Monday 30 November 2020

Review on Beyond the Odyssey


With two Chaos Stones in his possession, Elliot is halfway to recovering them all. However, Elliot’s home life is becoming more complicated. His father has returned, and even with the extra help, Elliot’s mother's condition seems to be worsening. However, there may be something that can save her, a potion that is said to cure any illness. If Elliot wants to find it, he must go further than he has ever been before. Elliot must not only find the third Chaos Stone, but find the potion that will save his mum and Hermes. 

I can’t believe I’m already on book three! I’ve loved this series and this book was no exception. The stakes are higher than ever before, and on top of finding the third Chaos Stone, Elliot must also find Panacea’s Potion. Something I immediately loved was that we got to see more mythological places in this book. For the most part, Elliot has remained in the mortal world, and although he has had to retrieve chaos stones from highly protected places such as The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and The Natural History Museum, they have all been close to where he lives and he was able to go back home at the end of the day. However, Elliot’s search takes him to far more distant places this time, including an island inhabited by the Cyclops, deep under the sea and on a perilous journey across the ocean. I found this book more exciting than the previous two, and I loved that we were being taken away from reality a little more.

 Despite the book heading deeper into mythology, Elliot still faces the very real problem of his mothers declining health. This book seemed to face it more head on, and confirms our suspicions that Josie is suffering from early onset dementia. It was heartbreaking to see things from Josie’s point of view, and how frustrating and confusing everything was for her. People suffering from dementia often retain their long term memory longer than their short term memory, so it was particularly heartbreaking when she was moved to the hospital where nothing was familiar to her and she started to lose herself even more. It was horrible to see Elliot go through this at such a young age, especially when his grief took over to the point he started lashing out at his friends who were just trying to help. I loved how understanding the God’s were, and how they didn’t take his outbursts personally and continued to try to help him.

 The one thing I was disappointed in was the lack of my favourite character, Hermes. Even though him being in a coma was one of the main things that drove the plot, I missed him being around, and I especially missed the brotherly bond between him and Elliot. Hermes seems like the closest thing to a sibling that Elliot has, and I missed their antics and Hermes’ fun personality. I’m hoping the last book has lots of Hermes content to make up for it! 

 There were some interesting new characters in this book, but my favourite has to be Gorgy, Virgo’s pet baby gorgon. Gorgy was constantly getting into mischief, and although he’s tiny and adorable, he actually had some pretty impressive powers of his own that saved Virgo on more than one occasions! I loved that although everyone initially disliked Gorgy, they came to accept him as part of their gang. Really he made me want a pet gorgon of my own!

 I have to talk a little about Virgo, who has to make some pretty tough decisions in this book. Virgo wants nothing more than to be accepted back onto the Zodiac Council and get her kardia back, and will do anything to get what she wants, leading her to make some bad choices, including voting to lock away all the elementals. Virgo eventually realises what she did was wrong, and does her best to fix things. I loved that although Virgo was initially selfish, she came to realise that the freedom of the elementals was more important than her own wants.

 I’m usually good at guessing plot twists, but there was one that came towards the end of the book that I just wasn’t expecting at all! I’m not going to give it away, but it completely surprised me, but at the same time seemed so obvious when it was revealed. There was obviously something strange going on, but I just didn’t pick up on it until the end where it made perfect sense. I love it when a book is able to take me by surprise like that as it rarely happens.

 I didn’t enjoy the book quite as much as the first two just because of Hermes’ not being around, but I did enjoy meeting so many new characters and seeing all the new places. As Hermes is finally back in action, I’m looking forward to reading the final book in the series and seeing how everything ends for Elliot and his friends.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Review on Witch


When Evey’s mother is murdered by witch hunters, she is determined to get her revenge. Unlike her mother and younger sister Dill, Evey doesn’t see herself as a true witch, and believes she is powerless. However after meeting Anne, a girl she had met in her childhood, Evey discovers she may have some abilities of her own after all. With the help of Anne and her mother's scrying stone, Evey discovers the truth about her family and her powers, and what she must do to set things right.

This book was such a perfect Halloween read! It follows Evey, a young witch who sees her mother murdered by witch hunters. After barely escaping with her own life, Evey decides she is going to get revenge on everyone involved. I initially disliked Evey, especially with the way she treated her younger sister Dill. She was too harsh on her at the start of the book and left her alone with a group of witches they barely knew, along with stealing the scrying stone from Dill that her mother had given to her before her death. Evey was selfish and cruel, which started off a chain of terrible events for her.

 I loved how Evey became more likable as the book went on, and how she came to regret leaving Dill behind and stealing the stone. Dill rightfully doesn’t forgive Evey right away once they meet back up, causing even more problems for Evey. I loved that Evey had to work to regain Dill’s trust and show she had changed, as it felt more realistic for Dill to hold a grudge against Evey after everything that had happened to her because of Evey’s selfish ways. Evey’s character development felt realistic and didn’t feel rushed, and I loved how I started to like her more as the book progressed. 

 I have to talk about Anne, who was probably my favourite character! Evey first meets Anne when she rescues her from one of Evey’s mother’s killers when he tries to finish off the job and kill her too. We’re so used to seeing a handsome man on horseback saving the damsel in distress that it was pretty refreshing to see the protagonist having a woman as a savior! After talking a little with Anne, Evey soon realises that this isn’t the first time they have met, as years ago Evey’s mother had tried to save Anne’s mother's life with witchcraft when she was sick. I loved how despite her father's hatred for witches, Anne did not feel the same way and helped Evey on her quest along with saving villagers and other witches. I loved how the friendship between Evey and Anne grew throughout the book, but I did feel a little baited as I assumed a romance would form between them. Honestly I don’t think I’ve seen a platonic friendship where one wouldn’t stop talking about the other's eyes before. As the book is about empowering women I would have loved for it to be sapphic too. Evey and Anne had great chemistry so I was a little disappointed their relationship didn’t go into that territory.

 I found the book difficult to get into at first because of the writing style. The book is set in the 1600’s and is told in first person from Evey’s point of view, so it was written in a very old fashioned way that I wasn’t used to. I read the first 50 pages pretty slowly as I was struggling with the style to the point I almost DNF’d, but once I actually got used to it I started to enjoy the style and felt that it made it seem more realistic and helped me to get into the story more. I tend to stick to books with more modern ways of writing, so after the initial struggle I found the writing style refreshing, and as the book picked up the pace, I was glad that I stuck with it! 

 I think I would have preferred the book to be a little longer. Nothing felt rushed but I did feel like we didn’t see enough of Evey’s powers, as she only fully realizes she has them towards the end of the book. I loved her special bond with birds and how she could get them to help her, but I did wonder what else she could get them to do and if her powers went beyond birds. I don’t think the witches' abilities were explained well enough, as I wasn’t sure if they all had special gifts, and if they did what were they? I always love books with backstory and lore, and for a book about witches there just wasn’t enough of that.

 This was an interesting read and definitely brought me out of my comfort zone! Once I got used to the writing style I was able to enjoy this book. Even though I had a couple of issues with it, I loved the themes of forgiveness and empowering women. All the girls in this book kicked the witch hunters' asses and I was living for it! This was the perfect read for Halloween, and even though the spooky season is over it’s still the perfect read for those dark afternoons!

Witch is now available to purchase!