I didn’t know what to expect out of this collection of short stories – The Selection series seemed to be pretty much complete at the end of The One. I was completely wrong though, finding out about Amberly, Maxon, Aspen and Marlee’s tales just helped to build on the intrigue and beauty of America’s love story. Their views of each other and the characters, and their histories helped me to further understand some of the actions that I found so frustrating while watching Mer fall in love.
This is a really nice companion book to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It is a little quirky and different in its layout, but it really brings the world of Camp Half-blood to life. Interviews, short stories and profiles all morph together to create this short and lively book that are well worth reading if you have become as obsessed with the writings of Rick Riordan as I have.
The first four books in the Ranger’s Apprentice series focus on Will’s apprenticeship, and therefore, a lot of the time, it is Halt that eventually gets him out of the slightly tricky situations in which he finds himself. However, as a newly qualified Ranger, Will must find his own style and strength on his first solo mission. This progression of Will’s place in society is so seamless, that it isn’t until at least halfway through the book that you realise that you are half waiting for Halt to appear out of nowhere to offer some friendly advice and guidance.
John Flanagan does a wonderful job of taking a nationality as it would have lived and existed in pre-modern times and twisting them to suit his Ranger’s Apprentice series. The Skandians are a fantastic mimicry of the Vikings and manage to capture your interest from the very beginning. However, it is in Oakleaf Bearers that this talent is truly highlighted – the Gallicans and Temujai bring eerily familiar flavours to the tale of Will, Halt, Evanlyn and Horace’s exploits across the seas. Yet, he manages to set these antagonist peoples up in a way that isn’t insulting or degrading to the French and Mongolians upon whom he based these peoples. They may be the bad guys, but they have their own families and ways of life, which Flanagan makes obvious.
This series really begins to read as one continuous story in the third instalment – the journey that Will and Evanlyn take in this novel begins immediately after the end of The Burning Bridge. Likewise, the end of this tale blends seamlessly into The Oakleaf Bearers. Sometimes this is an incredibly odd and sometimes unenjoyable tactic in an authors writing, however, Flanagan is able to pull it off seamlessly. I spent the time reading this not only turning the pages eagerly to find out what happens next in the chapter, but also to get to the next chapter to read the secondary storyline.
Tori’s sass and inability to stay out of trouble continue in Crazy in the Blood. Her drive to find the illusive Uncle Christos is a great catalyst to the rest of the ensuing chaos. It is also a great reminder that although Tori is estranged from her apparently vast family, she has a strong connection to them and is unwilling to simply let her eccentric uncle disappear into the sunset. She risks everything (including her own life) to rescue him and bring him home for a wedding.
This was a great, easy read and I can’t wait to crack the spine of Crazy in the Blood. Diver takes the Greek myths and twists them to fit the life of a modern-day woman. Although Riordan has done this beautifully in his writing, Diver’s adaptation was much more subtle. I also loved how, where Riordan’s heroes are the descendants of Gods, Tori, Diver’s heroine, is the descendant of a Gorgon.
After reading the first two books in The Latter-Day Olympians series, I thought that I knew what to expect from this short prequel. I was wrong. Taking the tale of one of Hermes’ exploits and tying it into Tori Karcasis’ life worked beautifully, albeit unexpectedly. The clever use of Hermes’ different guises as the Trickster also helped to further expand this world of mythology, something that I hope to see echoed in the next few of The Latter-Day Olympians stories.
This short story was a constant surprise for me – the tale never took me where I expected, which is always such a pleasant surprise when reading a new story and author. The twists and turns that The Beast of Blackmoor Bog took me on in such a short story were thrillingly enjoyable and I am now busy hunting for more writing by Vane.
I loved, loved, loved this enthralling collection of four short stories. The underlying theme of paranormal romance provided a darker side to some great stories, but also a sense of joy and hope in each journey.