Marshmallow reviews The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan

Marshmallow has already reviewed the first four books of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost HeroThe Son of NeptuneThe Mark of Athena and The House of Hades. Today she shares her thoughts on the fifth and last book: The Blood of Olympus.

Marshmallow reviews The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about mythology or if you have enjoyed reading other books by Rick Riordan, then this might be the book for you. (But again, if you have not read the first four books of the Heroes of Olympus series, you will not get too much out of it.)

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): After spying on their enemies, Jason, Piper, and Annabeth summon Juno, who tells them that they must find Nike, and then they must find Artemis and Apollo, both of whom were banished by Zeus. The crew of Argo II finds the place that Nike should be, and sends Frank, Hazel, Leo, and Percy, since their godly parents don’t have any rivalries. (Nike is all about victory, and she gives off an aura of fighting that leads to fights among people with any underlying conflicts between them. If they had sent Annabeth, Athena’s daughter, with Percy, Poseidon’s son, the two might have fought and killed each other since their parents are rivals, even though Percy and Annabeth are friends.)

Nike tells the four friends that one of them will die and that they will need the Physician’s Cure to survive. They take Nike hostage to stop her from giving off her war aura, which is making the Romans and Greeks fight. They start to look for the ingredients needed for the Physician’s Cure.

Meanwhile, Leo is starting to make a plan to defeat Gaea. Remember the prophecy: 

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire, the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Leo is sure that he is the one meant to die, since Argo II’s crew thinks that the “To storm or fire” line in the prophecy means that one of the storm or fire people will die. Jason, being the son of Jupiter, is storm and Leo, who as a child of Hephaestus, has the power to create fire, is fire. But Leo is the only one that overlaps both of the groups, storm or fire, and the people who captured Nike.

Meanwhile, Reyna, Nico, and Coach Hedge are trying to get Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood as a peace offering to stop a full-on war between the Romans and the Greeks.

Marshmallow is reading The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow is reading The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a great book to finish a great series. And I think that this is one of the best books in the series. Rick Riordan satisfyingly ties up the story about Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.

An interesting thing about this series is that the story in each book is told from more than one person’s point of view. And sometimes the narrators following one another are not in the same place, so we switch from one scene to another when we change narrators. For example, in the chapters told by Reyna, my favorite character, she is not in the same place as the crew of Argo II because she is with Nico and Coach Hedge, trying to bring Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood.

The narrators in The Blood of Olympus are Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, Frank Zhang, Hazel Levesque, Nico di Angelo, and finally Reyna Avila Ramirez-Arellano. So we do read the point of view of each of the seven belonging to the prophecy but also two other characters, Nico and Reyna, who are not part of the seven but turn out to be very important to the quest and the story.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This week Marshmallow writes about Katherine Applegate’s 2012 book The One and Only Ivan.

Marshmallow reviews The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
Marshmallow reviews The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about animals and their take on the world around us, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Ivan is a gorilla who, by his count, has lived in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall by the Video Arcade for 9,855 days (that is about 27 years). His friends include Stella, Bob, Ruby, Julia, and later Kinyani. Stella is an elephant who has a good memory and tells stories to Ivan. Bob is a stray dog who sneaks into Ivan’s “domain” (which is what he calls his display area) and enjoys sleeping on top of Ivan’s stomach. Julie is a girl whose father, George, works as the mall’s custodian. Ruby is a baby elephant who appears in about the middle of the book. She is “adopted” by Stella, who treats her like her own child. Kinyani shows up later in the book.

Sadly, Stella passes away due to an old injury that causes trouble. Before she passes away, she has Ivan promise to her that he will make sure that he takes her to a zoo, which she thinks is where humans “make amends”. As the book progresses, Ivan starts to change his mind about his “domain” and plans to take Ruby to a zoo. 

Marshmallow is reading The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
Marshmallow is reading The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a really sweet book because Ivan is a really kind character. His character is unique since he never gets angry. He also really likes to draw. He particularly enjoys drawing banana peels. Though people don’t understand what they are supposed to be, his drawings are sold at a shop. 

This is a great book, also because it shows that animals think too. (LIKE BUNNIES!) People seem to forget this when they swat flies or hunt cute animals. (LIKE BUNNIES!) Ivan shows this when he writes about things that happened to him. It is sad, too, because poachers captured him along with his sister, and while they were in a truck, his sister died.

The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is based on the true story of the western lowland gorilla named Ivan, who lived through similar circumstances. He was captured by humans and brought to live with them. But he grew too big so they moved him to be on display. He spent twenty-seven years there but was finally moved to Zoo Atlanta.

The One And Only Ivan has recently been made into a movie. The Book Bunnies haven’t watched the movie yet, but here is the trailer:

The One and Only Ivan | Official Trailer: “An adaptation of the award-winning book about one very special gorilla, Disney’s “The One and Only Ivan” is an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home.”

The story, plot, and characters are well written. I really enjoyed reading The One And Only Ivan. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 100%.
Marshmallow rates The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan

Marshmallow has already reviewed the first three books of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost HeroThe Son of Neptune, and The Mark of Athena. Today she shares her thoughts on the fourth book: The House of Hades.

