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The Review Marina

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (HP 2) by J.K. Rowling

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Thoughts:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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So I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, thoughts:

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha 3) by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha 3) by Leigh Bardugo

Brief Summary: Third and final book of the Grisha Trilogy. The capital has fallen, the good guys have lost and gone into hiding, while the Darkling now sits on the throne. Alina and her allies must discover how to find the last amplifier, to increase her power in order to defeat the Darkling and destroy the Fold. But is she willing to make the sacrifices it will take?

Read my reviews for Book 1: Shadow and Bone and Book 2: Siege and Storm.

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Possible Spoilers for All Three Books.

Ruin and Rising was a great finish to the trilogy. While I have my gripes with the language use, I thought that overall, The Grisha trilogy was a fantastic series. It was original basing it’s world on Russia instead of England. There was humor, which I adored, and the characters were amazing. The Darkling is by far one of my favorite villains, and Alina is a pretty great heroine. Mal redeemed himself a bit in this book, though I did not like him in the first two, so it’s a little too late. This was the first time that I did not support the canon pairing. Nikolai, the prince after my own heart, all the way. The supporting cast of characters, while sometimes tropey, were all enjoyable. 


Overall, highly recommend.

Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) by Emmy Laybourne

Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) by Emmy Laybourne

Brief Summary: 3rd book in a series. The kids finally reached safety, all of them except one. The one who kept them together in the beginning. Now, they have to go band together and save her before it’s too late. 

Read the reviews for book 1 Monument 14, and book 2 Sky on Fire.

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A somewhat lukewarm end to a great series, that leaves a bit too many questions unanswered, but at least gives its readers a happy ending with the gang together and happy at last.

Spoilers for the Entire Series

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Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne

Brief Summary: Sequel to Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. After being trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters that bring on the apocalypse, the 14 kids that survived, have gone their separate ways. Half are on their way to Denver to be rescues, and half have stayed behind to wait for them. Both are about to fight for their lives like they’ve never done before, including those that stayed in “safety”.

Read my review for Monument 14, the first book in the series.

Possible Spoilers Ahead.

This is a great second installment in the Monument 14 trilogy. This was so much more intense than the first book, because not only are the kids separated, but they face new dangers, and things go wrong almost right away, so you gotta keep turning pages to find out what’s next.

I thought that separating was real stupid, but I couldn’t decide what was better, leaving or staying. Especially since neither of groups make the smartest decisions. Which was the most frustrating parts.

The characters develop in their own ways, and are forced to make difficult decisions, and sacrifice a lot. We’re forced to say goodbye to a couple, but we also meet someone new. Max is definitely my favorite. 

The ending of this was insane. Gah, you’re definitely going to want to have the last book handy when you’re done.

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne

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Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne

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Brief Summary: The apocalypse is here. 14 kids are stuck in the superstore while the world is falling apart with no way to get out and not knowing if people they love are still alive. But can they manage to survive the apocalypse without killing each other first?

Possible Spoilers

A great start to a series, Monument 14 is a gripping story about fourteen kids of varying ages stuck together in a superstore during an apocalypse. First a hail storm, earthquake, then a chemical plant leak that affects causing paranoia, blisters, murderous rage, or sterility depending on a person’s blood type. The concept seemed really original to me. The fact that it’s kids of varying ages, some as young as five, make it so much more intense than if this was just teenagers. 

I liked most of the characters, but since there are so many of them, not all of them get a lot of screen time, and it takes awhile to get them all straight in your head. Dean was okay as a main character, a little whinny, and a bit too infatuated with the love interest, Astrid. Who for some reason, isn’t even there for most of the book. I really liked her, but I was just unhappy with the way Dean sees her as person, and the way she’s written. All Dean can do is think of how hot she is, even though she has a boyfriend. Some of the little kids, like Max and the twins were my favorites. Dean was the best when he was interacting with the little kids. When the focus was on the relationships (everyone has to be in one) and the cattiness between the girls, it was just annoying.

Overall, this was good start, original, interesting, and well written. 

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking 3) by Patrick Ness

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Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking 3) by Patrick Ness

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Brief Summary: The war is on. Three armies, two species, one couple trying to keep everyone from tearing the new world apart. Todd and Viola are the only ones keeping the humans armies from killing each other, with the treat of the spackle army ready to wipe them all out. But who will keep Todd and Viola from turning on each other?

This is the third book in the series; read my review for the first book The Knife of Never Letting Go and the second book Ask and the Answer.

Spoilers for the Entire Series Under the Cut

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan 

Plot(s)image

There is a plot for every book, plus the overarching plot of Kronos trying to rise from the pit of Tartarus and take over the world. Some of the plots were better than others, some better and more interesting than others. But each book tried things together and so that things well into place for the final battle. 

World Building/ Setting image

I really, really liked how Riordan modernized the Greek gods and their mythologies into the modern world. A lot of the times it was really witty, clever, and interesting.  I do wish more gods got screen time, and sometimes it was easier to recognize certain characters than others. But overall, I think Riordan did an awesome job. Especially since he didn’t sensitize them and they’re still their nasty, selfish, conniving selves.

Main Character(s) image

I liked Percy. He’s a down to earth kid who fights for his friends and always sees the best in people. He’s kind and funny and extremely loyal. Most importantly his heart is in the right place. I’m not sure if Grover and Annabel fall into the main character category since sometimes they were there for the entire book, and others they were mostly absent. But either way, they were great friends and companions. I love that Annabel is smart, but her ambitions sometimes hampered her. I love how much Grover’s confidence grows through the series. I think they’re the best friends anyone could ask for.

