#BookReview : The Way Home (Ashes of Olympus #1) by Julian Barr @OdysseyBooks #AshesofOlympus #TheWayHome

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The Way Home (Ashes of Olympus #1) by Julian Barr
Publication Date: July 31st 2018
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Greek Mythology
Stars: ★★★★☆

The gods betray you.

The winds are hunting.

Nowhere is safe.

The journey begins…

The war of the gods has left Aeneas’s country in flames. Though he is little more than a youth, Aeneas must gather the survivors and lead them to a new homeland across the roaring waves. Confronted by twisted prophecies, Aeneas faces the wrath of the immortals to find his own path.

First in a trilogy based on Virgil’s epic poetry, Ashes of Olympus: The Way Home is a tale of love and vengeance in an age of bronze swords and ox-hide shields. 

*** Note: I received e-copy this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Odyssey Books. ***

The Way Home was Greek Mythology, a story of Trojan hero, Aeneas, and his journey to find a new homeland when Troy fell by Greek warriors led by Odyssey. It was about love and vengeance, strife between goddesses, dangerous prophecy, and Gods’ politics. As mentioned in synopsis, it’s a retelling of Virgil’s epic poetry- Aeneid.

We all know how Odyssey led Greek warriors within the walls of Troy by hiding in horse but what happened after that, after they destroyed Troy from within. Well this story told about it wonderfully.

So much happened in the beginning. A roaring fire was set in Troy by Greeks, Gods turned against people of Troy, King and heirs of Troy were perished. A deity was saving Aeneas from being killed.  It was clear he was not ordinary human, he was a demigod but he didn’t know about it until tragedy struck. (I googled so I know, who was his mother)

Few people survived by bravery of a commoner and Aeneas led survivors out of Troy. Survivors were relying on him, they already considered him their king but he was skeptical, he was not made to rule people and was drowned in his own grief. A help of a spirit, and a mercenary and faith of people encouraged him to lead them and find a new homeland. But safe heaven never comes without path through hell.

Writing was simple and easy to follow. The story was third person narrative mostly from Aeneas’s perspective and some chapters were from Hera’s perspective as well. I didn’t know Hera had huge part in Trojan war until I read this book. Her perspective was most intriguing. I couldn’t figure out why she was so adamant on destroying all heirs of Troy until her visit to Apollo. I must say she was most cunning goddess. Aeneas’ perspective was all about their journey and adventure. Each chapters ended with a twist or turn that kept me hooked to story.

Characters, both Gods and Humans, were great in the story. I have read about Greek Gods so didn’t have any trouble recognizing gods or their characteristics or their relations, but first timers may struggle a bit. There is just enough information that one can figure out who is who. You don’t get to know characters in depth as so much was going on but you can tell how they felt and how things affected them by their action here.  And I’m just telling about Aeneas.

Aeneas was just 19 year old, with a son. He was not ready to take responsibility he was forced into by destiny. At the same time he was humble and courageous enough to lead people as leader, as their own and as a friend. He quickly made friends, gained trust of survivors and made right decisions, mostly. I could empathize with him and his emotions felt genuine. His development was great. He turned into braver, wiser, and a true leader by the end.

In secondary characters, Mnestheos, Sergetos and Beroe were my favorite. There wasn’t much story for them but I liked them from their little intro and their conversations with Aeneas. I agree with Aeneas’ thoughts in the end. They were true hero, without them, he wouldn’t have reached so far. While we are speaking about hero, I tell you Aeneas was no Hercules. He didn’t have that strength or could fight monsters alone, and like him he wasn’t son of three big Gods. His strength lied in his people and heart. 

Their journey through sea was the best part of the book. It was arduous, many fell ill, they were attacked on the lands, and winds were hunting them. It was admirable how Aeneas and his companions’ spirit was not discouraged. They faced all the challenges with brave heart and determination.  And another favorite part was Aeneas’ conversation with Andromache was insightful. I loved the way she told story of Trojan war.

Climax was tense and action packed. So much happened between climax and end. I’m still thinking about how that fight ended, how much a right choice could change, bring peace and change the direction of prophecy. It showed humans, specifically demigods, are just pawns of Gods’ game. I loved Aeneas’ meeting with his mother and the choice he made and that last conversation between God and goddess. End had a tiny winey cliffhanger. I would love to see what happens in next book.

