Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

Age: Middle Grade/ Young Adult
Genre: Fiction, fantasy

Percy Jackson is having trouble in the sixth grade. He seems to be failing all of his classes (again) and has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. On top of that, he is always a target for bullies, which to make life even more embarrassing, are often girls. But strange things have been happening recently that Percy can’t explain, and when he tries to talk to his only friend, Grover, about them, Grover acts like nothing is out of the ordinary. Percy’s home life is not great, either, since his step-dad is a selfish loafer who doesn’t like Percy. His mom says his real dad went away on an ocean voyage many years ago and hasn’t come back, but Percy thinks she’s hiding something. When monsters from Greek mythology attack, he knows something is definitely wrong. But those are just stories…right?

One of my friends kept telling me I needed to read this series, so I finally picked it up and listened to the book on CD. I loved it. It started out a little slowly for me, and I wasn’t always sure where the story was going since it jumped around to different scenes so much, but no matter what, I wanted to know what would happen to Percy and his friends. Even though I’m not up on Greek mythology, that wasn’t a problem. In fact you learn about it as you travel with Percy to meet the various gods and monsters. I enjoyed watching Percy overcome each trial put in his path and see him come to trust his instincts and his friends, despite being warned otherwise. The book broaches some dark subjects that may be scary for younger readers, so I recommend this book for ages ten and up. Anyone who enjoys a good adventure or quest story would probably like this first in a series. I already have the second one ready to read.

Bibliographic Information:
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1). New York, NY: Disney Hyperion Books, 2005.

“The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey

Age: Young Adult
Genre: Fiction, post-apocalyptic survival

Cassie is runningfrom everyone, from no one – and she wonders if she is the only human left alive in the world. She wanders a bleak landscape, left scarce by the alien invasion. The aliens killed her parents and the government took her little brother, who she will rescue. She promised. Sometimes she sees another human, like the guy in the abandoned convenience store, but she can’t trust him. When the aliens look just like you, how can you ever trust anyone? She shoots him and moves on. The only trust she has is in her weapon. The aliens have already plagued the earth four times, trying to eradicate humanity while leaving the Earth inhabitable for themselves. But is there a fifth wave coming? As Cassie tries to survive snipers called “Silencers” (the fourth wave) who are looking to kill all remaining humans, she wonders about the fifth wave…and keeps fighting for her life and her brother.

This book got a lot of positive press before its release, so when it came out, I was excited to read it. I’m not sure why, but I like novels, movies, and TV shows about dystopian and post-apocalyptic futures (The Hunger Games, TNT’s Falling Skies, etc.). As a fan of this genre, I was not disappointed by The 5th Wave. It took me awhile to get into it, mostly because I found Cassie’s character so cold and distant. It’s hard to like a character you can’t warm up to. I also found it hard to grasp the comparisons between her old life and the one she now lived, but I guess she found them hard to grasp, too. Early in the book I felt like her character was confusing because of the flashes back to her old self that didn’t click with the current self, but by the end she had established herself as a strong, tough teenager. Once the author stuck with that and didn’t look back, Cassie was easier to understand. I enjoyed the intertwining story lines, though sometimes it took a little while to figure out who was talking in a particular section of the book. The story moved slowly at times, but once I got to the last 100 pages or so, it just didn’t stop. It was hard to put the book down until the end. I recommend this book to readers who like alien invasion or dystopian literature, and even though it was written for teens, as an adult, I think other adults would enjoy it, too.

Bibliographic Information:
Yancey, Rick. The 5th Wave. New York, NY: Putnam Juvenile, 2013.

The 5th Wave on