Monday, December 28, 2009

Review: The Thirteenth Tale

The word "thirteen" in a title often grabs my attention. There's a popular superstition of it being an unlucky number, and I love going against superstition.

Anyway, what got me more attracted to this is the pile of books in the cover. It hints that it will involve about the love for books. Now who else will understand that more other than an actual book lover? Hehe.

I read the plot at the back, and it promised me an interesting story with good gothic mystery. I've heard that it's a good book so I didn't think twice on buying it when I first saw it.

I only had time to read it during the holidays. I had been busy in visiting relatives and going to tourist spots during those days. But on times when I was just lazing around, I read this novel. To my surprise, I've managed to finish it earlier than I had planned. It was really good!

The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield
Vida Winter, the most famous novelist in England and quite possibly the world, has never been forthcoming when it comes to her past. Her entire life is a secret, and for fifty years reporters and biographers have attempted to discover the truth. With her health quickly fading, Ms. Winter enlists a bookish amateur biographer named Margaret Lea to bear witness to the tragic story of the Angelfield family, their eccentric beginnings as well as their demise. Margaret, who has family secrets of her own, must unravel the mysteries of the past in order to reconcile not only Miss Winter with her ghosts, but also Margaret with her own.
==== What I Liked:
  • There had been several stories in just one novel. I love how they have been put together. You don't only get to read the stories of the actual characters, but even portions of those the novelist character has written or made up.
  • I'm happy that we also get to know what happens on the minor characters. Some may not have such a huge role in the main plot, but it still feels like there's something missing if what happened to them afterwards hadn't been mentioned. It will suck if they just come and go.
  • I like the twists in this story. I like it when things I don't expect happen (fine, some were expected, but most honestly weren't). I also really love it when a novel makes me confused and lost for a while because of some things that don't make sense but will later things will be so crystal clear. I love mystery but I don't like it when most parts will remain a mystery until the end.
  • I really like the narration style and the switch in points of view. They are in-character (how they narrated events had been different. There is also development or changes in narration style even if it's by the same character); and you get a different perspective of certain events but they're not exactly repetitive (but if it had been, that only shows confirmation that the first narration was accurate because of the risk of it being a lie).
  • I like the idea on what "ghost" the story had been referring to. You don't always have to take it so literally.
==== What I Did Not Like:
  • Though I did love the narration style, the part of the giant recalling what was narrated to him seems to unnatural. I mean, to be able to recall all those words in such detail and style? Like he's impersonating the original narrator? That's just too awkward . . .
  • I think most of the main cast have mental problems. I know these problems are inheritable, but I don't think there's a problem in having some main characters that aren't delusional, right?
  • I understand the love for books in this novel but I don't think it has to go to such extremes. *sigh* I don't want book lovers to follow such an example and have delusions like those.
==== Fangurling:
  • I love the cast but I find it difficult to pick a favorite character. I don't hate a particular character either (but hhhmm . . . Margaret's becoming a close candidate. I want her to get over it already.)
  • I don't have a favorite pairing but I'm fond of the Charlie and Isabelle relationship. The obsession is pretty creepy, but that's what got me so intrigued~ Fortunately, the incest here appears to be one-sided, so I wasn't disturbed. Hehe.
  • The part with Ambrose and the writer had been pretty romantic . . . but for their short romance to break just like that. It got me pretty frustrated.
  • I think this novel had shown different types of sibling/cousin love in their extremes. The "extreme" part got me a little disturbed, but I adore sibling love and can sympathize with them since I have a sibling myself~
==== Comparing to Other Books:
I can't compare it to the books it's using as basis (specifically the likes of Jane Eyre, Woman in White, etc.). Apparently, they're even the favorite novels of the main characters (I would choose the Sherlock Holmes novel over their favorites anytime though, unlike what the main character did). I don't like the implication of those classics being the best because they're the favorites of our book loving characters.

Anyway, back to what I'm trying to say: I can't compare this novel to those popular classics because I haven't really read those in the first place (I only have an idea of the overall events thanks to book reports done by my schoolmates).

Except for Wuthering Heights, because it has been the one assigned to me. Hhhmm . . . okay, between the two novels (WH and TTT) . . . I can't say which is better but I like the story in Wuthering Heights more. The Thirteenth Tale may be more complex but Wuthering Heights was just more charming to me. Hehe.

==== Overall Thoughts:
This has been an enchanting yet eerie novel. For some reason its words had some magic that draws me in and makes me keep on reading. It had managed to give me some chills too, because I had troubles in reading it alone in a room at night, hehe.

