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Supergirl SEASON ONE EPISODE 8 – “HOSTILE TAKEOVER”

Supergirl!
This show is so amazing! How did I ever doubt it?!

 

My initial reaction to Supergirl was met with much scepticism. I wasn’t happy that Kara seemed too ‘cute’. It felt at the time that the trailer was for a young audience. But with comic book characters, perception is everything. No writer can please everyone, and you never should. Supergirl is a dialogue of identity. It is much better than Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ because as a TV show it has a longer course. The serial writing of the screenplay allows Kara to  have much more subtle nuance. She builds up as a character much more slowly because as a female superhero, she analysed much more differently than Henry Cavill’s Superman was.

Life as a woman is never easy, and Melissa Benoist reflects much of what her ‘Glee’ character tried to as well. Supergirl can’t sing her problems away, but neither can she punch all of them.

I wrote what I perceived to be a good impression of the original trailer, which is here in this article.  I though to myself: what would I do if I was Supergirl?

But it’s a hard question to understand and from Cat’s perspective, from her lens, I thought it was a very shaky was of explaining ‘feminism’. Feminism is always complex to argue about because some people don’t realise it is just another conversation about equality. Cat Grant has been through so many things to become ‘The Queen of all Media” so when she named Kara “Supergirl” instead of “Superwoman” she knew that it would sell. She has faith in Supergirl and in Kara because both of them are always there for her, even when she fails to see the hero through Kara’s dumb glasses.

Cat made a dialogue about White Male Privilege. It is a concept I  have lived with all my life, both as a black woman, an African, and as a  Brit. I will never understand why America doesn’t understand the need for free health  care. In London, where I live it is an undisputed Human Right.

supergirl-08

You can’t prove a concept out of context, but we all know that racism, sexism, and all discrimination exists. You don’t have to be a reporter like Jimmy Olson, or an alien like Kara or ‘The Martian Manhunter’ (who of course hates this horrid name!)

Discrimination is everywhere. It’s in ‘manga’, it’s in ‘comic books’, it’s in the NEWS. And it is there plainly to see but it is hard to DEFINE because everyone has a different angle on the term.
When I was applying for my Year in Industry I studied the minute expressions of everyone’s face.

Cat Grant
Cat Grant

I can’t help that. I can’t turn it off. I’m a part time blogger, part time programmer, and a Full Time writer. If it isn’t in the script, if it isn’t in the screenplay I can’t define it.
I can’t find the class, the object, the syntax. I can’t compose the song.
What is a superpower? Are you Team Batman, or Team Flash, or Team Wonder Woman? Who will win? Deadpool or Deathstroke?
I don’t have an off button, and I never will.

So what did you think about this episode? How did you feel when Kara was faced with the horrid notion of having to kill her own kin? And most importantly, what is YOUR superpower?

When I realised that this was going to be a book about a girl android, I was over the moon. Finally, a decent sci-fi book from a girl’s perspective. For some reason most of the sci-fi books I’ve read are from boy’s perspectives and are Children’s books.

In any case, Mila is an android. Or at least, that’s what she discovered, by accident. After a fire killed her father, she’s started a new life with her mother in a small town in Minnesota. Her relationship with her mother isn’t what it used to be, and the two are a bit distanced, but all in all, she has a fairly normal life. Queue the cute boy, an almost fatal accident that forces her to realise her true identity, and some bad guys chasing after her, and her normal life goes out the window.

The most Mila has ever had to deal with are boy troubles and bitchy so-called friends. Then an attack turns her life upside down and she’s running for her life with her mum. That’s when things get interesting.

Pacing

There are a number of things I liked about this book, but the pacing at the beginning could have done with a bit of improvement. I think it’s quite difficult for anyone to know how long is needed to introduce a character and show their lives before the big CHANGE and introduce that PROBLEM. Whilst I did appreciate getting to know Mila before her life spiralled out of control, I think Driza focused on a number of mundane things that made me get a little bit fed up. But when the conflict occurs, things really get pumping and this is when the bad-assery begins.

