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Archive for November 2012

[Book Review] The White Queen - Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.
Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

Known as the queen of historical fiction, Philippa Gregory is well known for her TUdor novels, one has even been made into a movie (The Other Boleyn Girl, anyone?). The White Queen is the first novel I've read from her and I can say it was a bit disappointing.

I expected detail, but I didn't expect detail to the point that parts of the novel is redundant - another character already said one thing, only to be repeated a few paragraphs later by another, and that goes on again and again. I also don't like the magic factor. Mixing magic with historical fiction don't really go well with each other, but who knows? Maybe in the old times, they really do believe in curses, magic, and whatnot. Not that it is true!

I originally liked the first part of the novel, but got bored when King Edward died and the story was all about Elizabeth. For some reason, her character became bland, desperate and annoying. When King Edward was still around, there were tales of wars and of love (of course, their love story was part of it).

I forgot to say that this book was the first of a trilogy which focuses on the three strong women within the House of Lancaster: first book is about Elizabeth Woodville (who married Edward, who became king), the second is about Elizabeth's daughter, aptly named Elizabeth as well (and makes things hellishly confusing as in the old times, your child's names are normally named after the parents or aunts or uncles or grandparents!), and the third is based on Jacquetta (Elizabeth Woodville's mother). Now, would I say that I'll buy the second and third part? Hmm maybe if they were on sale (like for $2 or less. I definitely won't buy it full price).

What else can I say about this book? It could be better - I think that it was rushed at some parts, and more detail could have been given about the places and more background on the characters could have been explained (then again Philippa Gregory has this tendency of releasing a few books per year so she could just be writing without considering any of these factors, but that's just me).

I'll read The Other Boleyn Girl some time and hopefully that book would be to my expectations!

The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan [Book Review]

Summary from Goodreads:
Jason has a problem. 
He doesn't remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they're all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for "bad kids", as Leo puts it. What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. 
Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he's in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn't recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on? 

Leo has a way with tools. 
His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What's troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper's gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.

The spinoff of the Percy Jackson series! In this series, there are three new demigods serving as the main characters: Jason, son of Zeus; Piper, daughter of Aphrodite; and Leo, son of Hephaestus. Add the complexity of the Roman gods (well, they're the Greek gods too, only with different names and a harsher alter-ego), and we've got the makings of a good tale.

There was a lot of twists and turns that have been integrated with the older characters, and some new information to learn: the alter egos of the Greek gods that we were so familiar about, new gods, and new supernatural creatures like the storm gods, the giants, and ogres alike.

This book is also one of the longest I've ever read: 500+ pages. Albeit the font size and the spacing were quite big, it was still a challenge for me! Told in the perspectives of the three main characters, who alternate every two chapters, Rick Riordan nicely patched up the story so no one reading the book gets lost at what's happening within the other characters.

I do like how the characters do grow in the end though, although one annoying factor for me would be the so called love story between Piper and Jason. Ugh, mushy much? I also like Tempest and Festus - they were minor characters but they tugged at my heart! haha. I had always loved animal characters, don't get me wrong!

Quite a good read too, the ending would leave you hanging for more (specially as I'm expecting Percy and Annabeth to have bigger roles in the second book) - I sometimes hate reading book series, it would "force" you to buy the whole set just to complete the story! But well worth it though!

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