Friday, 24 October 2014

Review - The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

28187Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Genre: fantasy, middle grade
Pages: 377
Rating: 4,5/5


Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

My thoughts
I've read this book before, but it has been a while. The first time I read it I believe I liked it, but didn't think it was amazing. Maybe it just wasn't the right timing, because now that I read it again I absolutely loved it! The story is full of action and Percy is a very likeable main character. He is bold and funny and I absolutely loved the great relationship he had with his mom. I've read so many books (especially young adult) where the child-parent relationship is not a happy one, so it's always refreshing when that is not the case. Also the relationship between Percy and Chiron was a great student - master relationship.
The book is very fast paced and most of the time I really appreciated that, because there is not a dull moment in the whole book, but some events could have been explained a little bit better. That is about my only remark on this book.
I love mythology and I really appreciated how it was included in the story. There are quite some explanations, but it is done in a very nice way and was never annoying. The world that Riordan created is a very fascinating one and I can't wait to meet some of the other greek gods.
I will definitely be reading the other books in the series, because I can't wait to see how it will evolve.
The whole time reading this I had a smile on my face, it's been a while since I read a book that I enjoyed this much!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review - The Seventh Sentinel by Yolanda Ramos

23153268Genre: fantasy
Pages: 280
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Goodreads giveaway

Moments before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the seven Archangels remove powerful, ancient artefacts from the Jewish temple. These are given into the safekeeping of seven men. Throughout the ages, these men and their descendants become known as the Seven Sentinels.

In medieval times, the Seven Sentinels formed various military Orders as a cover for their activities. Today, of the Seven Sentinels, two are dead and two have turned rogue, which means only three remain to carry out their roles.

A war rages between Heaven and Earth. It is up to the newly empowered Seventh Sentinel to stop the rogues and Fallen Ones, from using these artefacts to gain control of the souls of mankind. Can the Seventh Sentinel endure?

My thoughts
Books by independent authors that I have read so far have not been that great. Usually there are some plotholes and a lot of spelling errors. However, with this book that was not the case at all. The author definitely had the book properly edited for once. Because of that it was so easy to read this book. The lines just flowed naturally and I did not stumble over any spelling errors. From the text in this book I would not have been able to tell it was by an independent author. 
This book is very descriptive when it comes to scenery and history. Because of this it took me a while to really get into the book, but it just kept getting better and better. The archangels and the spirit world were really fascinating and definitely my favorite parts of the book. I could see fans of the Mortal Instruments series or fans of Percy Jackson and the Olypians who want to read something targeted at an audience that is a little older really enjoying this. 
Although the book includes religion it is a book that can be enjoyed by people who are both religious and people who are not. If you don't know to much about the archangels, there is enough explanation on them, but not so much or in a way that it comes across as pedantic. 
The two best friends of the main character, Dante and Gaspar were in the beginning a little hard to tell apart, but it became easier throughout the book. One thing that annoyed me a little about the book was that there is one character who has pretty much all the information, but only shares small pieces at the time, 'because now is not the time'. At the same time I do understand that sometimes it is necessary for the plot, but If this would not have been a part of the book I might have liked it even better. Apart from these two points I absolutely loved the book!
Some of the plotlines are resolved in the book, but there are also some threads left open so I'm assuming it is intended to become a series. If this is the case, I would definitely read the sequel because I would love to know more about the archangels!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

August & September book haul

Lately I've been trying not to spent to much money on books and actually read the books that I already own. I still bought a couple of books over august and september, but most of them are second hand.

Magic in the Blood by Devon Monk I picked up at a second hand store. I don't know to much about it besides what the blurb on the back of the book said. Apparantly it's the second book in a series (which didn't become clear from the back of the book), so hopefully I can read it without having read the first one.
The double helix by James D. Watson is a book that I had to order for university. It looks really interesting and I can't wait to start reading it!
Volkssprookjes en legenden uit China (Folk tales and legends from China) by Josef Guter I had seen once in a picture on Tumblr. The cover is really pretty and I like legends & mythology so when I saw it at a second hand store I just had to buy it.
De jongen die zijn verjaardag vergat (No hero for the kaiser) by Rudolf Frank is a teen story about the first world war. I don't know to much about the first world war and have never actually read a book about it so I wanted to change that. This one I also picked up at a second hand store.
The last book I picked up at a second hand store is De nachtwandelaar by Marianne Frederiksson. It is a book translated from Swedish to Dutch and as far as I know it is not translated into English.
De torens van februari (The towers of february) by Tonke Dragt is written by the same author who read one of my favorite childhood books 'The letter for the king'. I bought this one second hand online. I believe the book has a dystopian setting.
The last two books are new ones. Een jaar offline (A year offline) by Bram van Montfoort I already read and enjoyed, and you can read my review here.
V for Vendetta is a graphic novel I can't wait to start reading. I watched the movie once in my social sciences class in high school, and I thought it was amazing. Once I've finished one of the books that I'm currently reading (I'm trying to read 3 books at the time at max) I will start this one!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Review - Een jaar offline -'A year offline'- by Bram van Montfoort

Genre: non fiction/ memoir
Pages: 173
Rating: 4/5 stars

The 24 year old journalism student Bram is always online. He takes his iPad with him, wherever he goes and spents hours on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Constantly he gets new e-mails, messages, tweets, likes, requests and other notifications. In an attempt to get rid of his addiction he decides to go offline for a whole year.
He sets himself two rules:
1. Don't use internet or a mobile phone
2. Don't make other people use internet or their phone for you.

My thoughts
I picked this book up at my local bookstore not knowing to much about it. The cover is very pretty and that's what made me pick it up in the first place. After reading the blurb on the back of the book I was intrigued. I couldn't wait to start reading this book.
In my opinion Bram van Montfoort doesn't have a particularly interesting writingstyle. It seems very journalistic, which is not strange considering he studied journalism. He provided a very good overview of his whole year offline and he tried to make it personal, but although he included personal details his writing style made the story feel somewhat distant, as though he was describing how a friend of a friend did this project. Despite of this fact I actually really enjoyed the book!
I thought Bram's project was very interesting. Since I recently moved I know what it's like to live without internet for a while. You think you're one of those persons that isn't really that dependent on it, but it turns out you are! The book deals with all the challenges Bram has to face. How do you meet up with friends if you can't call them on your mobile phone? How do you apply for university when the only possibility to do this is online? How do you keep track of what's going on in the world when you can't simple check it on the internet? How do you know at what time to leave the house to catch a train when you can't check online when the trains go?
I love it when people choose to do a year long project, because a commitment like that can really change you. This became clear in A year offline. At the end of the year Bram was no longer the person he used to be. From a pacesetter at parties he became an introvert, happy with living his life without the internet. Or did he? Maybe he had been an introvert all along, trying not to be, in an extroverted world.
The book was a mixture of diary entries, letters from people who were following his project, monthly assignments from his friend Geo, offline survival tips and comments by addiction counselor Daan. The letters weren't all very interesting, but I loved the concept and the different segments of the book helped to keep me interested. If the entire book only would have been Bram's personal account I might have gotten a little bored after a while.

So far a translation of this book into English has not been published.