Romance

I don’t know whether this counts as spoilery but I will tell you that I was rather dissapointed by the romance in this novel. The character that was introduced as a love interest remained a mystery. He wasn’t a person. He was a stencil. He was the same-old mysterious, brooding outsider type that I’m used to reading about. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him. Or what little I knew about him. But Mila spent half the book yearning for him and it made her seem weak. Surely he shouldn’t have been seen as one of the things that made her more human when what she had with him was more of a crush than a romance. I just felt that Driza should have either taken it a step further with the romance, or should not have even included it.

Plot

There is not a lot I can say about the plot. Driza mentions two organisations that are after Mila. One is a government group (The CIA I think), and the other are alluded to be an illegal organisation. Mila spends a third of the book being an ordinary girl, two thirds being an android and 99% of the time wishing she wasn’t. She goes around running with her mum in the hopes of finding some semblance of safety, and when she is captured, she does all that she can to survive. Sadly, there really isn’t much of a plot beyond simply surviving. There is no great mystery except for the one about Mila 1.0 and yet this doesn’t seem to have much prominence at all.

And yet what I really enjoyed about the book was Mila’s voice. Some readers on Goodreads have complained that Mila was annoying because she wouldn’t accept being an android and she refused to use them even when they could have meant the difference between life and death. Yes, that does seem a bit stupid but in all honesty, I completely understand. Why would you want to be anything but human if it is what you have always firmly believed? Mila’s reaction, though at times a disappointment, were completely understandable. To me it give her layers. She was such a well though out character and I loved her. I just wish everyone had been given this kind of attention.

Driza does however excel at her action sequences. I was definitley rooting for Mila through all her trials and tribulations. She was a different kind of bad ass. In some ways she is more relatable than bad asses like Tris and Katniss. From the beginning it is clear that she does not want to survive at the risk of losing her humanity. For Katniss, this is a revelation she seems to realsie as she gets closer to Peeta, but for Mila, her humanity is something she doesn’t take for granted. It’s a tenuous argument when her survival hinges on her hiding her emotions, of course.

My Rating: 3 stars

Brilliant voice for the main character, but there lacked a great mystery in the plot and some of the characterisations fell flat.

Either way, I am definitely reading the sequel, so all is not lost. I’m rooting for you Mila. I’m rooting for you, Driza!

First of all, I would like to sincerly apologise for not posting for a few weeks now. This is due to the fact that I have been participating in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t know, once a year in the month of November, crazy writers like myself embark on a quest to write 50,000 words in one month. I didn’t “win” as I didn’t achieve this goal but on the bright side, I have 20,084 words more than when I started.

In any case, on with the review…

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole was an intriguing novel I couldn’t find myself letting go of. Thus, I read the entire book in the space of about 12 hours from 1pm to 1am, thankful to have something engaging to do on the train journey back to university.

Synopsis:

Evie has finally accepted that she is The Empress, one of 22 Major Arcana cards gifted with special powers. She finally knows what she was fated to do: win the game by killing the other cards. But she can’t do that. Doing so would mean losing herself, and the boy she loves. Now that Jack knows what she is, tensions rise as he struggles to accept her. But that isn’t half the problem.
Thanks to the apocalypse, zombified bagmen and crazed Major Arcana are out to kill Evie and her group. The worst card of them all? Death. He is an immortal knight who has a long history with the Empress, and he is very fascinated by Evie. Question is, does he want to seduce her, or kill her?

The Style

The narrative for Endless Knight was far more simplified than Poison Princess as we only get the story from Evie’s point of view. Although more limiting, I think it’s a good that Cole still found a way to keep my interest. On the whole, I don’t think there was as much action in this book as the last one in the series, but this did enable Cole to concentrate more on the relationships within the story. And lo and behold, I feel it is only fair to warn you that there is somewhat of a love triangle in the works here.

As in the last book, Jack speaks quite a bit in Cajun French and Evie often translates that to the readers. I can’t say that I find this a problem but I am aware that some reviewers found it irritating in Poison Princess. Personally I find it to be a necessary tool because being Cajun French is an essential part of who Jack is. I’ll talk a bit more about that at the Characterisation section though.
 

The Mythology

The novel revolves around the 22 Major Arcana, with Evie the MC being the Empress. As such she has power over plant life.

A bit like this, except Evie revives plants from her blood…

Shame Evie doesn’t get the cool dress. Also, these are from Sky High, a Disney movie.

