One False Note (39 Clues #2)

One False Note - The 39 Clues Wiki - Wikia

Amy, Dan, and Nelly must travel to Vienna in order to find the next clue on their hunt, and they are looking for something related to Mozart. Nelly speaks German, but other than having a young adult au pair, Amy and Dan are completely on their own. After shaking the other members of the family in the last book, Amy and Dan are being watched almost constantly by the other members of their family who are waiting for their chance to take out the less experienced team.

This book was shorter than I remember, and somehow I managed to read it in about an hour this morning. This did not make it any less enjoyable though. I loved hearing Amy be able to contribute more to this part of the quest, as she knows quite a lot about Mozart. Dan’s photographic memory was also highlighted in this book, specifically with some parts of the music. One of my favorite parts about the 39 Clues series was seeing Amy and Dan become stronger individually and closer as siblings, and this book was truly the start of that. Amy starts to grow from being a shy, stuttering little mouse to being a genuine threat to the other teams. Dan starts to become more mature and helpful, even in the more boring parts of the mission. And Nelly, one of the most dedicated nannies ever, shows her worth in being fluent in so many languages, and assisting Amy and Dan in their missions.

I recommend this series to anyone looking for a mystery/action/adventure/spy series appropriate for ages 10 and up.

Overall Rating: 5/5

 

 

The Red Pyramid Review

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Carter and Sadie Kane, ages 14 and 12 respectively, do not know each other much at all although they are brother and sister. When they were 8 and 6, their mother got into some sort of accident with their father and she died. Her parents wanted to take both children in, as they blamed Julius for her death, but Julius demanded at least one of his kids and to be able to see the other. So, Sadie lives with her grandparents in London, and Carter travels the world with his father. One Christmas, Carter and Sadie are both with their father for his yearly visitation. However, their father is acting strangely, admits that their mother had died at an Egyptian artifact in London, and takes them to a museum for his work instead of going somewhere normal and Christmas-y. As Carter and Sadie are both very suspicious of their father’s actions, he increases the tension by telling them to lock the curator of the museum in his office so he could access the Rosetta Stone privately. He tells them to stay out of the room, but they sneak in and end up seeing what he was really doing.

He makes the Stone explode, and instead of summoning Osiris he summons Set, the god of Chaos. Set captures their father, some strange people seemingly save Carter and Sadie, and Carter and Sadie are taken into the custody of the police. Never to fear, Amos, the Kanes’ uncle, whisk them away from the police and their grandparents into the world of Egyptian magic, and take them from London to Brooklyn, New York.

It has been a while since I had read this book. The last time I remember it, I was listening to it on audiobook as I went to sleep as something relaxing to do. Needless to say, it wasn’t that relaxing, and I found myself more often than not staying up an extra few minutes to listen to the story. However, by falling asleep listening to the story, I remembered some parts of it as I was re-reading it now, and could read the whole story in everyone’s “voices” just from the memory of it.

I loved this story more than the Percy Jackson series at the time because I was closer to the age of the characters and this gave me a GIANT book to read with characters my own age. Now I am 3 years older than Carter was in this book, and so the little romantic tidbits and bad jokes sometimes seem boring to me now, but I remember reading it when I was 11 and 12 and thinking that it was the best book ever. Now I think of it fondly, but I do see why some people thought it was boring or disliked it.

The story is pretty action packed in some parts, but in order to enjoy the story you have to get through the pages when nothing really happens or they are just exploring a secret room and no one is doing anything. I feel as if this will improve as the story goes on, but I did find it to be dragging a bit in some places. I do not know if there were any historical errors in the story as I do not know much about Egyptian mythology, but I thought that Rick Riordan did a great job of giving each of the Egyptian gods mentioned in the story their own personalities.

One thing I did like in the story was that there were no good for nothing characters. As I am reading the Percy Jackson series, sometimes I just get annoyed with Grover and how he seemed to slow things down more than he seemed to help. However, even though Carter wasn’t the most athletic, and Sadie didn’t know much about the mythology, no one seemed to be the brunt of the joke or the character who slowed everyone else down. Everyone in the story pulled their weight in their own way, and that’s what I loved about it.

Overall, if you haven’t read this book series yet, I advise you to take some time this summer to read it. It is definitely worth your while.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters Review

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Percy has been away from Camp Halfblood all year, and he actually is okay in his new school. He gets to see his mom more, he doesn’t have to deal with his horrible stepdad, and he can go to the camp every summer. If he hadn’t befriended the homeless boy, Tyson, put into the school, he may have even been popular. However, one of the bullies has some friends visit on the last day of school, they turn into monsters, Annabeth appears, and things go back to being crazy.

