I love mythology.  Always have, always will.  My latest read, Wildefire by Karsten Knight (no relation), relies heavily on mythology for its story, but it’s not your typical retelling of a mythological tale.  Unlike so many books that deal with well-known myths, Wildefire brings together deities from several different cultural belief systems.  The gods and goddesses in this story come from Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Zulu, Shinto, Polynesian, and even Native American myths.  That in itself is pretty cool to me.  It’s also cool how this unique story unfolds…

Ashline Wilde does not have an easy life as the only Polynesian girl in her school in New York, and things are about to get much worse. When Ash finds out that her boyfriend cheated on her, she lets the girl he cheated with know just how upset she is. Things go from bad to worse when Ashline’s estranged sister Eve enters the fray. What could have blown over in a few days escalates into a horrific, unexplainable incident that will send Ash across the country to escape the fallout.

Months later, Ash is a student at Blackwood Academy in California.  She’s the school’s star tennis player, she has good friends, she’s caught the eye of a really hot park ranger, and she’s finally beginning to leave the past behind her…or at least she thinks so.

It seems that Ash did not end up at Blackwood by accident.  She and several other students were called there by–what else?–a siren.  Ash and the others soon learn that they are not mere high school students.  They are reincarnations of gods and goddesses, and each of them has a purpose to fulfill.  But who (or what) has determined what that purpose should be?

Ash is not sure what is going on or if she even wants to be a part of it, but she is sure of one thing–her life will never be the same.  (Oh, how right she is.)  And when big sister Eve–who is also more than human–reappears to wreak havoc in Ash’s life, Ash must rely on all of her resources–both human and divine–to preserve the life she’s built for herself.  Can she win a fight with her powerful and determined sister?  What does Eve even want with Ash?  Can Ash solve the mystery clouding her future before the world as she knows it is set aflame?  Read Wildefire by Karsten Knight to discover how Ash deals with a war of mythological proportions.

If you’re looking for a book that is different from nearly everything out there, I encourage you to give Wildefire a try.  Even the chapter setup is unique.  Mysteries abound in this story, some of which remain unsolved at the end.  And the ending is so unexpected that I think readers will be clamoring to know where the story is headed.  Luckily, questions will be answered in two more books.  Book two, Embers and Echoes, will be released sometime this year, and book three, Afterglow, will be out in 2013.

Caution:  Wildefire contains some adult language and situations, so I would recommend it for readers age 14 and up.

If you’d like more information on Karsten Knight and the Wildefire series, visit http://www.karstenknight.com/.  You can also follow Karsten on Twitter @KarstenKnight.  Peace out.

The Goddess Test

Girl moves to a new town.  Girl meets boy.  Boy is brooding and mysterious.  Girl falls for boy.  Boy has deep, dark secret.  Girl must decide if boy is worth giving up everything.  Does this sound familiar to anyone else?  I will admit that this setup has become a bit of a formula for a lot of young adult fiction, but do you want to know a secret?  It works.  And when you throw in a hefty dose of Greek mythology into the mix, like Aimee Carter does in The Goddess Test, it works even better.  (As we all know, I love me some Greek mythology.)  The Goddess Test gives new life to an often misunderstood Greek deity and shows how far one girl will go to save herself and those she loves.

Kate Winters’ mother is dying, and it’s up to Kate to make one last wish come true.  Her mother wants to move back to her childhood home in Eden, Michigan, so Kate uproots her entire life and moves to a place she’s never seen.  She’ll have no friends, no ties, and she’ll slowly watch the only family she’s ever known fade away.  But the small town of Eden may have more in store for Kate than she ever dared to expect…

On a night full of fear and hopelessness, Kate meets Henry.  She is entranced by him, but she’s not really sure why…until he brings a young girl back from the dead.  It seems that Henry is really Hades, Greek god of the Underworld, and, in exchange for this girl’s life and more time with her mother, he wants Kate to accept a proposal that could change her world forever.  (And by “forever,” I really mean forever.  We’re talking eternity here.)

