Book Reviews

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old who is struggling in school and hates his step-dad. But unlike other "normal" kids, he finds out that he is a demigod, the son of Poseidon. After discovering his mythical heritage he settles into life at the half-blood academy. He finds himself having to try to save the world when Zeus, Poseidon and Hades are on the verge of an epic battle.

I love all of the references to Greek mythology. It reminds me in a lot of ways of Harry Potter. The main character is special in someway, but doesn't know it, then he goes off to a school with other special kids and ends up battling evil in some way with new friends. The kids are divided into houses within the camp and there are banquets, magic and bullies, all reminiscent of HP. But these similarities didn't feel forced. It's a unique story and Percy is not as clean-cut as HP.

Much of the story is predictable, but it has a good pace and never becomes dull. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't hold my attention to the point where I couldn't easily put it down. I would have given it a slightly lower rating, but I think the information about Greek mythology will be enough to make me read more of the series.

The Nine Tailors
by Dorothy L. Sayers

An amateur detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, is snowbound in a small English town on New Year's Eve. He helps the town's people ring in the new year on their church bells. Three months later Wimsey is called upon to solve the mystery of a dead body found in the churchyard. The 20-year-old theft of an emerald necklace lies at the heart of the case. The book's title comes from a specific ringing of the church bells to note a death in the parish.

This is my first experience with Sayers and the infamous Wimsey. I really enjoyed it. It's a delicious English detective story, complete with polite inquiries and afternoon tea. It's certainly not fast-paced and can lag a bit as they toss ideas back and forth, but it pays off in the end. I'll have to pick up more of Sayers' work, but mysteries and other essays she's well known for.

"Bells are like cats and mirrors, always queer, doesn't do a thing to think too much about them."

by Dennis Lehane

This is the third book in Lehane's Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro series. The two detectives are hired to find the missing daughter of a dying millionaire and stumble upon the strange company, Grief Relief, Inc. The simple case gets more complicated with each turn as a fellow private eye goes missing and Kenzie and Gennaro travel to Florida to pursue a lead.

This book fell a bit flat for me. I've loved a lot of Lehane's other stuff, but this one didn't catch me in the same way. The detectives still had great chemistry and there is a wonderful humor in Lehane's writing, but it's not quite up to par with his other books. If you want to try out the author I would highly recommend Mystic River and Shutter Island, both are great reads.

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway if you haven't had a chance!


Jeanne said...

The best thing about The Lightning Thief, I think, is how much boys like it. My son loves it and all the subsequent books. He hated the movie, though. I didn't think it was that bad, but it was his first experience at having a movie break the heart of one who loves the book devotedly.

Hannah Stoneham said...

The Nine Tailors was my first Sayers too! I did enjoy it although I remember feeling quite let down by the end.

Thanks for sharing


Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jeanne - I remember the first time that happened to me. I loved Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and I saw the animated movie, The Secret of NIMH and was appalled.

Hannah - The ending was certainly not what I expected, but I liked the overall book enough to want to read more from her.

Cara Boyer said...

I've been wondering how Percy Jackson compares to Harry Potter, I think I might enjoy reading it... thanks for the review! ;)

p.s. The actor who played Percy is in talks to take over the role of my beloved Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Jenners said...

I'm keeping these Lightning Thief books in mind to read with my son when he gets older. They sound very promising.

And I read both "Shutter Island" and "Mystic River" but strangely never wanted to read any more Lehane.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Cara - I can't wait to see Perks, I love that book.

Jenners - Definitely save them, they're perfect for boys. And I think you've read Lehane's two best books, so your bases are covered.