Harry, Be Safe, Be Strong

The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus, #5) - BOOK REVIEW

SUMMARY

The Greek and Roman demigods must unite. If the Greek and Roman demigods do unite, the Gods will be healed. If the Gods will be healed, the giants can be killed. If the Giants can be killed, Gaia may not rise.

With a rather lofty to-do-list at hand, two sets of questing demigods head out to save the world.

Do they succeed or does Gaia go Organic Mother Nasty on a dystopian world is what The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5) is all about.

So there.
————————————-

REVIEW
Do you detect a slightly sulky note in my rather abrupt book summary?
Yes, I am a tad miffed. Disgruntled.
And not a very happy Camp Half-Blood camper.

REASONS WHY I AM BREATHING FESTUS FIRE :

[1) No Percy Jackson POV. No Annabeth Chase POV. No Hazel Levesque POV. No Frank Zhang POV.
Rick Riordan, you just denied me the mental upheavels of my four favourite and most loved characters. How could you? HOW COULD YOU?!?



2) Piper McLean’s POV
Really?
REALLY?!?



3)Piper McLean is a better strategist than Annabeth Chase.

In which twisted, soul-seared, brain-addled world is Annabeth helpless? Annabeth Chase. Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena. Annabeth Chase who fought beside Percy Jackson to defeat the titan Kronos. Annabeth Chase who was the first ever child of Athena to survive and reclaim the Athena Parthenos from the clutches of her deadliest enemy, Arachne. Annabeth Chase who fell into Tartarus and returned. To fight on.
And she can’t face FEAR and PANIC?!!!!
REALLLY?! OH MY GREEK GODS, Riordan. HOW COULD YOU?



4) Nico di Angelo’s change of heart

*humph* and also *p-shaw*.
How does gloomy, angry, pain-ridden Nico, who has allowed his unrequited love for Percy Jackson to colour his entire existence, suddenly decide to move on? "Percy Jackson makes corny jokes. I don’t like him. Let’s move on and find Solace elsewhere."

Yeah, not buying that. Not buying that even if it comes with a free gift.

Nico diAngelo is the orginal goth-emo child of the Grand Poobah of goth-emo, Hades. What he felt for Percy was a blend of respect, awe, hero-worship and undeniable love. It wasn’t a mere crush. It wasn’t a fly by night emotion (gaa…unintended pun). It was a love that could have made or destroyed the world. It was an epic twist and one of the main reasons why I couldn’t wait to lay my hands on the last instalment. We all knew there would be heartbreak involved. The scene between Jason and Nico when they encounter Cupid back in The House of Hades captured so much of Nico’s angst and helplessness. It laid the groundwork for Nico’s struggle.
Sadly, in this instalment, it fizzled out like a damp squib.

You don’t just emo and then not emo. Sorry. No.



5)No Frank Zhang awesomeness
Frank Zhang didn’t transform from a baby faced, self-doubting demigod to a ripped fighting machine just to act as everyone’s handy shapeshifting mode of transport. You don’t do that to a son of Ares. AND Gaia never thought of exploiting Zhang’s one fatal weakness? Never? Not once? Grrr.

6) No Hazel Levesque brilliance.
I love Hazel Levesque. I have burst with motherly pride whenever Hazel Levesque has blanketed her aches and pains and moved like a fiery heroine. I have rooted for Levesque through thick and thin, between Frank and Leo, atop Arion and off it. How could you not give me more Hazel time? How? I PROTEST! And I will cuss louder than Arion, I tell you.

7) Leo Valdez
Now what’s my problem with my favourite spark-plug? He saved the world didn’t he? But I don’t know why….the vintage Valdez touch was missing. Leo Valdez hid a world of insecurity behind his quick quips and mechanical genius. His jokes were silly but he always made me smile. But here….it all sounded a bit too contrived. Even Leo’s epic moment wasn’t a big surprise. I feel short changed. Don’t ask me why.

8) Not enough Tyson-Ella time
I love Tyson and Ella. I wanted to read more about them. But I got nothing.

9) Gaia’s return

Gaia’s return was supposed to be the stuff of nightmares. Epically scary. Scarily epic.
Yeah, this is an accurate representation.



But the thing that really gets my Satyr is,

10) Percy Jackson being pushed to the sidelines

You cannot place a sentence like "PERCY JACKSON’S FINAL BATTLE BEGINS" on the cover of a book and then treat him like an also-ran. You don’t sidetrack the most powerful demigod in recent times. I understand the concept of seven half-bloods fighting unitedly to battle Gaia. I understand the aspect of not letting their individual egos and past victories get in the way of presenting a united front. I get it. I do.

