Posted in Books, Interesting Things

Book Review #13

The first trimester of 2015!
After a storm in the form of my thesis proposal’s exam gone, came a quiet and very comfortable holiday totally suitable for some reading. I finished the last book in this list around the end of February, then picked up another two, but both ended half-read, so let’s just be content with these four. :p

The Son of Neptune
Rick Riordan

The Son of NeptuneRight after my exam’s done, I went straight to the usual bookstore and grab this one. I did feel like I need something to refresh my mind and what’s better than a fantasy book by Rick Riordan at that? This book is honestly the second in the series, but I took it instead of the first one randomly just because it stated Percy Jackson’s name in the resume, ahaha. Reading it, I was reminded again why I love Percy Jackson series so much.

The story followed the amnesic Percy, woke up in a strange place with no recollection of memory whatsoever, and tailed by monsters, as usual. He ended up in a Roman demigod camp and fit himself in. He even made new friends. But then again, he was sent for a mission to free Thanatos, the Death itself from Alcyoneus, the son of Gaea. So, the journey began.

I should admit that Rick Riordan really nailed another good series. The Son of Neptune is like the Roman spin-off of Percy’s previous series, at least the first one third of it. It’s very interesting to see another sides of the Gods, not just their Greek’s but also their Roman’s. And of course, the addition of new characters from Jupiter Camp is refreshing. Frank and Hazel are especially interesting, since we can take turn to follow their thought and mind with the multiple-person way of writing. And I just figured out that Percy is more messed up than I thought, wkwk.

Generally, the book presents the same jokes, plot, and general storyline with the author’s previous works. You know, the usual mission-battle-friendship thing pattern. IMO, it’s a double edged knife, though. Using the same pattern, made it easy for the reader to enjoy the book due to the familiarity with the previous books, especially since this one centered in Percy as one of its main characters, too. Felt like hanging out with an old friend. But in the other hand, nothing felt really new. The pattern works really well, so I don’t have much to complain.

The Mark of Athena
Rick Riordan

The Mark of AthenaAfter reading The Son of Neptune and realized that I started the series in the wrong order, what did I do?
Of course went straight to the third book instead.
Ahaha..I thought it’s too troublesome to return back to the first book, so I just read the third.

The story in The Mark of Athena evolving around The Prophecy of Seven, a prophecy stating mission for seven demigods to stop Gaea, in one way or another. Both parties from Camp Halfblood and Camp Jupiter met and reconciled, for awhile. Then the chaos commenced and our seven demigods are forced to flee and start their mission. Of course, many things took place: unseen power struggle, confusion about each crew’s role, battles, self-conscience, aand…love lines.

Let me comment that last one first. For my taste, the love lines are…too much. Like, seriously.
Okay, book, I can fully understand just how much Percy-Annabeth, Jason-Piper, and Frank-Hazel love each other without it’s being explained every two chapters. And poor Leo.

Power struggle ensued for sure in Argo II. I mean, the children of all three main gods (Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto) are onboard, so it’s just normal to be confused of who should lead who. It sure is interesting to see that Percy and Jason, who usually being appointed as leader by nature, in fact are both not so keen to be a leader after all. IMO, it’s a good point too how the author presented their struggle as the children of the main gods, with all the expectation from people and lack of affection from their father.

Through this book, too, we started to understand each character’s inner thought and personality. Characters like Percy and Annabeth showed another side of them that’s not explored much in the previous books, while the new characters appealing as their refreshing sides keep arising. I, especially, simply love Leo. And it sure is interesting to see the fearless Annabeth facing her deepest fear.

The interaction between the crew of Argo II is starting to bond them, too. Each one trying to figure out their role and place while, sometimes, battling monsters, their own fear, and getting into trouble with the other crew. I’m talking about you, Leo.

Of course, it’s another challenge for the author to differentiate each character from the other. With seven main demigods taking turn to be told, sometimes it’s not that clear who’s currently being the main if it’s not mentioned in each chapter’s first page. Another downside to this multiple person telling is, some characters appear to be really strong, like Leo, while the other felt like a background, like Frank. Well, perhaps that’s the idea, since Frank is in fact doesn’t want and currently has no ability to stand out. This problem especially seen with the girls. Can you tell who’s Annabeth, Piper, or Hazel if they were in the same situation and doing the exact same thing?

Shin Suikoden Book 1 and 2
Eiji Yoshikawa

Shin Suikoden 1 Shin Suikoden 2

What will happen if you put a corrupt government, a chaotic country, and a lot of martial arts?
It’s Shin Suikoden.

A retelling of Water Margin, a Chinese classic, this series centered in 108 stars reborn as 108 warriors. They united in a fortress called Ryou Zan Paku to fight the corrupt government of Emperor Ki Sou. Each warrior came from a different background and has their own reason for joining Ryou Zan Paku, with different skills, too. But they share a common goal: to defeat the current government and make a better country, a country that doesn’t make its citizen suffer and starving.

These books are borrowed from a friend’s back log. I’ve thought of buying it long ago, but always prioritized another books first. As I often said, I love classic, but what I’ve read until now is mostly West ones, so it’s very nice to finally have my hand on these.

Shin Suikoden itself has a wide range of story, given the amount of characters it tells. Some main characters’, like Sou Kou Mei, Teacher Go, Bu Shou, and Ro Chi Shin, are told following their life until the moment they come to Ryou Zan Paku. In the upside, it made a very differs but interesting stories, since each character has their own personality and problems. In the downside, it’s too crowded. The amount of characters presented is no joke, and I found myself reopening some pages to understand who’s who and their connection to each other.

Putting that aside, Shin Suikoden has its own flow and the author himself has his own characteristic of story telling. Despite the long story and a lot of characters, these books also present a lot of moral values. One of the most important that I can gain is: stay away from booze, gambling, and seductive women. They’re a sure source of problems.

 

 

Sidoarjo, July 19th 2015

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