Of course it's not without flaws, but overall it has been beautifully presented that it had been easy for me to ignore most of them. This book had me so thrilled~

This may not be one of my top favorite books, but I do love it very much and consider it as one of the greatest novels I've ever read~ I'm definitely checking out the author's next novel once it's out~

==== Verdict:
Rating: A- (OH MY GOD! Amazing, fantastic, oh really wonderful!)
Favoritism: 3 out of 5 Hearts ---> LIKE

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review: The Book of Dead Days

I had been tempted to buy Dark Flight Down by Marcus Sedwick because it seemed really interesting. However, I found out that it was a sequel . . .and I hate reading sequels first so I bought the prequel first. I was so happy when I saw this book for sale (Sedwick's books aren't that popular in my place).

I had the opportunity to read it before Christmas (It was almost the same time as the setting of the book).

Now that I've read it . . . .I love it but I have to admit that . . . I was pretty disappointed.

The Book of Dead Days
by Marcus Sedgwick
The days between Christmas and New Year's Eve are dead days, when spirits roam and magic shifts just beneath the surface of our lives.
A lot can happen in the dead days.
Set in a dark, dangerous city and in the frozen countryside of a distant time and place, The Book of Dead Days conjures a spell-binding story of power, corruption and desperate magic.
=== What I Did Not Like:
  • I was hoping there's more to the "dead days" in the story than it appears; like there's some legend or myth behind it or something. But from this book those days are just one of the character's last days. I don't see the point of making it seem universally depressing.
  • I don't like it that many parts of the story are just mentioned by the characters. I mean, instead of making a certain character narrate those past events to another character, why not let the narrator do that job? They had been wasting time in just filling the other character on what's going on. It doesn't feel that natural either, especially with the danger that they're encountering.
  • Mystery is cool, but making SO MANY parts a mystery until the end seriously sucks. Things appear and happen, then SNAP! That's it. To be specific, an example would be the murders, the phantom, and the evil that the magician had made a pact with. We just know they're there and had happened, but we don't get to see any explanation on what they really are and why such things happened in the story in the first place! The promise of a sequel can make up for it, but missing so many details on purpose really sucks.
  • Maybe it's just me but I think it lacks in development on character relationships. I don't feel the bond between the pairs here . . . or at least not much. Character development is okay, but they kinda lack in background. It's too sad that we only know too little of the main character's past even until the end.
  • This book had good drama but the moment gets ruined too quickly or it turns out to be some joke in the end. That gave me headaches.
=== What I Liked:
  • Its three main characters have been interesting. I'm pleased with the leading girl the most. For a dark tale, we have a clever and useful girl for a main character, not some emo or a damsel-in-distress. I also like it that she had managed to have a huge role in the plot, and had greatly affected the behavior of the other main characters.
  • I really love the plot twists in this book. I love it when it keeps on turning out to be different from what I expect the events will turn out to be. I like being tricked in this manner. Haha!
  • I don't feel the macabre in this book, but it does have horror alright. To be specific, more on the "depressing" and "decaying" type of horror because our main characters keep on facing misfortunes and end up in places full of foul smell of death.
=== Fangurling:
  • I like Boy and Willow, individually and as a couple. I think Boy is goodlooking because some waitress called him "gorgeous". Haha! And I like girls like Willow, who doesn't let herself stay ignorant. I like the mutuality of Boy and Willow's relationship for they help each other out, not one only depends on the other. How they became close seemed pretty fast, but I love it that they act like a couple already even if they're not official yet (he always hugs her in their every reunion! Squeee~)
=== Overall Thoughts:
This book had so much potential and the story is actually very good and interesting. However, it lacks so much background and explanation. I also highly wish that it was narrated a little differently. In short, it's pretty good, but it really could have been better!

I honestly can't believe that this one had more than a couple awards, when the other book I've read by the same author (The Foreshadowing) had been more impressive than this one. Nevertheless, this has been a good read. I finished it as soon as I can. Hehe.

=== Next Book Initial Thoughts:
I am hoping that the sequel, the one that originally attracted me, will make up for whatever this book lacked. Besides, I want more Boy x Willow. Hahaha! I'll be buying this as soon as I can~

=== Verdict:
Rating: C (OKAY! Not that great but isn't bad either!)
Favoritism: 3 out of 5 Hearts ---> LIKE

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hunted: The Guardians

The Guardians (or The Guardians of Childhood) is an upcoming animated comedy film based on the forthcoming books by William Joyce, distributed by DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures. The film will feature some of the crew from Watchmen. The producers are Christina Steinberg and Nancy Bernstein. Music is handled by Ben Folds and John Powell. Visual effects artist and animator Jeff Lynch makes his feature directorial debut in this film.
The animated film is being described as "a contemporary fairytale based on existing fairytale characters". Here's the plot:
When an evil spirit called Pitch becomes bent upon taking over the world by inspiring fear in the hearts of kids everywhere, a group of our greatest heroes—North (aka Santa), Bunnymund the Easter Bunny, Tooth the Tooth Fairy, Sandy the Sandman and Jack Frost—band together for the first time, determined to stand in Pitch’s way. More than a collection of storybook subjects, “The Guardians” are also a band of superheroes, who possess their own special powers. Now joined in opposition of a common foe, the Guardians heed the call and combine their powers to defeat Pitch and protect the world from his campaign of fear.

