Tag Archives: Kane Chronicles

Challenge: Zombpocalypse Book Tag

Standard

I just really like using the word zombpocalypse.  But officially, this is known as:

The Zombie Outbreak Survival Team Book Tag:

Step 1: Choose six books from your shelves: two with titles that contain your first initial, two with titles that contain your second initial, and two with titles that contain your last initial.

I cheated a bit. I had a really hard time finding any books that even included a word in the title that began with J that I remembered well enough to know who these characters were. I guess I have some rereading to do. I did have three books I could I knew really well with titles beginning with K, so… 3 Ks, 1 J, and 2 Es. I mean. I didn’t cheat a lot. And these are much more fun when you remember the characters.

Step 2: Draw the names of those six books out of a hat in random order then answer the following questions:

Open your first book to a random page. The character whose name you see first just dragged you out from whatever hiding place you’ve holed up in (let’s just face it – we’d all start out under the bed). This character probably just saved your life, and is destined to become your best friend before all this is over. Also, s/he is the leader of the EZFBKs. (Don’t get jealous. You thought you would be invisible so long as your head was covered by your lucky ducky blanket.)

1777211Book 1: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

And Vetch is the first name I see. I love Vetch. Yeah, he could lead EZFBK, and I’d love to be his bestie. He’s an excellent bestie.

Open your second book to a random page. The character whose name you see first is your weapons supplier. What sort of weapons does s/he have stashed in the basement?

Book 2: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee mockinbird

All of these fantasy books, and I get the one realistic, historical fiction. Jem’s gonna be supplying our weapons. So… guns, knives, slingshots, rope. All very practical. Probably less likely than the magical or sci-fi weapons to backfire on us or die because there’s no more electricity available due to the plague. I guess. But I was kind of hoping for some magical or at least high-tech weapons.

Open your third book to a random page. The character whose name you see first just died in front of you. This apocalypse just got getting serious.

9780756404741MBook 3: The Kingkiller Chronicles, Book 1: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Fela. Fela just died. Not sweet, loyal, intelligent Fela, who knows the Name of Stone.  She was probably doing something idiotically heroic.  She’s probably one of the last people who should have died of this group.

Open your fourth book to a random page. The character whose name you see first is your vehicle specialist. I hope s/he has a fast ride…

Book 4: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kiplingjungle

There’s a lot of irony in this book tag…. “By the broken lock that freed me, I am sure, Little Brother.” Little Brother here is Mowgli. I think we’ll be riding whatever wild animals Mowgli can convince to let us ride on their backs. I mean… could be worse?

Open your fifth book to a random page. The character whose name you see first is your medic.

enderBook 5: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Bonzo. This team gets worse and worse…. I’d rather avoid Bonzo entirely.

Open your sixth book to a random page. The character whose name you see first is… well, you’re honestly not sure how this person ended up on your team, or how s/he is still alive. But every team you’ve ever seen has one of these Resident Idiots, so maybe they’re good luck.

Book 6: The Kane Chronicles, Book 1: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordanpyramid

Ha! Carter and Sadie’s British Gran, Catherine Faust, is… why is she here?

 

All right… recap….

Vetch saved me, pulling me out from under the bed and taking me with him and his team on the run. Time to smash some zombie heads! Vetch I’m excited to see. He has magic. He’s a good friend. He’ll get me through this somehow. EXCEPT the only weapons that Jem can find are those available in the early 1930s in rural Alabama. So, you know, at least they’re not likely to run on electricity, which might be scarce. Mowgli has convinced several of his animal friends to help us, but they get tired too, and we’re heavy loads for most of them. At least we won’t run out of fuel, though they will have to stop to hunt or graze. Sweet Fela dies in front of me, and that breaks all our hearts. Bonzo is not the person I’d most trust to be our medic. Vetch would be better, but Vetch is too busy leading to also be medic. At least Bonzo’s trained for war. I just don’t like him. Gran’s here too. I hope she’s not our cook, or we’ll be eating a lot of burnt biscuits. She’s tougher than she looks though, and maybe a zombpocalypse will convince her to unleash some Egyptian magic—though that’s not likely.

You know, actually, we just might make it, our low-tech team, led by a kind-hearted wizard, with our battle-trained medic who you know will try to wrest power, and with our Gran who might just cave to the magic in her veins too.  Yeah, I might read that novel.