This would be more awesome if not for the fact that the world was struck by a meteorite or something during “The Flash”, destroying most animals and plant life. The Game ends when only one Major Arcana is left standing, so in essence it’s some sort of crazed Hunger Games which the gods started with the entire world as the battlefield. Or at the very least, the idea of the gods is alluded to by Matthew, the Fool.

I have to give Cole a lot of respect for creating a myth this original. Whilst in the first book I thought that the whole post-apocalyptic scenario was just some sort of an excuse to get the two love interests together without adults or any kind of authority to stop them, the need for the catastrophic event is explained a bit. Every few centuries, the game starts and it only ends when there is only one card standing. The winner gets immortality… until the next game. Personally, I find that unfair, but I would never accuse the gods of being fair.

Characterisations

I like Jackson’s portrayal. I completely understand that he needs time to fully accept Evie. I wouldn’t have liked him if he had rejected Evie, but I don’t think it would have been believable for him to be completely comfortable with the situation the whole time.
Jackson is what he is and never once tries to be anything else. He is fierce, strong, but not invulnerable, and certainly not a white knight– though he seems to be the closest thing that Evie will get. He isn’t a dark knight either though. That role might be reserved for Death. Jack is protective of Evie and it seemed that he wasn’t entirely sure what to do when he realised that “his girl” was capable of kicking ass on her own. He seems a bit old-fashioned that way.
He screws up and he admits to that and tries to do better next time, a quality I admire. Having said that, WHY JACKSON, WHY?! I can’t reveal any spoilers, but secrets will be unveiled…

Evie is headstrong and powerful. She values the lives of others, which very well could be her undoing one day. Her relationship with Matthew for instance is one I find interesting. She saved him from drowning in Poison Princess and constantly defending him when the others complained that they would be better off without him because he didn’t pull his weight. She has compassion, which in the age after The Flash, the apocalypse that wiped everything everyone once knew, is rare.
She also has intelligence. I’m not saying that she’s the smartest protagonist I’ve read about, but she isn’t the sort to immediately cry when she’s in a tough situation, either. I think she’s a wonderful blend of girlishness and badassery. Except for maybe Evie from the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White (She has a PINK taser!)

But perhaps one of the most interesting characters is Death. He has a hidden past that is slowly unveiled in the last half of the book (last two thirds?). I can’t say much without giving away spoilers, but I can definitley say that his relationship with the past Empresses have definitley been rather destructive. He was sort of like an onion. He had a lot layers. Cole peeled away his layers slowly, but I don’t think we have the full story yet. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to surprise us with in the sequel.
One thing I am glad about is that Cole was able to humanise him without making him look like a complete wimp. This was a problem I had with the Hades character in Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test, Henry. He was mourning the loss of Persephone for centuries and he wanted to fade away, out of existence. Touching tragedy, but honestly, a real let down for me considering how epic I think a Hades figure should really be. And Cole’s Death is no different, except the fact that he’s a card, not a god.
Regardless, I found him to be a multifaceted character whose only real problem was the fact that I don’t think he had a legitimate enough reason for ever having loved The Empress to begin with. They guy gave up his heart too quickly to a woman who had been trying to kill him from the beginning. Did he really think that she would so easily forget?

There are a number of minor characters who certainly serve a purpose. I can’t get too much into them, but I can definitely say that I want to know more about them in the sequel. We’ve barely even scratched the surface with the likes of Finn and Selena and Cole spends a lot of the book tantalizing us with secrets about Matthew. For some reason he is indebted to Death, but we never know why. Le Sigh.

I rate this book 4/5 stars

I really want the sequel. WHY WON’T THEY GIVE ME THE SEQUEL LIKE NOW?!

There are several reasons why I enjoyed The Iron Traitor more than The Lost Prince. It’s darker, more suspenseful, and has better characterisations than TLP.
My biggest concern however was that the title was a dead giveaway and I suspect that Kagawa (or her publishers) did that on purpose to tease us. Either way, I think that the journey was more important than the ending.


