Staying at home is the norm... What are you reading?

Johnny Novgorod

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What did you think of Moby Dick? I've started once or twice, but never actually finished.
I really enjoyed it. I imagine most people give up around the part the Pequod sets sail and Ishmael and Queequeg become less present as the driving force of the plot. Nobody really takes over until much, much later and towards the end. Pretty much every character is introduced around the beginning of the voyage and used sparingly throughout. The big middle of the novel becomes concerned with chance encounters with passing ships, the slice of life of 1800s whaling and Ishmael's insistence on categorizing and describing every aspect of all things nautical. The "encyclopedic" chapters can be a slog but are unfairly maligned as unnecessary or boring and their inscrutability is more than a bit exaggerated.

If you are like me and enjoy stories from a specific time and place, about that specific time and place, and have the patience and curiosity to be transported to that specific time and place, then this is great stuff. I like a methodical approach to introducing problems and solving them.

I had read a simplified, storybook version of the story as a kid so I knew pretty much all the plot points (most of them contained at the beginning and the end of the book). The big find for me was Ishmael/Melville being so psychologically perceptive of all the characters. He makes for himself what I had assumed were outside critical assessments of the book, like repeatedly analyzing Ahab's monomania and describing it as such, and checking his own prejudices against other ways of living and thinking.

Another thing I discovered was all the connections between this and Blood Meridian. I love that book and know McCarthy is a fan of Moby Dick and that both are compared frequently. And yeah, there's something apocalyptic about Moby Dick as well. The whole story is more horror than adventure. The ship is a horrorshow patchwork of salvage and whalebone. They use decapitated heads for ballast. A crewmember nearly drowns and either goes insane or is genuinely talking from "another" side. The masts catch fire like it's the end times. Every ship they run into paints an increasingly apocalyptic picture, as if they're all coming back from another dimension. My favorite's the ship that's been infested by some plague and has been taken over by an immune lunatic claiming to be an archangel. Maybe he is? There's a lot of tricky Macbeth-style prophecy towards the end and everything plays out as foretold by the ship's resident mystic.

So I liked the horror aspect and the esoteric aspect and Ishmael as a melancholy, psychologically sensitive narrator; I liked the dynamic between Starbuck, Stubb and Flask; Ahab's monologues, I liked how the passing ships worked as a barometer of doom, I liked Fedallah's corpse being strapped to the side of the whale, I love the beginning and I love the ending.
 

Drathnoxis

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Another thing I discovered was all the connections between this and Blood Meridian. I love that book and know McCarthy is a fan of Moby Dick and that both are compared frequently. And yeah, there's something apocalyptic about Moby Dick as well. The whole story is more horror than adventure. The ship is a horrorshow patchwork of salvage and whalebone. They use decapitated heads for ballast. A crewmember nearly drowns and either goes insane or is genuinely talking from "another" side. The masts catch fire like it's the end times. Every ship they run into paints an increasingly apocalyptic picture, as if they're all coming back from another dimension. My favorite's the ship that's been infested by some plague and has been taken over by an immune lunatic claiming to be an archangel. Maybe he is? There's a lot of tricky Macbeth-style prophecy towards the end and everything plays out as foretold by the ship's resident mystic.
Huh, I don't remember any of that. All I remember is a lot of talk about sperm and an entire chapter about the color white.

Also, was the fire on the masts blue? An inclusion of Saint Elmo's Fire isn't really surprising for a nautical text.
 

Hawki

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Camp Jupiter Classified - A Probatio's Journal (3/5)

It's pretty obvious (to me at least) by this point that Rick Riordan is something of a one trick pony, because so far, he's applied the same formula to four mythologies (well, 3.5, arguably) and rinsed and repeated. Namely:

1: Kid with missing parent(s) is revealed to be special.

2: Kid discovers that the pantheon of X is real, and they have a special bloodline connection with (deity)

3: Cue story taking the piss out of anything and everything to the extent that any sense of tension or gravitas is undermined.