The first book has a tentative release date of December 2010. The Guardians movie is set for a November 2, 2012 release (I see some sources that the release would be in November 4, 2011 though, the earlier the better.)

The articles are so emphasizing the news of Leonardo di Caprio making his animation debut in this film . . . but honestly, I don't care much on which celebrities they put in this. As long as the animation looks promising (art on Jack Frost looks great . . . AND NOT TO MENTION HE'S SO CUTE!!! Hehehe . . . but he looks pretty familiar . . .) . . . and hopefully it will be in excellent quality, I believe this will be a great movie! What made me more excited for this movie is because of the plot and cast! I absolutely love fairy tales! I like unique re-imaginations of popular fairy tale characters! And I'm happy that this is described as an animated COMEDY film. Oh I like the combination of fantasy and comedy very much~ I certainly hope this will be able to entertain me as I expect it will~

I'm so watching out for more news related to this~ I also hope a trailer or something will be out soon. And why is its release so far away . . . *sobs* The picture book's coming next year though. I'm pretty tempted to buy it . . . hopefully it won't be that expensive *isn't really the type who buys picture books*

- /film - link 1, link 2
- Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Titan's Curse (Book 3)

I love the first two books so I immediately bought this third one even though I'm not yet done with the second book. The book was in blue (my favorite color) and the cover seemed dark (my type) and it had a pegasus (loves horses). How could this go wrong?! Haha! I have a feeling that this would be my favorite volume in the series because the exterior already screams so . . .

Then when I've finally started reading it . . . unlike the previous volumes . . . I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN!!!! Hehehe. . . . I was so entertained and pleased with it that I finished it as soon as I can~

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Titan's Curse (Book 3)
by Rick Riordan
When Percy Jackson gets an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he will need his powerful demigod allies at his side, his trusty bronze sword Riptide, and . . . a ride from his mom.
The demigods rush to the rescue to find that Grover has made an important discovery: two powerful half-bloods whose parentage is unknown. But that’s not all that awaits them. The titan lord Kronos has devised his most treacherous plot yet, and the young heroes have just fallen prey.
They’re not the only ones in danger. An ancient monster has arisen — one rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus — and Artemis, the only goddess who might know how to track it, is missing. Now Percy and his friends, along with the Hunters of Artemis, have only a week to find the kidnapped goddess and solve the mystery of the monster she was hunting.
Along the way, they must face their most dangerous challenge yet: the chilling prophecy of the titan’s curse.
=== What I Did Not Like:
No matter how much I love a certain book, I don't think it could ever be perfect. These are my non-biased complains to this one:
  • The empathy link between Percy and Grover doesn't seem to have much consistency. In the previous book it only occurs through Percy's dream, and now Grover can communicate with him even while Percy's awake. And it seems to be one way, because Grover didn't say any confirmation of hearing Percy calling him when Percy tried it. This is sooo confusing.
  • Percy's dreams are becoming TOO convenient, to be honest. They had always been accurate, and it had something to do with his loved one or an event really crucual/significant in his quest.
  • When Percy escaped from camp in this book, he was tracked and caught by a school official. But that didn't happen in the previous book. Why? Is this plot convenience again?
=== What I Liked:
I have so many to mention under here . . . but I'll dump most of that under the "favoritism/fangurling" section, haha!
  • I like it that even mortals can do something fantastic in this series. I don't remember a Muggle in Harry Potter doing something spectacular. I really like it when even ordinary people can do great things in a fantasy series. It honestly doesn't happen often (they're always: the ones with magic/power are the cool ones. Ugh)
  • As far as I know, this is the book that had introduced a lot more new characters compare to the previous two. Nevertheless, you won't feel strange with them because their personality and background had been presented well (no matter how brief). I felt really happy for that because I just read a book that didn't really have that much characters yet they lack background and stuff. It felt like I don't know anything else about them aside from their name and role in the story. Their personality and stuff had been so questionable. With this book it hadn't, though I have to admit that the mythological characters they're based on had helped a lot on that. But honestly, you don't need to have background on mythology to understand these characters~
  • Some consider Percy's situation here as the "Chosen One" thing, but I think otherwise. It's because the prophecy didn't exactly choose him among the candidates. It just so happened that he chose to be the one while the other candidate chose not to be. It's their choice, not some divine being or high official or whatever. Believe me, I've read a lot of stories with "chose one" stuff, and Percy hadn't exactly been like that, in my opinion.
=== Fangurling:
Different types of new characters showed up: demigods, gods, immortals, monsters, etc. And many of them are so awesome and lovable! There had also been siblings moments that I adore so much~ There are so many parts that I find very hilarious too! Oh this will be so many to enumerate . . . I'll try to minimize to my top favorites:

===== Demigods:
  • Nico - He's soooooooooo ADORABLE!!! He is so crazy about this mythological card games. He's SO GEEKY!!!!
Annabeth: A manticore!
Nico: A manticore? He's got three thousand attack power and plus five to saving throws!

It was also fun when he was driving Percy crazy:
Nico: Are you really the son of Poseidon?
Percy: Well, yeah.
Nico: You can surf really well, then?
Percy: . . . Jeez, Nico, I've never really tried.

Nico had sort of changed by the end of the book but he's still MY FAVORITE!!!! I spoiled myself on what he could do in later books, AND IT'S SO AWESOME!!! And I love him even more for his undying love for his sister~
  • Percy - I could no longer count how many times Percy made me laugh in his narration. But what made me chuckle the most is . . . you see, his brother has this cute way of naming creatures: "Ranbow". While Percy has a more hilarious naming tastes. He just gave a name to a new creature: "Bessie". Bwahahaha! It even made his father frown. Wahahahaha!
  • Thalia - She listens to GREEN DAY!!! Awesome! We have the same taste in music!!! Hahahahaha!
  • Luke - I knew it; he still cares about Annabeth and Thalia. He may hurt them, but he doesn't want them dead. But he almost killed Annabeth in one of the previous books . . . perhaps he has no plans of really killing her.
===== Gods and Godesses:
  • Artemis - I love celestial/divine beings associated with the moon~ Artemis is definitely one of them~ She is also into this virginity thing, and her mercy especially towards maidens . . .oh Artemis~ I also like it that even if she's against to having a romantic relationships, she's not 100% biased to boys, for she can acknowledge a guy's goodness, and she may not admit it but I believe she relies on her brother~
  • Apollo - As Thalia has said, he's HOT! Literally and figuratively~ He appears to be some goodlooking guy with the cool cars and stuff~ He causually flirts with females but at least he's not the disgusting type. He's also so relaxed. He's also the type who wants to get close to his sister but she goes away from him because she thinks he's annoying. Oh, the "one-sided" sibling love~ What I like best about him is that . . .HE'S HILARIOUS!!! Especially his temporary addictions, like the haiku recitations in this book:
Apollo: Green grass breaks through snow.
Artemis pleads for my help.
I am so cool.
Artemis: The last line was only four syllables.
Apollo: Was it?
Artemis: Yes. What about I am so big-headed.
Apollo: No, no, that's six syllables. Hmm...I've got it! I am so awesome. That's five syllables!

Apollo, you are so right about yourself~ Haha!
  • Aphrodite - Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty, so of course she has to be really beautiful. But she's also the goddess of love, and I am so amused on how it's presented in this book: SHE'S A SHIPPER. She's like a crazy fan girl who was lucky enough to be included in the series and actually has the power to do something about how things will happen. Haha! And she's really doing it. I find it so amusing that she sees Percy and Annabeth as some stars in a soap-opera. Bwahahaha!
Percy: Annabeth is in trouble.
Aphrodite: Exactly!
Percy: I have to help her. I've been having these dreams.
Aphrodite: Ah, you even dream about her! That's so cute!
Percy: No, I mean . . . that's not what I meant.

I am not a huge fan of Percy x Annabeth, but I am so amused on how Aphrodite ships them. Hahahaha! And I agree with her that Percy's so cute~
  • Athena - she's my favorite goddess along with Artemis (before reading this series). I like her representation in this book. When it comes to judgments she doesn't want to be biased as much as possible. I like her taste in men (haha!), and she's very nice yet could be really frightening if she becomes an enemy. That's so awesome~
  • Hermes - He . . .WINKED! That alone amused me to no end! Hahahahhaa!
===== Other Characters:
  • Dr. Chase - he's a war nerd that plays with toy soldiers!!!! Hahahaha! I love this guy! And I love what he said when he first saw a pegasus:
Dr. Chase: Fascinating. Such maneuverability!How does the wingspan compensate for the weight of the horse's body, I wonder?
Blackjack (pegasus): *in horse language* Whaaaat?