Side/Supporting Characters image

There were a ton of side characters. Most of them would appear for about one or two books and then largely stay in the background, mentioned once in awhile. I loved of most of the characters, but especially Tyson, Zoe, and Thalia, Luke, and Hermes.

Diversity of Characters image

There were a few character of color, but mostly in the minor-side character roles. Also, seeing as how there are monsters and Greek gods and stuff, it wouldn’t have hurt to have more diversity. Though props for including disability in terms of dyslexia, ADHD, and troubled youths. Also awesome feminist boy characters!

Writingimage

Seeing as how the books are aimed at younger teenagers, I think Riordan did a great job of writing simply, but without dumbing it down. There was a certain complexity to the plot and characters that while simplified, didn’t feel like you were being spoonfed. There was a bit too much telling sometimes, but I think Riordan improved with each novel.

Overall Grade image

This is a great series. It’s not too serious and certainly not literary, but I’d still say that Riordan wrote an enjoyable story to read if you’re looking for something that can be both fun and lighthearted most of the time, but serious and poignant when it needs to be. I would recommend it for a more younger audience, but if you’re an older teen or an adult looking for a light read, this is definitely something to check out.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan; Short Reviews

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The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians 1)

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A great introduction into the world where the ancient Greek gods still exist and so do the other monsters from their mythologies. The writing is hiccupy, but clear and easy to read. The story is engaging, original, action full. The characters are fairly underdeveloped at this point, but they’re all varied, interesting, and adorable. The best thing about this is how  Riordan adapts the ancient mythologies into the modern world. It’s often very crafty and witty. The dash of humour and lighthearted tone make it all the better. The only thing I thought were weak was that Percy didn’t seem to miss his mom that much, but that could have been denial. And the fact that Percy takes a lot of the things that come at him very lightly, like “oh, yeah, monsters attacking me, a ten year old boy, what else is new?”

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians 2)

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A great continuation and development of the characters. Certain times things seemed a bit rushed and over simplified. I did like the fact that these Greek gods are just as nasty and twisted as they are in the original tales. That they don’t make life easier or try to interfere, just because these kids are really young and in constant danger.  

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians 3)

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Once again, I really enjoy Riordan’s writing style, very tight plotline, everything has it’s place. Great character development. Percy and the others have grown so much.  I love the random appearance of different gods. Especially their random “modern” disguises. I wish Annabeth was in more of this, because she’s one of my favorite characters even if she comes off a bit… hardheaded through Percy’s eyes.  I’m not sure how I like Bianca and Nico. I didn’t like either of them to be honest. I really liked that in the end Thalia and Zoe were able to see past their differences, and that Zoe could see that not all men are scum. Riordan is really great at developing his characters and gets them to work out their issues on their own.

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians 4)

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Ah, the kids are growing up, puberty hits, and the relationship dramas begin. At least it doesn’t take away from the main plot. It did feel like some things were a bit rushed, but I’m quite enjoyed the characters, the plots, and everything else. One thing that annoyed me was how they don’t always take care not to insult the gods. Like, they of all people, should know better. For goodness sake just answer the Sphinxes questions and move on. And don’t freaken insult Hera when she’s known to be one of the most vengeful goddesses. You idiots. At least the stuff with Nico is straightened out.

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians 5)

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This is a great finish to the series and a nice wrap. The characters have come a long way, they’ve grown up, they’ve forgotten their differences or really they’ve outgrown them. Especially when the fate of the world hangs in the balance and depends on them working together. Here is when friendship matters most; here’s when Percy’s flaw becomes a strength. I really liked that the battle takes up most of the book, so it’s nice and well structured, and isn’t rushed the way these always are. The book ends with a bang and nice wrap, and a nice, smooth step up for the next series.

Overall review for the series to come.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Brief Summary: Two cancer ridden kids fall in love. But you can’t have a happy ever after with just one person, and that’s the fault in their stars.

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Re-read review.

It’s very hard to review a book nearly everyone loves and it’s even harder to downgrade a book about sick kids. Yap, I took away one star after re-reading.

My biggest problem with this book is the dialogue. It’s very John Green. I mean, if you watch any of his videos, it’s exactly how he talks. Except this is a bunch of teenagers. And to hear them spew philosophical, existential prose about oblivion and life and death, you just couldn’t help but roll your eyes. I’m not saying that teenagers are incapable of talking that way or there aren’t any teens like it. But I found that it was somewhat… inconsistent. Because Hazel is sometimes downright childish and immature. And Augustus seems like a typical jock boy, except instead of telling fart jokes, he talks about metaphorical resonances of different objects. What the fuck does that even mean?

I also found it strange how fast things moved. I understand it might be cause these kids live in a numbered amount of days. And that it’s the whole infinity in the numbered amount of days kind of thing… but really? they know each other for maybe a couple of weeks before Augusts asks her to go to Amsterdam with him. They spend three days there. And then maybe they have a month during which things are bad. I also think it’s creepy that Hazel looked like his old girlfriend in sickness. 

I did enjoy the dark humor in the midst of tragedy. I enjoyed that it was Hazel’s Dad who cries. I liked that Monica broke up with Isaac (yes it was mean, but realistic). I liked that Hazel’s best friend calls her and checks up on her, even though Hazel gave up on that friendship. I like how her Mom is firm with her and won’t let Hazel walk all over her. 

Overall, it’s a good read. But it could have been better.