4: The world is going to end in X days unless the protagonist(s) can stop it (usually there's a prophecy involved).

Has the formula worked? Well, judging by the financial and fan-ancial success, I'd say yes. Doesn't mean I'm less tired of it, and I haven't even read that much stuff in the setting.

Anyway, our character is Claudia, who attends Camp Jupiter. No, not Camp Halfblood, Camp Jupiter, because the Romans still like stealing from the Greeks or somesuch. Anyway, cue kids training to be legionaires (because guns are for pussies, real legionaires use spears and shields, losers) after the battle against the titans or something. Cue whacky shannigans and a mystery of sorts that Claudia has to figure out, alongside who her real mother is, and stuff, and really, I just don't care. Claudia's fine as a protagonist, but with nothing taken seriously, why should I? And maybe it's not meant to be taken seriously, yet clearly by a lot of people it is.

There's one potentially interesting tidbit, namely that it's at least implied that gods in this setting exist because people believe they exist, or rather, are sufficiently aware of them. So for instance, in a pantheon, the "big" deities are safe because lots of people know about Zeus and Jupiter and all that, but minor deities are on the verge of dying out because they aren't in common parlance (for instance, Claudia's mother turns out to be the Roman goddess of door hinges). But even then, that isn't an idea unique to this setting (Warhammer 40,000, Discworld, American Gods, etc.), and it isn't really explored, so there's not much to discuss here.

(Also, side note, why is it that every pantheon in this universe is based in the United States? The Olympians are above the Empire State Building, the Romans are in New Rome which I think is in California, the World Tree quite conveniently passes through Boston, and the main Egyptian hub/nome is in New York. I get why this would be arranged from a writing standpoint, but it's pretty convenient I guess that all the gods ended up in the same country, more or less. 0_0)
 

Thaluikhain

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In the Percy Jackson series, it's because the Greek Gods are Western civlisation, and get moved to wherever that is and the US is Western civilisation ath the moment.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

-MediEvil (3/5)

-Neverlanders (3/5)

-The Only Mermaid (3/5)

In the Percy Jackson series, it's because the Greek Gods are Western civlisation, and get moved to wherever that is and the US is Western civilisation ath the moment.
Yes, I know, and as it was the first "Riordanverse" series, it could get away with it, especially since the explanation has real-world history behind it. However, when you need to concoct similar explanations for the Roman, Egyptian, and Norse pantheons, things start to get silly.

Of course, it's easy to understand why that's the case from a real-world perspective (Riordan's an American author primarily writing for an American audience; same reason why HP's in Britain, Artemis Fowl is in Ireland, etc.), but from an in-universe one? Not as much.
 

Thaluikhain

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Huh, ok then, would expect after a while they'd set one in Canada or something for variety.
 

Drathnoxis

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Finished All You Need is Kill. This was a Japanese light novel that was apparently the inspiration for the movie The Edge of Tomorrow. I liked that movie so I figured I would read the book. It's been many years since I've seen the film, though so I won't be making any direct comparisons.

I liked it well enough for the first two thirds. I am generally very into time loops so that was fun, but the story actually doesn't focus too much on the loop itself, mostly just being a device to give Keiji infinite lives. The main focus of the story is how good of a soldier Keiji could become given 100+ lives to fight a battle. It's an interesting concept, and I suppose a person with infinite retries would become a much better soldier than someone else that dies to their first mistake. However, there are limits to human perception and reaction speed that the light novel definitely underplays. It's very much anime inspired despite how gritty and realistic it tries to portray itself. Keiji also isn't really a very relatable character despite self identifying as no one special. I think most people who found themselves stuck in a time loop would definitely use the opportunity to screw around and do some stuff that they couldn't get away with otherwise. Keiji pretty much immediately decides to dedicate himself to battle and spends every waking moment either training, or thinking about training, which doesn't really make sense. The thing about time loops is that you have infinite time, so I'm not sure why he doesn't ever just knock off to the city for a change of scenery every once in a while for a break. It's not like there would be any repercussions.

