Tag Archives: ancient greece

Destined — Jessie Harrell
Book Reviews
November 10, 2011 posted by Kiona

Destined — Jessie Harrell

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she’s come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

ADORABLE. Days after finishing Destined, I can’t stop thinking about it. And every time I do, I get this warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach. After a slew of contemporary and dystopian novels, Destined was exactly what I needed. This book retells the classic myth of Psyche and Eros, otherwise known as Cupid. It takes place in ancient Greece and while the story is set in the past, it’s given a current spin. The dialogue, mannerisms, and ways of thinking all reflect the present. This gives Destined a unique, incredibly fun flair. It’s also hard to put down and easy to love.

Destined reminds me of a mix between three of my favorite movies: Hercules, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle. I think it’d be pretty hard to read this book and not make the Hercules connection. I mean, that’s where my basic knowledge of Greek mythology comes from. Harrell portrays all the gods and goddesses in a comedic and distinct light. At no point does it feel like she’s just relying on the reader’s preconceived notions of how these immortals should act. Harrell takes the time to characterize each god or goddess, bringing them to life in a refreshing manner. She doesn’t just accept that you already know who Aphrodite is, but instead shows you the real Aphrodite. I loved all the mythology and traditions present in Destined. I also loved the fantastical and sometimes frightening/creepy elements that reminded me of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. It wasn’t super creepy or anything, but just imagining myself in Psyche’s shoes as she faced the creature that “even the gods feared” allowed me to sympathize completely with how freaked out she was. Honestly, in her place, I would’ve been freaking out ten times more.

The relationship between Psyche and Eros is perfectly swoon-worthy. This is one of the few instances where I don’t want the amazing love interest for myself, but only because he and Psyche are so perfect together. I was rooting for their relationship from the moment they met. Harrell provides the benefit of switching between each of their points of view, which gives Eros dimension and substance, so that he doesn’t just come across as a physically flawless, yet empty shell. The only problem with seeing his point of view is that it’ll make you fall even more in love with him — and then silently beg Psyche to do the same. Even as I think of it now, I just want to read it again.

If you’re looking for the world’s most heartwarming and heart-achingly romantic love story, do yourself a favor and read Destined. Harrell’s writing style is succinct and elegant. She engages all five senses and paints amazingly vivid scenes. I’d also recommend listening to “Crack the Shutters” by Snow Patrol — Harrell’s “signature song” for Psyche and Eros — before, during, and after you read it. The song fits their story perfectly. And it’s also just plain beautiful, kind of like Destined.

Pages: 209
Publication Date: November 2011
Publisher: Mae Day Publishing
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: Her touch sank into me like a sun-warmed stone. “This is what I’ve been waiting for. This day. I learned from my mistakes with Helen. But you?” She shook her head and smiled. “Oh, Psyche, you’re going to make me proud.”

 

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Book Club Read
March 18, 2010 posted by Katie

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan


Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god.

I was just a normal guy, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That’s when things really started going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

I first heard mention of the Percy Jackson books since watching the trailer for the recent adaption to screen, and as it is yaReads bookclub choice of the month, I decided to take a look and see what it is all about.

At first glances, Percy is a troubled kid. Constantly getting in trouble as school, unable to pay attention in classes because of his dyslexia, and his only true friend being the class outcast of Grover. With his best subject being Latin, taught by the slightly old Mr Brunner, Percy finds it tough to get a break. And when things start to seem slightly off on a recent school field trip to the museum, Percy starts to think that perhaps something isn’t right. For example, only he seems to remember their old maths teacher, and he seems to be the only one that Mr Brunner is really keen to get the ancient Greek and Roman myths right. Yet the vanishing maths teacher isn’t the only thing that seems to go wrong.

On a family holiday with his mum, things start to turn horrible. Being chased by a creature that shouldn’t exist, Percy must reach the sanctuary of a summer camp that even his mother doesn’t seem to know much about. When Percy arrives, he beings to discover exactly why he seems different.

For Percy is the son of a god. His is a half-blood, but just exactly who his father is, no one seems to know. At a summer camp that involves daily activities of sword fighting and learning Ancient Greek, Percy finally has a place where he belongs, a place with kids just like him. That is, until he attracts the attention of the one person you really shouldn’t disrupt.

Zeus thinks that Percy has stolen his lightning bolt – and demands that it must be returned before the summer solstice in ten days time. Accompanied by two friends, Percy begins the journey of a lifetime. One that could decide if he lives or dies. And with nearly every god and creature in the universe out to get you, locating one bolt of lightning is a lot harder than it looks.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is the first in a series of novels by Rick Riordan. I had high expectations of this novel, hearing a lot about it from friends and seeing great reviews. However, the biggest let of the novel was plot. To me, it didn’t move with any form of flowing pace, and lacked development. It was one action seen after the next. Just as you thought nothing more could happen to them, another obstacle was thrown in their way. I understand that it was a ‘quest’ novel, but I would have liked to see some more non-action development of plot – some working out of clues and a plan to get from A to B instead of running headlong at everything that came.

That being said, I did find the characters extremely enjoyable to read about. Highlights for me were both Annabeth and Grover. Both characters where strong and unique, helping Percy on his quest and helping him to grow as a person. In particular, I hope we see a lot more of Grover in future novels, he was a personal favourite.

If you’re a fan of action and mythology, that I can say that Percy Jackson will be something that you will enjoy.

Published date: 2005

Pages: 374

Rating:: ★★★½☆

Teaser quote: He pulled a pen from his coat pocket and handed it to me. It was an ordinary disposable ballpoint, black ink, removable cap. Probably cost thirty cents.

‘Gee,’ I said. ‘Thanks.’

‘Percy, that’s a gift from your father. I’ve kept it for years not knowing you were who I was waiting for. But the prophecy is clear to me now. You are the one.’