Why 4 Stars-

I get the depth of story and conversion. I wish there was more depth to characters. As I said, I could understand what characters were feeling by their action but it didn’t touch the heart. They were forgettable.

Overall, it was interesting, entertaining and adventurous mythical fantasy. Readers of any age who loves Greek Mythology will enjoy it.

Book Links: Goodreads
Affiliate Link: Amazon.com | Amazon.in | Book Depository

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What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already or any book by the same author?
Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is you favorite retelling based on Greek mythology?

HAPPY READING!!

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#Review : Era of Undying by Emilie Knight

Era of Undying by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: January 19th 2018 by Createspace
Genre: Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 202
Stars: ★★★★☆

There hasn’t been a Blood Warrior for decades. Everyone assumed they were extinct and couldn’t return. Turns out they were just in hiding. Pen chose to revert back to her nomadic life after the death of her family. Life was always safer that way, away from people. Now she’s been caught and odd occurrences have been happening in Ichorisis. People are surviving horrible injuries and illnesses that they shouldn’t be. Now that Pen is under custody of one of the several kings she’s been sent to fix the problem. Whether she wants to or not. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Era of Undying revolved around a blood warrior- Pen and her survival in the world where blood warrior were extinct, her nomadic life and adventures in the Undying world. It was about grief, guilt, accepting death and loss of loved ones, righting the wrong and adventure.

Characters

Pen was strong, independent and fearless fighter but she was loner. Her pain of loss and guilt was undying and empathetic. Her blood magic was interesting and awed me. As I read her story I could see her gift from her perspective, it was more like curse than blessing. Her denial of death and yearn to get her loved ones back was understandable but as she got more close to her mission, she could see the right thing and started to accept the truth and reality. If you like your heroine fierce, practical and who doesn’t go down easily, you will love her.

Captain Tellus was great in the book. He had morals, ethics, was great fighter, and trusted man of king. He was stern and influential but was soft at heart. He didn’t judge Pen for what she has done and listened her story and understood her emotion. I liked him for that. He stood up for her even though he could easily turn back. I wished to see something develop between Tellus and Pen but alas, there is not romance, just friendship.

Characters were developed but they were reckless. Their story was most interesting. I liked some side characters even though they were not exactly likable.

What I Liked-

Books was third person narrative. Writing was easy to read, easy to imagine the world and follow the story. Book was fast paced and pretty short that one can read in one sitting. Plot and the world was impressive. Author drives readers right into the world of undying and blood magic.

Book started with Pen trying to rob in the countryside of Ichorisis, she got caught and ended up in prison. To be free her only option was follow king’s order, go on mission with captain Telllus to find out why people are not dying, what caused this undying era.

Their journey was adventurous and action-packed. They had to find their path based on the myth, follow the river towards its source, the land of dead, find the goddess of death, and restore the world to normal. They had to pass through thieves, thugs, bandits and cannibals who did everything to make their journey interesting and difficult.

I liked the world. People with different hair colors, interesting names for places- Ichorisis, Acheron, Skiachora, Stymphalia, Potamus, Kalymnos and some more. Most interesting was Pen’s blood magic and the main theme of the book, undying which intrigued me read more, to find out what actually happened and how Pen and Tellus are going to restore normalcy. Some scenes were dark gruesome. There was lot of blood spilling, killing, severing limbs and beheading and people not dying didn’t help. It made things even more gruesome.

I liked the message behind the story. Death is sad and miserable thing but not dying is not the blessing, at least not for those who are suffering from disease or infection or with severed limbs and heads. Both Pen and Tellus saw people’s torment and agony on their journey and through their perspective we get to know even death is important in life and so is accepting the death of loved ones, accepting natural order of life cycle.

Twist and turns and suspense was nicely written. I couldn’t guess where story was going, what might have happened, and reason of undying until the climax. The answers were surprising. End was sad and tragic, not exactly what I expected.

Why 4-

Everything was good, nicely written but it didn’t wow me! I constantly felt there’s something missing, I cannot exactly pinpoint it. Maybe because of less depth in world, there was enough information on blood magic and its history but it was not detailed. A bit longer book won’t hurt.