Anyway, the book was enjoyable enough watching Keiji grow as a soldier, if not as a character, but about two thirds of the way through we suddenly shift perspective to the female lead who, up to this point, has not had a lot of page time. Then we get a flashback to her childhood. Then we get a random description of where the enemy aliens come from and why that is unconnected from any knowledge possessed from any human on Earth. And then we go back to Keiji for a couple more loops and the ending. The structure of the novel just becomes a mess for the last third. It would be fine if Rita had her own complimentary story fit along side Keiji and filled in crucial gaps and resolve lingering mysteries, but she really doesn't and flashing back to her childhood doesn't actually serve any purpose at all. She isn't really a very interesting character, and what we learn from her perspective isn't much more than what we could assume given the brief glimpses of her we see from Keiji. She also is written pretty much indistinguishable from Keiji as far as character voice, even referring to her mind as an 'operating system' in the same way that Keiji regularly does. It's clear that the writer (or possibly translator) did not have the ability to actually write distinct voices for two perspective characters. The way this section is written, it's as if the writer got to the point in the story and realized that there would be no emotional impact for when Rita dies at the end of the story and desperately tries to give her some last minute characterization.

But as jarring and unnecessary as Rita's chapters were, they are nothing compared to the revealed motives of the aliens. For one, the book has, until now, firmly remained in the bounds of the knowledge of our perspective character, Keiji. But suddenly it is revealed that the Mimics (still not sure why they are called that) are robots sent from a planet 40 light-years away to terraform Earth to solve an overpopulation problem on their own planet. Now, thinking about this for more than 2 seconds and major flaws begin to appear. Earth is named as the only suitable planet within 40 light years. Just consider how many planets there must be within a radius of 40 light years. There must be hundreds of stellar systems, and many hundreds of planets within that distance, and Earth is the only candidate? Simply unbelievable. Beyond that they wish to solve overpopulation to a planet sight unseen 40 light years away? Absolutely insane. Bear in mind that it was mentioned that the reason the terraforming is being handled by robots and not being overseen by any of the actual aliens (despite proposed ethical conflict with terraforming a possibly inhabited planet) is because the distance would take a prohibitively long time for organic life to travel the distance to Earth. And they want to load up a large percentage of their population into spaceships and cross that distance in the hopes that the place will be habitable by the time you arrive? It just doesn't make sense. There must be a more reasonable solution to the population crisis: birth control, soylent green, etc.
Frankly it's dumb, and doesn't make sense, and the story would have been better if the motives and origins of the Mimics would have been left a mystery. At least then we would have been free to imagine a reason that actually made sense.

Also I found that the methods required for finally ending the time loop were a bit of a stretch as well. But heck, the fact that Keiji ends up in a time loop just because he kills the time loop broadcasting alien doesn't make much sense either. Oh, and they pretty much decide to end the loop on the worst possible outcome. Why not just go back one more time and raise the alarm that the base is going to be attacked? It can't turn out any worse that it did.

In the end, the concept of the story is pretty cool, but some sloppy writing holds it back. Now I need to rewatch the movie so I can make some proper comparisons between the two.
 
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Hawki

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Now, thinking about this for more than 2 seconds and major flaws begin to appear. Earth is named as the only suitable planet within 40 light years. Just consider how many planets there must be within a radius of 40 light years. There must be hundreds of stellar systems, and many hundreds of planets within that distance, and Earth is the only candidate? Simply unbelievable. Beyond that they wish to solve overpopulation to a planet sight unseen 40 light years away? Absolutely insane. Bear in mind that it was mentioned that the reason the terraforming is being handled by robots and not being overseen by any of the actual aliens (despite proposed ethical conflict with terraforming a possibly inhabited planet) is because the distance would take a prohibitively long time for organic life to travel the distance to Earth. And they want to load up a large percentage of their population into spaceships and cross that distance in the hopes that the place will be habitable by the time you arrive? It just doesn't make sense. There must be a more reasonable solution to the population crisis: birth control, soylent green, etc.
Frankly it's dumb, and doesn't make sense, and the story would have been better if the motives and origins of the Mimics would have been left a mystery. At least then we would have been free to imagine a reason that actually made sense.
I don't want to comment on the rules of the setting (never read it or seen the film), but I don't know if the idea is that far-fetched. The conditions for life as we know it (especially multi-cellular life) are highly specific - you'd need ample water, ideally a gas giant to snag bolides, having a moon is great, need a magnetosphere, etc.

