Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Report: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (The Sword of Summer)

When I discovered Rick Riordan, I was looking for something with a little more action in YA, and came across the Percy Jackson series. Now, that series is Middle Grade and not YA, but I enjoyed it for the most part. And Riordan's take on the gods was done in a humorous way I hadn't seen before.

The humorous take did kind of hit a tipping point for me though, and after reading the Percy Jackson series I haven't picked up a Riordan series since. But when I saw the first in a new series from Riordan out, with a sixteen year old protagonist, I decided to pick it up. Reading the back matter, it intrigued me;

Here it is from the Amazon page:
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he barely knows—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

I was hoping for a more YA take on the characters, rather than the MG vibe I got from Percy Jackson, and for the most part I feel like that's what I got. The titular character, Magnus Chase, is a little cocky and has just enough of a hard edge to him, that it's likable.


Riordan's take on describing the gods is similar to the Percy Jackson series, though not as flamboyant. I enjoyed Magnus journey, and was actually surprised by how fast he "died" in the story. I was expecting him to die, given the blurb lines, but not as fast as he did.

Sam's character arch through-out the entire story was one of the most interesting to me. I liked the fact she's a Valkyrie who is also a Muslim, which was a take I'd never thought of before. And while I liked the Blitz character, as a fashion designing dwarf, my favorite Magnus sidekick was probably Hearth; a deaf elf who practiced magic. I've studied a little bit of ASL, so I found it really cool how Riordan gave Hearth a "voice", and described some of the hand gestures Hearth would sign.

Loki doesn't have a huge role in this book, but the little "screen time" he gets, I thoroughly enjoyed. Where as most of the other gods came off a little childish, Loki came off to me as an actual threat. When Loki tells the story of how and why he killed the god Baldur, and the punishment he received from the gods, he comes off as a truly dangerous god, that is not to be messed with. And one of my favorite lines from him, "The gods don't pretend to deal in good and evil... Might makes right." In each of Loki's scenes, especially the epilogue when he confronts Magnus' uncle Randolph, you really get the sense of how evil and conniving he can be.

The book jumped the shark for me though,  just about 2/3 of the way through, when Magnus' sword began to talk and fly all on it's own, and became known as Jack. Up until then I was fine with Riordan's style of storytelling, with the funny way gods dress or act, but I kind of rolled my eyes at the sword becoming not just a character, but a full-fledged team member with an actual voice.

For the most part I enjoyed the first book in the Magnus Chase series, and the second book, "The Hammer of Thor" became available. I want to pick up the second book, but I'm a little torn, afraid it might tack on more silliness. But the book ended giving each of the characters, especially Sam and Hearth, more opportunities for growth, and I'm curious to see where their storylines lead. I might pick it up at the start of the year, as I do still have a large TBR list.

That's it for now.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Looking for genre YA

I'm on the hunt for books in the genre of urban fantasy, science fiction, and fantasy that are YA.

It's been a little bit of a struggle, as the more I look the more I find that a lot of them heavily rely on the romance plot for the book. I'm not against romance. I actually find it to be a very interesting and fun part of the story. Lots of great stories, classic stories, have a love/romance angle plot to them. But they're aren't reliant on them. It seems so many YA books are, at least that I've found.

So far, I've come up with a list of book that I plan on checking out:

The Maze Runner series
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series
The Novice: Summoner Book 1
The Red Harlequin: Book 1

I'm sure there are many others, but those are what I've got so far. I may add a page to my blog of these types of books, so anyone looking for something similar can have a list here.

Right now I'm reading Dark City (The Order of Shadows Book 1). It's urban fantasy, but it's not YA, which isn't that big of a deal. I'm enjoying it so far.

That's it for now. I'll probably post quick reviews on how I enjoyed the books, as I complete them. If you know of any others books and/or series, please feel free to comment about them below.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Switching back to Blogger

I have't used Blogger for nearly a year, as I was setting up everything with my own domain and hosting. While it's not incredibly expensive to host your own domain, if you don't have a lot of traffic, it is an extra 12 bucks a month. Over a hundred dollars a year, when in actuality, do I really need to host my own site.

