The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

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I had the immense pleasure of reading this book for a school project, and finished it in about a day. It’s very easy, unapologetically feminist reading and I loved every second of it.

Rating: [5/5]

Summary:

In Homer’s account in The Odyssey, Penelope—wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy—is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumors, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and—curiously—twelve of her maids.

In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” In Atwood’s dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the story-telling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality—and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.

Likes: Basically, I just really love this interpretation of Penelope. Telling the story through her eyes allows for a much more modern perspective of the events of The Odyssey. Penelope is smart and blunt and at least acts like she knows what she’s doing.

I also enjoyed all the sections with the maids. They were very creative and were extremely feminist. Basically all the feminism in this book made me really happy.

Dislikes: I don’t remember actively disliking anything about this book while I was reading it, honestly.

Tune in next time for my review of Just Listen by Sarah Dessen!

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

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I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read the conclusion to this fantastic series! For my birthday, I got a coupon for a discounted book and I hauled myself all the way to the bookstore in an ice storm to buy it. Probably not my best idea. Also now you know how long it’s been since I’ve read it. Oops.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A book from an author you love but haven’t read yet

Summary: In this conclusion to Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, the demigods prepare to face Gaea and her armies. Reyna, Nico, and Hedge are tasked with getting the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood in an attempt to ally the Greeks and Romans against a common enemy. Meanwhile, the rest of the group goes to find Nike, Apollo, and Artemis to gather the tools they need to win the war. As the clock ticks down to Gaea’s rising, a grim reminder remains: one of them must die.

Likes: I really enjoyed the pacing of the book compared to the last two. There was a lot of action and even though the book is long, it didn’t seem like it. I’m glad Riordan chose to focus on only a couple of characters, rather than pulling in all of them. Mainly, I enjoyed the characters in this book. Especially Nico. I really enjoyed his arc and development throughout this book.

Dislikes: The foreshadowing is a little too obvious. The big twist in the plot didn’t seem like that big of a twist to me because of how obviously it was foreshadowed throughout the entire book. Plus, the ending itself seemed rather abrupt. All of the sudden, it was just over.

TL;DR: I definitely liked this book better than some of the other ones in the series. I recommend it to anyone who’s read the rest of the series or who enjoyed the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Or just if you like mythology in general.

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

This is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. Please read The Lost Hero and Son of Neptune first! I’ve been really excited to read this book. I got it over Christmas break with a couple of gift cards, and I basically read the entire book in the ten minute breaks I have been classes.

Rating: [4/5]

***Spoiler alert!***

Summary: The Mark of Athena finally finds the seven heroes on a quest together. Their mission takes them back to the old country, to Rome itself. In order to stop the Greeks and Romans from waging further war with each other, Annabeth must go on a quest from Athena, a quest no previous children of Athena have survived. Supposedly, this quest will mend the rift between the Greeks and Romans, and help Athena return to normal. Meanwhile, also in Rome, the other young demigods must stop Gaea’s minions from destroying the city and killing an old friend.

Likes: I enjoyed The Mark of Athena. I really like how distinctive all the characters are, which can sometimes be difficult to achieve in a book with lots of main characters. I also enjoyed the blending of Greek and Roman mythology, and the unique flavors of each system.

Dislikes: The only thing I didn’t like was that it felt kind of like a filler book. Not a whole lot of plot happened until the very end. That being said, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

TL;DR: I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes Riordan’s previous work, who likes mythology, or who’s looking for a fun, exciting story.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know!