Dryads and Enchiladas (The Burning Maze – A Book Review)

The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Burning Maze

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Once was Apollo

Now a rat in the Lab’rinth

Send help. And Cronuts.

It’s bad enough that Apollo, the awesome, Greek God of music and poetry was turned into a mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, and that he’s being bossed around by the twelve-year-old demi god, Meg. Now, they’re on a quest to save five Oracles and possibly the world from a trio of Roman Emperors. Having saved two oracles already, they are given a prophecy.

He and Meg, along with the satyr, Grover Underwood, must go down into the labyrinth to find the third emperor to find the next Oracle. What Lest-er-Apollo hasn’t told his companions is how he’s been feeling weaker and weaker. He worries that he may not be up to the task. But, in order to return to his shining glory, he must be. Calling on two demigods for help, he prays they will free the Oracle from the scorching maze for him-er, help him free the Oracle.

 

One of my favorite things that can happen in is when a beginning starts off very entertaining, while also catching me off guard. This book did just that by starting off with No. That’s it. Just the word no. I laughed so hard, because I could hear the defiance in the word so clearly, like a seven-year-old stomping its foot down. Certainly, a great way to start it off.

This addition to the series was BIG one! Stilled filled with the funny, it was also much more intense and heartbreaking. The bravery and show of friendship between the characters is inspiring. There were gains, but there were great losses during this part of the journey. Riordan really works this emotional rollercoaster. And I don’t care that I’m 25, I really enjoy his books.

Love it

The setting mostly circulates in Palm Springs and the Labyrinth—you’ll remember this fun place from Percy Jackson. There are many new faces as well as old. It made me nostalgic as well as excited. Old bonds and new ones. I’m just giddy thinking back on it.

Apollo is still Apollo, but I am loving the development. It’s obvious that this is no longer just a quest for him. He’s become less self-absorbed, which is surprising, right!? He’s made amazing allies and friends even though at times it difficult. I love that this book shows that it’s not easy to let people in, nor is it always sunshine and rainbows, but you accept them. The guest stars, Jason Grace, Piper McClean, and Grover Underwood really show just how big of a quest this is. Everybody is joining in. It really keeps the story fresh. I especially enjoyed the dryads that came into this story. Where they seem like helpless creatures, in here they don’t. Just give me more of all of this.

give me more

There were many moments that my heart was broken and mended and broken and mended. The hardships for Apollo only increase and I don’t envy the weight put on his shoulders. It’s heavy. Each step of this journey is incredible and emotional. Yet, I couldn’t stop reading. The adventure has me hooked.

There’s so much action that if you blink you’ll miss it. Shocking twists jumped out when I least expected it. I’m always pleasantly surprised with the way mythology is brought to life in such an exciting way.

If you haven’t started this series, do.

 

Quotables:

“Unbelievable. After four thousand years, I am still discovering new things.” (Apollo, p. 141)

“Pretty can be useful. Powerful is better.” (Medea to Piper, p. 165)

“I wondered, not for the first time, why we Greek Deities had never created a god of family therapy. We certainly could have used one. Or perhaps we had one before I was born, and she quit. Or Kronos swallowed her whole.” (Apollo, p. 358)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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True Lies and the End is Nigh So Hold On Tight (The Dark Calling – A Book Review)

The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles #5)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2018

Dark Calling

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

We watch. We endure. We prepare for the future. One day this game will end, and we’ll be ready.

Evie Greene is still reeling from news that will change her life and the lives of everyone she knows. It could even change the entire game, but she doesn’t quite believe it. And nobody believes her when she comes forth about it. Something is wrong. Really wrong. Somebody she trusts is lying to her.

With doubt crawling into her head, Evie makes a break out into the Ash because it’s no longer safe in the castle. With unlikely allies, she searches for anything that could help her find answers to many of her questions, including whether or not Jack really did survive Richter’s quake.

With a strange power falling over the Arcana, Evie may have to invoke the red witch to save those she holds dear. Her next move in this deadly game could give her what she needs to defeat Richter or…end her life.

In a world teetering on the edge…With enemies at every turn…Darkness beckons.

Reviews to the books previous to this one in the series are listed below.

Poison Princess

Poison Princesshere

Endless Knight

Endless Knighthere

Dead of Winter - SR

Dead of Winterhere

Day Zero

Day Zerohere

Arcana Rising

Arcana Risinghere

Congratulations to the first book ever to drive me to drink.  Well, not alcoholic status, but I did need a few drinks after this. The farther this series goes, the more I get wrecked. And baby, this installation to the Arcana Chronicles wrecked the living hell out of me. As my best friend said, “Isn’t that a good thing?”

Dark Calling

The great and dangerous game of Arcana has shifted. Evie Greene’s life is in even more peril as she learns of a great change in herself and in others, including Aric. With her life in danger, she flees, desperate and alone until she runs into unexpected acquaintances. With Joules, The Tower, and Kentarch, The Chariot, they move fast to figure out what has come over their allies and enemies and what’s turned their cards upside down.