The tree that protects Camp Halfblood is dying. Dionysus laid off Chiron, and in his place hired Tantalus, a soul who is tortured by not being able to eat or drink. Naturally, this makes him a little bitter, and he especially dislikes Percy and his friends. Tyson turns out to be a baby Cyclops, and also Percy’s half-brother. When it is time for someone to get a quest, Clarisse is put on the quest to find the Golden Fleece that is needed to save the tree. Percy, Tyson, and Annabeth were going to back off, but when Grover starts dream-contacting Percy saying that he is trapped by a Cyclops, they decide to abandon that approach, escape the camp, and go to save Grover. This leads them on a quest that takes them back across the US and crosses paths with the other quest lead by Clarisse.

I used to consider this a less interesting book than The Lightning Thief. Right now, I am not really sure why? Maybe it was just the time I had read it? Because now I consider this book to be 10x better than The Lightning Thief.

Annabeth was my favorite character when I read this series about 6 years ago. However, when I reread the Lightning Thief, I thought to myself “Wow….she is really…horrible”. I don’t mean horrible like she was a horrible character, but she always put herself above Percy, as if he was less than her, but more often than not he was the one who was getting them out of difficult situations. She wasn’t totally useless, but she wasn’t all high and mighty as she seemed to be. I don’t know how my 11 year old self seemed to just skip over this, but now it stood out like a sore thumb.

However, in this book, I saw some major growth with her character. She became nicer to Percy, nicer to everyone actually. She stopped acting like she always knew everything….most of the time. Her backstory was really interesting to discover throughout the book. I just saw her mature by leaps and bounds.

Tyson is also a very sweet and interesting character to read. I won’t spill too much about him besides the Cyclops thing, since its important, but his backstory is also interesting. Grover doesn’t really grow much in the book, but he is mostly captured for the story. Percy also doesn’t grow that much, but he does get closer to Tyson, Grover, Annabeth, and Clarisse.

I quite enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to finish this first series.

Overall Rating: 5/5

 

The Lightning Thief

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Percy Jackson is a problem child. He has been expelled from almost every school he’s been in. He has ADHD and dyslexia which means that all his grades are close to failing or actually failing. However, he wants to change this. He wants to stay in the school he is in, with his awesome Latin teacher Mr. Brunner who actually believes in him, and his best friend Grover who is loyal to him. He is on probation in his new school because of his multiple arguments with the school bully Nancy Bobafit, so he is determined to not accidentally cause trouble like he usually does on the school field trip. When the two argue, he blacks out momentarily, and when he “wakes up” she is in the fountain. Kids are saying that the water grabbed her and dragged her in there. Mrs. Dodds, the math teacher, takes Percy inside for what he thinks is a reprimand. However, she transforms into a monster that he kills after Mr. Brunner tosses him a sword/pen.

He comes out of the museum very confused. Nancy says that the teacher who took him in was Mrs. Kerr not Mrs Dodds, and even Mr. Brunner denies that there ever was a Mrs. Dodds. Grover hesitates before saying that Mrs. Dodds never existed, so Percy decides that they must be lying. His grades go down, he lashes out at other teachers, and he is eventually told that he is expelled after this year. He hears Mr. Brunner saying to Grover in private about a solstice and that a Kindly One was in the school. Then it is time for summer break.

He travels back to his mom Sally’s house that they share with his horrible stepdad Gabe Ugliano. His mom is wonderful, and while he was away she has planned for them to go back to the beach where she met Percy’s real father. He decides not to ruin the moment by telling her about all the crazy stuff that has been going on, but instead just enjoys the day on the beach with his mom. That night, he has dreams of a horse and a large bird fighting each other, and when he wakes up Grover the SATYR has come to take him to Half Blood Hill.

Once he gets to camp, a Minotaur attacks him, taking his mom, and a blonde haired girl who feeds him pudding in his sleep keeps talking about a winter solstice. Mr Brunner/Chiron talks to him once he wakes up about the quest he must go on in order to keep Olympus from war.

I read this book when I was the same age as Percy in this book. I loved it, and I went directly onto reading the Sea of Monsters. I thought I was going to whip through the series. But then, for reasons personal and reasons such as the fact that I only had the first 3 books and not the whole series, I stopped after the Sea of Monsters and about one chapter of the Titan’s Curse. Fast forward almost 6 years. I now have all the books except for 2 of the Heroes of Olympus series, and I am trying to reread the Titan’s Curse in its entirety. I am so lost, I have forgotten almost everything about the characters. I decided that I needed to go back through the whole series to remember the important bits before I dived back into the books.