Overall, it was different, gripping, fast paced, dark fantasy that I will recommend to readers of this genre.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate: Book Depository

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The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan
Publication Date: 2013 (first published May 5th 2009)
Publisher: Puffin Books
Read Date: April 27th 2019
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy / Greek Mythology
Pages: 361
Stars: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ /5

MOST PEOPLE GET PRESENTS ON THEIR SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY. I GET A PROPHECY THAT COULD SAVE OR DESTROY THE WORLD. 

It happens when you’re the son of Poseidon, god of the sea. According to an ancient prophecy, I turn sixteen and the fate of the entire world is on me. But no pressure.

Now Kronos, Lord of the Titans, is beginning his attack on New York City. And the dreaded monster Typhon is also heading our way. So it’s me and forty of my demigod friends versus untold evil . . .

The Last Olympian was the perfect last book of the series that take place in New York City with so much actions and destruction and Percy trying hard to save his city and home of Gods over the Empire State Building.  It was about friendship, bravery and consequences of bad choices, true meaning of family, betrayal and treachery, learning from mistakes, and bringing change in the way of life and nature for the better future.

It started with attack on Princess Andromeda, tragic death, Titan’s plan and Nico’s warning and urgency to act on the plan he proposed a year back that Percy was avoiding until now. Now that he faced Kronos and experienced his strength for the first time, he knew if he wished survive again and fight Luke, he had to act on Nico’s plan asap. Oh, and he finally got to know about full big prophecy that said he was going to die!

God at war with Titan leaving the Olympus unprotected, sea God bust in protecting his own palace, Hades holding years long grudge against Zeus decided not to help his brethren, Nico desperately trying to get some answers about his mother and then helping Percy, Ares and Apollo bickering over petty issues. Phew, lot was going on in first few chapters only.

How Percy was going to save the gods and their home, will he be doom of Olympus or protector, and how was he going to fight Kronos that didn’t include dying? It was tense and exciting to read this final Installment of the series. I was curious to read the final battle.

There was humor here and there alright but things were getting serious, there was death looming over Percy and Gods were on the battle field in their best armor, New York City was under the sleep spell with destruction all around it.  So, it needed the serious, tense, and on-the-age-of-the-seat tone and author did it fantastically. Like, ‘we are not going to laugh so much like we did in previous books until we’ve chopped up Kronos and sent him back to Tartarus‘.

In this, Percy visited his father’s realm, finally, and I tell you it was wonderful minus all the battle raging down there; met Hestia-the Last Olympian and I was curious to read her importance as the title was given after her and after reading the book I could tell how appropriate it was; met some deadly Titans Morpheus- he can cause deadly dream and I’m sure one won’t need benzos around him, Prometheus- not-so-deadly but cunning for sure, Hyperion with burning light and a monstrous storm-giant who wreck such a chaos; . and slayed long list of monsters.

There were many other important answers I finally got in this book like -Luke’s childhood and what made him bitter towards his parents, Nico’s mother and how he and his sister were sent to Lotus casino, Hades’ curse and how the prophecy was twisted in many ways, Rachel’s talent and her importance in immortal’s world, spy in the camp and how Luke twisted people’s mind to get his revenge, role of Luke and Ethan and many other rogue demigod’s in new upcoming change in Immortal’s world, and Annabeth’s hope and what Luke was for her, Percy’s role in the prophecy.

There was twist and turn in each chapter, each chapter was dripping with friendship, courage and bravery, tricks and surprises. Don’t forget the titles of each chapters, they were so catchy that made me want to read what’s in the chapter. Percy not only gave so many thought-provoking lessons to readers but also made the Gods ponder over it.

World-building, plot, characters, myth everything was impressive and well balanced. Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Clarisse were the star of the book. New development in Percy and Annabeth’s relationship was lovely and cute. It was also tragic to see so many deaths and destruction because of worst consequences of bad actions.

Climax was wonderful. Loved the way Percy and Nico convinced their dads and oh my, that final battle was just brilliant. Each and every campers, immortals, and mortals fought amazingly. End was unique with many insights, change in immortals’ world- I loved that new blue print of camp half-blood in the end, and another big prophecy that was just as confusing and dangerous as previous one, maybe more!

Overall, I just loved it. Can’t wait to read next spin-off series. It was riveting, entertaining, insightful, and impressive urban fantasy dripping with Greek myth and Humor that I recommend to fans of this genre.

