Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Talk: Mark of Athena- Spoiler Alert

 Sorry for the delayed posting on Mark of Athena. I got it on Wednesday and finished it on Thursday, but I hadn't gotten around to doing a review.
Title: Mark of Athena
Series: Heroes of Olympus (Sequel Series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
Author: Rick Riordan
Volume: 3
Rating: 9.5/10

Summary (be warned of minor spoilers): These books are actually kind of hard to summarize, as there are a lot of smaller adventures on the way, but bear with me.
The Greek and Roman demigods meet in this book. The giant, flying trireme with Festus's head lands over the Roman city (it is not allowed to actually land, because that would break the rules). We get Annabeth and Percy's reunion, which was wonderful (it involves a judo throw). Then everything goes downhill. The boat fires on New Rome, and the Greek demigods and Roman demigods plunge quickly into all-out fighting. The seven: Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Leo, Frank and Hazel, make it to the trireme and depart in rather a hurry from the battle below. In quick sucession, we find out that there are some not-nice spirits taking over people's bodies- Leo, Percy and Jason for a short while until Piper charmspeaks them out, and undergo several, smaller adventures on their journey- much like the heroes on the original Argo. The rest can be summed up as a race-against-the-clock flight to Rome. Nico's been imprisoned by giants, putting himself into a coma that will allow him to last a week sealed in an airtight container. So they are now racing to Rome to save Nico, oh-and the world.

Annabeth has something to deal with on her own, as well, something that may heal the huge, hostile rift between her mother and Rome. Unfortunately, every child of Athena to try has failed. She must face one of her greatest fears to right an ancient wrong. She must find the statue of Athena that formerly stood in the Parthenon, which was stolen by the Romans to break Athenian spirit.

Response (in which the spoilers are more extreme): Look, I'm getting better at not spoiling everything in my summaries! When I finished my response was "Fall of 2013?! So Long!". Talk about a cliffhanger ending (or rather a they-stopped-hanging-off-the-ledge-and-are-now-plunging-toward-the-most-evil-place-ever-what-is-going-to-happen-now ending). I think everyone on Argo 2 is feeling some sort of guilt and a truckload of fear. The next book might be a little darker- I mean, if we see inside Tartatus, which almost drove Nico insane, and he's the son of the ruler of the Underworld.

This book was a overall really good. It only lost 0.5 because I missed reading in Percy's first-person point of view. There were a lot of little split-off-into-teams tasks, which we grasped a mix of dynamics with the characters. Neither Percy nor Jason really feel comfortable in a leadership capacity, Leo feels like a seventh wheel, Annabeth is really worried about her mothers quest/curse, there's the whole Frank-Hazel-Leo thing and meanwhile everything seems to be trying to kill our heros (and capture two as sacrifices).

I'm kind of anxious for the next book. A lot. The original 7 has been separated and now we've got Nico in a role we've not seen him in before-leader, and Percy and Annabeth have quite the battle of their own to look forward to.

This review is awful. I'll come back and edit it later.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Devastatingly Handsome-A Teen Literature Rant

I read a lot of teen literature. I mean A LOT. Reading is my hobby- no more than that, its my passion. And I do enjoy teen lit. It's geared toward my age demographic and there are some real gems out there. However. There are some phrases that are... well- melodramatic. Which brings me to my question.

"Devastatingly Handsome" Seriously? I mean, I cannot think of one time in my life that I have met someone "devastatingly handsome". And what kind of bothers me is that he always the love interest, even of heroines whom I really like as characters.

Lets look at the word devastating. In every other context it refers to sadness, misery, grief and occasional madness. As in "the loss was devastating". This word is not a happy word. In fact, it is depressing. Why on Earth would I be attracted to a guy that devastates me? That pretty much means that looking at the guy is depressing. Looking at someone and finding that they are somehow good looking- and that somehow makes me sad (actually, no, more like miserable) is, well, just strange to me. I mean, can you imagine looking at your love interest and thinking, "Wow. He's depressingly attractive." all the time? Why would I find that attractive? 

Scenarios like this:
  1. Devastating could, I guess, theoretically mean the other "devastating", which has the slightly different connotation- that being destructive. Which, doesn't seem that much better, someone being so handsome that they make the world crumble and cause natural disasters and explosions.
  2. Typically, the "devastatingly handsome" comment is followed by our heroine contemplating how massively unworthy she is. Hello? If you're thinking that, and you're self aware, you're probably right. There's something you don't know, either about him or you. Probably both. He wants something from you. You're probably the key to some sort of power and are now being manipulated. That's just how the world works. Otherwise, the heroine is typically a Mary Sue who is unaware of her own charms, and is shallow enough to focus merely on how depressingly good-looking this guy is.
  3. This is always noted at the most inopportune times. Like when you're both in a very dangerous situation and all you can think is how misery-inducing-ly beautiful the person next to you is. Not their personality. Not their sense of humour or their bravery. Not how to escape the cliched and dramatic dangerous situation. But something as superficial as beauty. Frankly, if that's what you're thinking in what may be your last moments alive on this Earth, then I can't see a relationship would work at that point. Either: a) because you don't seem to know the person well enough to see beyond their looks, b) because there really is nothing else redeeming about the person, so a relationship wouldn't work or c) all thoughts of a relationship would be null because you (either one or both of you) is actually killed by this event, and therefore wouldn't be doing much relating with anybody. I suppose it is slightly justified in the near-death sort of situation, because adrenaline and shock do weird things to the brain.
And that has been my rant. There are some ways of describing someone's looks that just don't work for me. I can't ever imagine being so -delusional? hormonal?- that thinking of someone as "devastatingly handsome" would work for me in basically any context. Feel free to go off and find me and exception. I would love to see one. Until them, devastated/ing is good. Handsome is fine. Just the two don't work together.