Plot:
What is interesting about this sequel is that for once, it’s not really bad things happening to even. Of course that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect him, we wouldn’t have a book.
Kierran, the Iron Prince, has disappeared and many people are in search of him — especially his parents, that iron Queen, and the once winter Prince, “touch me and I’ll kill you,” now iron Prince consort, “if you even think of moving from the spot are freeze is will feet to the floor of your room.” Okay, so he’s still sort of an ice-boy 😉

Annwyl is dying and Kierran seeks to find a way to stop her from Fading.As Kierran’s best friend and uncle, Ethan finds himself getting sucked into the world of fey once more to help a family member in stop all the while, Kenzie, his girlfriend, is dying from leukaemia. But with an eerie prophecy hanging over his head, Ethan fears the worst of Kierran.

Overall, I enjoyed the balance of action, romance, and even a bit of mystery. And when Ethan uses his brain, he is very badass!


Characters:
Ethan — a.k.a. “tough guy”; “Iron Prince” (by relation to Meghan). I like him — nay — I LOVE him 🙂 Ethan has a firm sense of loyalty. Whilst he isn’t the cleverest character, he isn’t as impulsive as Kierran. Having encountered the Good Neighbours as a child (he was kidnapped by Machina, iron King) he is very cautious around the fey.
As a boyfriend, Ethan can often be overbearing and overprotective, as he himself points out. This can be infuriating at times when he attempts to protect Kenzie when she claims she does not need protection, and he does do one or two things that are a bit stupid and may potentially ruin their relationship. This of course was a brilliantly thought out idea because in reality a lot of the problems are actually internal as opposed to external. This means of course that aside from the potential threat that the faeries could be, Ethan also has to worry about his relationships which are founded on trust, reliability, and of course love.
On the whole, Kagawa has represented the mind of a teenage boy quite well. In this book, Ethan comes out of that broodish/thugish/mystery boy shell. The walls of his placed around him come crumbling down and it’s all thanks to Kenzie. We get to see more of the person, as he is represented in multifaceted way. 

Kenzie– For some time in the first book I did wonder why Ethan was interested in her but of course it became quite apparent. Kenzie is one of the few people who isn’t afraid of Ethan. She strives to find the truth about him, to break him out of his shell so that he can actually try and interact with other human beings. Of course, she gets more than she bargained with when she discovers the world of the fey in the process, but through it all, she remained strong and defiant. She continues to do the same throughout The Iron Traitor, despite other people constantly trying to protect her due to her illness. She was definitely one of my favourite characters, strangely reminding me of Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson series because she is smart and resourceful. I also occasionally felt sorry for her when the boys were being stupid.

Kierran– I don’t even know where to start with this guy. Oh, I know. Desperate. Kierran is desperate to save the love of his life, Annwyl, from Fading. As a summer fey exile, her destiny is to Fade away into nothingness, and her encounter with the Forgotten in the previous book has speeded up the process. In a race against time, the Iron Prince seeks to find a cure, but it will come at great cost. How far is he willing to go save the one he loves?
Now if you know about the Iron Prophecy already, you’ll know what’s to come and it’s all a matter of how and when. 
Kierran didn’t seem to have much of a personality to me in the previous book but Kagawa has given him more depth in this sequel. He comes across as generally loyal, and very intense. Though usually slow to anger, desperation has made him quick tempered and impulsive. In other words, he does stupid shit that will make you want to slap him, but you can still sort of sympathise. Sort of. Most of the time, I find myself asking “What the hell, Kierran?”

Cameo appearances– Characters from the original series do appear, and are generally more prominent than the previous book, which made me very happy 🙂 Seriously, seeing these characters again made me this happy:

As to be expected from a Julie Kagawa book, she hit me right where it hurts at the end. So I warn you, there will be pain. But really you’ll love it. And hate it. At the same time.

And once you are finished you can say “Julie Kagawa broke my heart… and it was awesome!”
I rate this book… 4/5 stars!

 I really wanted to like this book, I really did. Melissa Marr is one of my favourite authors. I love the Wicked Lovely Series — They Were Amazing. I Still Think about Them A Lot All of Them, Especially Niall, Irial and Leslie and everybody else, but let’s face it: those are my favourite three.
 
I like Melissa Marr’s writing because she usually portrays strong, independent women. Some of the characters in Wicked Lovely were cruel, and some of them were downright crazy, but I think the vast majority did have some sort of justification for the things they did — except for Bananach because she was bat-shit crazy.

