Let me start by saying I really like the Percy Jackson series overall. It's a fun romp through Greek mythology, and the characters are wonderfully entertaining. I went through the whole series in a relatively short period of time (I was listening to the audiobooks) because I couldn't wait to find out how it all tied together in the end.
Well, plot-wise, everything came together nicely, but I was a bit disappointed in the execution. First of all, I found myself far more interested in the side characters and the antagonist than in Percy himself. At this point in the series, Percy is little more than a lens for the story. He's just too perfect, and everything works out too easily for him. I would have been far more interested in seeing Grover's POV, or Annabeth's, or Nico's, or especially Luke's, since he takes on a Darth Vader type of role (hero turned evil with someone trying to redeem him). I've never really cared much for Rachel Elizabeth Dare (why must Percy always say her whole name?), and most of the other campers seem like throwaway characters there to pad the ranks.
About 90% of the book consists of either battle scenes or dreams/visions, in which Percy gets glimpses into the lives and pasts of the people around him. Luke's backstory was probably the most interesting, since he's the series antagonist. I also liked learning more about Nico, who is a bit of a wildcard. The battle scenes, however, bored me. That's probably just because of my personal tastes--I tend to get bored when one particular fight drags on too long. In this case, a great bulk of the book is spent defending Olympus from the titans, which bored me because, let's face it, Percy was never going to lose, and the twists weren't all that interesting (it was always like "okay, did he kill the monster yet" and never like, "oh no, how is he going to get out of this one?")
Maybe it's just because by the time I reach the end of a series, I've built up major expectations that the author can't live up to, but this conclusion felt a bit flat. I had plenty of fun with Percy, but I won't be returning to Camp Half Blood for the Heroes of Olympus series.
Mr. Riordan, so long, and thanks for all the fish!
P.S. Even Jesse Bernstein seemed a bit worn out by this book. In his desperation to give all million and one characters different voices, he gave them all weird random accents and reduced Persephone's voice to a choked whisper.
First of all, I can see why this book is so famous. The world Mercedes Lackey creates really is fantastic. Now, this could be the editor in my head, but I wasn't such a fan of her storytelling style. It was all tell-tell-tell-tell-tell. Of course, this book was also published in a different era, and I'm accustomed to the show-show-show-show-show style of today.
The opening, before Talia (or however you spell her name - I was listening to the audiobook) finds out she's a herald, totally drew me in. After she got to the Collegium, though, things came to a bit of a halt. Even though there were conspiracies afoot and whatnot, the tension just wasn't there.
Nevertheless, A+ for imagination.
I've heard that this series takes a little while to get going. After listening to the first book on audio, I can see why. The set-up is pretty cool - Renaissance style fantasy kingdom with six races and a cool law enforcement structure. The story starts out by following Kaylin as she goes to investigate the mysterious deaths of children. And then it gets hella confusing. By the end, I just had no idea what was going on, with the crazy magic and everything. Also, I kept thinking: "If anyone says 'I'm a hawk' or 'Kaylin was a hawk' one more time, Imma lose it." And then they'd say it again.
Still giving it four stars because the premise and universe are intriguing, and Kaylin's a cool main character. I also really enjoyed Severn - he's probably the most interesting character in the book, in my opinion.
Like the first book, Jovah's Angel had lovely writing and lush world-building. Sharon Shinn sure knows how to paint a picture with words. And I actually liked all her characters this time (unlike the psycho Rachel, who is inexplicably idealized by all the other characters in Archangel). If only she knew how to plot...
I'm giving this book 4 stars because the world-building and writing really are top notch. So are the characterizations. But the plot - oh the plot! For a large part of it, I was like, "what plot?" Pages and pages of Edori worship - how these simple nomads are so friggin' perfect! Even though the whole world's supposed to be in danger due to the angels' failing abilities, and even though Alleya uncovers shocking secrets about her world, the whole book lacks any kind of suspense.
Well, despite my kvetching, I still enjoyed it. When I wasn't zoned out.
Disclaimer: Slow-paced plotless world-building books really aren't my thing. I want action!
P.S. The narrator is excellent.
Percy is still Percy, but this book just didn't seem as much fun as the previous ones. The plot meandered a lot more, and the new characters weren't that interesting. There are tons of action scenes in all the Percy Jackson books, but in this one, they seemed a bit much, like they were being used for filler. I actually find the antagonist, Luke, and Annabeth, who remains a sidekick character despite nominally being allowed to "lead", a lot more interesting than Percy himself, who seems a bit too perfect now that he's settled into his hero role (the snarkiness is getting a bit tired at this point, and with the plot darkening, seems very incongruent with everything going on around him and makes sound like a jerk at times). Still, interesting enough for me to want to find out how the series ends.
And Jesse Bernstein's narration is as good as ever.
There's so much to love about this book. Fantastic world building, sweeping descriptions... Archangel really transports you to another world. But much as I enjoyed the world, at a certain point, I kept wondering why it wouldn't end already. This is mostly the fault of Rachel, a stubborn, self-centered, sanctimonious woman who thinks she's right about everything and expects everyone to do what she wants them to, even when she doesn't say what she wants. Her character is well developed - just extremely unlikable. She whines and yells and complains and doesn't do anything but think about what she wants. The most ridiculous is when she complains about how the world is wrong, and yet, given the chance to change the world as the archangel's de facto queen, all she does is run away with a clan of nomads. Suffice it to say, I hate her.
But not enough to trash the entire book, because, like I said, there really is a lot to love about it. Gabriel, the soon-to-be archangel who was betrothed to Rachel by divine will, inexplicably still loves her despite all her ridiculousness. He's not entirely likable either, being arrogant and somewhat bad-tempered at times, but his noble goals with regard to the world he's about to inherit as archangel are admirable. He reminds me a bit of the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast - surly but ultimately kind-hearted. His love-hate relationship with Rachel doesn't quite work for me, since I picked up on all of the frustration and none of passion (which was supposedly there, but buried beneath layers of irritating fights).
Anyway, despite Rachel, the world-building and the side characters are enough to merit four stars, in my opinion. The universe Sharon Shinn created really is mesmerizing, and I'm tempted to read the sequels even though if I have to put up with any more of Rachel's selfishness, I might start banging my head against the wall.
Rick Riordan clearly has a knack for storytelling. Percy's voice and adventures are as fun and engrossing as in the first book. However, the plot was somewhat disappointing. I wasn't expecting much, since I know the series' whole gimmick is taking Greek myths and adding a contemporary spin to them, but too much of this book seemed ripped from one particular myth. Did Percy really have to follow Odysseus's journey so closely? Couldn't Riordan have just left it at Polyphemus and picked some other hero's obstacle to throw in Percy's way? "The Sea of Monsters" suffers a bit from sequel-itis on the plot front, but was still enjoyable enough to leave me wanting to read the next book.
And, of course, Jesse Bernstein's narration is spot-on
Yes. The lack of a clear storyline would have lost me in print, but the narrator's entertaining voice kept me listening.
The interactions between Crowley and Aziraphale were amusing to listen to
The scene where Crowley and Aziraphale decide the Earth is worth saving
Crowley, of course! He'd be amusing to watch.
There's not much plot to Good Omens. Most scenes play out like vignettes - glimpses into what's going on in this crazy world. Some, while written in an amusing way, seem quite pointless. Of course, the purpose of the book isn't to be the plot-driven type of story anyway, so that probably doesn't matter. I just found it hard to keep paying attention in some parts. But overall, this is a well-written and witty novel. The narrator's energy really brings the story to life, although some of the voices he puts on get obnoxious after a while. My main issue with him is how he put on a low baritone for the voice of Adam Young, an 11-year-old boy. It seemed incongruent to the extent that it distracted from his character.
Generally, I don't listen to audiobooks twice simply because I don't have time, but I am eager for the sequel - more Percy, Annabeth, and Jesse Bernstein!
Jesse Bernstein does a fantastic job of bringing Percy's snarky, sarcastic voice while at the same time making the character sympathetic
It's hard to care about Alex Rider. As a character, he's simply too perfect. Athletic, intelligent, brave, and rather emotionless except when he's in danger. The plot, as far as I'm concerned, is just another spy adventure. The descriptions in the action scenes were well written, but otherwise, the whole thing fell flat for me. The plot didn't even try to be unpredictable. Even though Alex's young age is supposed to make him an underdog, it never feels that way. Like I said, he's just too much of a clear-cut perfect hero.
Nathaniel Parker's performance did much to bring the story to life. If I'd been reading a paper book, I'm sure I would have skipped over large sections of "blah blah explosion blah blah karate move blah blah cliche monologue" (which would have meant skipping over half the book). Somehow, he manages to infuse even this dry story with excitement, giving Alex a touch of humanity.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.