Reviews

ARC Alert, and the clock is ticking down! Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Rick Riordan presents for an ARC of this book. Below is my honest review.

Chokshi, Roshani. Aruh Shah and the End of Time. Rick Riordan Presents, 2018. Hardcover $14.64, ISBN 978-1-36801-235-5

TL;DR: Do I recommend this book? Yes!!! NOW IMMEDIATELY GO READ IT … well, okay, read it when it comes out! Its book birthday should be March 26th 🙂

Genre: Fantasy, and Mythology retelling!

Part of a series? Yes; this is the first of a new series!

Book Summary:

Aru Shah struggles a bit with the truth. Maaaybe she exaggerates things sometimes, but when your mom is always off at museums or dig sites or historical conventions and you live in a museum and everyone else at your new school is super rich and connected, maybe YOU would fudge the truth a bit, too. Fast-forward to Aru needing to light a cursed lamp that she’s been forbidden to light just so three bullies won’t expose her lies to the entire class. Well, turns out the lamp was cursed! The Sleeper has been released, and if Aru doesn’t stop him in 9 days, Lord Shiva will dance the world to its end. Cool.

Enter a pigeon guide, a new soul sister, and a thrilling adventure through the Otherworld, Kingdom of Death, and more. Can Aru stop the Sleeper?

Reader’s Comments:

WHAT THIS IS SO GOOD. Unsurprisingly, it’s a great pick for Percy Jackson fans, but it’s also just straight up a great book. Humor, great references (was that a Doctor Who reference I spotted?), gross jokes, and quick wit. Such a great read!

Grade Level: 3-6

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Reviews

New Kids on the Block: The New Olympians by Kate O’Hearn

O’Hearn, Kate. The New Olympians. Aladdin, 2014. 419 pages. Hardcover $15.44, ISBN 978-1-44244-415-7; PLB $13.86, ISBN 978-1-53797-654-9; TR $7.69, ISBN 978-1-44244-416-4

TL;DR: Do I recommend this book? Yes

Genre: Fantasy, Mythology Retelling

Part of a series? Yes — The Pegasus Series (this is book 3)

Plot Summary:

Diana and Steve, Emily’s father, return from Earth with news of home for Emily … plus newspaper headlines that make Emily and her friends’ hearts stop cold. A stallion named Tornado Warning is making a huge splash in the world of horse racing. Emily realizes that aside from being gray and wingless, Tornado Warning looks just like Pegasus. Joel points out that his racing statistics are simply impossible for racehorses, and everyone realizes the same terrifying possibility — could the CRU have cloned Pegasus? And if so, what other Olympians may have CRU-created doubles on Earth?

Emily and company return to Earth to investigate. They must sneak out of Olympus without Jupiter noticing them, for if Jupiter were to hear about the CRU’s latest deed, he would destroy Earth without a second thought. Pluto sends Alexis, a sphinx, to guard Emily as she investigates.

Can Emily and her friends save the day again, or has the CRU finally bested the Olympians?

Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

This third novel in the series delivers on the action once again. The storyline is a bit more eccentric than in the previous two novels, but the drama of the Olympians’ fate (as well as that of the New Olympians) keeps the pages turning. More divide-and-conquer mishaps and miscommunications also keep the suspense high. That said, the violence increases a great deal more in this novel. Alexis is a killing machine when needed, and while some violence happens off the page, a lot also happens for readers to “see.”

Romance also takes a larger role in this book as Emily struggles with feeling jealousy when other characters flirt with Joel.

Curriculum Ties/Library Use:

I stand by my recommendation from book one: this is a great series for kids looking for more mythological retellings. Percy Jackson fans will enjoy this one.

