Welcome to part 4 of the series in which I’ll be giving short reviews of all 50-something books I read last year, in blocks of 10! I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll finish off the post with my highlight from these 10 books.
Avengers: Time Runs Out – 7/10 … Marvel’s Secret Wars was their big 2015 event (although it’s only just wrapping up), and I, like many Marvel fans, was excited to see what would be left when it all wrapped up. This graphic novel, however, deals with the beginning, showing how the events of Secret Wars came to be. Unfortunately, this story didn’t quite live up to its grand billing, but it was slick and polished in the way that all big Marvel stories are.
Avengers: Time Runs Out 2 – 7/10
The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan – 8/10 … at this point I finally got round to buying and reading the final book in the Heroes of Olympus series, and it was a fitting end to the 10 book long Percy Jackson saga. Witty, funny, and packed full of classical mythology, this brought back all of the magic of the original Percy Jackson books. I may be a few years older than Riordan’s normal target audience, but I can assure you that at some point in 2016 I’ll be picking up his latest book, The Sword of Summer.
Knowing Jesus in the Old Testament, by Andrew Malone – 6/10 … I bought this book thinking that it was about something other than it was, and that was my mistake, but it meant that it didn’t have the effect on me that it could have done. I thought it was about the different ways the Old Testament points to Jesus (which I am fascinated by), but it was actually a debate about ‘Christophanies’ – apparent appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament. If this topic interests you, then this is a book worth picking up, but I personally found the book a bit too dry to pique my interest in a topic that I hadn’t given much thought to beforehand.
The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan – 7/10 … these next three books are all one trilogy, and as I read them back to back they blurred into one a little, so I’ll write a chunkier paragraph covering all of them rather than writing each book up individually. I’ll start by saying that they’re good books, and fans of Percy Jackson will enjoy them. These books, collectively, The Kane Chronicles are to Egyptian mythology what PJ is to classical mythology, and they certainly revived my interest in the subject, which I haven’t thought about since reading Horrible Histories in primary school! Funny and clever as always, I definitely enjoyed reading this trilogy, but it never quite reached the heights of the PJ books, and for that reason I can’t give them a higher rating.
The Throne of Fire, by Rick Riordan – 7/10
The Serpent’s Shadow, by Rick Riordan – 7/10
Lightborn, by Tracy Sullivan – 6/10 … In my attempt to read more sci-fi, this book followed the likes of 2312 and the Hyperion books in my summer reading. Unfortunately, my experience of it was closer to the former than the latter. It probably didn’t help that I prefer space opera type sci-fi to this more grounded, alternate reality type thing, but for whatever reason I wasn’t massively enthralled by this book, in which our world has been forever changed by ‘Shine’, a method of transmitting data directly to the human brain through light. It was a bit bizarre, and quite confusing, to the point that as I’m writing this I can’t really remember what was going on.
Deadpool (Dead Presidents) – 8/10 … The first graphic novel in Marvel’s most recent pre-Secret Wars Deadpool run, is a book that I would not hesitate to recommend to any fan of comics. Wade Wilson, the Merc with a Mouth, is on form with streams of jokes and inappropriate comments, combined with a shattering of the fourth wall, that makes him one of Marvel’s most brilliant characters. The storyline is, let’s face it, ridiculous, but you sort of expect that with Deadpool. This is a brilliant starting point for this unique character.
Memories of Ice, by Steven Eriksson – 10/10 … here we are at book 3 of the Malazan series, and one of the best of the five I’ve currently read, surpassing the first two. Why was it so good? By the time you’ve read the first two books, you’ve gotten used to Erikson’s world and the style of his story telling, and this background stuff is no longer so baffling. By book 3, you can really start to appreciate the complexities of what’s going on, and the result is majestic. If you feel bogged down by 1 and 2, stick with it, because by book 3 you’ll start reaping the rewards of your perseverance.
Whilst this block of ten has been dominated by Rick Riordan, the best book of the bunch is undoubtedly Memories of Ice, what was undoubtedly one of the best books I read last year.