BWAHAHAHAHAH!!! That was so geeky! I love it!!! Most awesome father in the series so far! Hahaha!
  • Blackjack - he's a black pegasus that calls Percy his "boss". That alone already made me love him a lot~ Hehe.
  • Zoe Nighshade - For some reason I am very fond of characters who speak in old english (the one with the "thy", "thee", etc. whatever is the appropriate term for that kind of english). She's gorgeous and awesome (she can drive! 12 year old driver!). She may be too serious, but that's what makes her funny at times~ I love kind and loyal characters~
===== Brother/Sister Love:
  • Nico loves his sister very very very much~ Bianca loves him as well, but it hadn't been that obvious after some decision that he made early in the story. But later, I was right, that she does still care for him greatly. I am an older sister to a baby brother as well . . .
Monster: Silence, you insufferable girl.
Nico: Don't talk to my sister that way!
  • Apollo loves his twin sister Artemis very much as well (to the point that he had helped out in rescuing her even if it's against the rules) but Artemis finds him annoying. Though she is irritated with him, she still asks for his help~
Apollo: Nobody messes with my baby sister. Nobody.
Both sibling pairs are so . . . DAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW~

===== Favorite Joke:
So many hilarious stuff in this series, but this one is my favorite~ It has something to do with my favorite twins~ Some popular beliefs had been based on them, like the thinking of Santa Claus on a sleigh is actually from Artemis' own ride (that is based on the book okay). As for the explanation of what we know as the sun:
Nico: This is so cool! Is this really the sun? I thought Helios and Selene were the sun and moon gods. How come sometimes it's them and sometimes it's you and Artemis?
Apollo: Downsizing. The Romans started it. They couldn't afford all those temple sacrifices, so they laid off Helios and Selene and folded their duties into our job descriptions. My sis got the moon. I got the sun. It was pretty annoying at first, but at least I got this cool car.
Nico: But how does it work? I thought the sun was a big fiery ball of gas!
Apollo: That rumor probably got started because Artemis used to call me a big fiery ball of gas.
My humor is probably so lame, but I was soooooo amused to this part. Hahahaha! The scientific explanation began from an insult to an annoying guy. Bwahahahaha!

=== Overall Thoughts:
I love the first two books, but I'm MADLY IN LOVE with this one~ This is defintiely my favorite Percy Jackson book so far~ It also had similar flaws with the previous books, but as usual, the good stuff had made up for those. It's also MUCH MORE EXCITING AND ENTERTAINING! The new characters had been really great! It made me so thrilled and amused! I enjoyed this very very very much!

=== Next Books Initial Thoughts:
I think the third book will still be my top favorite even after I read the fourth and last one . . .
I've been spoiled. Future events seem really intense and interesting~

=== Verdict:
Rating: A- (OH MY GOD! Amazing, fantastic, oh really wonderful!)
Favoritism: 5 out of 5 Hearts (OBSESSION )

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Sighting: New Moan

New Moan (The first book in the Twishite Saga series)
by Stephfordy Mayo
Heffa Lump is a self-centred seventeen-year-old who needs to grow up and get a life. Fortunately, the Spatula Academy of Fictional Excellence specializes in helping characters from kids' books cross over into adult fiction. Unfortunately, she's distracted from her attempts to leave adolescence behind when she meets Teddy Kelledy - an impossibly gorgeous boy who eats rare meat, is super-strong, and never goes out in daylight. Could he - just maybe - be a vampire? (Hint: totally.) Soon, Heffa finds herself harassed by supernatural forces on all sides: vampire goths peddling the deadly drug 'Emo' all over town, Jacko-worshipping zombies trying to eat her brains, and werewolves lurking in basements reading copies of Wolf Whistle. A fight is coming, and apparently she's involved...Will Heffa be able to narrate herself out of danger? Will Teddy learn that being with a girl doesn't always have to be about biting? And what will happen when the New Moan rises? "New Moan" is guaranteed to make any fan laugh out loud with its irreverent and clever take on this popular series, which is brilliantly on the nose. (Fantastic Fiction)

I was sooooo amused with the synopsis (heck, the title's already hilarious!). I think I'll still be amused with this even if I don't dislike the Twilight saga. Haha! I think this parody is even milder than what the bashers could come up with, so hopefully even Twilight fans can see the hilarity in it. Come on, so many already being made fun of in the synopsis hit the mark so much already. Haha!

I'm not sure if I'll bother to buy this though. I don't really like being reminded of a story I didn't appreciate much, even if it's just a parody of it. But I admit I could imagine myself laughing my a$$ off while reading it. Haha!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Sea of Monsters (Book 2)

I really liked the first book so, naturally, I wanted to read more. I bought the sequel as soon as I can~

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Sea of Monsters (Book 2)
by Rick Riordan
When Thalia’s tree is mysteriously poisoned, the magical borders of Camp Half-Blood begin to fail. Now Percy and his friends have just days to find the only magic item powerful to save the camp before it is overrun by monsters. The catch: they must sail into the Sea of Monsters to find it. Along the way, Percy must stage a daring rescue operation to save his old friend Grover, and he learns a terrible secret about his own family, which makes him question whether being the son of Poseidon is an honor or a curse.

