Book Review

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

Book 2 is called: THE SEA OF MONSTERS.

The movie was way better than the first one. I think Tyson was kinda hot lol

Summary:

Percy changed school and met a very scared and very enormous boy named Tyson. Protector of the bullied, Percy was always there for Tyson and vice versa. One day, a game of dodgeball became a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants – the Laestrygonians and he found out that Tyson was a fireproof cyclops and also *surprise, surprise!* his half-brother.

Meanwhile Grover who was looking for the Lord of Nature, Pan, who was lost at the Sea of Monsters. The whole Camp Half-Blood was in ruins because their protector, a tree that was supposed to be the incarnation of daughter of Zeus, Thalia was poisoned. The tree marked the border between the real world and the enchanted strawberry farm. Annabeth deduced that Grover had found the Golden Fleece, a cure for all poison and nature and was trying to communicate with them for help. So Percy, Annabeth, Tyson and coincidentally Clarisse, daughter of Ares – God of War, was thrown into the chase and they have to figure out how to save Grover and steal the Golden Fleece from Polyphemus, a giant cannibal cyclope guarding it and to bring it back to Half-Blood Camp to cure Thalia/the tree.

Percy’s sarcasm:

“Mythologically speaking, if there’s anything I hate worse than trios of old ladies, it’s bulls. Last summer, I fought the Minotaur on top of Half-Blood Hill. This time what I saw up there was even worse: two bulls. And not just regular bulls – bronze ones the size of elephants. And even that wasn’t bad enough. Naturally they had to breathe fire, too.”

Review:

I’d say I like Book 2 better than Book 1. Maybe because of Tyson. Maybe not. I didn’t like Annabeth much in this because she reminds me too much of Hermione Granger. Percy, of course is the kind of man you want to read because he’s so stupid and so honest. His relationship with his new found half-brother was sweet and heartfelt. Overall the book is worth 4 out of 5 stars.

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Book Review

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

I’ve read more Percy Jackson than Harry Potter. Sometimes I wonder why and then I thought about the Epilogue in Deathly Hallows and I loved my decision more than ever.

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I saw the movie first and didn’t like it. If you do, you probably haven’t read the book. Justice was not even there to witness how they ruined it. I don’t always pick books over movies. Some versions were better, for example The Witch, The Lion and the Wardrobe, The Giver and The Maze Runner. For Percy Jackson’s case, I really felt a deep sympathy for Uncle Riordan.

Enough of that. We start with the first book; THE LIGHTNING THIEF.

Perseus ‘Percy’ Jackson was a troubled 12 year old studying in a boarding school deemed for special kids. He’s dyslexic with a touch of ADHD. His only friend was Grover and his favourite teacher was Mr. Brunner, a paraplegic man who taught Greek Mythology. He hates school but he hates his stepfather even more. His mother works at a candy store and he would do anything for her. He’d been brought up to understand that his father had left him after he was born.

After several curious incidents, he found out who was his father; Father of Horses, Earthshaker, Stormbringer. All hail Percy Jackson, son of the Sea God, Poseidon.

*chills*

He was not the only half human-half God in the world. These kids are called demigods or half bloods and they’re sent to a special camp called the Half-Blood Camp so that they can learn how to defend themselves. Apparently they’re delicious delicacy and their smell attracts all sorts of Greek demons and monsters. Most demigods can’t survive in real world without proper training.

Our story starts when a Minotaur kidnapped Percy’s mother to the Underworld, so he knew right away that he got to save her. Meanwhile Zeus, God of the Sky lost his lightning bolt at the same time when Hades, Lord of the Underworld lost his helmet of darkness and they all blamed Percy. He just need to figure out how to get everything back along with daughter of Athena, Annabeth Chase and his beloved undercover satyr, Grover.

Review:

Damn, I did not see that coming would be the appropriate thing to say. This scene, even while reading gives me goosebumps every single time. It’s when Poseidon officially declared Percy as his son.

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Riordan has a particular set of skills that turns you into an addict without you even noticing. It’s a bit annoying to be honest because you don’t want to fell into the well but when you realized about it, you’re half drowning already.

He has his own style. If you’re into Greek gods, action and witty sarcasm, this is the book for you.

My favourite quote:

“Hades raised an eyebrow. When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment,as if the garment was stitched of trapped souls from the Fields of Punishment, trying to get out. The ADHD part of me wondered, off-task, whether the rest of his clothes were made the same way. What horrible things would you have to do in your life to get woven into Hades’ underwear?”

Seriously, Hades is one of my favourite gods and his wife, Persephone is metal as fuck 🙂 She’s all flowery and growing flowers in spring but in winter she’s the Queen of the Underworld.

