3/28/11

Coraline

Author: Neil Gaiman
Pages: 162
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Summary (from Goodreads): In Neil Gaiman's bestselling adult fantasies, telling the difference between reality and illusion can sometimes mean your soul. With Coraline, the author of American Gods develops this favorite theme for a younger audience, taking us through a deliciously frightening door to an "other," harrowing world. 

Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures. 

Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what's what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we're hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book's eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Already compared to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and suited for readers of all ages, Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best. 

--- 

My Summary: Coraline Jones is an unhappy young girl. Having just moved to a new house in a new city, Coraline has no one to play with except her parents, who are too busy working to pay her any attention anyway. There are the neighbours - Mr. Bobinski, the mouse-tamer, and Ms. Spink and Ms. Forcible, retired actresses who can't seem to leave behind their days in the theatre - but there is nobody around her age, and Coraline is bored out of her mind.

One day, while her parents are out, Coraline decides to explore the house, which is hundreds of years old. What she finds, though, is far more terrible than anything she could have ever imagined: Coraline find a door to another version of her life, where her 'other' mother and father cater to her every whim and desire. 

The only catch: they want to sew buttons into her eyes and keep her there with them forever.

Now Coraline must fight to escape the clutches of her 'other' parents and save her real ones before time runs out.

My Thoughts: Let me start off by saying that I got the movie version of Coraline for Christmas last year, and it is definitely one of my favourite movies of all time! I have watched that thing so many times that I decided I wanted to read the book as well, being the dedicated bookie that I am.

The thing I liked about the book (and the movie, as well) is that is it classified as a children's novel, but the topics go much deeper than most children's novels. Here's an example of one of my favourite quotes: 

"I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn't mean anything? What then?"

Neil Gaiman's writing (as usual) is awesome - although it was a lot simpler in comparison to his writing in The Graveyard Book. His words flow together beautifully, and it only took me an hour in total to finish the entire book. His writing was simple (no complicated, flowery descriptions or overly-long words) but it never feels like he is talking down to the reader, which I really admire in children's writers.

And Coraline was such a great character! You really see her growing up during the book, and she really shines even while trying to deal with the bleak situation she's in.

Final Thoughts: While I did enjoy the movie better, Coraline was still a really great book, and I recommend it to anyone who likes paranormal novels. I don't think it's a great movie to show / book to read to a young child though, since there are some scary parts that may frighten them. I think it should be alright for kids over 10, though. I also recommend watching the movie after reading!

3/25/11

Benevolence

Author: Cynthia Holz
Pages: 320
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Format: ARC (Paperback)
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Summary (from the author's website)Cynthia Holz’s first novel with Knopf Canada is a spellbinding story that offers an intimate look at family, friendship and altruism, and unrolls a cast of characters you can’t help but root for even as you question some of the things they do.
Dr. Ben Wasserman, an organ transplant psychiatrist, is having trouble assessing a would-be kidney donor who may turn out to be a bona fide altruist. But as his interest in the man grows, so do his professional and emotional conflicts. At the same time, Ben’s psychologist wife, Renata Moon, is struggling to treat a phobic client whose husband died in a train crash. When the young woman reveals that she is pregnant, Renata’s disappointment in her own childless marriage is triggered anew.
Ben and Renata work hard all day, then go home to squabble over the nightly take-out. It doesn’t help to ease the rising tension in their marriage that Ben’s widowed mother, Molly, has made her disapproval of her yet-to-be-pregnant daughter-in-law well-known. Nor does it help when Molly takes in a boarder, a man from her past whose secrets threaten to complicate the family dynamics even more.
Benevolence is intelligent, amusing and deeply humane, a novel that asks unsettling questions, makes surprising connections and allows room for some unexpected, magical solutions.

--- 


Disclaimer: I won this book through Goodread First Reads as an ARC. I was not required to provide a review, but chose to write one regardless.

My Summary: Renata, Ben, and Molly are three people whose lives are connected, yet infinitely separated; Ben and Renata are married, and Molly is Ben's mother. Ben is a psychiatrist and Renata is a psychologist, and the couple are trying to maintain their marriage despite their hectic schedules; thought their marriage has been rife with disappointments: Renata and Ben are unable to conceive any children, and Ben is often more interested in his poetry than Renata.


And of course, each person has their own secret, buried deep in their past. These - along with some other memories best forgotten - are brought to the surface when Ben, Renata, and Molly each meet someone that ultimately changes their perspective on life.


My Thoughts: This is one of the only 'adult genre' books I've read, and at first I was a little reluctant to do so; I wondered how in the world I was supposed to relate to the characters when they were more than double my age? Needless to say, I pushed aside my reservations and dove right in.


And I wasn't disappointed! Having been a YA junkie for the past couple of years, I'm used to the fast-paced build-up of a plot and a looming conflict, but I really enjoyed the change of pace! Benevolence kept a fast enough pace to keep you interested, but it was subtle enough that you never felt overwhelmed with what you were reading. I really enjoyed that, and I found myself understanding the plot better. 


I also really enjoyed the use of flashbacks in Molly's point of view! She quickly became my favourite character (along with Stella).


Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a beautifully-written novel about friendship and love and what it takes for a marriage to work, I definitely recommend this one! 

3/22/11

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week:

"I look out the windows at an ancient burial ground, crooked rows of headstones and flat tombs like tabletops, dinner tables for ghosts."

- The Other Side of Dark, page 83

3/20/11

The Scorch Trials

Author: James Dashner
Pages: 360
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Summary (from Goodreads)Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.
Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.
The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

--- 

My Summary: Thomas thought everything was going to be okay after he and his friends escaped The Maze - they were rescued and taken to a dormitory and given food, clean clothes, and places to sleep. Everything seemed all right before Thomas fell asleep.

But then he's woken by the sound of Teresa's screaming inside his head, and when he tries to reach our and speak to her, she doesn't respond.

And then everything goes quiet.

Thomas and the other Gladers can feel that something is horribly wrong - the door to their room has been locked, and they're all trapped inside a room with barred windows. And as if that wasn't bad enough, suddenly there's a group of disfigured lunatics clawing at the bars, desperate to get into their room. 

Eventually the Gladers manage to break the handle of the door and get out, but what they find waiting on the other side of the door convinces them of one thing: their hardships are nowhere near over.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed The Scorch Trials almost as much as The Maze Runner, but it's really hard to compare the two! Both books are so different from one another - in a good way, I swear! - that it's difficult to compare the two side-by-side.

First off, I gotta say, I love the way Mr. Dashner introduces new information into the story - the way he reveals things to both the characters and the reader is perfect and keeps you flipping pages. And the way that everything was connected to The Flare and the Gladers' hidden pasts made you desperate to find out what happened to bring the kids to Wicked in the first place.

I can't really say much without giving away a big part of the plot, but I gotta say, my heart ached for Thomas: the poor guy goes through so much, and by the end, he doesn't know who to trust or what his role is in Wicked's plans. I wanted to reach into the book and give him a big hug - especially when he started regaining his memories about his life before The Maze, and afterwards, with Teresa (I can't say more, though!). All I can say is: I sincerely hope Thomas gets a happy ending.

Final Thoughts: I really recommend picking up this sequel to The Maze Runner if you've already read the first book, and if you haven't, I definitely recommend you read both - especially if you're a fan of the dystopian genre.

3/15/11

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week:

"At that point, and only at that point, you'll be cured of the Flare. That's exactly two weeks -- starting the second you step through the Trans. If you don't make it, eventually you'll end up dead."

- The Scorch Trials, page 60

Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis
Pages: 398
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 


Summary (from Goodreads):


 A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
--- 

My Summary: Amy's parents are important people - her mother is a biological splicer, and her father is sixth in command in the army - so when they are chosen to be cryogenically frozen for 250 years and sent to another planet at the edge of the universe, they can't turn down the opportunity. But they give Amy a choice - to stay behind. She can stay with her friends and her boyfriend and live a long, happy life on earth - the only thing missing would be her parents.

Neither of her parents expected her to give up her life, but Amy knew she couldn't go on living if it meant her parents were gone forever. So, after watching her parents get frozen, Amy steps into her cryo-coffin and says goodbye to her life on earth.

After what feels like an eternity, Amy feels herself waking up. But something is wrong: someone has unplugged her box, leaving her to drown in the melted ice-water. She's sure she's about to die when suddenly a boy around her age - the next leader of the ship: Elder - appears and helps pull her out. 

Amy's expecting to see her parents, but that isn't the case; Amy has been melted too early (approximately 50 years), and her parents are still sleeping soundly in their cryo-chambers. She won't get to see them until the ship lands, by which time she'll be older than they are.

And that's not the only problem. Someone has been unplugging others like herself, leaving them to die. So far, two have died, and two have survived - including Amy. If Amy and Elder aren't able to figure out who is sabotaging Amy's parents mission, their whole future could be at stake...

My Thoughts: I bought this book after months of reading people's positive reviews, expecting some awesome explosion of pure AWESOME that I would never be able to forget. I mean, the book was good, don't get me wrong... but it wasn't mind-blowingly amazing. Maybe it's just the fact that I read it after Delirium, or the fact that the romance wasn't a huge part of the plot, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to.... 

Anyways, on to the positive (I hate saying bad things about a book, even if it's just my opinion; I think of it as years of someone's life, and dozens of hours of hard work, and I hate finding fault in that): I really like the way the point of view of the narrator switched between Elder and Amy - you got to see more of what was going on, because each character thought in a different way, and each character got to see things that were important to figuring out what was going on. 

I loved the idea of 'The Season" - it was so disgusting and horrible to think about, but you could actually picture it having to happen that way in that type of setting, ya know? And Amy's heartbreak was totally believable - the way she was torn between her feelings for her boyfriend from before (who was long dead) and Elder made her seem deeper than your average "OMG HE'S HOT AND HE'S THE ONLY GUY HERE, MIGHT AS WELL!".

Final Thoughts: I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of dystopian novels, and definitely to anyone who loves sci-fi and space-type novels. The premise of the book is really interesting, and you'll definitely enjoy the plot twists and turns!

3/11/11

Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 441
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Summary (from Goodreads): Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
--- 

My Summary: Lena's life has always been filled with tragedy, but thanks to  'the Cure' - the cure developed by scientists for the 'disease' known as love - Lena knows she won't be suffering for long. Like her sister and her aunt and everyone else over 18, Lena will soon undergo 'the procedure' and be rid of the risk of falling in love forever.

But the cure has side effects, and the fact that Lena's mom underwent it 3 times without any real improvement worries her - she wants to be cured as fast as possible. Then, right as she's in the middle of her evaluation, the Invalids decide to disrupt everything. Right before she's ushered out of the room, Lena spots someone sitting in the upper level of the auditorium and laughing at the destruction below.

She forgets all about this mysterious stranger until her and her best friend Hana run into him after sneaking into a government building. But instead of calling the authorities on them, the boy - Alex, someone who's already been 'cured' - lets them off and invites Lena back to watch the sunset from the roof.

But Alex is hiding a secret, and it's one so big that it puts both their lives in danger.

My Thoughts: I waited a few days to write this review because after finishing the book, I wanted to wait and make sure I still felt the same way about it after thinking about it for a while (you know what I mean). And guess what? Even 3 days later, I still love it.

Lauren Oliver has been one of my tip favourite authors since I read Before I Fall last year, so I was expecting a lot out of Delirium. I wasn't disappointed. Although the book takes place in a limited setting, Lauren Oliver managed to keep me hooked, desperate to find out what happened with Lena and Alex. Oliver's writing was beautiful as always, and even if it doesn't seem like it at first, it's really very deep (unlike a lot of dystopian novels that just concentrate on the plot). I found myself using stickie notes to save my favourite quotes for reading later on, and by the time I was finished, there were over 30 little tabs sticking out of my book. My favourite quote:

"Love, the dealiest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

But that isn't it, exactly.

The condemner and the condemned. The executioner; the blade; the last-minute repreive; the gasping breath and the rolling sky above and the thank you, thank you, thank you, God.

Love: It will kill you and save you, both."

I don't know about you, but I thought this was absolutely beautiful. 

Final Thoughts: I know there have been a lot of mixed feelings about this book, but I definitely recommend it to anyone who liked dystopian novels, romance novels, or even just wants to read a well-written book with lots of suspense and action.

3/8/11

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week:

"I've learned to get really good at this -- say one thing when I'm thinking about something else, act like I'm listening when I'm not, pretend to be calm and happy when really I'm freaking out. It's one of the skills you perfect as you get older."

- Delirium, Lauren Oliver (page 49)

--- 

I know there are a lot of mixed feelings about this book, but I'm loving it so far (as of ten minutes ago, I'm on page 300 - something). I definitely recommend you pick it up!  

3/6/11

The Goddess Test

Author: Aimee Carter
Pages: 297
Publisher: Harlequin 
Format: Online Galley (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Summary (from Goodreads)Every girl who has taken the test has died. 

Now it's Kate's turn.
 

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall. 

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. 

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess. 

If she fails...

--- 

My Summary: Kate's been taking care of her mother since she was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. Sacrificing everything she enjoys to do so, Kate's life is pretty lonely - the only person she has in the world is her mom, who's not going to make it past the next couple of months. Kate can't stand knowing that her best friend in the entire world is about to die, but she refuses to talk about it, instead choosing to live in denial.

Then, during the summer after her 18th birthday, Kate's mom makes a request: she wants them to pack up and move back to her hometown of Eden, Michigan. Kate's reluctant to leave her hometown - who would dream of leaving New York? - but she wants her mom to be happy, so she agrees to the move.

Eden is a small town, though, and people have mixed reactions to Kate's arrival - some people, like Ava (the gorgeous head cheerleader), want her gone. But Kate sticks it out, not wanting to upset her mom.

Then one night something terrible happens, and someone dies. But before Kate can even call 911, a gorgeous guy appears and makes her a deal: he'll save her friend if she agrees to a deal.   Without knowing what she's agreeing to do, Kate accepts, and her friend wakes up good as new...

My Thoughts: I loved the premise of this book - great mythology, romance, a dying parent, and seven test... It had everything you could ask for in a YA novel. It was fast-paced as well, and there were never any long, pointless passages. Kate's feelings about her mom and thinking she's letting everyone down by failing were really believable. 

I really liked Aime Carter's writing style - it was smooth and easy to follow, and I never had to read a passage twice to understand what had happened. I also loved Kate - she was a really deep, developed character, and she had a strong personality and a real sense of loyalty towards her family and friends. Her and Henry's interactions were really cute as well.

The only thing that threw me off and kept me from giving the book 5 out of 5 was the fact that the 'tests' were not really explained - I knew Kate wasn't supposed to know what they were, but I was under the impression that the tests would be similar to the 'impossible tasks' that Hercules had to face. 

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one, and I definitely recommend you check it out if you love mythology (like me) and have always wanted to know more about the myth of Hades and Persephone. There were plenty of plot twists and turns, and it was really easy to read.

3/5/11

In My Mailbox




In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Each week we spotlight the books we've received for review, swapped, or purchased.


This week I...



Bought:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
You Against Me by Jenny Downham
The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith
Coraline by Neil Gaiman


Pre-ordered:
The Sky is Everywhere (Paperback) by Jandy Nelson


Won (for review):
Miracleville by Monique Polak 


Borrowed:
Three Day Road by Josep Boyden


Currently Reading:
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Benevolence by Cynthia Holz


Let me know if you've read any of these, and what you thought of them! :)

3/2/11

The Last Olympian

Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 381
Publisher: Miramax
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 


Summary (from Goodreads)All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. 

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time. 

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

---

My Summary: It's the week before his birthday, and Percy can't wait to get away - Rachel's invited him on her family vacation, and he can't wait to leave behind all of the stress of the past year. Camp was exhausting, and he's spent so much time fighting monsters that it's become second nature to him.

But before he can even pack, Percy's called off on yet another mission - to blow up Kronos' base of operations. 

Unfortunately, not everyone makes it out alive, and Percy must return to camp to deliver the news. When he arrives, he find out something even worse than what he expected - the Titan Typhon is awake and reeking havoc across North America, and even the gods aren't enough to stop him....

In this final installment of the Percy Jackson series, Percy must face dangers more terrifying than death in order to save Olympus and the rest of the world. But is he willing to do what needs to be done, when it could mean losing everything worth living for?

My Thoughts: I just now finished this book, and all I have to say is WOW!

I loved it. It was an amazing book - the best one of the five, hands down. Riordan's writing just got better and better, and I couldn't turn pages fast enough. I found myself thinking about the book during school, and I couldn't wait to get home to finish. Everything was just... perfect. Awesome. Amazing... along with any other adjective that starts with an 'A' (because it gets an A++ from me).

Final Thoughts: I didn't want to go into too much detail in case I gave something away, so I'm just going to say this: you will not regret reading this series. It was exciting, interesting, and it kept me hooked until the very last page - and there's enough romance in it to keep all us romantics happy. I definitely recommend this series to anyone and everyone who enjoys a good adventure series. 

3/1/11

And the Winner is...




SANDY W!

Congrats, Sandy! You've won a hardcover copy of Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott! I'll be e-mailing you to confirm everything.

A big thank-you goes out to everyone who entered! I'll be having another giveaway soon, so check back in a few days to enter! :)

The Battle of the Labyrinth

Author: Rick Riordan
Pages:
Publisher: Miramax
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Summary (from Goodreads)Percy Jackson's fourth summer at Camp Half-Blood is much like his previous three—high-octane clashes with dark forces, laced with hip humor and drama. Opening with a line for the ages—The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school—this penultimate series installment finds Percy, Annabeth and the satyr Grover furiously working to prevent former camp counselor Luke from resurrecting the Titan lord Kronos, whose goal is to overthrow the gods. When the heroes learn that Luke can breach Camp Half-Blood's security through an exit from Daedalus's Labyrinth, they enter the maze in search of the inventor and a way to stop the invasion. Along the way they encounter a lifetime supply of nightmare-inducing, richly imagined monsters. Grover's own quest to find the lost god Pan, meanwhile, provides a subtle environmental message. Percy, nearly 15, has girl trouble, having become something of a chick magnet. One of Riordan's strengths is the wry interplay between the real and the surreal. When the heroes find Hephaestus, for instance, he's repairing a Toyota, wearing overalls with his name embroidered over the chest pocket. The wit, rousing swordplay and breakneck pace will once again keep kids hooked. 


--- 


My Summary: Percy Jackson is on his way to freshman orientation in the first week of June, and he's dreading it more than his battle with Kronos (kidding). The school seems okay, until he runs into a group of cheerleaders who are hiding way more than ugly faces beneath all the makeup....


Corned in the band room, the last person Percy expects to help him escape the monsters is Rachel Elizabeth Dare - the mortal girl who hid him from skeleton warriors during one of his quests. 


When Percy returns to camp, he knows something's wrong - theres tension all around, and a lot of campers are either missing in action or have gone over to the dark side. Basically, it's another year at camp.


But when he and Annabeth discover a secret about Camp Half-Blood that Luke already knows about, Percy knows it's time for another quest - this time, to find the mysterious inventor who created the maze, and find a way to keep Luke from using it to invade (and destroy) Camp Half-Blood forever.


My Thoughts: I think this one was my favourite of all the books so far! It was fast-paced, and the action started right away. I also loved the re-appearance of Rachel (go mortals!) and her part in the story, but I'm a little worried about the whole Percy-Annabeth-Rachel triangle developing (Team Annabeth all the way!).


I also loved the labyrinth concept - after watching the movie Pan's Labyrinth when I was young, mazes and labyrinths have always creeped me out to the nth degree (in a good way), and I loved the way it added to the creepiness of it all. 


Of course the writing was awesome and easy to understand too! Riordan's style is really great - it leaves something to the imagination but still tells you what's going on and what you need to know. And his characterization is awesome - you see the subtle changes in Percy from book to book, and they make him seem very realistic and relatable.


Final Thoughts: Why haven't you picked up this series yet?!!?