Carnival of Souls was a book I was heavily anticipating and although it was rather adventurous, I think that it reminded me too much of Wicked Lovely in some ways, but it seemed to fail where WL succeeded.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable.While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

 
World Building: 

The very first thing I have to wonder about this book is: What are daimons?
Marr is rather descriptive of her world and its characters, but it is never properly explained what these creatures are. With mentions of fur and claws, I envision creatures akin to werewolves, but I really can’t be sure. The word looks like Demons, but they don’t seem to be like the demons from shows like Supernatural and Charmed.
For some reason the witches and daimons hate each other. Daimons live in a place simply known as The City. Perhaps this is Marr’s way of trying to make the place sort of anonymous like she did with Huntsdale in WL (try as I might, I can’t figure out where Huntsdale is meant to be) to give it the impression of being a sort of ‘Every City’. I’m not sure. But I find that the history between the daimons and witches was somewhat obscure. The witches cursed the daimons so that Nature would consume The City and so witches who live in the The City only do so as slaves to the daimons. At the moment I’m not really getting an idea of who is good and who is evil, but I’ve come to expect that from Marr. The Dark Court wasn’t evil for instance, even though we were sort of led to believe that from book 1 in the WL series.

Narrative:

The book was written in the 3rd person, which is more or less what I expected from Marr. In the past I have found this way of story telling to be disengaging but Marr long ago rekindled my love for it. I now write most of my stories in 3rd person.
The novel follows 4 characters:

Mallory- the damsel
Aya- the psychobitch
Kaleb- the lower class bad boy
Belias- the upper class boy

Now, Mallory came across as “the main character” to me because a lot of things seemed to revolove around her. Unfortunately she was one of those characters who had things happening to her, but she never really overcame them.
Mallory has been growing up with her father most of her life (her mother had to leave), who is a witch. And because witches and daimons are sworn enemies, her father, Adam, teaches her how to fight. Which is kind of funny because she doesn’t do a lot of actual fighting. He claims to love her but he has a terrible way of showing it. Mallory didn’t stick out to me because overall, she was a weak character who could barely look after herself. Now, it wasn’t always her fault because of her father using his powers on her, but regardless, I didn’t really connect with her.

You may think I am being a tad harsh about describing Aya as a psychobitch but come one, she IS cold and callous. Of couse she does prove to have a conscience, but the very first scene showed her fighting a loved one for personal gain. She comes across as over the top and arrogant. Altogether, she is the complete opposite of Mallory. In time, she grew on me so I wouldn’t say that this character is a complete failure. I certainly like her better than Mallory. I am glad that Marr had a purpose when she gave Aya these charactersitics. Aya isn’t cruel for the sake of being cruel. She hides a secret that could be her undoing.
The romance between Aya and Belias was an interesting way of showing Aya’s softer side, which brings me to discussing The Upper Class Boy…
 
I can’t say I remember much about Belias. Like Mallory his arc consists of external forces causing conflict. The secret that Aya has been keeping with her all her life affects him greatly, and he soon finds that his life is no longer in his own hands.

Kaleb is a bit of a rogue. He is a lower class daimon, which means that he has little rights, and he has to take on dangerous jobs to make ends meat. Like for many of the other competitors, the competition is Kaleb’s lifeline. If he wins, he can finally have a good life, not just for himself but for his packmate, Zevi. He and Zevi have been friends for quite some time and they take care of each other like brothers.
One of Kaleb’s dangerous jobs included going to the mortal realm to keep an eye out for Mallory. And of course, romance ensues 😉

Overall, I will say that I am disappointed with Carnival of Souls, but regardless, I couldn’t put the book down. I read this one in less than 24hrs and it was absoloutley absorbing. So despite my grumblings, Marr did something right, proving once again that she is a great writer. Unfortunatley, I didn’t like many of her character’s and I found that the deal that Kaleb made at the end was simply terrible. Once again, Mallory is left helpless to a fate she didn’t decide.

I rate this book 3 stars!
 
 

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. I’ve just started a Computer Science course at University, and YIKES! Fresher’s Week was intense. A rollercoaster of emotions including partying, fresher’s flue, and orientation lectures, haha!

So I finally got round to reading The Eternity Cure. I don’t usually buy books through Amazon but I’ve bought quite a number of things since getting my first Debit card.

 Allie is back and she’s fiercer than ever. Through all the trials and tribulations she faces- terrible jokes made by Jackal, cannibal mole men and of course, the demented Sarren- she gives it her all.

