Archive for the 'Mythology' Category

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

girl on train

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

# of Pages: 323

RAC:  Yes

Rachel is a recently divorced alcoholic, who travels to the city everyday on the train pretending to her roommate that she still has a job.  Every day she passes the house she used to live in with her husband, who still lives there with his new wife and baby.  A few doors down from that house she starts noticing another young couple that she comes to identify with.  She makes up names and stories for them to help her feel like she really knows them.  What she doesn’t know is that their lives are not nearly as perfect as she thinks they are.  One day as the train drives by she sees something unusual that confuses her.  The next day she sees on the news that the woman she has been watching everyday from the train has gone missing.  Should she go to the police?  Will anyone believe her with her history of erratic behavior and alcoholism?

Fans of thrilling mysteries will love this title.  The mystery is well crafted and keeps you in suspense for most of the book.  Several important characters are discussed who all seem like they could possibly be the culprit at one time or another.  The ending is exciting, thrilling, and a bit surprising.  Readers looking for a psychological mystery won’t be disappointed.

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The Naturals by Jennifer Barnes

the-naturals

 

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  308

RAC: Yes

Cassie has relied on her ability to read people since the mysterious disappearance of her mother five years ago.  She is surprised, however, when she is recruited to join an elite team in the FBI made up of teens with similar special abilities called The Naturals.  Cassie will be trained as a profiler for the FBI to use on cold cases.  She feels it is important for her to do this since her mother’s disappearance and presumed murder is still unsolved.  Once she starts training, however, she is pulled into an ongoing serial murder investigation in which the killer seems to be taunting the teens in the naturals.  More alarmingly, the case seems to be connected to her mother’s case.  Can they solve the murders or will Cassie become the next victim?

Fans of mysteries will love this new title as it combines an intriguing mystery story with tons of great, albeit mysterious characters so that Cassie does not know whom she can really trust.  The ending is very satisfying and will surprise most of the readers no matter how diligently they have followed the clues leading up to the exciting climax.  The book sets itself up well to become a series which is good because readers will want to see more of these naturals.  Recommended.

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  375

RAC:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award 2010

Josh and Sophie are fifteen-year-old twins who are thrust into a crazy adventure when they see some golems or “mud men” attack Josh’s bosses, Nicholas Flamel and his wife, Perenelle.  Nicholas and Perenelle have been hiding out for hundreds of years because they have possession of the Codex, which is a famous book that contains many spells including one for immortal life.  Dr. John Dee created golems to help him steal the Codex from Nicholas and ends up getting all but two pages of it and kidnaps Perenelle because she is very familiar with magical spells.  Nicholas is positive it is not a coincidence that Josh and Sophie were present at the time of the attack because twins are prophesied in the Codex.  He believes they have strong magical powers and do not even realize it.  Can he help them awaken and learn their powers in time to save the world from imminent disaster?

This fantasy story contains a lot of background knowledge and characters that actually existed.  The author provides a lot of information at the end about which facts are true and which are fabricated, which is fun for readers to learn after finishing the story.  The adventure moves quickly as Nicholas and the twins are attacked by many different mythical creatures.  The ending is very exciting, unique, and will leave readers wanting more.  Readers who like The Lightning Thief or Alfred Kropp will want to pick up this title.

Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner

nobodysprincess

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mythology

# of Pages: 305

RAC Book: Yes

In this fictional account of the childhood of Helen of Troy, Helen grows up wanting to learn swordplay with her two older brothers and fighting with her twin sister, Clytemnestra. She is heir to the throne and in her sister’s eyes it seems like she gets away with everything. Helen does manage to get the same training her brothers have because their teacher believes her motives for wanting to defend herself are reasonable. When her sister is betrothed and asked to leave at the age of 14, Helen and her brothers accompany her so that she will feel safe. This begins a few crazy adventures for her and her brothers that include a boar hunt and visiting an oracle. The story is continued in Nobody’s Prize.

This retelling of Helen of Troy’s childhood puts a fun spin on a character that has been mainly known for starting the Trojan War. The author does a nice job of explaining why these characters worshiped the gods and why they had to provide valuable offerings in order to please them. Helen seems unaware of her beauty throughout a lot of this book, which makes her seem more driven to reach her goals in her own way. Her desire to hunt, use weapons, and even go on dangerous adventures endears her to readers. For those readers who like adventures and mythology this will be a winner.

oh.my.gods by Tera Lynn Childs

Genre:  Mythology/Romance

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  264 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Phoebe Castro is a dedicated runner who plans to attend USC after her senior year on a full ride track scholarship.  She has planned to go there with her two best friends for many years.  Understandably, she is upset when her mother announces she is marrying a man she met in Greece.  They will both be moving to a small island in the Aegean sea where her new stepfather is the principal of a private school.  Not only does she have to leave her best friends for their senior year, but she also has to go to a new school.  The big surprise for Pheobe is that once her and her mother arrive in Greece she is informed that the school she will be attending is actually a secret school for the children of Greek gods.  Due to the fact that Phoebe is not a child of a god she is treated as an outcast by many of the people who attend the school, including her own stepsister.  Phoebe tries to make the best of it by trying out for the track team and making an effort to meet people, but many make it clear that she does not belong.  This is especially hurtful coming from the cute boy on the track team, Griffin Blake.  Does Phoebe have what it takes to make it in a school full of “gods?”

This story is a lot of fun and does not require a reader to know a lot about mythology to enjoy it, although it might inspire a reader to want to learn more after reading it.  The ending was a big predictable, but still entertaining nonetheless.  The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional as Phoebe struggles to make it in this new environment.  Despite all the changes thrown at her, Phoebe never loses her determination and resolve to make the best of the situation.  There are fantasy elements in it, but readers who like authors like Meg Cabot and Ann Brashares will also enjoy it.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 375

RAC Book: Yes

2008 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Percy Jackson has had lots of trouble in his life due to circumstances that seem to be out of his control. After getting kicked out of yet another school, Percy goes home expecting to upset his mom and unfortunate stepfather “smelly Gabe.” Instead, his mom surprises him with a camping trip. On the way she tells him he will probably have to go to a special summer camp where he can be protected. Percy doesn’t understand why he needs protection, but then remembers the numerous occasions in which strange creatures have tried to harm him.

At camp Half Blood Percy learns that his father was a god, but no one knows which. He is believed to have stolen something very valuable from Mt. Olympus and several people are trying to get it back. Percy’s life is in danger and he must go on a quest to save not only himself but the whole planet because if his quest fails the gods will declare war on each other and the entire world will be in jeopardy.

The mythology characters and elements woven through this story made it a fun read. If students do not know a lot about different gods and mythology characters they may not pick up on details as fast as others, but each character and his or her role in the mythology stories are explained well and integrated into this modern story. There is a lot of action and adventure as Percy tries to complete his quest which makes the story move quickly. This was a very successful modern day hero quest. Students who like super hero type stories or stories like Alfred Kropp will enjoy this well-written adventure.

The Moon Riders by Theresa Tomlinson

Genre: Historical fiction/Mythology

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 389 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Myrina has been training to join the Moon Riders, a group of young maidens who dance sacred dances and wield weapons to defend their neighbors, for thirteen years. Her grandmother, mother, and sister have all traveled with this legendary group. Prior to leaving, Myrina meets Cassandra who is a young princess of Troy. Cassandra is special and can see into the future. She sees that her brother Paris will one day help to bring Troy to death and destruction and this thought troubles her deeply. She runs away to join the Moon Riders in order to better prepare for this catastrophe.

Once the Moon Riders decide to take Cassandra and help train her in their ways they all become involved in the battle against Troy. While the Greeks are trying to battle Troy they pillage any nearby communities, which is why the Moon Riders feel compelled to step in and help defend the lands they have traveled for generations.

This interesting and exciting story follows the people around the famous battle of Troy. Students who have some knowledge of this battle and have even read the Iliad will get more out of this story than students who do not know anything about it. The story is well-written and moves at a quick pace. Recommended for students who enjoy mytholgoy.