For a little while I felt like I did, as I'm also hosting a site for my webcomic. But with that coming to an end, and shifting my focus to just releasing comics as one downloadable file instead of the webcomic format, I really don't need to host my own sites anymore.

So, I'm back on blogger.

I'm also finishing up putting together "Urban Myth Investigators: Frogs of War", my comic book, which will be released as a graphic novel on comixology and amazon hopefully by the end of October.

Other irons are in the fire, which I'll hopefully have more done soon and can announce them.

Anyways, I'll try to keep the blog updated. Hopefully no more than a month between blog post.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Book You Did Not Finish

It's Top 5 Wednesday time again, and this week we are covering the top 5 books you did not finish. I've picked up quiet a few books in my time that I didn't finish. I've tried to give them a couple shots, and for whatever reason, I just could not get into it. Her'es my top 5.

1) V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd

I watched the movie and really enjoyed it so I wanted to dig into the graphic novel, hoping for a much better, more in depth story. But as I tried to read it, if I remember correctly, it is just packed full of more detail about dystopian type of society that the movie shows, and kind of confused me a bit. I may have been able to get more into it later in the story, but I just couldn't get pass for the first few pages. I tried the same thing a few years later when Watchmen came out as a movie, but in that case I WAS able to dive into the graphic novel, which is weird, because that's dealing with a lot of complex scenarios as well. But yeah, loved the movie, just couldn't finish the graphic novel.

2) Congo by Michael Crichton

So this is an oldie, and truth be told, I should probably give it another go. The movie came out and my step-dad, being the constant reader he is, had the book and told me I should check it out. I tried and tried to get into it, but just couldn't. The reason I say I should give it another try, is because growing up I just wasn't a reader. Reluctant reader is an understatement. But, a year later I read "A Time To Kill", and although reading didn't stick at the time, I did finish it and enjoyed it. I know, it's a different author, but I've read a lot more since then, so maybe I should give this one another try.

3)Storykiller by Kelly Thompson

This one burns a little, and I haven't totally given up on reading it yet, but I've tried three times, and so far I keep putting it back down. The reason it burns is because I backed this project on Kickstarter. I was, and still am, really excited about the concept of a girl who has to fight mythical storybook characters. It sounds awesome, but I've only gotten three chapters in, and each time I put it down. Something about it just isn't keeping my attention, it might be the dialogue, I don't know. But like I said, I love the idea, so I'm sure I'll pick it up again eventually. Just not sure when.

2) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

So, as I've stated, I was a reluctant reader. Always have been. But, guess what book got me reading again and back into creating stories and really wanting me to pursue becoming a full-time author. Twilight. People can hate it, but a friend I used to work with  was reading the first book before the movies came out and lent it to me when she was finished. I think I read it cover to cover in a week, which was fast for me, especially back then. Why am I telling you this? Because Wuthering Heights is referenced in the Twilight books, and I thought to myself, "Hmm, I should check that book out." No. I've tried a handful of times to read this book and I can't do it. It's complicated to get through it, and then when I started to understand what I was reading, it just did not keep my attention. Maybe one day I'l try again, but probably not anytime soon.

1) Divergent by Veronica Roth

I think I've tried to read this book three or four times. Each time I haven't gotten past the bus scene in the first chapter, which is only a couple pages in.  I just can't do it. I know a couple people who really love the book and keep telling me to give it another shot, but every time I do, it's just... BLAH! Then as I was watching through random booktuber vid's I came across Ginger Reads Lainey's video about how she hated the third book, Allegiant. Knowing I hadn't finished the first book and probably wasn't going to read it any time soon, I watched the video (which can be found here) and not only laughed at how mad Lainey got, but it kinda settled it for me. I don't need to read the book. Plus, there's really no interest in the movies either, I haven't seen either one yet.

So there you have it, my top five for this week of books I have not finished. I'm sure there are others but these were the first one's to come to mind. If you're interested in Top 5 Wednesday the goodreads group is found HERE and Ginger Reads Lainey's youtube page is HERE.

See you in the funny pages