But this is ol’Seaweed Brain that we are talking about. He is the lodestone around which the rest of the new demigods are shaped and developed. He is the prime reason why a massive wave of the fandom has loyally stuck to this genre. The Son of Neptune may have been “his book” but when it comes to the crunch, we expect the freakishly awesome powers, the humility and the kindness of Percy Jackson to shine through.

Above all, we expect his one fatal flaw to come into play: Loyalty to the people he loves.
For about Percy Jackson, it had been said: To save his friends, Percy would let the world burn. That was the moment I was waiting for. The epic moment when Percy Jackson…perfect Percy Jackson will make an impossible decision.

But, I had a flasback to this scene:



Percy got a mental whack too. Nothing happened.
I am very very angry. I am very Smaug-like in my anger right now. I need to move on. (hide spoiler)]


————————————-
REASONS WHY I BEAMED LIKE APHRODITE AFTER A RELAXING FACIAL

1) Coach Hedge and his Chuck Norris inspired bravado. Coach Hedge, you are THE.GOAT.

2) The relationship between Nico and Reyna.
Nico is my homeboy. I have always rooted for him. I wanted a strong sisterly presence to unwind the bundle of pain that is Nico diAngelo. And Reyna does just that. It was heartwarming and left me with a-piece-of-ambrosia-in-my-mouth sensation.

3) REYNA RAMIREZ-ARELLANO gets things done



SO.MUCH. LOVE.

Reyna is the true shining star of this book. She is (not to digress from her abilities) the Percy Jackson of this instalment. Many a times, I was tempted to skip straight to Reyna’s POV because those chapters were unflinchingly good. Reyna can do anything. And she does it with style, heart and dignity. Reyna supporting Nico, Reyna battling alongside the Amazons and the Hunters of Artemis, Reyna’s epic standoff with Orion and a personal A+ for me, Reyna’s true affection for her horse friends made me brim with vicarious pride.

Epic REYNA MOMENTS:

'Reyna, get up here!' he yelled.
She slammed another wolf in the head and ran. In mid-stride, she flicked her sword, which elongated into a javelin, then used it to launch herself up like a pole-vaulter. She landed next to Nico.
'What's the plan?'she asked, not even out of breath.
'Show-off,' he grumbled.


—-

'Jason Grace scorned you. Percy Jackson refused you. Haven't you been…..what's the word…dumped enough?'
'I don't define myself by the boys who may or may not like me.'


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Gathering up all the loose ends and bits, The Blood of Olympus is a good, meaty read if you like an action packed mythological fest with twists, turns, explosions and chaos. It doesn’t disappoint along those lines.

But, if you have stood, for many many books, beside a boy with rumpled hair, sea-green eyes, a talent for finding trouble and an even greater talent for saving the world, only to watch him being reduced to a fairly competent but slightly silly demigod, then you will be a tad disheartened.

I want….nay….NEED to return to a world where Percy Jackson set the world back on it’s axis with a line, "Hope survives best at the hearth. Guard it for me and I won’t be tempted to give up again."

Give me back my blue-food eating, wise girl loving, Titan slaying Percy Jackson, Mr.Riordan.
You owe me that much.


HAIDER - Movie Review

As I sat through the first half of HAIDER, I was completely hooked with the plot but I was mentally scratching my head and wondering why Shahid Kapoor was being lauded with so much praise and adulation. 

Was I missing something?

Hell, yes.

It’s post-interval time and *BAM*, Haider emerges. And how.

His descent into madness is, in equal parts, spellbinding and heartbreaking. Kapoor’s desi Hamlet unravels with much despair but undeniable conviction. He never hams, he never overacts or over reacts. He takes a volatile character and infuses it with vulnerability. It’s a hard act to keep up and Shahid Kapoor comes out tops.

As for the others, Tabu is perfect (can she be anything but perfect?), Kay Kay Menon is oh-so-smarmy and oh-so-slimy and oh-so-very-sanctimonious in his unique understated way. Irrfan Khan has a trustworthy screen presence and a wonderful background score (download, download, download) and Shraddha Kapoor with her odd usage of the English language is the quintessential Kasmir ki Kali stuck between warring sides.

Vishal Bhardwaj's Shakespearean trilogy ends with an absolute stunner and despite the inevitable gloom, drama and hopelessness….HAIDER goes down as one of the must-watch movies of the year.

Lots of “chutzpah!” indeed.


The 12 princes rescuing their princess


Fawad Khan all the way.

I have been requested by my mother to stop ranting and cribbing about the things that bugged me about Khoobsurat.