Of course, a lot of sci-fi has a galaxy blooming with planets, but if Earth is the only suitable candidate within 40 light years? Doesn't seem too far-fetched to me.
 

Drathnoxis

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I don't want to comment on the rules of the setting (never read it or seen the film), but I don't know if the idea is that far-fetched. The conditions for life as we know it (especially multi-cellular life) are highly specific - you'd need ample water, ideally a gas giant to snag bolides, having a moon is great, need a magnetosphere, etc.

Of course, a lot of sci-fi has a galaxy blooming with planets, but if Earth is the only suitable candidate within 40 light years? Doesn't seem too far-fetched to me.
This list mentions 26 potentially habitable planets within 42 light-years of us. I understand that potentially habitable does not guarantee habitability, but considering this is almost certainly an incomplete list, there are likely more planets or even satellites of gas giants that we can not currently detect, and given the level of technology the aliens have been shown to have, I find it impossible to believe that they would be unable to find several more planets capable of being terraformed into suitability.
 
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Drathnoxis

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Also finished Jurassic Park. It's kind of interesting, Universal Studios bought the film rights before the book was even published. I liked the book, it was far better than the movie, actually. The book versions of the characters make their movie counterparts look like imbeciles. The book starts off as a bit of a mystery around various incidents that the reader will obviously recognize as being related to dinosaurs, but it builds suspense well enough anyway. Ian Malcolm comes across as much more intelligent and not just an obnoxious jerk, and fills much of the books page count with discussions about chaos theory as well as pointing out flaws in our veneration of science. I never expected the book to have such a large anti-science theme, as it is largely absent from the movie, but it's there and it's actually pretty well reasoned.

Spoilers. Many characters were altered significantly from book to movie in addition to Malcolm (who dies in the book). John Hammond is much more of a businessman and less of a dinosaur enthusiast, and never regrets any of his actions. He dies near the end of the book cursing his grandchildren, shortly after re-affirming his conviction to try the park again on another island. Ed Regis is simply not in the movie, his character being amalgamated with Donald Gennaro to Gennaro's detriment. Gennaro actually had a few heroic moments throughout the book and the movie does him pretty dirty. Henry Wu has like 2 lines in the movie, but he's one of the major characters in the book. Robert Muldoon is actually competent and takes out the T-Rex and several of the raptors instead of simply dying ineffectually. Actually he doesn't even die. The ages of Tim and Lex were swapped for the movie, and Tim gets a few pretty good moments himself, including restarting the computer system. Lex is pretty useless and whiny, and Grant should have left her to get eaten by a pterodactyl.

The one weird part I don't get is after they regain control of the park for the second time Grant insists on going to look for the raptor nest because they need to count how many have hatched. Despite the fact that they are under-equipped, not trained, the military is on their way, and he earlier pointed out that it wouldn't be accurate because they don't know how many might have died in infancy already. He even starts laying into Gennaro about how this is all his fault and he needs to take responsibility, even though Gennaro hasn't exactly been sitting up to now. Even after they do go and count them I don't think anybody does anything with the information and it just feels like a pointless excuse to go and look at the raptor nest and see that they want to migrate for some reason. I feel like it would have made much more sense to wait for the army and simply try to get on the team assisting with the cleanup if Grant wanted to help so badly.