Sarren is batshit crazy– nothing different there I guess.

 Jackal was there too but strangely enough, this time he was my my favorite character. His history with Kanin is finally revealed 🙂 hehe. Personally I think it proves that you can be a monster even before you become a vampire.
 Some people criticize that Allie and Zeke are boring. This might be in part due to the trope of forbidden love and and their point of view on morality. Jackals is refreshing because he knows what he is and he likes what he is. He is a monster and never claims to be anything but a monster. Unlike Kanin he does not seek to better the world- Unless you count Jackal as king a form of peace. Spoiler alert: We discover his real name!

For some people this was a fairly slow read. . I rather liked the pacing, myself. Just because Allie is a vampire, does not mean that she can travel at the speed of lightning. There were many difficult choices for her to make along the way.  Allie is a bass on many levels.. not only can she holder only in fight against other great vampire, but constantly having to fight against her own demons. .and a twist of fate when she has to work with the one vampire she would rather kill. in order I find. her sire, . she does S anyway. Sure, working with Jackal is no walk in the park, but she manages it.

Now let’s talk about the villain for a minute. Julie, please, Julie, why?! . I read the Sarren parts to my sister . in a creepy voice. and she was officially creeped out– petrified even!  If a character is meant to be a reflection of the author, then I really don’t want to know what Sarren is supposed to reflect!

I mean, check these lines out:

Perhaps, I will pluck out both your eyes, then remove all your teeth, and make a necklace from them. Or maybe a wind chime. I do love wind chimes, don’t you, little bird?

He’s also always blathering on about music. In this book it was about a ‘final requim’. The only thing that will be final will be the end of his existence! He makes me so mad. But it was really disturbing how good I got my impression of him– like I must be crazy as well.

Is it even a spoiler to mention that Zeke returns? I mean seriously, it’s a given!

But seriously, the ending is devastating.
I tweeted the author Julie Kagawa about.my reaction to the end of the novel, which was basically me crying my eyes out– like, UGLY crying in the middle of the night. . do you   want to know her reaction? . she tweeted me: “Thanks, Your tears feed my Muse”. . it was awesome of her to reply, but MAN was that a creepy response 😛

Here it is in case you don’t believe me:

 
Got to love Julie though 😀
 
Anyway, I give The Eternity Cure 4/5 starts!
 
 
Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn’t stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend’s family to die — of “natural causes.” Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target. 

When his own parents died of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, Boy Nobody found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program’s next mission.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Like many of my books, I heard about this one through the grapevine known as Goodreads. I was instantly taken by the description. I had to have it. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I went to the book store almost a week ago, but when I saw it, I remembered. I remembered and now I wonder how I could have forgotten.

So here was my reaction when I got the book:

And here is my reaction now that I’ve finished it:

Now don’t get me wrong. It was an awesome book. No, these are not happy tears, but you know…
On with the review!
For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the MC as “Benjamin” or “Ben” because that was his cover name for the main assignment featured in this book. His real name is revealed on page 278.  What is that about? Poor guy hasn’t heard his real name in years. 

The Plot

Can I start by stating how creepy it is that “Ben” calls his handlers “Mother” and “Father”. Having said that, I think the name Mother kind of strikes fear into my heart. I’m African. African parents are strict. Mine aren’t too bad, but the stories I have heard… 
Anyway, “Benjamin”has been given a new assignment. He has to kill the mayor of New York. Now that’s not your average teen job. I don’t have a job, but the worst my friends have had to endure are rude customers at McDonalds, early hours getting the newspaper round done… and digging holes. That last friend works as a builder or something. 
Now, having already witnessed an earlier assignment that “Ben” has completed, I’m thinking, no big deal. But he’s being told he has to complete the assignment in 5 days. “Ben” isn’t arrogant, which is one thing I really like about him. In fact, he’s a little worried about this one, although, I’m sure a part of him is thinking: “Pffh? Five days? I can do that, no problem”
 

The Characters


“Boy Nothing” AKA: “Benjamin”