So instead, here are the three things I liked about Khoobsurat:
1) The Caramel Popcorn that I had at the start of the movie.
2) The piping hot Samosa that I had after the intermission.
3) Fawad Khan. Fawad’s Khan voice. Fawad Khan’s droll eyebrow tilt. Fawad Khan’s impeccable dress sense. Fawad Khan being the gentleman that every woman wants and sorely misses.

Please continue to make our Zindagi Gulzar, Mr.Khan.


Benedict Cumberbatch + Book. Bibliophiles, rejoice.

Benedict for bibliophiles. <3


The Monogram Murders - BOOK REVIEW

I haven’t read an Agatha Christie novel in my life. Yes, I am ashamed of that fact. And yes, dishonour on me. Dishonour on my cow.

BUT, I am well-acquainted with her work, her seamless writing style and her most legendary creation, Hercule Poirot. I am also aware of the fact that in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case , the fastidious little detective met his maker.

So then, how did I feel about his seeming resurrection? By someone other than Dame Agatha Christie?

Ehh

At first, when I had the shiny new book with it’s matt and glossy black cover with a gold-embossed Poirot imposed on it, I was all:



But then as I plodded through the book searching for an end in sight, my Thor face went:



————-
Let’s begin with a quick summary.

Famous detective Hercule Poirot is in bonny London, enjoying a temporary retirement. He whiles away his evenings at his favourite coffee shop, eavesdropping on the tart observations of an all-seeing waitress. But then one day, a distressed lady shares a table with him and reveals that she is going to be murdered but begs Poirot that no one must apprehend her killer.
And one line in her hysterical babbling stands out,
“Oh, please let no one open their mouths.” 

A creepy statement at the best of times, it seems all the more eerie when it coincides with the next incident in Poirot’s proximity. His new friend and (obviously hapless) sidekick,Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard informs Poirot about three identical and precise murders at the posh Bloxham Hotel. Three matching corpses have been laid out neatly on their backs with their hands by their sides. And each corpse has a monogrammed cufflink in his/ her mouth bearing the initials PIJ.

Murder has been committed, no one knows who the killer is and there’s one more life in danger.
Poirot’s bloodhound instincts are piqued.

Make haste, little rotund man with remarkable moustaches!
————-

The triple murder mystery had great potential. A macabre setting, a killer on the loose, a list of probable suspects and an intriguing backstory laid the foundation for a juicy read.
I was all but geared to assist Poirot to the bloody end.

But ,
Sacre Bleu! Zut Alors!! Incroyable!

I have three main grouses:

GROUSE #1: Edward Catchpool, the know-nothing sidekick. I really wanted to like Catchpool. He was supposed to be the voice of humane shortcomings in the face of Poirot’s supernaturally brilliant observations. But was it necessary to make him a complete twit? How did Scotland Yard even hire a man who seems to be squeamish around corpses, is reluctant to visit the scene of the crime and who spends the better part of his day wallowing in childhood nightmares. And he has nothing to contribute mentally to the investigation. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Any smart deduction that he makes is either brushed aside by Poirot as frivolous or highjacked by the latter. Edward Catchpool is no Watson. And I was,



WHAT THE HELL WAS EDWARD CATCHPOOL EVEN DOING IN THE BOOK?!?

GROUSE #2: 
Richard Negus, Harriet Sippel and Ida Gransbury. 



Not the people, but their names.
If you do decide to finish the book, be prepared to have these three names etched forever in your unwanted memory bank. These three names refer to the three corpses found at Bloxham hotel and for reasons best known to the author, she keeps mentioning their names ad nauseum. Whenever their topic pops up (which is pretty much always, considering the fact that the case revolves around them), up pops their names: Richard Negus, Harriet Sippel and Ida Gransbury. By the end of the book, I was ready to chew my arm off.

GROUSE #3: No end in the distant horizon. 
100 Pages less and this would have been one classic in the making. The writing is undeniably good. Sophie Hannah’s command on the written word is intelligent and her eye for human foibles is impeccable. But then, the plot keeps on unravelling. On and on. And on. Theories abound with mind-numbing regularity. The deductions from Poirot’s “brilliant” mind are many and not far between. And some of them are too contrived to be believable. 
And the ending. But oh, the ending. Where is the ending?



I kept turning the pages, turning and turning and turning some more. But there is no end in sight. Just when you think that the case is about to be wrapped up, BAM!….up springs a new theory. I won’t call it a twist because twists are delicious. They make a shiver run down your spine as your mind contemplates a new unimagined angle. But here, the twists…nay, plot fodder is so random that it makes me want to growl like an unfed cat.

————-

I give this book three Stars for two reasons (okay, that didn’t even make sense):

1) The stoic Margaret Earnst and the unseemingly astute waitress Fee Spring. They were the only two ladies with good lines and strong personalities. They deserved more print space.