=== What I Did Not Like:
  • When the bloody hell did the empathy link between Grover and Percy occur? Either my memory fails me or that only happened for plot convenience.
  • I'm getting a little tired of Annabeth reacting negatively but not saying why because she wants to keep her dark secrets but will tell him eventually anyway. Okay, it's just the second book . . . maybe she hasn't trusted him that much yet. But if that happens again on the third book . . . I don't know.
  • Why the hell does this series have the typical "adults being TOO UNBELIEVABLY UNREASONABLE" thing???!!! On the first book, Zeus was kinda like that. But now Mr.D and the new annoying school official are also like that! Oh geez, how could they be too blind from the obvious? Too narrow-minded? Too stubborn? Too inconsiderate? I'm getting annoyed when grown-ups were being depicted that way.
  • Percy has to rescue his friend who is in grave danger. BUT BEFORE THAT, he participated in some race, did detention, had marshmallows in the campfire, and had a chit chat with a new divine character. When someone is in great danger, one should respond at once, right? But no, Percy took the time. Perhaps to make the book thicker? Ugghh. . . .
=== What I Liked:
  • The main trio in this book isn't the same set as the main trio in the previous book. I like the inconsistency. It doesn't always have to be the three of them all the time.
  • Our main characters didn't receive all the glory, or at least the main one, on the quest in this book. I like that because it's different from his popular counterpart (you know who I mean), who is The Hero in ALL the books (if I remember correctly). Okay, either the hero or the miracle survivor.
  • I have been impressed that the main character's rival/nemesis in this book has been a female (they're usually of the same sex in most fantasy series). I like the difference. I also liked it that they could also work together, not be in bad terms even during important times (I mean, as early as now, not on the latest books).
=== Fangurling:
  • I like Hermes . . . BECAUSE HE SAYS HE'S THE GENIUS THAT INVENTED THE INTERNET! *bows to him* Haha!
  • I like Tyson . . . because he also likes CHICKEN HORSES and FISH PONIES!!!! Bwahahahaha~ Yay to love for horsies~
  • The "C.C." here had the same code name as my goddess from a Japanese series called "Code Geass". And it was mentioned that she's a very very very beautiful woman. Like my goddess. That made me delighted~
  • I really love it that this book is narrated in Percy's point of view. He was funny in the first book, and he's even funnier in the second one! Hahahahha!
  • Luke . . . why?! How could you do that to Annabeth . . . how could you . . .
=== Overall Thoughts:
I can't say if this was better than the first book, because both have been equally fun for me. It had the similar flaws, but it still had some good and entertaining stuff to make up for those. Not to mention more hilarious! I like that . . . .continue entertaining me~

=== Next Books Initial Thoughts:
I'll be reading the third book next and I have a feeling that that one will be better than these two books. And yeah . . . I'm actually already . . . a little spoiled on some events in the later books. Hehe.

=== Verdict:
Rating: B+ (WOW! I am very impressed!)
Favoritism: 3.5 out of 5 Hearts (LOVE)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quick Reviews: City of Masks, Darkhenge, and The Foreshadowing

I have read these months ago, but only managed to type my thoughts about them recently. I did forget many of what I comment about on them, but I remember how much a book has impressed me and also how much I liked it. But of course I wouldn't be able to comment much, so they'll just be in quick reviews~

City of Masks (Stravaganza, Book 1) by Mary Hoffman
A boy is suffering from cancer . . . but one day a mysterious book transports him to an enchanting Venice-like city . . . and over there his body's perfectly healthy!
I got interested on this because of the alternate reality travelling thing. The story was okay . . . there are some cliches and predictable events . . . but there had been interesting twists and I find the characters likeable. But hhhmmm . . . I think it wasted too many paragraphs emphasizing how pretty the enchanting city is (the city, the people, the boats, EVERYTHING IS PRETTIER IN IT COMPARE TO ITS COUNTERPART IN REALITY FINE I GET IT ALREADY SO STOP REPEATING HOW PERFECT IT IS ALREADY!!!!) and I think the story would've been more interesting and . . . challenging to the main cast if the Duchessa was the villain.
Rating: B- (NICE! It had been really fun!)
Favoritism: 3 Hearts ---> LIKE