Kate agrees to Henry’s terms, but she must first pass a series of tests.  She won’t know what the tests are or when they are coming.  All she does know is that eleven girls have attempted these tests before her, and all eleven have died.  Kate is Henry’s last chance.  If she fails, she’ll lose Henry, her mother, and everything she’s ever known.  If Kate passes, she’ll become Henry’s wife and goddess of the Underworld.  But does Henry even care if she passes or not, or is he still pining for Persephone, the wife who left him behind?  Is passing even possible when so many before her have failed?

Kate isn’t always sure what is going on around her, but she knows that she must pass the tests before her, for Henry’s sake as well as her own.  Even though someone seems determined that she fail, Kate will do everything in her power to become a goddess or die trying.  Will she succeed?  Find out when you read The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.

The Goddess Test isn’t incredibly deep, but it is a fun, quick read that puts a different spin on the Greek myths that we know and love.  And there’s more!  The sequel, Goddess Interrupted will be released in April of 2012.  Judging by the synopsis on the author’s webpage (http://www.aimeecarter.com/About_the_Books.html), this sequel will be made of awesome!  The cover alone is enough to get me to read it.  Check it out below:

If you enjoyed Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series or Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs, you should give The Goddess Test a try.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

(By the way, I apologize if this post is less than my best.  Today was my first day back at school after summer break, and I’m a little wiped out.  I’ll do better next time.)

The Lost Hero

Well, Rick Riordan has done it again.  After the travesty that was the movie adaptation of The Lightning Thief, I thought I was done with the antics at Camp Half-Blood.  How wrong I was.  I just finished reading The Lost Hero, the first book in Riordan’s new Heroes of Olympus series, and I am absolutely hooked.  I loved how this new story and these new characters interact with the characters and events of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.  There is a wonderful sense of continuity, but readers are also introduced to a new story line with its own characters and challenges.

In The Lost Hero, we are introduced to three new demigods:  Jason, Piper, and Leo.  At the beginning, they have no idea who they really are or what they can do.  After a treacherous field trip to the Grand Canyon, however, things begin to change–especially when their gym coach turns out to be a somewhat unpredictable satyr.  The three teens are spirited away to Camp Half-Blood where, one by one, they are claimed by their godly parents.  Even this is not without its conflict.  (I won’t tell you who their parents are.  That would really ruin things for you.  You’ll just have to read to find out.)

Shortly after Jason, Piper, and Leo arrive at Camp Half-Blood, they are sent on a quest–and we all know how wonderful those usually turn out, don’t we?  They must stop something truly evil from coming to life and destroying Olympus and the world as they (and we) know it.  This could prove to be a bit difficult, especially since Jason has a touch of amnesia, Piper and Leo are hiding some pretty important details, and all of the gods of Olympus have gone silent.  To sum up, things are bad, and they’re about to get much, much worse.

Can our heroes succeed in their quest?  Why were these three demigods chosen for this all-important task?  Why does Jason constantly refer to the gods and goddesses by their Roman names?  How are these events connected to Percy Jackson and his actions in the Titan War?  What will they have to do–or give up–to defeat the evil that is rising?  Read The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan for the answers to these questions and more.  (I will warn you that some of these questions may be answered, but about a million more will pop up to replace them.  Awesome.)

Just like the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lost Hero (and the rest of the Heroes of Olympus series, I hope) is great for upper elementary, middle, and high school readers.  Adults will enjoy it, too!  I’m looking forward to the next book in this series, The Son of Neptune, due out in the fall of 2011.

For more information on Rick Riordan and his wonderful books, visit http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx.