Also another thing that was kind of annoying is sometimes (whenever one of the visitors was around) the raptors would be really slow and cautious, but other times when one of the park staff even so much as stick their head out of a door the raptors would tear into them instantly and kill them.

All in all the book is about 5x better than the movie. I'd still recreate the dinosaurs if I had the resources though, sorry Malcolm.
 
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The boring one
in addition to Malcolm (who dies in the book).
I lost quite a bit of respect for Crichton (that I now see as really overrated for other reasons/novels) when he went all "Misery" after the success of the movie and the demand for a sequel.

Also I had read -snd loved- the book before the movie came out, so I had high expectations. And was very disappointed with that film. I still don't really understand its impact and cult status, and I assume it'd due to my inability to see it as its own thing.
 
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Casual Shinji

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Ian Malcolm comes across as much more intelligent and not just an obnoxious jerk, and fills much of the books page count with discussions about chaos theory as well as pointing out flaws in our veneration of science. I never expected the book to have such a large anti-science theme, as it is largely absent from the movie, but it's there and it's actually pretty well reasoned.
Really? Because to me Malcolm in the book comes across as the biggest self-insert character, bordering on Mary Sue. The guy just knows what's going to happen with the only reason being Chaos Theory. Like the automatic counting of the dinosaurs, which he seemingly knows from the get-go is flawed but then refuses to speak up about till way later. Eventhough this lack of knowledge is a major security risk. A particular low point for this character (and for the book itself) is when Malcolm starts talking down to Hammond for believing in climate change. And yeah, Crichton was a pretty big climate change denier, and writing what he obviously sees as the smartest guy in the book as the one who doesn't believe in it, and the stupidest guy (Hammond) as the one who does is really fucking smug, not to mention dumb.

I did always quite like this book though. Not more than the movie, but I really liked it. The movie has the sense of awe, and the book has the violence. I'd say the one thing the movie majorly fucks up is Nedry's plan. In the book his plan is to get the embryo's on the ship's freezer and then quickly return back to his work station without anyone noticing he was up to something, but in the movie he seemingly just plans to immediately leave the island with the embryo's and even has a final message to Hammond and co. that he fucked them over. And it's like, dude, you are going to prison for life when they find out you commited corperate espionage that cost people their lives. Those million dollars you get from Dodgson ain't gonna do you shit.
 

Hawki

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And it's like, dude, you are going to prison for life when they find out you commited corperate espionage that cost people their lives. Those million dollars you get from Dodgson ain't gonna do you shit.
Are you sure? Because they didn't say the magic word after all. :p
 

Drathnoxis

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Really? Because to me Malcolm in the book comes across as the biggest self-insert character, bordering on Mary Sue. The guy just knows what's going to happen with the only reason being Chaos Theory. Like the automatic counting of the dinosaurs, which he seemingly knows from the get-go is flawed but then refuses to speak up about till way later. Eventhough this lack of knowledge is a major security risk. A particular low point for this character (and for the book itself) is when Malcolm starts talking down to Hammond for believing in climate change. And yeah, Crichton was a pretty big climate change denier, and writing what he obviously sees as the smartest guy in the book as the one who doesn't believe in it, and the stupidest guy (Hammond) as the one who does is really fucking smug, not to mention dumb.
I said 'more' intelligent, which is pretty easy when he actually gets the time to explain his theories, unlike the movie where explaining chaos theory is pretty much just an excuse to hit on Sattler. You are correct that he is very much the author mouthpiece, but on the whole I found him more interesting than his movie counterpart..

I did always quite like this book though. Not more than the movie, but I really liked it. The movie has the sense of awe, and the book has the violence. I'd say the one thing the movie majorly fucks up is Nedry's plan. In the book his plan is to get the embryo's on the ship's freezer and then quickly return back to his work station without anyone noticing he was up to something, but in the movie he seemingly just plans to immediately leave the island with the embryo's and even has a final message to Hammond and co. that he fucked them over. And it's like, dude, you are going to prison for life when they find out you commited corperate espionage that cost people their lives. Those million dollars you get from Dodgson ain't gonna do you shit.
Yes, Nedry's plan was idiotic in the movie. His plan in the book was only insanely reckless and wildly irresponsible, which is an improvement.
 