On the verge of death out in the Ash, they run into old friends and new enemies. The Hanged Man finally comes into play and he’s not holding back. Taking many of Evie’s friends under his power, they must find a way to free them while also worrying about when Richter, The Emperor, may attack next. But, Evie’s powers are on the fritz and she may have to turn to her alter-ego, the red witch, in order to stay alive. She’s still confused about whether the one person who can pull her back from that dark abyss is alive or not.

The Dark Calling may take them all…

These characters have come so far and grown a great deal. I couldn’t be more proud of Evie. Sure, she’s still got that girly touch where she isn’t the greatest or most powerful fighter, but when she unleashes her powers she is the most deadly thing in the room, hell, on the planet. She is not somebody to trifle with. The bomb that was dropped in her lap at the end of the last book, Arcana Rising, really amps of the stress level for everyone, especially me. The young woman is a champ.

Aric’s past feelings really came back to haunt him and Evie. I have a big feeling that bothered many people, but I’m not one of those people. I figured he had lingering doubts and issues with his and Evie’s past lives and it’s why I’m not a major fan of their relationship. I can see what she sees in him, though, so I understand why she can’t fully toss him away. It’s the history. It’s always the history.

And Jack…fate has it out for this one. I couldn’t have been more excited about his return. He’s still the hothead I know and love, but he’s not the same guy he was in the very beginning when he first met Evie. He doesn’t fly off the handle as he once did. Only on those that threaten him and his. He’s more focused on the big picture: Evie and how much he cares about her.

While still incredibly young, these characters have been incredibly strong and have struggled through so much that they’ve each been on the brink of death more than once, and Cole is having me feel way too much about them.

Many reunions happened during this book and I was beyond ecstatic. So much giggling and happiness that I couldn’t contain myself. Everyone has been so scattered over the last two books and it’s had me a bit torn up.

The plot twists twisted my guts up into all kinds of interesting shapes. If you recall, I mentioned I might’ve been wrecked because of this book. The plot twists would be one of those big reasons why. I read this book from sunup to sundown on one of my only days off last week. I could not put this book down. It was amazing and heart-pounding. I’m still picking my guts off of the floor.

I’m still very convinced that Jack has a major part to play before all is said and done. He was brought into this from the very beginning for a reason. And while I am theorizing (and geeking out) here, a part of me thinks he’s part Arcana. Like, he’s been accidentally created. While human, he’s been brought into this game of life and death chess. Many Arcana have fallen, but he’s somehow still standing. I’ve got such a fuzzy feeling about him. I’m still working on my theory.

Dark Calling

The book moves fast, though over the span of weeks, just like the books previous. And you still follow through the POVs of Evie, Aric (Death), and Jack (The Hunter). The new POV that I got a new glimpse through was The Hanged Man. The man is a total creep and downright vain.

Dark Calling

The imagery always gets me. Activating my senses and putting them on high alert. The use of onomatopoeias really pulls you in closer. Cole also uses short and to the point sentences to show how quick the action scenes move, adding to the intensity of the story. It’s one of my favorite things! And the setting is all new! Evie and her gang of misfits (which they really are) travel out to the ocean, or what’s left of it anyway, and discover Jubilee; a settlement where the last remaining waters of the ocean is, and where ships have collided and capsized. This community isn’t the godsend that it seems to be. People are being offed on the plank and plunged into the dark, cold depths of the water. But, with no place else to go, Evie has to take her chances here to regroup. This place really reminded me of exploring the Titanic under water because that’s how this place works. You scavenge and get paid for it. It’s dangerous and there are always people that don’t make it back. There’s also a strange magic hanging over the place that is dangerous, so Evie and the other Arcana have to be careful with their powers.

Dark Calling

I highly recommend this series. I really do. The action, paranormal angle, romance, angst and that feeling of always being unsure which day will be your last is all encompassed in it. Cole really kept it all original here. I’ve never read anything like this. I’m enthralled and probably on an unhealthy level. So many of my heartstrings have been broken, but also mended…and then broken again. I can’t get enough. I know that when this series comes to its end I will be a complete mess. I’ve never been so in love with a series like this.

Quotables:

“Go. Out into the wastelands.” (p. 11)

“Remember: Your mind has dominion over your body.” (Kentarch to Evie, p. 113)

“My hope lied to me, whispering in my ear, ‘Believe these men, and you will reunite with your wife.’ Tell me, Empress, do you trust the whisper of your hope?” (Kentarch to Evie, p. 115)

“Noble cuts like a blade to the heart.” (Jack to Evie, p. 138)

“Now, where were we? Oh, yeah, I was telling you how every Emperor gets an Empress. Which means you ass is mine.” (Richter to Evie, p. 156)

“My mother once told me that diamonds were born of pressure, but I never understood what she meant until I met you.” (Evie to Jack, p. 180)

More to comes soon…

P.S. Song today? Into Dust by Mazzy Star.