I think this book tag originated with Gwen over at Apprentice, Never Master. Anyway, that’s where I found it. Thanks, Gwen, for a fun, relaxing blog post for my fuzzy, sickly brain. I really enjoyed that way of choosing books—very unique—even if it was a little hard. (It’d’ve been easier if my memory was better.)

Advertisements

Book Review: Just a Bit about Demigods & Magicians

Standard

9781484732786

Spoilers in white. Highlight to view.

Demigods and Magicians collects in a hardcover volume three stories released as e-books and as short stories in paperback editions of some of Rick Riordan’s longer books. These stories marry two of his stories: Percy Jackson’s (which is found in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and now continues in The Trials of Apollo) and the Kanes’ (from The Kane Chronicles). The first story, “The Son of Sobek,” I had read before in my paperback of The Serpent’s Shadow. That short story was every bit as exciting and well written as Riordan’s longer works. In it, Carter Kane hunts a monster in the swamps of a Long Island park. Percy Jackson hunts the same monster. The two need to team up and fight the monster together to defeat it. The end of the story promises a time when the two will need one another again.

And I waited on that second story for a long time. “The Staff of Serapis” where Annabeth Chase meets Sadie Kane was released in the paperback of The Mark of Athena, but I already had a hardcover copy of that book and could never justify creasing the spine of a paperback that I hadn’t purchased just to read the next short story. And I still don’t own an e-reader nor have I downloaded any app that would allow me to read e-books on my computer; judge me. Ditto to The House of Hades, the paperback version of which hid the final crossover story, “The Crown of Ptolemy.”

The first story is told from Carter’s first person. The second switches to a third person limited from Annabeth’s POV. The last is in Percy’s first person. Since the release of The Red Pyramid, the first book to veer from Percy’s close first person narration, I’ve admired that Riordan is a risk-taker; he does not confine himself to a single style, but tries something new with each series (or did so through the first three; The Trials of Apollo returns to close first person): the Percy Jackson series are close first person, The Kane Chronicles are two first person narrations done as audio transcripts, The Heroes of Olympus are several close third narrators. This is the first of his books to combine the first and the third person narrations, and it feels almost seamless (anything that involves Sadie Kane is going to strike with a bit of a bang; she has that effect).

I was further impressed that Riordan was able to rationalize the fun that he was having with a crossover story. He found an enemy that could not be defeated without a crossover; most crossovers that I’ve ever read (or written) have had no justification other than fun, no plot reason for the crossover (and most have been fan-written rather than canon). He not only found a reason to connect the two stories, but found a way to make this story a continuation of the Kanes’ story in particular, the ultimate baddie being a character from their past, someone they worried about leaving loose in the world.

I realize that there’s not a lot of substance to this review, but suffice it to say that I finished this story on May 27. I began it again the other day.

Sometimes I need the slight commitment of a short story. The three stories together are a mere 212 pages. From Riordan especially, whose characters and humorous but dramatic and action-filled writing I often miss, I appreciate having short stories. 212 pages is so much less of a commitment to make than any one of his novels, none of which I easily read only a part.

****

Riordan, Rick. Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes. New York: Hyperion-Disney, 2016.

This review is not endorsed by Hyperion Books, Disney Book Group, or Rick Riordan.  It is an independent, honest review by a reader.

Save

Book Review: The Serpent’s Shadow: Darker, More Tangled, Better Written, But I Still Can’t Quite Give It 5 Stars

Standard

I finished the latest in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, book 3, The Serpent’s Shadow.  I had to first go back and reread the second book, The Throne of Fire,as I couldn’t remember how we’d gotten from the end of The Throne of Fire to the middle of a party in Texas.  The jump between books actually is quite abrupt; Rick does like to throw readers into the action.  This latest book, the third, amps up the romantic entanglements, angst, and the epic-ness and length of the battles, all elements of which I plentifully approve.

Overall, this latest book seemed less humorous, but as the concluding battle, it was darker than the previous two, and the Kanes have matured through the war, though I would argue that the asides of this book are more playful but less childlike, a reflection of their more mature sibling relationship.

Once I complained about the asides in the tape recordings by the Kanes, but I’ve come to realize that these asides say much about the Kanes’ characters and relationships, which actually, I greatly appreciate.  How the Kanes act in the midst of saving the world (in the story of the novel) differs somewhat from how they interact when they sit down to do a tape recording—and perhaps that comes through most clearly in this, (I believe) the conclusion of the series, the coming of peace after the epic battle against evil is won (come, that’s not a spoiler; this is a kids’ book, and you had to know that good would win).  In previous books perhaps the Kanes’ focus was too business-like and desperate for the asides to truly shine as character development.  Perhaps I just appreciated the asides more.

