An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Set in a fantasy world based on ancient Roman culture, An Ember in the Ashes follows the story of two young people caught up in a violent, oppressive world. The novel is narrated through the alternating viewpoints of Elias, trained from a young age to be an elite soldier for the Empire at the exclusive Blackcliff Academy, and Laia, coerced into spying on Blackcliff for the Resistance by becoming a slave. Their stories become intertwined as both get caught up in a much larger political quagmire. Ms. Tahir has a gift for world-building. The world is both rich and dangerous. This well-written tale of conflict and hope was hard to put down. I hope there is a follow-up to this very promising debut from Sabaa Tahir.
The IX by Andrew P. Weston
For these soldiers snatched out of time, death is just the beginning of the fight. Faced with total destruction from an relentless foe, the inhabitants of the planet Arden created a rip in space-time to bring in reinforcements. An sophisticated AI system scours the history of Earth finding skilled fighters on the brink of death. Granted a second-chance, these warriors must find a way to save the failing Arden. When the ninth intake, comprised of Rome’s lost Ninth Legionnaires, U.S. Calvary from the 1860s and the Cree nation people they were fighting, and a special forces group trying to thwart environmental terrorists, arrives on Arden, an opportunity arises to finally take the fight to their enemy, the Horde. But the outcome turns out to be something neither side could anticipate. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was original and action-packed. Andrew Weston has created a gripping sci-fi world. There was a lot of jumping around to different characters and places but I never felt lost. I could have used a map of Arden because I had trouble visualizing where some of the action was in relation to the main city but overall, the planet of Arden was both alien and familiar. Mr. Weston’s writing was above average with only a few errors and punctuated with some beautiful, elegiacal descriptions. I recommend The IX as an engrossing, sci-fi adventure.
*Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this novel with a request for an honest review.*
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The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
It’s over. After nine years and ten witty and entertaining books, Rick Riordan’s Greek mythology novel series is complete. Writing this review feels a little bittersweet as I’m sad that there will be no more exciting Greek/Roman demigod adventures to read but, on the other hand, completely satisfied by the last installment. Yes, I’m an unadulterated Rick Riordan fangirl but “The Blood of Olympus” was truly a great ending to The Heroes of Olympus series. It had it all: page-turning suspense, the usual levity and fun, emotional drama and a rewarding resolution. I don’t want to give anything away for those that haven’t been able to devour their copies yet so I’ll just say that if you haven’t tried these books, I highly recommend them all as some of the best I’ve read.
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Review: Just another in a string of great books from Rick Riordan. He’s right up there with Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling amongst my favorite authors. “The House of Hades” is the fourth book of The Heroes of Olympus series. This series has a lot more characters than Riordan’s previous books and he writes his characters so well that I’m already scared that one or more of them might end up dying. His characters feel real and I’m attached to all of them. As usual, great combination of mythology, wit and downright great storytelling. Can’t wait until the conclusion comes out next fall!
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Total Reading Time: 6.75 hours
Review: Full disclosure-I started this one a bit early. I make no apologies. I love Rick Riordan. This, the third book in The Heroes of Olympus series and the eleventh Riordan book I’ve read, just reinforces my thought that these books were written especially for me. They are the perfect blend of wit, adventure, imagination, silliness and mythology. I am drawn to every aspect of Riordan’s writing from his compelling characters to interesting plot twists to attention to detail. Love it! The only thing that’s going to tide me over until the next installment (fall 2013) is the fact that Riordan’s stories have great re-readability.