should enjoy The Son of Neptune as well.  It has some interesting variations to throw at you but keeps the winning formula intact.

– Barbara

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Four Stars: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Read and Review HopThe Lost Hero by Rick Riordan is a strong start to another thrilling and fun series combing ancient Greek and Roman culture with the perils of being a teenager!

When I spotted The Heroes of Olympus series on the bookshelf of the new guy in my lab’s bookshelf, I new they were good people!
Well, I knew that I would be great friends with his fiance, whose books they were ;-). It doesn’t hurt that she makes these really delicious chocolate desserts whenever she has people over, freaking fantastic! In any case, she was gracious enough to lend me The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, making her possibly the coolest person ever :D.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan Goodreads Amazon
Title:
The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 553 (hardcover)
Genre-ish: YA Fantasy
Rating★★★★☆ – Light and fun
Setting: The Greek gods are real and periodically fall in love with mortals, producing demi-god children. These children have powers associated with their god parents, as well as the ability to speak ancient Greek, uncanny prowess with weapons and other helpful things. There are also all of those ancient Greek monsters, however, and they things demi-gods are tasty. We knew all this from the Percy Jackson novels, however. Now, it seems there may be more than just Greek heroes and gods, where did the Roman gods go after all?
Premise: Jason wakes up on a bus with no memories at all. He doesn’t know why he is holding this pretty girl’s hand, nor why an angry old man is yelling at him. His day proceeds to get worse as wind monsters attack him and his friends and they discover that they are actually demi-gods and things are pretty bad in the world right now. This is all par for the course though. The weird part is that everyone important keeps looking at Jason as if he, in particular, is a really really really bad omen, but they refuse to tell him why…. Oh well, before he can figure that out, they need to go save the world.

Strengths:

  • Riordan can write! The Lost Hero is fast and fun, so that even though is is fairly long, you’ll have no trouble buzzing right through it. The writing is lightly descriptive (not too much, as we’ve all complained about before!) with plenty of humor thrown in.
  • The three main characters are all good kids that care about each other despite the odd situation they are in, yet they all have their own personalities and weaknesses to deal with. The Lost Hero benefits from three points of view that switch each chapter, so we get a good idea of what is going on, and get the chance to follow three subplots that weave together throughout the book.
  • It’s so interesting to start finding out about the Roman side of things! I won’t say more, since I don’t want to ruin anything (and because I don’t actually know that much yet), but I’m so excited to find out :D.

Weaknesses:

  • I was super creeped out by the description of two of the female deity figures at first. Like, I had to turn the light on because the descriptions were so creepy! Isn’t this book supposed to be for younger-ish kids??
  • There is only so far that you can push the epic “Omg something more horrible and all powerful is going to try to take over now” and I really am not sure that I’m convinced it’s going to work. The Percy Jackson books used up the Titans trying to take over, and so now Riordan has to go bigger, and while he seems to have found something bigger in the Greek myths, I’m just not quite convinced yet.
  • The YA nature of The Lost Hero annoyed me at times, with big words being a little overused and then explained, or kids being just plain annoying.

Summary:
The Lost Hero was very similar to the Percy Jackson books, so if you liked those, you should definitely pick this one up! Riordan continues his light and fun style, while incorporating the Greek myths that so many of us were so interesting in in school :D. While The Lost Hero has the weaknesses that many YA books have for those of us that don’t read YA as much, anyone who reads and enjoys YA should definitely love The Lost Hero! I’m super excited to borrow the next book in the series *sneaks over to friend’s house*.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan