Percy Jackson

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Percy Jackson (series)
Author: Rick Riordan
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thoughts: Definitely Cute; I Was A Little Disappointed With The Conclusion; Entertaining, But Not Exactly Insightful; Worth A Quick Read

In my quest for entertaining Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction, it was only natural that I would feel compelled to read the Percy Jackson series. Probably one of the most successful series since Harry Potter, there isn’t a household of school-aged children I enter that doesn’t have a copy of this series.

While an enjoyable take on Greek mythology, modernized, and an entertaining, action-packed read, I wouldn’t say this series will change your life or anything. It’s cute. Percy is endearing, but it lacks any enduring philosophy for future generations.

Annabeth, Percy’s best friend, is a little bit annoying, if not overly-unrealistically-intelligent, I sometimes found her a little too perfect to buy. Her role in the final book, The Last Olympian, is a little bit frustrating, if not downright sad. Why make apoint of making this girl so great, only to turn her into somewhat of a moody brat in the last book? I know Riordan was aiming for a bit of a jealousy aspect, (why do we always have to have a love triangle?!) but I couldn’t help but feel it was all a bit contrived.

I think the part of this series that frustrated me the most was the strange way time is spaced between each book in the series. Sometimes Riordan picks up again in the strangest spots so that I can’t help but feel like I’ve missed something (and perhaps I have, Riordan produced a strange array of marketable work to promote the movie franchise. Sad to see that interfere with his work, but who can blame him? It’s the business). I felt like, at the beginning of almost every book, I had no idea where or what we had suddenly just picked up.

But Percy himself is redeemable enough for the whole series. He’s clueless and somewhat dim-witted, but he’s exactly what I’d expect from the narrative of a Greek hero. A lot of courage, and very little understanding. Some of his quips are pretty sweet, funny in almost a laugh-out-loud way. If I were still 14 I would definitely have had a little crush on him. He’s a good kid and a great role-model sort of character.

So, cute and entertaining, mixed with a Disney publisher, I’m not at all surprised this book has done as well as it has, but, in all honesty, I’m no die-hard fan. Not sure yet if I’ll bother with Riordan’s other series in the Camp Half-Blood franchise…

HOLY CRAP, IT’S DONE!

After a couple of months of ardent struggle over the last few chapters of my first draft, I kind of hit a break through this weekend.

Went to a “Shut UP and Write” group through meetup.org where a bunch of writers get together to not talk and write for a straight hour in a coffee shop. This may sound like some sort of writer’s cliche, but honestly I really recommend trying this for anyone out there who has hit a wall. Maybe I respond well to peer pressure, but I wrote more in that hour than I have in months. And best of all, I wrote the (what seemed last week/month/year to be an impossible feat) climax.

So the first draft is, well, close to done. Really I have a few updates to do, and maybe a final chapter. But it’s… well, not so impossible anymore.

Clearly, I’ll be hitting up this writing group again next week. Afterwards we all sat around and talked writing and literature, and for once I didn’t feel like the most inept person in the room. In fact, I actually felt like I’d accomplished something. Like I actually knew what I was talking about!

Woah, that’s a new sensation.

So anyway, no matter what’s happened in my life since January, I can always remember this as the year I wrote my first book.

Now… for editing. Erk.

Green Apple Books (or Why San Francisco Is Going To Bankrupt Me)

I have an obsession with books. I think if I’d had more say in the matter that, when I moved two weeks ago, I would have left all my clothes in Florida and packed suitcases full of books.

My empty bookshelves remind me of my empty soul.

But then there’s Green Apple and, if I spend even five more minutes in this shop I’ll be toting around my bodyweight in literature and probably broke.

But really?! Who turns down a shiny, new Franzen for $4?!

I have a book problem. No, I won’t get help.

Book Review: Cuckoo’s Calling

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Review of Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Thoughts: I Guessed The Ending, Not My Genre, Good Beach Read, (Sadly) No Harry Potter

I read a quote recently about Rowling’s writing style that described her as an average writer but a spectacular storyteller. I have to agree whole-heartedly. When you really technically break her style down, it’s unremarkable, lots of cliches, dreaded adverbs, basic sentence structure. But Rowling is probably the best story teller of a generation.

I read Cuckoo this week out of obligation and curiosity. I felt I owed it to the childhood version of myself to read every word Rowling has written because she’s changed my life, but, in all honesty, I was unenthusiastic. Noir/Mystery is not my genre, but I stole this from my senile grandmother and I had to get it back to her before she noticed the theft so… I read it pretty quickly.

I think what bothers me about Mystery is how formulaic it is. But the end of Cuckoo there’s really only two characters it could be (even Rowling’s narrative admits that to you), and, based on the genre, clearly she would go for the more shocking of the two. No one ever picks the guy they suspect all along as the bad guy in the novel. So… I called it.

As for Strike… I like him in his charmingly-gruff way, his whole tough guy routine, refusing to admit to being crippled. But I couldn’t help but think that Strike has been done before. I think, in honesty, Robin is the real gem in this novel. Aside from a cliche fiancé with a jealous bone, Robin is just a good woman. She’s feisty and smart and, mostly, fairly average. There’s a push for a romantic connection with Strike (obviously), but I find it weirdly feeble. I think it’s Rowling herself that loves Robin. She’s the Hermione of Cuckoo (the Rowling then, by extension). She’s the unsung hero.