Marshmallow reviews The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about Greek or Roman mythology and have liked some of Rick Riordan’s other books, then this might be the book for you. However you will definitely need to have read the first books in the  Heroes of Olympus series to be able to dive into and get something out of this one.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): The Mark of Athena ended with Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase falling into Tartarus while trying to save the Athena Parthenos. Right before he fell, Percy had Nico promise that he would go to Greece and meet him and Annabeth when they escaped so they could all close the Doors of Death. Nico is a half-blood, a son of Hades, who is not part of the seven trying to fulfill the prophecy of seven, but he is also very important. We first meet him in The Titan’s Curse, the third book of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and he will play a very important role in this book.

The crew of the Argo II moves toward Greece. They face many challenges, but they overcome them. A lot of excitement is unleashed. In the meantime in Tartarus we also read about Percy and Annabeth’s adventures. Some old friends and enemies show up.

Hazel, one of the seven, meets Hecate, the goddess of magic, who tells her that she should start to learn how to control the Mist, a magical mist that blocks mortals from seeing gods and monsters. If controlled, it could give one the power to create images that would appear real but they are really fake. Hecate leaves her polecat with Hazel to oversee her test. As they travel towards Greece, Hazel knows that she will meet an enemy who can control the Mist to make it look like anything. 

Marshmallow is reading The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow is reading The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Review: The House of Hades is a great fourth book for a great series. And at over 580 pages and in 78 chapters, it is also a big book, in size!

Though it is a great book, The House of Hades should not be read unless you have read the previous books in the series. Reading the first series is a good idea too, since then you would know more about the characters.

I think that Rick Riordan does a great job of writing this book in multiple people’s views. He is also good at creating great characters, like Bob, or Iapetus. His character’s backstory was from a short story Rick Riordan wrote, Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades from The Demigod Files.)

My favorite character is still Reyna, as I already said in my review of The Son of Neptune. One reason I like her is because she is probably one of the strongest female characters, and she is good at fighting. Every character is well thought of, and they are developed in a consistent way, so you could guess what they would do in a given situation. You can also pity them too, since some of them have sad pasts: some of the characters have lost family members or people that they cared about. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 95%.
Marshmallow rates The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Half Upon A Time by James Riley

Marshmallow has reviewed several books inspired by fairy tales before. See, for example, her reviews of A Tale Dark and Grim, Tuck Everlasting, and Ella Enchanted. This week she shares with us her thoughts on another book with a new take on an old fairy tale: Half Upon A Time by James Riley.

Marshmallow reviews Half Upon A Time by James Riley.
Marshmallow reviews Half Upon A Time by James Riley.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about fairy tales, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers):  Jack the thirteenth’s grandfather has been bugging him to go and find a princess to rescue. So when he fails his “rescue-a-princess” test, his grandfather is not pleased. Jack says that he should be able to find adventure where he is. And he says that he should just be able to hold out his arms and a princess should just appear. To highlight this, he holds out his arms. A ring of blue fire opens up and a strange girl falls out. She is wearing ripped blue pants and a shirt that says “Punk Princess”. And her hair has a strand that is dyed blue.

Jack and his grandfather think this girl must be a princess just because her shirt says so. Once they wake her up, they learn that her name is May. May is shocked to see that there is a fairy in Jack’s hair. She asks where her grandmother is. Then when they talk to her more, she says stuff that they don’t understand. For example, she talks about things like “computers”, which obviously don’t exist.

May explains that she and her grandmother were kidnapped, but while they were going into a portal, she struggled and she ended up here. But then, while Jack is talking to May, a lot of boys come over to try to marry her because apparently Jack’s grandfather went and told everyone that he found a princess. Jack and May have to run away from the boys and they learn something surprising. May’s grandmother might just be the long lost Snow White. And they have to find her. 

Marshmallow is reading Half Upon A Time by James Riley.
Marshmallow is reading Half Upon A Time by James Riley.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a great book because it combines the modern world and the world of fairy tales. The story of Jack and the Beanstalk and the fairy tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty all come into the story. The way the author brings in all these stories and plays with them reminded me a bit of Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series.

Also I think that this book is funny because Jack doesn’t know about computers or phones or doctors. In his realm they are called healers. When May says that this is just a fairy tale, Jack says that fairies don’t have tails. He doesn’t say it as a joke though because he actually thinks that she means fairy tails.

Half Upon A Time is part of a series, and I haven’t read the next book, but this book is a great book by itself. Still it is probably a good idea to read the next books, because not all story lines are concluded in the first book. (I mean that the problems are not fixed, but it doesn’t really end in a cliffhanger.)

I don’t really have a favorite character in this story because a lot of the characters are great. 

Half Upon A Time is probably best for ten year olds and up, though it is a great book that would be entertaining for all ages. It is not a really scary book, but it still might be scary to younger bunnies. If you have particularly cautious little readers, reading it before giving it to them might be a good idea.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Half Upon A Time by James Riley 95%.
Marshmallow rates Half Upon A Time by James Riley 95%.