Friday, December 21, 2012

Worth Losing Sleep For

Have you ever read a book that is so good that you just cannot put it down?  Even if it's after midnight, and you know you have to get up for work at 5:30am?  I love that kind of book, which is evidenced by the times I've gone into work exhausted from needing to finish a book.  So far this month, two books have been worthy of keeping me up late.

 Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier was an awesome read.  The story centers around Neryn, a sixteen-year-old girl with a special gift that puts her life in danger, thanks to the king's desire to slaughter anyone with these gifts.  When left to fend for herself, she decides to journey to Shadowfell, the location of the resistance, and on the way has many adventures with members of the faerie folk.  She also meets a mysterious stranger named Flint, who rescues her but is hiding something.

I could not put this book down.  It was exciting and full of adventure; it never seemed to drag at all.  Because the story was about a journey, the "action" was continuous, and it kept me on the edge of my seat.  Besides a good plot, the book also had great characters and character development.  Neryn and Flint were the main characters, but the faerie folk stole the show.  They each had a distinct personality and voice.  I just kept wishing they had bigger roles.  Maybe in the next book?  I also liked the characters that had very brief, small roles in the book; they were well-written and developed and not just glossed over.  This was my first Marillier book, and if her other books are anything like this one, then I will definitely be reading them.

The sequel for Shadowfell is coming out in 2013, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!  A

This next review's gonna be a bit longer, since I read the book only two days ago so it's fresh on my mind.  

I love Rick Riordan and his Greek/Roman mythology series, and The Mark of Athena is the best book of the series yet!  Lots of adventure, plenty of action, romance, friendship, mythology - pretty much everything I love in a book.  I started this Wednesday morning and absolutely could not put it down until I finished it that night.  And now I have to wait until October to find out what happens next!

After being separated for so long, the whole gang has been reunited - Percy with Annabeth & the Camp Half-Blood demigods and Jason with the New Rome demigods.  Despite the fact that the Greeks & Romans have avoided contact before, they now must work together to save the world.  Just a normal day in the life for these guys.

One of my favorite things about this book is that we get to see things from Annabeth's point of view.  In the original Percy Jackson series, everything was from Percy's POV (makes sense).  In the first two books of the new series, everyone's had a chance to have their POV heard, except Annabeth.  So it was really cool to finally get inside her head, and see how she deals with everything happening around her and to her.  It was also awesome to have Percy & Annabeth back together again.  It just felt so wrong when they were separated.

The other characters were great too.  Their interactions with one another as they adjusted to being a team was a source of both tension and humor, especially between Frank, Leo, and Hazel.  The two guys hamming it up and getting on each other's nerves to impress Hazel was just the right amount of humor needed to keep the book from being too tense and serious.  Besides the Frank-Hazel-Leo situation, there was plenty of other romance too.  Of course Percy & Annabeth being reunited provided some of the romance, but Piper & Jason were dealing with their own relationship as well.

But the part of the book that really got me was the ending.  I still cannot believe how the book ended; it was totally unexpected.  Usually Riordan tends to end his books a specific way.  It's not that there's always a happy ending, but usually by the end of the book, the main bad guy of that particular book has been vanquished, and the characters have a little bit of peace before their next adventure.  Riordan rarely does the huge OMG cliffhangers (I laughed when I wrote cliffhanger, and if you've read the book, then you get it), but he really went all out in The Mark of Athena.  I just can't believe that he stopped where he did; that he did what he did to those two characters (trying to avoid spoilers is hard).  It's killing me that I have to wait almost a year for the next book!   A+

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