Flash Reviews (18th December 2013)

Percy Jackson and the Battle for the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan ****
This year, I have read through the entirety of the Percy Jackson series of books, all of which deal with a young American boy who finds out that he is the son of Poseidon, and has to battle many beings from Greek mythology with his ragtag band of friends from thereon in.  I find Riordan’s interpretation of ancient and modern so very interesting, and Percy’s voice is believable throughout.  In The Battle for the Labyrinth, the story which has been set out in the first three books carries on marvellously.

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan ***
I have been so enjoying this series of books, and am surprised that I reached the end of them so quickly.  Throughout the entire series, Riordan has crafted all of his characters well, and as with the previous four books, I love the parallels which he draws between Ancient Greece and present-day America.  The Last Olympian was, however, my least favourite of the five Percy Jackson books.  It felt at times as though it had been written merely for the sake of ending the series.  The ending was a satisfactory one on the whole, but I predicted it in its entirety, which was a real shame.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Shattered by the Shocker (Marvel)

The Amazing Spider-Man: Shattered by the Shocker ***
Being rather an enormous fan of the man himself, I was given this graphic novel for my birthday by one of my University friends.  It has taken me rather a long time to get around to it, I admit, but it stubbornly refused to come out of my next-reads jar.  In Shattered by the Shocker, there are ten mini comics, all of which have the same thread of plot running through them.  On the whole, I enjoyed the drawings more than the text.  It seemed a little stolid and cliched at times, which was a real shame.  As is often the case with such collections, I suppose, some of the comics were far better than others.  I was also a little baffled that Peter Parker and friends, all of whom were meant to be young students, looked as though they were approaching middle age in the illustrations.

Richard II by William Shakespeare ****
Richard II was my third to last Shakespeare play.  It was not my favourite, and when it began, I did not know if I was going to enjoy it.  I am pleased to say that it did improve a lot as it went on.  Overall, the play is an interesting one.  The history within it is presented well, and a real feel for the characters and their personalities is present from the outset.  The writing throughout is lovely, and some of the speeches absolutely beautiful.  I far preferred it to Richard III, which I read as part of my AS Level study and very much disliked.

‘Best Detective Stories of Agatha Christie’

Best Detective Stories by Agatha Christie ****
Winter nights always make me want to curl up with cosy books, and as far as crime stories go, Agatha Christie seems to me to be as close to cosy as one can get.  Although all of the stories in this collection are rather short, they are all very clever.  I found them morally interesting in terms of the consequences of and musings behind the motives of the killers.  I really liked the use of different detectives in the volume, and was pleased to see the appearance of good old Poirot and Miss Marple.  I love Christie’s writing, and her plot twists work marvellously.  I cannot wait to get stuck into more of her stories!

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