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The Mechanical Dragon, Two Griffins and A Dozen Battle Ostriches (The Dark Prophecy – A Book Review)

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2017

Dark Prophecy

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Go west. Capture Apollo before he can find the next Oracle.

Apollo is new to the whole hero-quest-business. Usually his demigod master, Meg McCaffey does all of the fighting, but she’s missing, which totally isn’t his fault. Really it’s not. It’s her stepfather, Nero’s, who just so happens to be an old enemy of Apollo’s. With Meg gone, Apollo relies on a couple of other, erm, friends to help him with the Oracles.

For some reason, Apollo and crew land in Indianapolis and just when they think there’s nothing happening—seriously, it’s flat land for miles and there was nobody around—a roman emperor that’s working with Nero makes himself known. Already having gone through so much, Apollo has to stop him before they can even get to the next Oracle and before he destroys them.

 

Just like the first one, The Hidden Oracle (review here), there was so much humor and fun.  I don’t know why, but Apollo’s suffering really gives me a little joy. He is getting to see just how dangerous it can get on the ground floor instead of just watching from a bird’s eye view. He’s experiencing so many emotions; it’s like seeing a newborn baby bird get shoved out of its nest, except he fell on his face instead of taking flight. More so, I really REALLY loved seeing the realizations that Apollo was coming to in regards to his demigod friends and other aquaintances. They aren’t just meager ants to him anymore. More didn’t just pop up after a few were destroyed. The continued growth of humanity in the ex-god hit a soft spot with me.

The Dark Prophecy

 

I don’t have much to say about the style and tone because Riordan does splendid in keeping both up from the previous book. That’s the best praise I’ve got. I had no qualms. Though, I felt like the level of funny went up a notch. Let’s just say the Kool-Aid man had a brief cameo.

The Dark Prophecy Oh Yeah

 

We more or less stayed put compared to the previous book. While in the first book Apollo and Meg were running all over the place, though it centered around Camp Half-Blood, this one stayed put in the city of Indianapolis. It was still great to see it up close. There wasn’t any one time that I felt like the story was dragging along because of this. If there was a tid-bit to explore it was explored and well-detailed. So while it was all one spot, the scenes through the chapters were all perfectly fitting. I really liked that.

Thumbs Up

There were more returning characters!!! I’m more excited by the young women I got to see…read…see—you get it. Calypso and Thalia Grace take on more than just the recurring role in this book. And I don’t usually pick favorites, but I was beyond ecstatic that Thalia got a moment here. I love her! A daughter of Zeus turned hunter. Her interaction with Apollo back in Titan’s Curse is one that set me down the path of Thalia/Apollo. I really hope to see more interaction between the two of them in the future. It’s crazy. I know that. But damn it, don’t you know by now that I’m crazy? No? Well…Onward!

“Apollo’s hot,” said Thalia.

“He’s the sun god,” said Percy.

“That’s not what I meant,” replied Thalia.

(Thalia to Percy, Titan’s Curse)

heh…Just leaving this here…heh

There were also new characters! The group got to meet two women that used to be hunters but now reside in a special waystation-Hemithea and Josephine. Now these are only two of the new characters because it would be quite rude of me to not let you meet some of these folk for yourself. These two are freaking amazing. Nothing keeps them down or stands in their way. They are truly admirable and certainly phenomenal women that have such a powerful story about how they left behind their lives as hunters. Just like every woman that joins this series they’re no damsels. They’re heroes.

 

If you couldn’t tell from all of the babble, this was just as enjoyable as The Hidden Oracle was. I’m rooting for Apollo to get his head straight and rise to challenge of being mortal. To see him save the day as such is very impressive and shows great strength. Bring on the next book!

Wait…it’s not out yet? AWWWWW, MAAAAN!

 

Quotables:

“I volunteer for death!” (Apollo, p. 22)

Okay, I have to say, this made me burst out laughing, imagining the gag reel version of Hunger Games’s Katniss Everdeen.

“I often speak without the benefit of forethought. Usually it works out. Sometimes it leads to improvisational masterpieces, like the Renaissance of the Beat movement. I had to hope this would be one of those times.” (Apollo, p. 23)

“HITTEST ME WITH THY BEST SHOT” (Dodona arrow, p. 110)

I love that a magic arrow knows Pat Benatar. A gold star for the magic arrow!

“Nets can be traps. But they can also be safety nets. You just have to know when to jump in.” (Jo to Apollo, p.187)

“What was that? Buy one prophecy, get three free?” (Leo, p. 379)

 

The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) comes out May 1st, 2018 and I can’t wait to read it.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Starships by Nicki Minaj.

 

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