The Lightning Thief – Movie reaction

I had such high hopes for the movie adaptation of Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief. I knew that, if the powers that be stuck to the book, there would be a lot of happy book nerds out there who would love this movie. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

As I was in the theater watching this movie, I kept saying to myself, “That didn’t happen in the book,” or “Why did they leave this out?” or “Why was that changed?” It was almost like my Watchmen experience all over again. (If you didn’t already know, the movie adaptation of Watchmen is an absolute mockery of the wonderful graphic novel by Alan Moore.) Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but this still wasn’t what I’d call a happy movie-going experience.

If I hadn’t read the entire Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, I may have enjoyed the movie more, but true fans of the series will be upset that so much was changed. Were there some things that were true to the book? Yes. There were also some kick-butt special effects in this movie, but the negatives, in my opinion, outweighed the positives by a lot.

I don’t know if Hollywood has the sequels to The Lightning Thief in the works. If they do, I would highly recommend sticking to the amazing stories written by Rick Riordan. They don’t need to be changed.

Just my two cents…

The Last Olympian

Well, I’ve finally finished The Last Olympian, the fifth and final book in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.  It took me a while to finish this one, partly because I didn’t want the series to be over and partly because I was scared of what would happen.  Things didn’t unfold the way I expected, but that made the story even richer.

In The Last Olympian, Percy Jackson is about to turn sixteen.  For most kids, this might not be a big deal, but Percy is dealing with a prophecy saying that he’ll either save or destroy the world on his sixteenth birthday.  No pressure.  He’s facing war with the dreaded Titan lord Kronos, and the gods are battling the vicious monster Typhon, who is storming his way toward Mount Olympus.  The situation seems hopeless most of the time, but Percy has faith that good will triumph over evil.

Percy and his friends know that the fate of Western Civilization rests in their young hands.  Are they strong enough to battle the Titans and their powerful armies of monsters?  Will hope survive against all odds?  And just who is the last Olympian?  Read The Last Olympian to find out if a bunch of half-blood teenagers can save the world.

(By the way, when I read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, Rick Riordan indicated that this was the first Camp Half-Blood series.  You know what that means, readers.  More fun with Greek mythology is on the way!  Also, don’t forget The Lightning Thief will hit theaters on February 12th.  Don’t miss it!)

The Battle of the Labyrinth

Yay for my 100th post here on Knight Reader! Thanks to all who take the time to read my thoughts on young adult literature. Now, for my latest…

I have now finished book four of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and it totally lived up to the expectations set by the previous three books.  I plan to start book five, The Last Olympian, tomorrow.  (I would start it tonight, but I’ve found that these books make me have nightmares about fighting big, scary monsters.)

As The Battle of the Labyrinth begins, Percy is attending orientation at yet another high school.  As one would expect, things don’t go well.  He is attacked by demon cheerleaders and is forced to flee a fiery mess.  How will he explain this one to his mom?

The forces of Titan lord Kronos are growing more powerful, and Percy and his friends must venture into the mysterious labyrinth to find some way to save Camp Half-Blood, Mount Olympus, and the world as they know it.  This quest is not without its perils.  Percy and the gang encounter hideous monsters, legions of ghosts, old enemies, new friends, and a few gods and goddesses.  Who can they trust?  It is unclear who is working for Kronos and who is on the side of the Olympians.

As war between the Titans and the Olympians looms ever nearer, Percy and friends  must work to rally all who seek to save Olympus.  Can they do it?  Will they even survive that long?

For those of you who choose to read it, I hope you enjoy The Battle of the Labyrinth as much as I did.  As for me, onward to The Last Olympian!

The Titan’s Curse

I just finished The Titan’s Curse, book three in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, and I must say that these books are freakin’ awesome! I am obsessed with this series, and I plan to start reading book four, The Battle of the Labyrinth, as soon as I finish this post.

In The Titan’s Curse, Percy continues to fight against Luke and the return of the evil Titan lord Kronos. He is joined by Annabeth, Grover, Thalia, two newly discovered Half-Bloods, and the goddess Artemis and her Hunters. After hearing a particularly disturbing prophecy from the Oracle, Percy knows that things are only going to get worse before they get better.

