The Lightning Thief (#1) by Rick Riordan

Published: 1st March 2006 (print)/ 13 January 2010 (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Disney Hyperion Books/Penguin Audiobooks
Pages: 375/10 hrs
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★  ★  ★  – 5 Stars

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. 

From the minute I started this book I was hooked. I have wanted to read this for literal years and I’m so glad when I was finally able to it was as great as I’d always heard it to be. Riordan’s voice is fantastic and Percy is a character that shines on the page. Starting as a twelve year old it was a surprise since I’d always thought him older but it worked well because the naïve and inexperienced but enthusiastic mentality works well, Especially as Percy starts to learn about who he is, what he is capable of and the hidden world in which he lives.

I love the Greek myths as a general rule and the explanations and justifications Riordan uses to explain them in our world is fantastic and makes complete sense. I almost wanted to live in such a world. The modernisation of the ancient figures is incredibly clever and the chance to hear more about the well known gods, but some lesser ones as well is great as Riordan doesn’t focus solely on the big well known names.

I cannot understate how clever this book is. The locations of Olympus, the Underworld and how seamlessly the gods have infiltrated our world is amazing. As Percy learns we learn but the writing connects it to the story so there are never clunky exposition and everything is told through a character naturally in dialogue or through experience by Percy himself. What is clever is how Riordan has used real learning issues like ADHD and dyslexia and made it into an advantage for Percy and those like him. There’s a reason, it has a purpose. I loved the reworking of issues into advantages for a secret life.

There is adventure and danger, plenty of chances for Percy and others to be heroes and we see the start of this new world. I practically dove into book two after finishing this one. It held strong from start to finish and I loved every minute of it.

You can purchase The Lightning Thief via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

Twice Upon a Time: Fairytale, Folklore, & Myth. Reimagined & Remastered edited by Joshua Allen Mercier

Published: 13th February 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Bearded Scribe Press
Pages: 728
Format: ebook
Genre: Fairy tales
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

Fairytales don’t always happen once upon a time. Fables don’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes the stories we love are too dark for nightmares. What if waking Sleeping Beauty was the worse thing the Prince could have done? What if Rapunzel wasn’t in that tower for her own protection—but for everyone else’s?

Assembled by The Bearded Scribe Press, Twice Upon A Time combines classics and modern lore in peculiar and spectacular ways. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, this unique collection showcases childhood favorites unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

 Both traditionally-published and independent authors will take you on a whirlwind ride through fairytale and folklore, myth and magick. Cherished stories are revisited and remastered into newly-treasured tales of hope and heartache, of adversity and adventure.

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

Twice Upon a Time is an anthology of fairytale retellings and cover everything from the Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Anderson, fables, myths, as well as numerous folklores. Each fairy tale has been interpreted and retold differently and the myriad of authors who contribute have created stories that reimagine fairy tales in beautiful, unimaginable, and captivating ways.

What is wonderful about this collection is each story takes a different approach; while some may stay true to the darker or original story in many ways, others deviate completely and have been reworked into completely new stories that are sometimes a world away from their originals. In doing so, there are delightful stories about romance, magic, and true love alongside stories in other worlds and battles with giants in space, hidden dangers, wicked witches, or dark bloodthirsty creatures from the deep. But no matter how much a story seems to stray from the primary story, there is always an element of the original under the surface, connecting its origins back to the well known classic and keeping the fairy tale alive.

As a lover of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, each story was fascinating in its approach but some clearly stood out from others. One of my favourites from the collection was Blood and Water, a brilliant story that is beautifully told from the first page and is one that surprises and is dark and delightful. Others like All That Glitters or Princess in Peril were also really enjoyable; these remain closer to the fairy tale style in terms of narrative style but are still unique retellings. There are also modern day adaptations as well, Spear Among Spindles takes a different look at the Helen of Troy myth and it is quite amazing to read about a myth from a new perspective but have it play out with televison, prep schools, and the threat of modern day war.

Every story is different and there is no doubting the creativity and imagination of the authors to recreate fairy tales and fables in such ways. Everything from The Grimm Brothers to and fables and myths in-between is covered, some easily recognisable others not so much, though this all depends on your own knowledge of fables and fairy tales.

There are a few peculiar ones and certainly not all will be to everyone’s liking, but with so many stories and numerous styles of story there are bound to be more than enough to satisfy every lover of fables and fairy tales alike. Even if not every story is appealing, there is no denying the work and creativity that went into each one of these stories. The approach each author has taken to these stories is clever and commendable, and they are certainly stories you can return to and reread over and over again. I really hope that one day this anthology is recognised as a great addition to the ever-growing collection of fairy tale retelling.

 You can purchase Twice Upon A Time via the following

Amazon

Amazon Aust

Amazon UK