One particular mini speech by Margaret Earnst gives me hope for ladies with strong personalities:
“I am unusually pig-headed. I say what I believe needs to be said, and I do what I believe needs to be done. And if I happen to catch a suggestion that others would prefer me to remain silent, then I do the opposite.” 

2)The character profiles of the three murder victims is perfect. The author gives the reader such a clear concise picture of their pasts, their sorrows and their mind-mechanisations, that I was completely hooked. She gave the book a beautiful launchpad with their backstories.

But. But. But……………………………

————-

Coming back to the reason why I bought this book:
I fell prey to a gorgeous cover and the media hype surrounding the return of Hercule Poirot.
Suffice to say that nothing beats the original. 
Poirot was in a happier place. 
And you don’t mess with perfection.

I will now end this review with a Sherlock Holmes gif, because the deductive bit of my heart will always belong to Sherlock Holmes.
And well, c’mon…..


Little Camp Half-Blood.

So I was watching LITTLE MANHATTAN and I just realized that little Gabe and Rosemary could easily pass off to be Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase in their first year at Camp Half-Blood.

Right down to the orange t-shirt.




J’adore.


Time to rediscover Poirot.


The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) - BOOK REVIEW

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The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5) will be out soon. And since it will take atleast a month to find it’s way into my greedy hands, I need something to keep me going till then. And what better way to do that than take yet another trip back to dear ol’Seaweed Brain’s origins. 

I am now rereading the series for what could possibly be the gazillionth time. And it is as addictive as it was when I first heard about a young fantasy hero who was disparagingly pegged as an “American Harry Potter

image

Oh, people. People, people, people…you cynics do a grave injustice to Percy Jackson. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love Harry Potter. You would be hard-pressed to find a bigger Potterhead than Yours Truly. And I say that with unflinching pride. So, Greek Gods forbid, if Percy Jackson would have turned out to be a whining, brownstone-dwelling, satchel-toting, steeped-in-fancy-franchise-coffee Americano version of the Boy Who Lived (and how), I would have been seriously ticked off. 
I’m talking Hades-discovering-Charon-wants-a-payhike-AGAIN ticked off.

But, no.
Percy Jackson is in a class of his own.

——————

*HALF-BOY, HALF-GOD, ALL HERO*, the tagline says it all. 

Percy Jackson is your quintessential preteen : restless and prone to falling into trouble with alarming regularity. Add to that, he is dyslexic and suffering from ADHD. Getting into dangerous scraps and being shuffled from school to school, he pretty much accepts the fact that he’s destined to be labeled as nothing more worthwhile than a ‘troubled kid’.

Little does Percy know that he’s a Half-Blood/ Demigod, an offspring of a powerful Greek God and a mortal woman. And there is a special place called Camp Half-Blood which houses, trains and protects such demigods.

But every thing is not peachy-keen in heaven. The Greek Gods are very much active in the western world, quibbling like normal siblings and ready to wage war at the drop of a toga. A powerful and potentially disastrous godly weapon has gone missing and unless it is recovered soon and handed over to its rightful owner, the Gods are willing to unleash their collective fury. 

World War III is just around the corner.

So newly discovered demigod, Percy has been given the dubious honor of retrieving the missing weapon. Accompanied byAnnabeth Chase (a fellow demigod and daughter of Athena) and Grover Underwood (an environmental-friendly satyr with a deep and abiding passion for enchiladas and tin cans), Percy sets off on his first quest. Along the way he has to battle mythical monsters, vault over tricky situations and play reluctant peacemaker between his bickering relatives. The plot never loses it’s engaging pace and dangerous surprises spring up with alarming regularity. 

Rick Riordan has dragged Greek Mythology out of the musty old shelves, dusted off the pedantic prose and given it a fresh and humorous angle. The Gods are delightful in their portrayals. Whether it’s a fiery Hell’s Angel Ares or a power-suited Zeus, you know….you just know….that the rest of the celestial starcast are going to get their very own, custom-made Rick Riordan makeover. 

The true star is our humble hero, Percy Jackson. With every page, you find yourself ardently rooting for him, fervently praying that he doesn’t get turned into a rodent for his impertinence and finally applauding him for his seemingly rash (but wise) decisions.

——————

True blue (or should that be sea-green?) fans of Percy Jackson don’t need to convinced about the supreme awesomeness of the stellar son of the Sea God. You have been there, polished off the smelly monsters and bought the t-shirts. 


Me, I’m just content to take the scenic route through Olympus. Again.


Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

SEPTEMBER 1st is an important day in the wizarding world.