Things get worse pretty quickly. Artemis and Annabeth are missing, and Percy and crew plan to save them. Of course, they battle lots of bad, bad monsters along the way, encounter a creature that could change the fate of Mount Olympus and their lives forever, and continue to deal with their father issues. Will they be able to rescue Artemis and Annabeth before all hope is lost, or will Kronos use them to move one step closer to destroying all of Western civilization? Read The Titan’s Curse to find out!

The Sea of Monsters

I’m now addicted to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians series. I just finished book two, The Sea of Monsters, and I think it was even better than The Lightning Thief. It was action-packed from start to finish, and I even teared up in a couple of places. I cannot wait to start book three, The Titan’s Curse.

In The Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson is about to end a pretty uneventful year at this year’s boarding school…or so he thinks. One horrible game of dodgeball later, and Percy is fleeing from monsters once again. He also learns the sad news that a mysterious poison has nearly destroyed his beloved Camp Half-Blood, his sole safe haven as the son of Poseidon.

Percy, Annabeth (daughter of Athena), and Tyson (a newcomer to Percy’s life who isn’t exactly what he seems) go on a quest to find the one thing that can save Camp Half-Blood: the Golden Fleece. Along the way, they run into your average, run-of-the-mill, terrifying monsters and dead Confederates, reunite with an old foe, and find help in the unlikeliest of places. They’ve also got to save Grover, Percy’s satyr friend, from marriage to a Cyclops.

The Sea of Monsters is a thrilling, often funny, tale of bravery, loyalty, and an ongoing quest to save the world from unspeakable evil. What will become of Percy and his friends? I’ll leave it for you to find out. Happy reading!

The Lightning Thief

Happy New Year to followers of Knight Reader (all…both of you). I’ve been taking a short break from YA literature, but I am slowly getting back into the swing of things.

A few months ago, I saw the trailer for The Lightning Thief.  I must say that I was intrigued.  I had not read the book (or any of the sequels, of course) since the series, in my opinion, was geared more toward middle school readers.  After seeing the movie trailer, however, I decided to read this series simply because I wanted to see the movie.  (I’m one of those annoying people who must read the book before seeing the movie it’s based on.)  Anyhoo, I just finished reading Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, and I no longer think this series is just for middle school readers.  This series is perfect for any readers who are into fantasy, heroes, Greek mythology, quests, and all that other fun stuff.

Percy Jackson is on the verge of being kicked out of yet another boarding school.  He can’t seem to behave, his dyslexia and ADHD don’t make school easy, and his pre-algebra teacher has just turned into a monster.  I know some people think their math teachers are monsters.  (Quick shout out to my mom, an eighth-grade math teacher.)  Well, Percy’s teacher actually is.  She’s a Fury right out of the Underworld, and she does her best to destroy Percy while on a field trip.

Well, she doesn’t succeed.  (That would make for a very short and disappointing book, wouldn’t it?)  This little incident, does, however, help to open Percy’s eyes.  He soon discovers that the myths he’s learned about ancient Greece aren’t myths at all.  In fact, he’s the son of a god himself, and he’s got some pretty big problems ahead of him.  Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and everyone thinks Percy stole it.  Percy knows that’s not true, but how can he prove it?

Percy and his friends set out on a quest to find the stolen lightning bolt and return it to Zeus before the summer solstice.  As you can imagine, things get in their way.  Percy must deal with a father he’s never really met, hoards of monsters on his heels, treachery from an unlikely source, a perilous journey to the Underworld, and an evil that even the gods will not speak of.  Exciting, yes?  Read Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief to experience Percy’s action-packed journey and see if he is successful in his quest to restore peace to Olympus.

Just for your information, the movie version of The Lightning Thief comes out on February 12th.  For more information, go to http://www.percyjacksonthemovie.com/.  For more information on Rick Riordan and the entire Percy Jackson series, go to http://www.rickriordan.com/.  Enjoy!