Now, I know… Comparing “Ben” to Bane? What’s that about? Well, at the very least, they both have very questionable morals. Well, I’m not sure they have any. “Ben’s” moral compass is almost non-existent when we meet him. He gets a message from The Program and then he heads off to kill someone. What I really admire about this book is the way he goes about killing people. “Ben” is that kid that slips into your life, and gains your trust. Admittedly I often wonder how I became friends with some of the people I know. The tale seems to be lost in the past. Which immediately has me worried that some kid from The Program will come and…
Never mind. I’m over-thinking it. “Boy Nobody” is a book. “Boy Nobody” is a book. Okay. I think I’m calm now. 
“Ben” has a  lot of skills. He is very good at analysing people and emulating them. What really got to me is when he didn’t understand this sign somewhere that said “Home is where the <3 is”. He was so puzzled by how the home could be in the heart, and it made me so sad, because he has no family. That,  on top of all the training he’s had, has conditioned him into being used to being alone. He is very detached from people on the inside, and yet he is very good at pretending. 
Samara “Sam” Goldberg

So, Sam is the teenager that “Ben” must befriend in order to take out their parent. She’s pretty likeable. Being the mayor’s daughter, she’s pretty high on the social ladder, but due to political differences, she is also a victim to other students, occasionally, as shown in AP European when she was being picked on. Unlike “Ben”, she seems to have a sound moral compass. She is strong in her beliefs, and she’s generally a very nice person. She is also perceptive. She calls “Ben” out on his mind games. This makes his job harder, of course, thereby making the book more enjoyable. 
Now, of course there were other, minor characters, but I don’t want to give too much away. 
Having said that, another character of note was Howard, the techy, was a very interesting addition. You just might laugh out loud when you find out why he’s an outsider. Or you might feel bad for him. I know I was in hysterics when he thought “Ben” was a vampire! So Howard is sort perceptive too. In a sort of delusional way. The point is, he knows that there is something different about “Ben”, and he proves to be a very unexpected ally. 

The Gadgets

Okay, so his iPhone is basically a means of communicating with The Program, securely. “Ben” also always speaks in code, referring to his mission as an “assignment”, like homework he has to turn in. Zadoff explains the technicalities of the gadgets very simply, which I appreciate. The idea of having another operating system beneath a phone is ingenious. It may have already been done in some other spy movie or the like, but I still think it’s cool. 
My favourite gadget of course is his pen. In safe mode, it’s just a regular pen. When it’s activated, it’s a weapon. Two clicks and it’s set to stun mode. One click, and it’s lethal. I’m sorry Percy, but I have to admit that this one just might be better than Anaklusmos. 

Poseidon, please don’t smite me! 
I mean, Riptide is awesome, but it’s only just occurred to me that you can’t actually write with it. 
I will never think of pens the same way again. Beware the “lucky” pen!

Criticism

Now, the one thing I didn’t like was that it took “Ben” ages to figure out who “The Presence”- his stalker- was. I figured it out a long time ago. Having said that, I was only working from intuition, not actual facts. When things are fictional, it’s easier to guess, and I suppose the fact that he didn’t figure it out sooner shows that despite his training, he’s still only human. 

Writing Style

The book is in 1st person, from “Ben’s” perspective at all times. The chapsters are actually pretty short which makes it pretty easy to digest. The writing style is clear and easy to understand, overall. It took me ages to notice, because it flowed so well, but the book flits between present tense and past tense. Everything In the Now- his current mission, is of course in the present tense. The flashbacks are in past tense. I particularly enjoyed these flashbacks because they helped to humanise “Ben”. Seeing it as it was helps me to understand how deeply the conditioning has affected him. 

Favourite quotes

“All’s fair in love and war.”
“Which one are we doing?”

“I look out for her. Think of me as the early asshole warning system.”
“You specialize in ass, that’s what you’re telling me.”

“Did you spit in it?”
“That’s elementary school stuff. We’re in the big leagues now. I pissed in it.”

And this is my very lame attempt at creating my own GIF:
And yes, that is Robert De Niro.
As usual, the wait for the sequel of the book will be very difficult to cope with. So this is how I feel:
I rate this book 5 stars, but seeing as how it’s too awesome for mere, stars, I think it deserves this, because it blew my mind:


And I will end with this trailer: 

Well, it’s been a very long time since I have blogged. I have a very good explanation for that. It’s called A-Levels, that stage in the British Education system before university. It’s really stressful. I apologise for neglected this blog and it’s followers.