I really enjoyed reading this book, just like I did years ago. Sure, many of the things that I found funny or cool when I read it at 11 seem a bit more childish to me, simply because of the fact that I am older, but it didn’t make the overall story any less enjoyable. I liked how Percy has a mom who really cares about him, even when he is expelled from school after school she always believes him when he says that it wasn’t his fault. If it wasn’t for his mother Percy would have been a lost cause. Then there is Grover, the small runt-y little satyr that is his friend and who helps him, showing that with determination even the weakest can prove themselves to be strong. I loved Percy and how his strong family grounding helped him through all of his struggles throughout the story.

I would recommend this book for younger readers, for example 4-5th grade and up, but as you can see it is a great read for anyone really. I will be posting the rest of the Series reviews as I read them, and I hope that you follow me as I read hopefully all of Rick Riordan’s kids books.

Overall Rating: 5/5

The Stonekeeper’s Curse Review

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After the events of the previous book, Emily and Navin have their mother with the rest of their great-grandfather’s robots in the big robot house. She and her brother must go to the city of Kanalis to wake up their mother from her coma, as the antidote for the poison that is affecting her can only be found in this city. The Evil Elf King sends his son with a helper to go after them as they race to the peak where the antidote should be found by a dragon’s egg. They don’t know this, so they end up having to abandon the house and their mother in order to hide from the elves in the city. A fox man that they meet in the city tells them that the trees told him that it was his destiny to help the stonekeeper/Emily on her mission. They find out that they have to go to an area full of these magical talking trees to find a fruit that will save her mother. They think that their only issue will be protecting themselves from the elves, but the girl also fights with the stone that also tries to make her hand her power over to it. If she hands over the power of the stone to the stone itself, she could potentially lose herself and become a very powerful yet dangerous force to be reckoned with.

I wish I could draw. Instead of writing a review, I would then make amazing fanart. Words cannot express how much these stories draw you in just through the art. I loved every minute of the 45 minutes to an hour it took for me to read this book.

The main female character is so strong and young. Now she has her mother, a house full of robots and strange animal-robots, and a younger brother to protect with her stone. The stone that is constantly trying to take over her brain. Yet she does not falter, and is constantly looking for new ways to help the people on her adventure with her. Even showing kindness to people who seemingly don’t deserve any.

Her brother Navin never seemed to be that much of a burden in the story, but now he is showing how he will become more useful as the series goes on in his own way. He seems to have more of a connection with the robots and robotic animals in the house and he keeps everything together when his sister has to do the larger parts of the missions.

Altogether, this series is so beautifully drawn, and I hope to be able to finish it before the school year lets out. I recommend to anyone looking for a quick yet fulfilling graphic novel read.

Overall Rating: 5/5

 

Inkheart Review

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Mo and Meggie are a father-daughter bookworm team. Mo runs a business where he binds collector’s books, and Meggie goes with him on his jobs throughout the world as she reads her way through her own mini collection of books. Everything seems to be normal until one night a strange visitor named Dustfinger arrives. He takes her father into a private room, and as Meggie spies on the conversation, she overhears that a man named Capricorn wants a book that Mo has. The next day Mo takes Meggie and Dustfinger to the south, to Meggie’s aunt Elinor and her book collection. Dustfinger is an interesting person to Meggie, and he has a horned ferret-like pet and is a fire-eater.

While spending time with her book-addicted Aunt Elinor, Meggie sees Mo give a strange book called Inkheart to the aunt. That night, men come and take Mo and the book away, but it is revealed that Elinor secretly switched the books against Mo’s wishes so she could secretly read it. They must all go to Capricorn’s village with the real Inkheart and hope that Mo is alive and well so they can all go home. This sets them on an adventure filled with a host of interesting characters and magical book-reading.

This book took me longer than average to finish because it is a 500-page book! Some parts of the story took me awhile to finish simply because they weren’t as action-packed as others, but if you can get past a few dry spells the book is definitely worth your time. It is all about the magic that books can bring, and I can easily see this becoming a classic in the future. It has all the things that make a great adventure story, unique characters, unique story, and a lot of description and action. I will be reading the rest of the Inkheart series, and I recommend this to anyone who has the time/patience to read a 500-page amazing story.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5