Greek gods are awesome 🙂

The book is worth 3.75 out of 5 stars. The only thing I hate about the book is the constant interruptions at crucial moments. Read it and you will definitely understand why. I understand why people who enjoyed Harry Potter were recommended to read this book but I don’t see the point of comparing it. I thoroughly enjoyed Percy’s point of view and I was lucky because I got Book 2 ready by the time I finished Book 1.

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Mi Vida

1/365

It’s another year. Yay!

Another chapter is being written. Honestly, I find 2014 filled with disasters and innumerable deaths. Stories died. Things forgotten. People holding so many promises faded into shadows. Gloom. I don’t know if I should feel terrified or this is the very reason why I should step up and be fearless.

Fearless. Or is it brave? What’s the difference? Should I put courage in the same equation? Sometimes during desperate times I wonder what’s it like to be the daughter of Ares, the God of War. Can I slay the drakon, like Clarisse?

I have no idea.

I guess I got what I wanted. I’ve written a book and published one. I translated another book and finally I have written an English short story despite of having so many doubts and fear that I’m not good enough. I’m the only one who can slay my monsters and I constantly need to do that, on a daily basis and especially when I write.

Before Ryan came, I didn’t think it was a big deal.

He’s American. About 26 years old. I always have this fantasy that I’m able to host a stranger. My house is quite comfortable and those ‘surfers’ can sleep in my brother’s room. A guy (a Czech) from Global Freeloader, another site not unlike Couchsurfing (CS) wrote to me and asked if he could stay. That’s why I updated my profile on CS. I think it’s a brilliant idea. You register as a host for fellow traveler, they stay with you for a couple of days much like a guest, you show them around and then they leave. You’re like a small, private, cheap hostel. It’s wonderful. Those foreigners will learn the real deal, not the tourist aimed activities and of course, keep much of their money for the important stuffs, like airplane tickets or food.

The catch is you don’t know them and vice versa. My sister did not like the idea. Ryan could be a serial rapist or a kidnapper or a thief but I went out with some of couchsurfers when I was in the U.K and they are the very image of a universal language of motion and I understood them.

So I told him that I would pick him up at the jetty.

He’s clean, empathetic and passionate. Worthy of many legends. When I told him I was a writer, his face beamed like the sun. He said he wished that he could be like me. Not as a writer but as a person who follows their dreams. His calling is music.

We talked a lot. He was an English teacher in China for almost a year. When he finished his contract, he thought that his Christmas and New Year is going to be somewhere nearer to the sun (nothing with snow like Omaha, Nebraska) and though his mother didn’t approve of his decision (I can relate to that) I swear, I saw a lot of younger me in his journey. Temperamental, rash and just about had it with routine. Nothing is more lethal than a comfortable life without progress, or what you call routine.

I wanted to help him because I remember how clueless I was. How confused. I spent years wandering and looking for inspiration. Some sort of clue. I want to be the protagonist of my own personal legend and looking around, I felt like a salmon swimming against the current. Fighting something impossible, like gravity.

They would say, everything is enough. Be grateful. Conform in society. Agree with majority. Get a real job. Get married. Get paid doing something you hate because it’s necessary. And many times, I thought these people were right.

I can’t do that to Ryan. I hate it when people lie to my face because they’re too scared to seek something they truly want.

I know some journeys you just have to walk alone. Ponder all the important questions and hopefully find some answers. I feel like Chiron, trying to teach Hercules all that the hero needs to remember in a sword fight but the fight is never mine. I can’t fight the monsters for him. I realized that I came so far. I suffered so much and yet fulfilled in so many ways. It’s funny that I passed this level of difficulty. I never thought I would be able to do something that made me truly happy.

And then the weirdest thing happened. The lost boy, Ryan, the one trying to figure out life one step at a time, finding courage and luck, missing his family and tirelessly asked me the same question over and over again ‘how did you know this is what you want?’ actually helped me more than I originally wanted.

My problem was solved in 2 hugs.

I mean, I always crave physical contact but my family don’t do hugs. We do handshakes but nothing more than a playful pecks on the cheeks. No hugs, no touching. I got this crave when I started learning Spanish and getting along with Spanish speakers. They touch, they kiss, they hug and those are my cure. I love our long conversations. Our lunch or dinner. Sitting before an array of food. Talking about everything. We would laugh and joke. I would tell them how awful my day was and there is always a gift in return; an advice, an apologetic smile, a warm enveloping hug, a gentle squeeze on my hand or just a touch on the knee.

I can’t tell you how I missed those days. The days when I was not alone. The days when someone in my life listens and cared. And I wanted a hug.

I favored a hug from a husband of an ex-colleague. He’s a bit younger than my father and always have good things to say about other people. That booming laughter. The couple has always been my favourite. Please take note that I’m not a creepy person but his hug is something that I think about from time to time. I felt like my life had been the longest winter night and his hug is the first ray of sunlight. Warm and melting. It was so good, like almost frozen toes near the furnace kind of good. I even thought of the worst hugger of all; my ex-boss. He would be the one that I suspect the reincarnation of a boa constrictor. He surrounded me like a vice. Almost like a torture device. I would sweat in his arms, have trouble breathing and hyperventilates when he let go. The craving was that bad, it seemed that I even want him to hug me again.