Darkhenge by Catherine Fisher
A boy's sister is in a comatose, but later finds out that she's actually staying in a different world . . . and he'll do anything to get her back.
The plot promised me sibling love . . . and it did! However, it was one-sided.
I'm actually disappointed in this. So many things there only had little or incomplete explanations/backgrounds. I honestly still don't know much about the characters in this series, except for the leading boy and his sister . . . but their character development hadn't been enough either. I'm alright with fast paced stories, but things just happened here . . . I didn't feel the continuity . . . the connections. I didn't get into the story.
Aside from the little brother to sister sibling-love moments (most of them didn't feel real either . . . I can't believe I'm saying this . . . but I think it lacked angst), the only thing I appreciated from this is that the girl to be rescued is actually pretty evil. The one who took her hostage even became under her command. Now I find that awesome~
Rating: D+ (REALLY DISAPPOINTING! How could you do this to me?!)
Favoritism: 2.5 Hearts ---> NEUTRAL

The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick
During the first world war, a girl with the power of premonition journeys to find her brother who is in the army to stop his death that she had foreseen.
World war historical fiction . . . . seeing the future . . . . sibling love . . . how could I resist this???!!!!
It was a page turner! I got so hooked to it that I couldn't let it down! Okay, the ending might be a little . . . "DUH" . . . it felt like all that she did was a waste in the end, but putting that aside, it had been really good!
I admit that I was most delighted on the sibling moments in this. They had been so sweet, they made me teary~ But I really like the leading girl in this story. All those things she did for her brother's sake was wow! A girl doesn't need to be a fighter to be awesome. Doing something like helping people by being a nurse and searching for her dear brother at the same time had been really remarkable. I was also amused on the part when people thought she was insane. Haha!
I love this so much. There wasn't any romance, and though there was sibling love, fortunately it ain't incest. Hooray!
Rating: A- (OH MY GOD! Amazing, fantastic, oh really wonderful!)
Favoritism: 4.5 Hearts ---> ADDICTION

I found the three Stravaganza books for a low price, so I bought them all. I thought I would get addicted to it because the second book had a pegasus in the cover. *loves magical horses* Unfortunately, the first book didn't meet my expectations. But I still liked it. Good thing I got it cheap, it was worth for that price. Hopefully the next books won't be the same.

The plots of the books by Catherine Fisher caught my interest a lot! So I bought several of her books, and I'm sad that the first book that I've read by her didn't impress me much. Hopefully the other books I bought that are written by that author won't be that bad.

But I got very very addicted to Foreshadowing that I bought as many books by Marcus Sedgwick that I could find! I managed to get three more of them (aside from Foreshadowing). Hooray!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sneak Peak: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Warner Bros has released a teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the DVD/Blu-ray of Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince:

See a version with nicer video quality here.

The Deathly Hallows is filmed in two parts: Part 1 will be released on November 19, 2010 and Part 2 on July 15, 2011.

Oh wow! It's looking good! I'm so excited for these movies~ Final Harry Potter books in theaters should be awesome~

~ Rope of Silicon
~ /film
~ Teaser Trailer

Upcoming Movie: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Director: Chris Columbus
Writers: Craig Titley (screenplay), Rick Riordan (novel)
Release Date: 12 February 2010 (USA)
Cast: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson), Alexandra Daddario (Annabeth Chase), Brandon T. Jackson (Grover Underwood), etc.
= Trailer 1 | Trailer 2 | Trailer 3 | Trailer 4 | Trailer 5 | =

They don't look like 12 year olds to me . . . but the movie looks good~ I really like the choice of actors and actresses.
I'm also curious about the movie changes. Some are already shown in the trailer, and I like most of them~ I hope the movie will be as hilarious and as fascinating as it seems. Hehe.
Those awesome trailers and that marvelous movie poster had been enough to get me so excited to see this movie already~

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightning Thief (Book 1)

I've already seen this book years ago and I labeled it as "one of the Harry Potter wannabes" at first sight. But the title caught my attention (steals lightning?!) so I thought of reading the plot at the back at least. From that I found out that it involved Greek mythology . . . and I'm a sucker for that~ I was about to buy it when I discovered that the cash in my wallet wasn't enough for it. So I told myself to buy it next time . . .

Unfortunately, that next time took years. I only thought of buying it again when I've heard it will be having a movie adaptation. I really prefer reading the book it's based on before seeing it.

But when I was able to buy it, I didn't think of reading it at once because I have a lot of other books to read.

Then recently, I saw posters of the movie in our local cinemas. They were like screaming to me: "THE MOVIE'S COMING SOON! READ THE BOOK ALREADY DAMN IT!"

So I did . . .

and I regret not reading it sooner!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightning Thief (Book 1)
by Rick Riordan
What if the gods of Olympuswere alive in the 21st Century? What if they still fell in love with mortals and had children who might become great heroes — like Theseus, Jason and Hercules?

What if you were one of those children?