Thaluikhain

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I'm not doing anything, I should watch that short film about how contour plowing and planting trees in windbreak helped farmers in the 30s. Then I should research the dustbowl. Then I should read The Grapes of Wrath.

This book is called an American classic, and deserves the title. And it's been banned in places for the last 80+ years, so there's that. Possibly because there's a lot of sex, and jokes about having sex with animals, though, I could see that as an excuse.

There's been all sorts of interpretations and commentary already, so instead of rehashing the old arguments, I'll give my own spin on it. The story, especially the first half, reads a lot like a modern horror. A small group of survivors are fleeing the wasteland, being picked off one by one by the monster (in this case Capitalism) as they try to reach the promised safety of California. Also, the way the systems are described, humanity has created entities bigger than itself that it is subservient to, the banks and the corporations full of people who don't want to harm the local farmers, but have to because it's what the business demands.

Later on, when they reach California, it's normal human evil behind it, people that weren't compelled to be wicked but decided to anyway. It's got lots of people driven to madness and despair and self-destruction, but those driving them have decided to do it.

Excellent book, would recommend.
 

Drathnoxis

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Read 6 issues of Locke and Key. People said that the comic was better than the show (which had a lot of issues) so I thought I would give it a go and see what it's like. I'm not overly impressed thus far. For one, the art is really ugly and I just don't enjoy looking at it at all.

locke-and-key-01-of-06-08.jpg

For another it really wants to be grim and dark and edgy so badly. I'm pretty sure it's implied that one of the attackers here raped the mother. Later on Sam Lesser gave a blowjob to a trucker for a ride after escaping prison. The comic is also just filled with blood and murder to an excessive degree in a way that doesn't feel especially necessary. Then the rest of the time the characters are just moping around. And then to make it worse, despite the comic clearly being intended for a mature audience, it's still mentioned that adults can't remember the power of the magic keys. That was one of the stupidest, most nonsensical plot points from the show and it makes even less sense here.

So yeah, I'm dropping it. Not finding anything appealing here. Although I will say that the character actions thus far haven't been quite as stupid as they were in the show.

Also, not the comic's fault, but I'd occasionally get messed up and need to re-read panels because I'd start reading them right to left. Just a testament to how little I've read of American comics vs manga.
 

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Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer (3/5)

It's Percy Jackson with Norse gods.

No. Really. That's it. That's the thing. This isn't me being glib, that's me giving you the story. It's the same formula over a decade on. Yes, I could spend time discussing the plot, and the characters, and whatever else, but if you know the formula for the first Percy Jackson book, just do some transposing and really, that's it.

Now, I could leave it at that, but there's some other elements of the book that stand out for better or worse (mostly worse), so I'll deal with that.

-The humour. I detest the humour of this book, mainly because so often, the humour is constant, not particuarly funny, and at its worst, undercuts potential gravitas. Pretty much every chapter title is some "lol, what?" combination of words. There's a section where dwarfs are pursuing the protagonists in battle tanks because...I dunno, dwarfs have easy access to battle tanks akin to Mad Max I guess. Towards the end, the protagonist reunites with his father (spoilers? Meh, like I said, it's Percy Jackson all over again), and the writing still has to throw in jokes ("blades before babes!" is the exact phrase). Really, why should I take this book seriously when it's not taking itself seriously? Heck, maybe it isn't taking itself seriously, but since the stakes are "Ragnarok will begin in X days time unless Fenris is rebound, so go on your quest or something" (in other words, the same premise used in Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles of "world ends in X days unless the protagonist does something about that"), I'm assuming we're meant to take things seriously to at least some extent, right? Well, sure, except no-one takes anything seriously, and all the Norse gods are idiots bar a few exceptions. In a case of stones and glass houses, the characters make barely-concealed references to the MCU (as in, the Thor there is nothing like the "real thing"), but as quippy as the MCU can get, this is worse. Much, MUCH worse. When Odin is so stupid that he has to spend five days in a blizzard to learn how to operate a smartphone (no, that's not hyperbole, that's outright stated), you know that this book isn't taking things seriously (or alternatively, it's trying to, and failing).