Author : Rick Riordan

Previous books in series:

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The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan
Publication Date
: August 21st 2013 (first published March 6th 2008)
Publisher : Puffin
Read Date : April 20th 2019
Genre : Greek Mythology / Middle Grade / Adventure / Urban fantasy
Pages : 342
Stars : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ /5

HONESTLY, BLOWING UP ANOTHER SCHOOL WAS THE LAST THING I WANTED TO DO.

As the son of a Greek god, I’ve had my share of near-death disaster – and now my arch enemy Luke wants to invade our camp via an ancient Labyrinth.

If he succeeds, thousands of bloodthirsty monsters will attack. So it’s goodbye sunshine, hello darkness as four of us descend into the terrifying underground and beyond… 

“People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can’t be fixed.” 

Another wonderful book in Percy Jackson series. This is the book I didn’t remember much after the first read and I enjoyed this more than first time read. This series has always been my favorite and on rereading it only has made it sure.

Writing was simple yet amazingly gripping and full of entertainment. Sarcasm and humor dripping through every page. Exciting battle, tricky situation and thrilling adventure kept me on the age. This series defines fast pace perfectly and I loved the plot

It started with first day of school, just orientation day, and Percy’s luck was twisted by fates, AGAIN! He met vampires with mismatched legs and a redheaded girl, Rachel who could see through mist and to whom he met in previous book at Hoover dam. After running away from burning music room of the school Percy arrived at camp where he learnt about wine dude’s replacement, met Tyson ‘yayy he’s back’, received Iris message sent by mysterious person from which he learnt the sinister plan of Nico, and had more nightmarish dreams that told about Luke and Kronos’ plan to attack on camp half-blood through the labyrinth.

One more life-threatening prophecy, 4 friends in the darkness of labyrinth, maze with traps that might turn you mad. It was exciting to see how they were going to stop Luck’s army of monsters on their way to camp.

First of all, it was fun to see Tyson once more. I loved this book more because of him only. He has grown smarter and braver. Grover was in tricky situation with his deadline for finding Pan that led him to the place he dreaded most, ‘the confines of underground’ and that’s too with Tyson. It was amusing to see Tyson and Grover work together.

Rachel was quirky. She was surprisingly brave, calm, easy going even in deadly situation. I literally laughed when she attacked with plastic hair brush. Who needs celestial bronze when you have a hair brush! I always liked Nico, even though he was bit off the track. I liked how he learned about his sister’s wish and how it brought change in him. I felt for him. It was so unfair being son of Hades and I agreed with Percy’s thought about it.

Percy was as usual fab. He was wonderful friend and brother with heart of gold and clever mind. He was package full of wits, bravery, and right conscience. Poor Percy was troubled by girls around him- first Annabeth, Rachel and then Calypso. It was cute to see jealous Annabeth. She was great in the book. Her feelings for Luke was confusing and I could feel the frustration of Percy. Both of their feelings were genuine and I can’t wait to see development in their relationship.

What I loved more was, world building and myth. The world was interesting- Structure of maze, traps, and monsters in it. Giving the maze life and mind of its own was made the plot brilliant. Deadalus might be crazy for creating this outstanding structure. The story of eternal chase between Daedalus and Minos was gripping and enlightening. I loved to meet different Greek gods in each installment. This time our hero met Hera, Hephaestus and Pan who helped in their quest and gave godly lessons. Not just that but we meet older monsters, monster with bad anatomy, and older kids of Gaia.

There were many insightful messages in the book. How intelligence, greed, vengeance comes with deadly price, how it brings loneliness and bitterness in life that makes you do terrible things and gives no peace even after death; there is no way to cheat death even after many millennia; how being clever is not enough, one must be wise as well; no dark magic can bring back those who are gone, it only disturbs the peace of the spirit. Oh, and animal rights activists and environmentalists will be happy by this book.It was wonderful blend of Myth, modern world and lifelong lessons.

Climax was surprising. Even though this was my reread, I couldn’t guess the identity of Daedalus. Kronos’s plan was shocking and I was mesmerized by Pan’s words. I enjoyed battle scenes and loved the end with two surprise visits. Can’t wait to read final book in this series!

Overall, I just loved it! It is perfect book for fans of Greek Mythology, adventure, and witty characters.