My knowledge of Egyptian mythology—or at least the mythology according to this series—has grown through this trilogy, and I think I stumbled less frequently over the obscurity of the myths, though I did still have to occasionally turn to the glossary to check the reign of the god or goddess with which we were dealing.

I believe I’m also beginning to understand Riordan’s style (maybe too well).  There was no rug-pulled-out-from-under me plot twist in this.  What I think were supposed to be surprises were not for me.  Only [SPOILER] Apophis’ temporary triumph [END SPOILER] came as anything of a surprise, and even that from a writer’s perspective I can see as a necessary attempt at surprise.  (Thinking about it now, this compares strongly with Harry Potter’s death in The Deathly Hallows.)  The formula of this concluding book is rather similar in a lot of ways to that of The Last Olympian, right down to the hero ending the book with a stunning date with his new girlfriend (the “best underwater kiss of all time” scene)—and actually the heroine in this book gets to do the same.

A part of me sees no reason why The Serpent’s Shadow, easily my favorite of the series, should not be rated my 5 of 5 stars (I do so love angst, and doubt, and if I forget that it has become Twilight, I love romantic dilemmas of the teenage heart too), but The Serpent’s Shadow did not sustained that warm fuzzy of a fantastic book throughout its 406 pages.  So how about

****1/2

Riordan, Rick.  The Kane Chronicles, Book Three: The Serpent’s Shadow.  New York: Hyperion-Disney, 2012.

This review is not endorsed by Hyperion Books, Disney Book Group, or Rick Riordan.  It is an independent, honest review by a reader.

Book Review: The Throne of Fire’s Barque Stays Afloat with All of Riordan’s Usual Talent

Standard

I can no longer remember in detail my initial impressions of the first book of The Kane Chronicles, The Red Pyramid, which I read last some time ago, but I do vaguely remember thinking that that book did not quite hold up to the standard that Riordan set with Percy Jackson.  I think then that I assigned blame to my greater knowledge of Greek versus Egyptian myth and the unfamiliarity and incurred trials to the tape recording style of The Kane Chronicles.

I can hardly, with these vague memories, be called upon to compare the two books of the series, but I did find myself thinking, as I read the second book, The Throne of Fire, that this book had succeeded more fully than The Red Pyramid in capturing my attention.  Partially, I think that Riordan has better mastered the tape recording style.  There are still asides, Sadie still gloats about having the microphone, but these do not interrupt the flow of the book and seem natural (not to say that they did not seem so in The Red Pyramid; I am now commenting solely on my impressions of The Throne of Fire).

As ever, in The Throne of Fire, Riordan is a master of adapting ancient mythology to a modern world and of humor.  Sadie and Carter, the Kane siblings, as well as those that surround them—trainees, mentors (particularly Bes, the dwarf god), and enemies—are all believable.  I think Riordan has particularly succeeded with the love-struck Carter, let down by his parents and determined not to make the same mistakes that they did, even to the point of letting down his sister and the world.

I have little complaint with The Throne of Fire and what complaints I do have are that it has made me question some of the underlying ideas of Riordan’s writing—namely, why are the gods of death so compelling and so frequently the only ones who know what’s up?  Though I notice on reflection that this book lacks the rug-out-from-under-my-feet twist that is a staple of most of Riordan’s books (Percy Jackson at least certainly).  Was I perhaps not as caught up in the plot as I thought I was?  Or knowing that I lack knowledge of Egyptian mythology was I not trying as hard to guess?

My highest compliment to it is this:

I was reading this book simultaneously with J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  Even among such hefty and worthy company, there were times that I preferred to lose myself in Riordan’s mythology instead of Tolkien’s (albeit this was mostly when I knew that I was coming upon frightening scenes of Black Riders before bedtime or during extended journeys without much danger to break the monotony).  Now, Tolkien is a master—there’s no denying that—but sometimes his long journeys across the face of Middle Earth are just not as compelling as a four-day deadline to do the impossible or face the end of the world and the death of all those whom you love.  For quests and adventure on a deadline, I know no one better than Riordan.

****

Riordan, Rick.  The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of Fire.  New York: Hyperion-Disney, 2011.

Riordan, Rick. The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid.  New York: Hyperion-Disney, 2010.

This review is not endorsed by Rick Riordan, Hyperion Books, or Disney.  It is an independent, honest review by a reader.