So… I’ll say it’s worth a read if you need an easy read, but I’m not sure I’ll be following Strike to The Silk Worm.

Book Review: What’s all the Fuss About Divergent?

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Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Rating: Two Stars
Thoughts: Readable, but not life-changing; Another dystopian romance; I’m just not buying it (Literally)

I felt compelled to read Veronica Roth’s Divergent, mostly because I’d heard rumors that there was a rape scene and, well, when a book sweeps through the YA world, a young girl gets curious.

Roth has a very matter-of-fact way of writing, nothing unusual for her genre, which made for a quick, action-packed read. The premise is a bit thin (strong/fearless means you must be fairly dumb and cruel; intelligent means you must be greedy; caring means you must be meek? She doesn’t even talk much about the other two factions, at least not in this book) but enough to keep the pages turning even without much historical justification for this world. Her protagonist, in my personal opinion, was fairly lackluster though. The draw of seeing a young girl capable of great physical feats was done better in The Hunger Games, and by a more compelling narrator, too (and I’m not even a huge Hunger Games fan).

So what, I wondered, as I eagerly (yeah, I’ll admit it) flipped the pages of this book looking for the answer, had everyone so up-in-arms about this book?

Four, of course. It may be just me, but does anyone else find it a bit sad that the only thing that keeps young girls reading are feeble, unrealistic romantic connections? I liked Tris more before Four became her white knight. And I never quite saw what was so special about him, too. I mean, the boy hardly ever speaks. If she’s so badass that she’s top of her murderous, selfish class then why does she even need a protector?

But I’ll admit I was into it all until the ending. This books packs some biblical allegory with a tough punch, but Tris watches both her Mother and Father die with little more than a page of mourning and we’re supposed to believe it’s Four that she just can’t stand to kill?

How did we go from a girl remarkable for her ability to conquer her fears to a sniveling love-bug, making out on a train in 2.4 seconds? Serious thought: Has anyone ever witnessed this sort of teen-love in all these novels in real life? And while we’re at it, why are the intelligent people the bad guys? And if they’re so smart, why do none of them question this whole murder-plot except Tris’s brother, who has to be told to do so?

So I’ll just say, not worth the hype, but still worth a read if some 16-year-old loans it to you, but I won’t be seeing the movie or reading on. Sorry, Roth, but more power to you (Good luck with all the money!)!

Return of the Blog and Announcements

I had every intention of abandoning this blog as silly and useless. A wasteful dredge on my time, but I’m feeling isolated and sentimental about my move to San Francisco in two weeks so I thought, rather, I’d take this opportunity to shift the focus of this blog in a whole new direction just in time for my move.

So, alas, I am back.

Let me start with the new focus of my blog. I’d like to get a more set schedule going here with a bit more structure and a lot less chatting about my day. My day was boring, don’t worry. Writing is probably one of the least exciting physical activities of all time. A lot of type, type, bang head against hard objects sort of thing.

Anyway, the travels have subsided, blah blah that’s my personal life, who cares?

So what I’m thinking is this. When I’d originally planned this blog I wanted it to be a very collaborative platform for young writers to express… well, whatever they felt about writing. But I don’t know any young writers so it became more of a personal journey that went fairly awry.

Anyway, I still like that idea. Young writers, if there is anything you wish to share, even just word-vomit about how your mother doesn’t understand you, please feel free to message me or post in the comments. I’d love to make this a collaborative venture, if anyone is interested.

In the meantime, you’re stuck with only my writing ventures. So until I make friends, I’d like to set up a schedule of postings that go like this:

Mondays: A personal look at my own writing progress. Where Elysium stands or any of the multitude of projects I’ve been working on (or are soon to begin as my MFAW program nears a start).

Wednesdays: Actual content. This can be anything from a piece of fiction I’ve written to an interview, heck, maybe even some entertining literary analysis (yes, that’s a thing). Basically, anything pertaining to writing I can generate.

Saturdays: Short book reviews. I know this sounds incredibly dull… there are so many book reviewers on this site, but I assure I read a lot of very diverse books (from children’s lit to things I found in my grandmother’s garage) and I’m actually fairly scathing and snappy. That means absolutely no book summaries and plenty of spoilers. Hopefully, It will be fun. (Bear with me, ok?)

Sporadic: Rants and raves and (since I’m an egoist) lots of tales of personal woes, I’m sure. I’m a very whiny passionate person.

And that’s the new schedule. I’m hoping to find a groove here…

The good news is that I may or may not have finally finished Chapter 18 in Elysium today. I may finish this thing one of these days…

But I swear to god, if you even think the word “editing” I will punch you.

Edinburgh| Perfect Day

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Today was probably the most beautiful day of all time.

I swear, when the sun is shining and it’s warm Edinburgh is the most beautiful place in the world. The park, every park, is full of people. It’s like everyone just calls into work and heads outside. “I’m sorry, I can’t come into the office today. The sun is too sunny to be inside.” What better excuse could there be?

Curled up in the grass with a book full of happiness. Aren’t all books, though?

I leave for Croatia first thing in the morning, 6:30 am flight. I’ve got that horribly sickening sort of excitement sitting in my belly. When you’re nervous because it’s gonna be new and interesting and scary.

Until then… Someone has put on True Blood (sorry, but… Horrible) and I’ve eaten my bodyweight in excellently spicy curry so…

Yep, good day.

I’ll message you from the road, friends.