-The worldbuilding of the Riordanverse is getting shakier and shakier. Now, I'm no lore expert, but at this point in time, we know that the Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Norse pantheons are all active and real, and among other things, that leads to different afterlives. So in this case, in this world, great warriors/heroes go to Valhalla, while pretty much everyone else goes to Helheim. Okay, fine. That matches up...except we've already learnt that the Greek underworlds also exist, as well as the Egyptian Duat. So, what? Do the gods of different pantheons play for keeps as to which soul goes to which afterlife? Do levels of belief affect the outcome? If I'm a virtuous person, do I get a choice of the Elysian Fields and Valhalla? Furthermore, when you're going for origin myths, you're going to run into problems. So for instance, the book establishes that the Earth is around 4000 years old, which would be fine, in theory...except Egyptian civilization is much older than that, and the Egyptian gods are definitive deities in this universe, so how does that work out? How does the formation of Midgard in Norse mythology sync with the Greek gods and titans in Greek mythology? No idea, and while the book isn't technically obliged to explain how, and can be easily read alone, I can't help but notice that the "Riordanverse" is just bypassing the issue.

-This isn't really an issue, but as an example of this, one of the characters is Samirah al-Abbas. She's a Muslim Valkyrie. If you're reading that, you might think "wait, if someone believes in a monotheistic deity, but ends up serving polytheistic deities, isn't that a crisis of faiths? Can you reconcile that, because I'm pretty sure Yaweh didn't want any gods before him. Since there's no evidence of the Abrahamic god, but clear evidence of the Norse gods, doesn't that kinda imply your faith's a lie?" If you thought that, you had similar thoughts to me, but I went on to think "well, maybe this will be a character development/facet that will be explored as time goes on." Rick Riordan addresses the issue of a Muslim Valkyrie by...um, not addressing the issue at all. No, seriously, in hundreds of pages, not only is the issue never resolved, it's never even drawn attention to. I'm not even saying it's impossible for this to work (heck, have a Christian serve the Roman gods for instance, see how that turns out), but FFS, if you're going to mix and match religions like this, surely, SURELY there should be some rationalization for it. And look, maybe this will be resolved in later books, but I'm not counting on it, and at this point, I don't really care. I mean, I could draw comparisons to when people were asking for Christian/Muslim/Jewish students at Hogwarts, and I said (paraphrased) "that could be an interesting idea, maybe you could examine how one deals with doing magic while also following faiths that have generally been hostile to witchcraft, in both the real world and in this fictional setting"), and got nothing but blank stares, but I won't draw that comparison because...oh. Wait!

So, is the book bad? No, not really. But it's definitely a book for kids, and as an adult, three's not nearly enough meat for me here. If I'd grown up with this universe, I'd probably have a more positive response, but even then, comparing it to its contemporaries, I'm not sure. Even at the end of the day, this is still a book that relies on "lol, what?" humour to keep going, and for me at least, it grew tiresome. Stuff like HP and Artemis Fowl were written for similar audiences, but at least took their premises seriously, even with humour scattered throughout.
 

Hawki

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Also, not the comic's fault, but I'd occasionally get messed up and need to re-read panels because I'd start reading them right to left. Just a testament to how little I've read of American comics vs manga.
Silly pony. You lead from left to right, because that's the right thing. If you read right to left, you'll be left behind, and that wouldn't be right. Of course, if you read too far right or too far right you'll end up back where you started because that, my little pony, is horseshoe theory.