On this day, at exactly 11:00 a.m, the Hogwarts Express leaves London and arrives at Hogsmeade station, for the start of a new year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

For me, it’s yet another day to celebrate my favourite fandom. And soak in the magic.
Happy September to y’all :)


khwaabon:

khwaabon:

Post 43 of an infinity-part Hinduism series / 

Hindu Mythology Meme - 1/10 Gods & Goddesses

Lord Ganesha - Illustrations by Sanjay Patel & Emily Hayes

HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI EVERYONE!

(via scissorstoariadne)



My Harry Potter collection is finally complete.

Thank you, my dearest Mith-o-Magiciyengirl ) for making me aware that such awesomeness exists.


Congratulations to the Sherlock team! The show won 7 awards and is the biggest winner of the Emmys 2014!

(Source: auburnbatchh, via harini11)



PERCY JACKSON And The Greek Gods - BOOK REVIEW

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods: Amazon.co.uk: Rick Riordan: Books

Oh, so much fun.

I am an ardent PERCY JACKSON fan. And I don’t care if Rick Riordan is milking a cash cow here by spinning out…er….spinoffs.

I will read them all.

Percy Jackson telling the tale of the Greek Gods, or to be more precise, his sincerely powerful and definitely dysfunctional family is pure gold. In vintage Seaweed-Brain style, the treatement of the Gods is irreverent, bordering on cheeky and utterly lacking in blind adulation. Percy tells it like it is. From Gaia who probably invented the first swear words to the gentleness and wisdom of Hestia to Demeter going grainzilla on amorous men to Hera being Hera (with a dash of jealousy and revenge and scary punishments) to Hades channelling his inner Japanese Manga Emo to Poseidon being a likeable bloke with quite a few barnacles in his closet to Athena being wise but prone to professional rivalry to Aphrodite being the Olympian version of high-school MEAN GIRL - LEVEL 1 to Ares and his nucleur bursts of passion and cowardice and adultery to Hephaestus and his mother-issues to hand-me-a-pair-shades-he-shines-so-bright haiku spouting Apollo to Artemis who had her priorities in place (stalkery creeping men, notwithstanding) to Hermes who spent his first day being born by stealing cows and chomping them down wih Steak sauce to Dionysus who invented the very first wine press to the grand poobah himself, Zeus (or as Percy’s refers to him….ol’ThunderPants) and his many MANY affairs;

Percy spills all.

I was snorting gleefully over lines like:

"His big claim to fame was that the Golden Fleece - that magical sheepskin rug I’m related to - ended up in his kingdom, which made the place immune to disease, invasion, stock-market crashes, visits from Justin Beiber and pretty much any other natural disaster."

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A must-have for all Percy Jackson fans and a fun introduction into the world of Greek Gods.

(And oh!….it had a tiny *WHEN Percy Jackson MET Carter Kane* short story at the end. Which was rather endearing. And definitely grist for the Riordan myth factory)


Bye, bye Robin Williams.

People, with sorted lives and sorted souls, sometimes make a grave mistake. They see a depressed individual and scornfully retort, “Snap out of it!”

If only it were that easy. 
Depression is debilitating. A person can be one of the greatest comics of the world, with his face wreathed in smiles and his tongue constantly tumbling out funny quips that would entertain even the surliest of curmudgeons and yet, no one would glimpse the sadness in his eyes. 

Robin Williams is no more. And the cause of his death is suspected suicide. 

I was reading an article written by a lady today who described her last encounter with Robin Williams. She describes it thusly: He was kinder than he needed to be to someone he’d never met, and he had very, very sad eyes.

"Very, very sad eyes."

I don’t know why, but that brief statement affected me strongly.Robin Williams was, for lack of a glorious phrase, an absolute darling. To hear that such a brilliant comic tour de force suffered from depression is heartbreaking. 

I don’t even know where I am heading with this. Is this a Eulogy? I don’t know. 

This is just me remembering a man who housed two contrasting personalities within him. This is the man who made me split my sides laughing in BIRDCAGE. 
It is also the same man who made my heart contract with the quote,

"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone."

Maybe, it’s time we developed a little more fellow feeling for the people who are raging with their inner battles. A little patience, a softer tone, a kind word or better than all that, a non-patronizing exchange of ideas, funny stories and genuine affection.

Today, I may watch JUMANJI. Or even GOOD WILL HUNTING. Or better yet, BIRDCAGE in all it’s mad glory. I will celebrate a man who was such an integral part of my understanding of all that is wry and sarcastic and slapstick in the comic genre.

And I will also try to be a more patient soul. 

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams.
I hope your dementors are finally laid to rest.