Such is the discovery that launches twelve-year-old Percy Jackson on the most dangerous quest of his life. With the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction – Zeus’ master bolt. Along the way, he must face a host of mythological enemies determined to stop him. Most of all, he must come to terms with a father he has never known, and an Oracle that has warned him of betrayal by a friend.

=== Comparing to a Popular Title:
I don't think this series could really be compared to Harry Potter because the main similarities that I see between the two are the following:
  • It's the same YA fantasy adventure trio: brave leading boy, brainy leading girl, and the funny sidekick.
  • Leading boy has a favorite teacher (or school official) at school and that teacher spoils/favors him very much.
  • Leading boy lives with a very unpleasant person (or people) at home.
  • Leading boy doesn't have much friends, but he has bullying enemies/rivals both in the real world and the fantasy world.
  • Leading boy is very popular in his fantasy school.
Honestly, that's it. Both titles may be fantasy, but the other one involves magic while this one has mythology. There might be parallels when it comes to characters and events, but there aren't much and they won't be that similar either. The big difference on the elements used (magic vs mth) and on the character backgrounds makes Percy much more separated from Harry.

I can't say if PJ is better than HP, because both are good in their own way. But there's something I'm very certain that PJ beats HP in so many ways: THE HUMOR.

Maybe it's just easy to amuse me, but I don't think I'm the only one who finds the book really funny! And how couldn't chapter titles like "We Get Advice from a Poodle" or "A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers" rock?! Haha! It was very effective to have the book narrated by Percy himself; it had been so much fun to know his thoughts of what's going on, because he's a funny character himself!

=== What I Liked:
I admit that I'm not very fond of Harry (the character), but Percy is really cooler than him (and he's funnier too, of course).

Okay, both of these main characters are brave heroes that also have a good heart and will, of course, survive and become victorious in the dangerous battles that they face. Harry Potter was sort of like a "chosen one" because of the scar on his forehead and it will be spoilery if I say something more. But as for Percy? I don't see him as the usual "chosen one" type because he was born to be a hero. He is special because his roots had been special, and not because of some miracle or coincidence. I can accept the official hero status for all his unbelievable victories rather than the "luck" thing. This series had me pleased~

What got me impressed most is how it blended Greek mythology in modern times! I liked the reason why the gods are in America now, and also the counterparts of mythological places to places in America!

=== What I Did Not Like:
On the down side, I'm not that happy with Grover's character. He's supposed to be the "bodyguard" but the bodyguard from Artemis Fowl can do a much better job than him even if that guy doesn't have magical abilities. It's true that Grover does some saving from time to time, but from many of what he has been doing in this book, the "bodyguard" position really doesn't fit him. Oh come on, what the harm of having a strong best friend sidekick? The only thing that I saw where Grover truly excels in is reading and understanding emotions. It's good, but not enough.

Moreover, some events are honestly pretty predictable. That might have something to do with the fact that I've read a lot of fantasy adventure stories . . . or maybe the author just followed the YA fantasy adventure formula . . . . but there had been a lot of surprises that make up for them, so I forgive~

=== Favoritism Activated:
For pairings, I really really liked Luke x Annabeth but from the spoilers that I've read it's most likely going to be Percy x Annabeth. Man, I wish it didn't follow the Leading Boy x Leading Girl pairing . . . the Luke x Annabeth love story would've been more interesting, romance-wise~

For characters, I like Percy, more of because he's hilarious. I find Mr. D. pretty amusing too~ Among the serious ones, I like Chiron. Perhaps his being a centaur had something to do with it (I love horses!).

My initial favorite is actually the "friend who betrayed Percy". I'm not sure if I like that character more as a hero or a villain. Haha! But hhhmmm . . . I have a feeling that my top favorite will only be showing up in later volumes . . .

=== Overall Thoughts:
I think this book had been great on humor and creativity. Plot-wise, it had been good in some areas but a little disappointing on other areas. It had a great variety of characters but I'm not that impressed with how characters had been fleshened out.

I'm not sure if I would consider this one of the greatest YA novels I've ever read (I loved it but I wasn't exactly hooked) but reading it had been so much fun that I bought the succeeding volumes as soon as I can.

=== Recommendation:
I don't think you need to have mythology background to understand what's going on because the book will be giving you simple and brief background of the mythological characters that appear in the book. But of course, it's easier to appreciate it if you have background on mythology, much more if you actually love it like I do. Fans of the likes of Harry Potter will very likely appreciate this book as well. I highly recommend it!

=== Verdict:
Rating: B+ (WOW! I am very impressed!)
Favoritism: 3.5 out of 5 Hearts (LOVE)

Friday, December 4, 2009


favorites, types, whatever . . .

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Will fill this up in the future. . .