Anyway, quite some time ago, Riordan’s sequel to The Son of Neptune was published. As busy as I’d been, I completely forgot about it (shame on me!). Then I realised I was broke anyway :'(
But then I got some money from the BOD (Bank of Dad) for a school trip to Canterbury. It was not my decision. To go there and buy the book but there was a beautiful Waterstones store & the MoA was being displayed by the window.

All the books beckoned to me and I finally gave into my weakness.

But you don’t care about that! You want a review. Well here we go:

“Seven half-bloods must answer the call”

The very first thing that astounded me at the end of The Son of Neptune was the possibility that the Romans and the Greeks could actually work together. Both Percy & Jason had integrated themselves in the worlds of their opposing camps, and that gave the readers hope. The Mark of Athena see Percy and Annabeth finally reuniting. It’s so romantic and it just made me so happy.

But in classic Riordan style, something goes horribly wrong and the Romans and the small cohort of Greeks have a fall out and everything goes nuclear.

The prophecy (or two):
So obviously you can’t go through a Heroes of Olympus book without referring to the Greay Prophecy, and so our Seven demigods (one can only assume at this stage that the are the Chosen Seven) seek to close the Doors if Death. There also happens to be another prophecy directly referring to The Mark of Athena, and it’s no spoiler that it has something to do with Annabeth. But what is The Mark of Athena? Well, I can’t spoil that one for you. Riordan is cryptic about his prophecies (as usual- but then, all prophecies should be!) and neither one seems to have a definitive ending. The cliffhanger at the end will attest to that. It’s so amazing many fans have dubbed it the ‘Rickhanger’. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

The Characters:

One of the the things that strike me most about this book I’m afraid is the cover. This isn’t just me being superficial. Like many fans I waited a year for this book with not much more to go on but the book cover for quite some time. So when I saw Percy and Jason going head to head like that I felt like I was being torn apart. Is Riordan going to make us choose between them? It turned out that the reason for that fight was different to what I had imagined. Having said that, it was pretty clear throughout the book that the two demigods had a sort of alpha male rivalry going on. Both were used to being leaders and so when they end up on the same quest, it’s hard for them to adjust. You should see the tension emanating between them when they both try to sit at the head table! No wonder Zeus and Poseidon don’t get along. Both were born to lead.

What can I say about Annabeth in this book? Brave would be an understatement. She knew the risks that she would face; knew of the enemy that awaited her but still she had enough courage to do what needed to be done. Separating herself from Percy when they had just gotten together must have been heartbreaking. And when two certain children of the Big Three had their Alpha Mall stand-offs, she was there to do the leading. Gotta give her a lot of respect in this novel.

Leo, Leo, Leo. He had to put up with a lot of stick in this one. From the word go he’s being blamed for something that wasn’t his fault. He feels like the seventh wheel… I mean, you’ve heard of the 3rd wheel so being the 7th must REALLY suck! Then of course there’s the weirdness between him and Hazel. Sorry, I can’t elaborate on that one.

There are some interesting characters that appear of the godly variety, such as none other than Nemesis herself. You know, the one that took her kid’s eye out as payment. You remember Ethan Nakamura, right?
Then there’s the matter of finding out about what really happened to Sammy and how a certain demigod fits into this link.

The Plot: Unfortunalty I can’t say I remember much about this book now, having read it in October or November or something. Seems so long ago! I can however tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know you will too! (Well, I hope so anyway). One of favorite parts (spoiler alert!) is when they meet Dionysus’ Roman version, Bacchus. Totally awesome 🙂

And now I will leave you with these nice pictures I found online about how much I want the sequel, The House of Hades: 

Coming Out, Not So Soon:
March 12th 2013
Pitched as a “Bourne Identity”-type sci-fi thriller about a teenage girl who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government, and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions.
– Goodreads Synopsis
Well, whilst this book is not yet out, there seems to be quite a few raving reviews of this book so far of Goodreads. I’m being promised a kick-ass hero a little like Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) and Tris (Divergent), but with more compassion and evident weaknesses. Is this enough to convince me? Well, no. I’m going to have to read it for myself of course! 
So, onto the book cover. For once, the idea of a perfect looking girl on the cover works well. She’s a robot or something, so perfection is to be expected. I love the way her face becomes fragmented, like pixels travelling through the web or something.