And Ryan’s hug was somewhere between the two.

He stayed about 2 days and then bought a ticket to KL and later to Siem Riep. The Air Asia news spooked him a bit but he insisted that he should go. Death does not scare him because he couldn’t stand the ‘what ifs’.

That was my answer for his questions. The What Ifs. The Road Not Taken. The Other Maybe.

And I told him, ‘it would be so much better, if you could channel the same faith with your music career’ and for the first time, he was speechless.

It seemed that we both got what we wanted. I got my hug and he got a bag of words that strike the loneliest chords of his soul.

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Mi Vida

Wishlist

My father used to be a good reader. He stocked up hundreds of books (mostly in Malay) and he subscribed to Reader’s Digest back in the 70s and 80s. I read the part with the jokes and tried to understand English as best as I could. I’d say I like it better in the old days. The latest version is full of contests and advertisements and just too many unfunny jokes.

He is very good at getting banned books. I guess he’s curious. I don’t know where or from whom did he buy it but I’ve read The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie when I was in kindergarten. It was even translated in Malay (My English was not very good until I went to secondary.) I didn’t know the book was sinful. It was never awful.

I stopped reading at about 12 because most of the books within my reach were boring. There weren’t many genres or varieties. I didn’t pick reading back until after I was 14. At school most of my friends spoke very good English and they read English books. I read Archie and Dennis the Menace but I never touched the serious ones, especially the ones labeled Sydney Sheldon. The covers were always dark and gloomy and suggested murder.

But the books were always around me and it was high time that I picked one. Only then that I realized I found my salvation. That was it – my only escape from boredom and pain. You tripped into literature and stood up a new person. All wounds are healed.

I thought I was the only one until I found some book bloggers. Those people are hardcore. They’re even crazier than I was and they live in countries that encourage reading culture, compatible rates for good books, brilliant second hand bookstores, wide coverage of promotional/book release and meet and greet the writers. I cannot be jealous enough. I follow a couple of dozens of them on my tumblr account and found them to be deliciously good catalyst. They not only provided reviews, photos, recommendations and theme. They even write and establish good relationships with one another.

On my dashboard every day I would marvel at the shelves in their homes, the colorful hardcover limited edition of Penguin Classics, signed paperbacks, photos of their ferret reading along, cats bookmarking their chapters, books listed according to their colors, best theme related series (vampires, magic, fairy tales retold.), gender reversing roles of their favourite protagonists, essays on feminism in literature, synopsis on young adult literature/series, free gifts (books, what else?), their favorite bookstores, fan fictions (what would happen if Hermione Granger marries Draco Malfoy), fan art (drawings of Luna Lovegood as a boy or woman of color), quotes from various books (The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you – The Book Thief. I read Anna Karenina just because I read some random words), puns from Harry Potter, snapchats from Pride and Prejudice, sassy literature memes, name researches, fun facts about authors, etc. All these made my wish list grew longer and longer. I am totally berserk now that I know more fun things about books.

I browsed MPH Online store every day for 2 weeks to gather price information and I strike. My wish list is completed.

I watched Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (the movie) but I wasn’t pleased with how it turned out though they did have brilliant casts. The girls were going on and on about Percy and Annabelle so I had to join the fangirling team. It was a pentalogy of Greek gods and halfbloods. I’m IN! Another series that had won prizes and good reviews is a trilogy called Walking Chaos. It’s centered in a dystopian society (like most young adult adventures) where the society is consisted by men – only men. They can hear each other’s thoughts, which is quite annoying to be honest. No privacy there. So the main protagonist was told that there is one quite spot and there he found a girl. Of course the story got more interesting from there.

Total books: Eight for now (5 + 3)

I was researching on how to write English novels and came across Joseph Conrad. I am not comfortable with my English and thought badly of how I constructed my sentences. It lacked some depth. So I am looking for tips, mentor or any author to wrap my head around that topic and found out that Conrad was Polish. English was his third language (he acquired it in his 20s) and he excelled at it. So I bought Lord Jim and Secret Sharer. Maybe I could learn something from him. The two stories are bound in one tome for the price of one book.

Nine books. You can’t really quit counting before ten, can you?

So I look for a poem book. I only bought one collected poems by Rumi. That was not enough so I decided to add Lang Leav to my list. I follow her page on Facebook and I like her poems. There’s something special in her words. Her poems are not long or tedious or even complicated. Its tendrils pull your soul out of abyss to breathe. Love and Misadventures sounded perfect as my last book.

And I clicked BUY.

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