After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There's little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.
This first installment of Rick Riordan's best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.
"Be honored, Percy Jackson. Lord Zeus rarely allows me to test a hero with one of my brood. For I am the Mother of Monsters, the terrible Echidna!"I stared at her. All I could think to say was: "Isn't that a kind of anteater?"She howled, her reptilian face turning brown and green with rage. "I hate it when people say that! I hate Australia!..."
Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.
Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again…
My take: I loved this book but it's possible my standards were slightly lowered by all the dreck I've been reading. I was optimistic because I really like Jenna Black's adult series but you can never tell if an adult writer can write young adult books or vice versa.
1. I like novel Fae creatures outside of the norm. Spriggans, for example, are interesting and unique to me and much more interesting than the trolls or imps that show up in every fae-type novel.
2. The interaction between Dana and her dysfunctional family felt very real to me. Her love-tempered disgust with her drunk mom, not knowing how to deal with the father that she never knew--it all seemed realistic.
3. Although Dana makes the inarguably stupid move of flying across the world to meet a father she's never met and didn't know she existed who lives in a half-fae, half-human town (and a man her mother has warned her about), she is generally pretty smart and logical. A nice change in YA books where the heroines often fall in to the too-stupid-to-live trope. And what teenager wouldn't want to escape normal life and meet their unknown father?
Keep reading? Heck yeah! Great start to a series
Gone by Michael Grant
Goodreads summary: Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...
My take: This book was incredibly boring. I'm actually not sure how I finished it. The book seems to be based on a sort of X-Men meets "The Lord of the Flies" approach, which I would have expected to be a lot more interesting. It was spectacularly predictable. Obviously, I am in the minority, because most of the Goodreads reviews rate the book very high.
Read more? Heck no. I probably wouldn't even see the movie that is bound to be spawned from this series.
Goodreads summary: She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be nex
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
My take: I thought the book was good but not great. Sophie was a pretty obnoxious character in my opinion. She doesn't listen to anyone, flies off the handle, doesn't pay attention to what's going on. Of course, that would be pretty typical for a teenager, so maybe those are ridiculous arguments. Sophie is funny, though, and I liked her vampire roommate--it isn't very often that you get a gay character (especially where it's treated like no big deal) in YA. It is pretty accurate to teenage girl drama--the mean girls that get less mean when their friends aren't around, the random social cliques that form, how people deal with stress and the unknown. I will say that I was surprised by the "bad guy"--both of them (and I won't say any more than that or I will be giving away spoilers).
Will I read the next in the series? Sure.
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (2010)
Goodreads synopsis: Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs
My take: Honestly, this book has one of the best covers I've seen in years. It totally drew me in from the minute I started to see the book reviewed on blogs. I was absolutely judging the book by it's cover. Once I read about the book on blogs, I knew I wanted to read it.
I was disappointed. The book is has some great ideas--a town that is both grateful to and terrified of the sidhe. The main character, Mackie, being unable to be around blood (a concept I haven't seen explored before but which makes perfect sense because of the iron). The idea of a changeling being totally accepted (and eventually loved) in a family. But it was a slow book. A really slow book. Most of those ideas were not fully explored. The "Underworld" portion of the town seemed remarkably cheesy to me and not nearly as scary as it was obviously supposed to be. Mackie was hard to relate to for me and kind of bland. I actually think secondary characters like Mackie's sister Emma, crush Tate, and friend Roswell were more interesting than the main character--never a good sign.
Keep reading the series? No. I will admire future covers though.
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (2010)
Goodreads synopsis:Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.
My take: I didn't know what to expect from this book, although it has been sitting in my TBR pile for quite some time. I had read both good and bad reviews of it over the last year. I still don't know what I think. I liked all the characters from Meghan to Ash (and especially her little brother--the "death" of his stuffed bunny was actually one of the more upsetting deaths I've read in the last year). I think in some ways this is the "set-up" book, setting up the series for future books. It seemed to be more about introducing the characters than about actual action. I thought the idea of the Iron Court was truly novel and interesting--worth a star totally on it's own.
I liked the mixture of Shakespeare (Puck--a very Shakespeare Puck rather than the Puck of other UF) and Alice in Wonderland (there is no way to mistake that the basis for Grimalkin was the Cheshire cat). But I don't really like when a love triangle is set up before you even care about any of the characters--I can't be on Team Ash or Team Puck because I don't really care about either of them so far.
Will I keep reading? Yes.
Goodreads synopsis: Sophie Stone doesn't want to leave the bright lights of LA for the dreary little burg of Mythic, Massachusetts. So why, then, does she feel eerily drawn to the place? And why, after she crosses the county line, does she begin having headaches, accompanied by strange and frightening visions? At least school is a bright spot--Sophie is immediately accepted by the coolest, most popular, best-dressed girls at Mythic High. But what she doesn't know is that her new friends don't buy their couture--they conjure it! They're a coven of witches, formed to save the town from an evil that is rising, an evil that was foretold decades ago. And Sophie is their leader!
Will Sophie embrace her powers and save the town? Or is Mythic totally hexed?
My take: Read another paranormal YA book. This one is seriously boring. The writing is of the "tell, not show" school of thought. The lone item I liked--the main character is the daughter of a horror movie director and his muse. I could imagine if Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter moved to New England and how their kid (who, in this case, is far more interested in shopping than paranormal activity) would fare. This book was a "Did not finish" for me. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't very good either.
Keep reading? I'm not sure if this is a series or not but either way, no.
“Exposed” by a Boston Herald reporter, Lucy is suddenly the talk of the town. Long back-story short: Even though the rest of her Valentine ancestors were blessed by Cupid with psychic abilities, Lucy’s only special power lies in her ability to find things. This skill has proven quite a blessing for those who come to her matchmaking agency in search of finding their long-lost loves. Now that Lucy’s secret is out, she has more new clients than she knows what to do with. But soon a certain man of mystery steals Lucy’s spotlight…
No, it’s not Sean Donahue, the sexy fireman-turned-private-eye who’s stolen Lucy’s heart. It’s a masked man in a cowboy hat, dubbed “The Lone Ranger,” who’s been throwing handfuls of cash across the Common. Now all of Beantown’s abuzz. Can Lucy unmask the mysterious money man, track down all her clients’ old flames, and turn up the heat on her love life? Absolutely, positively…My four-sentence or less take on the plot: Lucy Valentine works in her family's matchmaking office even though she doesn't possess the family ability to make matches through seeing auras. Lucy is able to find lost objects, which has led to a business reuniting lost loves. In this book, Lucy and her boyfriend Sean are hired to find a client's teenage love who may be a career criminal while also trying to solve a mystery of a man who disappeared while walking his dog. On top of all the other threads, there is a masked man who is throwing out cash to the general public.