Friday, 22 August 2014

Book Review|| Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

'A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.' So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. 'If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that.' Dramatic full-color illustrations throughout by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco make this volume--a must for home, library, and classroom shelves--as stunning as it is entertaining.

Amna's Rating: 3/5

This book promised much. Knowing that it would feature the long-awaited Percy first person narration, it probably got fangirls all over the world excited.
Except for the fact it wasn't a Percy book.
I mean sure Percy was 'supposed' to narrate it but it didn't really have the feel we have come to expect of a Percy Jackson book (atleast before Heroes of Olympus). It's witty, sarcastic, entertaining but it would be better suited if it had been narrated by Rick Riordan( Chief Scribe at Camp Half-Blood as he likes to call himself). Percy... I don't know, he seemed kind of forced. If it had been Percy he couldn't go through what happened to Tantalus and the lot without adding some sarcastic comment based on his own experience with them.

Don't get me wrong, I am a major fan of PJ (thankfully not a mind-numbed fangirl) and that's why it annoys me to find him telling a story which fits in with the rest of the series like a glove potato sack
There were a lot of contradictions with the original series. I know, I know greek myths have lots of versions but if you are making it a Percy book atleast stick to the ones used in the books, especially the ones which had an impact on the plot. Hestia giving up her throne in favour of Dionysus was important the The Last Olympian, it taught Percy about yielding when necessary and if that didn't happen, he wouldn't let Luke be the hero of the prophecy and Kronos would have probably come to power, defying the whole purpose of the series. Not giving Hestia a throne in the first place in this companion book was not a cool idea. Other contradictions include Dionysus's past and Zeus's captivity.

Otherwise, it was an okay-good book. It weaves through the Olympian's backgrounds effortlessly making you absorb a lot of cool info. The stories are interconnected seamlessly and for a book without any plot or characters, it keeps you reading nicely. PS. that wasn't an insult, it isn't supposed to have a plot as it is mostly follows up on important events related to the major olympians but it is much cooler than a factfile. 
It's a decent read if you want to know about Greek mythology and I would have rated it more if it hadn't been labelled as a PJ book because that really spoiled it.

It's written in the typical easy- flowing Rick Riordan style which is easy on the eyes and leads you in a chatty way through various important events in a oh-theyre-not-so-important way.

The illustrations were pretty cool but had little to do with the reading experience.

Cut to the chase: pretty interesting book on the olympians and their history but not a PJ book, though if you are a Rick Riordan fan then there aren't a lot of reasons not to read it as it is somewhat entertaining. Just don't think of it as 'omigosh! its the last Percy narrated book the author's gonna ever write and just before Blood of Olympus eek!'' (or whatever fangirls do)

I Liked:
  • The easy flowing style characteristic of Rick Riordan
  • Interconnection between stories

I Didn't Like: 

  • A forced Percy POV
  • Contradictions
Check it out on Goodreads

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Author Interview|| Andrea K Höst

Andrea K. Host is the author of the Silence of Medair series along with several other books. Even if you don't read self-published books this one is definitely a must- read.

Born in Sweden and raised in Australia, she currently lives in Sydney. She writes fantasy, but wanders occasionally into science fantasy. Her novel "The Silence of Medair" was a finalist for the 2010 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel. 

Andrea was kind enough to spare some time to give us an interview about publishing and publicizing books. Writers, read up, there are some really helpful tips in here!

TSD: After having bad experience with a publisher (details), you decided to self-publish ‘The Silence of Medair’. The decision was proven to be a good one as the book went on to be a finalist for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel 2010. When you made the decision to self-publish, did you know that your book would make it?

Not at all. It was a huge and delightful surprise for me to make the finals of the Aurealis. At the same time 'making it' as a writer covers a lot of different goals. I think my first fan letter, my first positive review – not to mention my first royalty cheque – were also little 'making it' milestones for me.

TSD: How was your self-publishing experience? Did the pros outweigh the cons? Would you recommend it?

Andrea: I really enjoy self-publishing. It's had very few negatives for me, and for the most part has involved gradually building a readership and being buoyed up by support.The decision to self-publish is an individual one – different people want different things out of their writing – but for anyone who likes a hands-on approach, who can take the long-term view on gaining a readership, or who just wants to get their work out there, there's not a lot of reasons to not self-publish.

TSD: You take out time to reply to emails. How does that affect your relationship with your readers?

Andrea: I guess that depends on how well I answer the emails! Getting mail from my readers is a special experience for me – hearing how my stories have touched people, or just being asked for more. I always feel a little daunted trying to draft a response, but I hope that I don't come across as too much of a prat in my replies!

 TSD: What do you find to be the most successful technique of publicizing your books?

Andrea: Free first book in a series. There is nothing that compares.

TSD: What aspect of your writing are you most proud of?

Andrea: Gosh – that's a difficult question! I like messing with expectations. Not plot twists so much as building my worlds just a little bit left of centre. I particularly like to write egalitarian worlds, giving my female characters challenges that don't revolve around what women are and aren't allowed to do in a restrictive culture. While stories about coping with restrictive cultures, and stories about "a girl can do that too", are both important, these particular narratives almost completely dominate stories revolving around women. I like to read – and write – stories exploring different challenges for my female characters.

 TSD: Do you think all your hard work and determination paid off? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Andrea: I think that I'm really lucky that the internet and e-readers came along and gave me all these opportunities. The past few years of self-publishing have definitely given me plenty of emotional highs – and a nice income supplement as well.

I'd love to be writing full time in ten years, but even if that's not the case, I hope to see myself with, well, ten more books out! A book a year is about my speed. No matter what the future holds with the constantly changing face of publishing, I know I'll want to keep on writing.

 Thank you Andrea for taking out the time=) We'll keep reading as long as you keep writing!

Additional links:
Andrea's Website
Check out The Silence of Medair
Check out Hunting

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