Grade Level: 5-8

Awards and Starred Reviews:

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Reviews

The fight is on: Olympus at War by Kate O’Hearn

O’Hearn, Kate. Olympus at War. Aladdin, 2013. 389 pages. Hardcover $14.59, ISBN 978-1-44244-412-6; PLB $13.86, ISBN 978-1-53793-453-2; TR $7.69, ISBN 978-1-44244-413-3

TL;DR: Do I recommend this book? Yes

Genre: Fantasy, Mythology Retelling

Part of a series? Yes — The Pegasus Series (this is book 2)

Plot Summary:

Olympus is in danger…again. The Nirads aren’t finished with Olympus, and every Olympian is braced and waiting for the monsters to return. Emily, however, has even more to worry about — where is her father, and what could the CRU be doing to him? She cannot bear to leave him in their clutches, so she and her friends decide to sneak back to Earth to save him. Unfortunately, Cupid catches a ride with them so as to be far away from Olympus if any Nirads show up. Cupid’s presence means that the group (already in need of camouflaging Pegs’s wings) must work even harder not to attract the attention of the CRU, the evil government agency bent on capturing and dissecting non-Earth beings. This added to the fact that more Nirads have been spotted in the CRU’s facilities makes the stakes higher than ever. Will Emily save her father? Will everyone make it back to Olympus? And will Olympus still be standing if they do?

Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

This second installment in the Pegasus series delivers on the action once again. Action comes in waves, and the group constantly uses the “Divide and Conquer” approach … one that usually adds more drama and danger than if they had stuck together (kids!). There are a hair too many convenient moments when adults just take these kids-of-indeterminate-age* at their word, but the book is still compelling and keeps readers turning the pages. A hint of romance is introduced in this book as well: Emily has a crush on Cupid, and Joel and Paelen are clearly upset about it (and Cupid’s flirting with Emily).

*We’re told in the first book that Paelen looks sixteen, and in a Paelen point of view chapter, he perceives Joel as being a bit younger than Paelen himself, but ages are never actually specifically discussed. Sometimes the kids seem more like teens, and others they read like middle school students.

Curriculum Ties/Library Use:

I stand by my recommendation from book one: this is a great series for kids looking for more mythological retellings. Percy Jackson fans will enjoy this one.

Grade Level: 5-8

Awards and Starred Reviews:

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Reviews

Ride like the wind, Pegasus! The Flame of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn

O’Hearn, Kate. The Flame of Olympus. Aladdin, c2011. 385 pages. Hardcover $15.44, ISBN 978-1-44244-409-6; PLB $13.06, ISBN 978-1-53793-452-5; TR $5.19, ISBN 978-1-44244-410-2

TL;DR: Do I recommend this book? Yes

Genre: Fantasy, Mythology Retelling

Part of a series? Yes — The Pegasus Series

Plot Summary:

Olympus is in danger. A merciless group of monsters storms the gods’ home and wreaks havoc on everything in sight. Olympians — accustomed to immortality — find themselves no match for these dangerous Nirads. Paelen, a thief and disliked by all on Olympus, decides that the chaos of this deadly battle is the perfect time to steal Pegasus’s bridle and become his master. While he promises a dying Mercury that he will do his best to help the Olympians defeat their attackers, his desire for power is too great.

As Olympus battles this evil force, a storm rages in New York City. Emily, a young girl whose mother has died of cancer only three months previously, must weather the storm on the top floor of her apartment building alone while her police officer father tries to help keep the peace in the city. During the terrifying storm, a pounding on her roof calls for her to investigate … only to find that Pegasus has landed on her home! He is badly injured, and she knows she will need help to set his wounds. Against her better judgment, she reaches out to troubled classmate Joel, a huge kid with a lot of anger issues who also happens to love mythology. United in their purpose of helping this amazing being, Emily and Joel begin to see each other as allies and even friends. Emily immediately bonds with the wounded Olympian and realizes that the fate of her new friend’s home rests on her shoulders…can she help Pegasus find the Flame of Olympus and save all of the Olympians?

Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

This book was recommended to me by students, so I was eager to learn more about the world of Pegasus. I was taken by surprise that O’Hearn combines Roman and Greek terminology and figures; while it was jarring to me as I started, I didn’t find it to be a problem. This book has it all — danger, adventure, heists, and drama. Emily will stop at nothing to help those she has sworn to protect, and seeing a human girl face off against giant monsters, evil government agencies, and other foes makes for a great read.

Curriculum Ties/Library Use:

I would hand this book to anyone looking for a readalike for Percy Jackson and the Olympians. There are lots of mythology retellings out there vying for readers, and this is one that definitely delivers.

Grade Level: 5-8

Awards and Starred Reviews:

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