Author : Rick Riordan

Previous books in series:

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The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan
Publication Date : 2013 (first published May 5th 2007)
Publisher : Penguin Club
Read Date : February 12th 2019
Genre : urban Fantasy / Mythology / Middle Grade / YA / Adventure
Stars : 5/5

IT’S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you’re the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive…

The Titan’s Curse, third installment in PJO series, revolved around Percy’s quest of rescuing goddess and Annabeth and save the world from the new evil plan of Luke who is now completely under the spell of Kronos. It is about friendship, good vs evil, some immortal family drama, a non stop battle of overthrowing each other and being true hero.

From the blurb only shows how intriguing this book is going to be. Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in danger, prophecy says five should go on quest from long Island west and two shall perish during the quest. Who those two are?

It started with discovery of 2 strong half-bloods, a fight with spike throwing half Lion and half human monster, riding back on sun chariot with some not-so-friendly young eternal maidens, and as always some terrifying nightmares that force them to go on deadly quest. Things got really exciting when we get to know Thalia might be a prophecy as she was going to turn 16 in few days.

I felt like a teen jumping with excitement when I started this book. This third book was much better and more entertaining than first two. Adventure, prophecy, humor, Percy’s sassy and witty nature, twist and turns everything goes one level up. Oh and loved the writing. Did I mention before how interesting titles of this book are? ‘I Break A Few Rocket Ships’, ‘I Wrestle Santa’s Evil Twin’, ‘We Meet Dragon Of Eternal Bad Breath’… Not just this but all books in series has catchy titles.

This time Percy deals with insecurity because of all attention going to Zeus’s daughter Thalia, being a second famous hero as Thalia is senior in experience, even though she was a tree; his confusion about his feeling for Annabeth, uneasiness on prospect of Annabeth joining hunters, grief on losing her, missing his half-brother and father, feeling angry because of his rash decision and sad as everyone considered Thalia over him. All his emotions felt realistic. As book progressed he turned out better like previous books. He got over his feelings and looked at the present situation more maturely and fought bravely side by side with his friends against their common enemy. And Percy gets to know about his fatal flaw in the end, I loved that part most in the book.

Luck was creative villain who came up with another new strategy with one goal overthrowing Olympians and ruling the world godless with treacherous Titans. Thalia surprised me by showing hopes for Luck and also made me anxious when they came face to face in climax. There was a moment when I thought she would consider joining him and his evil plan. But I liked the decision she made in the end. It was brave and really admiring. It shows readers how tempting the taste of power can be and how much strength one needs to fight it.

Thalia and Percy made deadly combination. I so much missed Annabeth in whole book and when we met her again in climax, it was such an overwhelming feel.  Oh and her dad was really amazing. We see why Athena fell in love with this smart crazy professor. Grover was as usual amusing but what I liked more was we get to see his satirical power and he was braver than previous book, one step closer to his biggest dream.

Two new strong half-blood we meet in the book were Nico and Bianca. I loved Nico in the beginning. He was sweet child. His awe and excitement on seeing his mythomagic game coming to reality was infectious. Bianca was selfish for making life changing decision and leaving Nico alone to care for himself, but I couldn’t hold grudge after what happened. And hunters were all strong-female-character lover’s dream.

Myth was just fabulous in this book. We get to know about hunters, Zoe’s history with the famous hero and Percy’s blade riptide, the General, Garden of Hesperides, Mountain of despair, doomsday monster; we are also introduced to new and some ancient gods and goddess- Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite, Nereus, and Athena (she can be really intimidating, you don’t want on her bad side). Oh I was mesmerized by entry scene of Aphrodite. Author wrote more than perfect description about her. She was definitely most dangerous goddess. Percy feared her more than Ares, so you can imagine what I mean.

End was great. Sad, shocking and I also liked decision of Olympians.
This book was full package of lots of emotions, angst, tense, sad, lovely and awe-inspiring moments with lots of witty humor and twist and turns.
And now I’m desperate to read fourth book in the series. I would love to know more about new mortal character who happens to see through the mist and saved Percy’s life.

Overall, it was just fabulous, super fast paced, Greek mythomagical adventure that readers of MG, YA genre would definitely enjoy.

Author : Rick Riordan

Purchase Link : Amazon.in / Amazon.com

Previous books in series:

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