Monthly Archives: December 2012

The 39 Clues: Cahills VS Vespers, Book Five: Trust No One by Linda Sue Park

The 39 Clues have already come a long way. From its initial series, it is succeeded by a sequel where the Cahill family will now fight against their enemy, the Vespers. Who will lose and who will win? The fifth installment of the six-part series is now here to provide us with more thrill, suspense, and surprising revelations.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

The-39-Clues-Cahills-vs-Vespers-Book-5-Trust-No-One coverWhen seven members of their family were kidnapped, thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, got ready for the fight of their lives. But their enemy, a terrifying group known as the Vespers, remained frustratingly elusive. They stay in the shadows, picking off Cahills one by one.

And now the Vespers have landed their most serious blow yet – a blow that strikes at the very heart of the Cahill family. Because Amy and Dan discover that there’s a Vesper mole in their innermost circle. Amy and Dan need to smoke out the traitor before the next hostage dies. They have just days to discover who has their back . . . and who wants to sink a knife into it.

Isn’t the book cover quite eye-catching? It perfectly depicts the meaning of the title, Trust No One. The effect of having to discover the betrayal of someone close to you is like being stung by a scorpion. As the story progresses, it becomes evident that Amy experiences exactly that. It gets so poisonous and destructive that it slowly eats her up. What the Vesper mole did to them is a perfect example of the saying, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” And thus, this revelation deeply affects Amy more than I expected. I thought that Amy would remain strong and composed, but with all that’s happening – the betrayal of a friend, the pressure from the Vespers, the loss of one Cahill member, and one more shocking new which I wouldn’t mention – Amy couldn’t take it anymore. I mean, who would, right? If I were in her shoes, I would’ve given up right from the beginning.

On the positive side, despite the weight of the burden Amy and Dan carry, and the fact that Amy is on the verge of losing hope, it is Dan who remains strong and brave. I hardly see him lead the group, but I’m quite impressed by his leadership. I just hope that he won’t regret anything he decides in the end.

Moving on, as far as Amy and Dan is concerned, I’m also happy to see Jake and Atticus participating in the adventure they never thought they would be involved in. They are given more significant roles in this book and readers will have a chance to get to know them better. Moreover, more information will be disclosed as to why their lives are very much connected to the Cahills in relation to their mother, Astrid. Plus, readers will also begin to see an emerging love triangle between Jake, Evan, and Amy. Who do you guys think will Amy choose in the end? I’m rooting for Jake!

All in all, the plotline keeps getting more and more interesting as it goes further. It’s really a wonder why the Vespers let kids go on missions to bring them certain objects of their interest and this book explores on the reason behind all of these. The book certainly succeeds in keeping me engrossed in the story. I really can’t wait for the final installment. What will be the fate of our main characters?

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The Heroes of Olympus, Book Three: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

The third installment of The Heroes of Olympus is in the house! Before I continue, my review of the second book can be found here. I have to admit, as I was holding the book in my hands, turning the first page and seeing the first chapter, I just couldn’t contain my excitement. Especially with the book cover illustration, I just need to find out everything immediately.

Here’s the plot description of the book:

The Mark of Athena coverAnnabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare….

At the beginning of the story, readers will be eager to find out if the Greek and Roman demigods decide to work together as a team in order to defeat Gaea. It’s kind of hard to imagine that two opposing camps/teams, which are at heated conflict with each other for centuries, will join forces. As I was reading through their process of negotiation, I have actually slowly taken a liking to the Roman demigods, like Reyna. On the other hand, some just makes me feel like I want to slap them, like Octavian. Either way, a success or not, it’s for you to find out.

Moving on, I’m glad that this book focuses more a bit on Annabeth as well as their minor quest that will eventually connect to their big prophecy. The Mark of Athena is written in four alternating point of views of Annabeth, Leo, Piper, and Percy and each point of view somehow contains their mini adventures of whoever they’re with that leads to the Mark of Athena. With that said, readers will be taking a wild adventure with the characters as they meet new minor gods and goddesses and Gaea’s minions and followers. On the one hand, it’s nice to be introduced to new gods and know their abilities. On the other hand, I just have poor memory remembering all of them. There are some names and incidents mentioned that I’ve forgotten which I have to recall from the previous books, but this doesn’t hinder me from enjoying the book.

Overall, I’m massively impressed by how Rick Riordan incorporates the modern aspects of life in the book. The way he mixes it with Greek and Roman mythology naturally flows into the story rather than forced. Who knew that the mythical creatures and the gods/goddesses are also taking part in the technological advancements of the society? The only downside of the book is that there are not much action-packed scenes as compared to the first two books. However, the book still offers informative details in order for the story to move on to the next part.

I have truly enjoyed the book. We get to see more abilities of the demigods, especially Leo, Piper, and Annabeth. Plus, readers will also be surprised by how connected Leo and Hazel’s lives are in actuality. I must say, the story keeps me interested until the end. Rick Riordan surely knows how to make a good cliffhanger. The story ends well with closure, but it also pushes the readers to look forward to the next book. What will be in store for the seven chosen demigods and what will be the purpose of the Mark of Athena to the prophecy? I guess we’re about to find out next year in his fourth book, The House of Hades. Signing off to mark my calendar!


Infinity Ring, Book Two: Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan

After reading the first book, I was quite interested in what’s to happen in the next book. Fortunately, I didn’t need to buy the second book. During the 33rd Manila International Book Fair, we were eligible to join a raffle in order to win the second book of the series when we bought the first book. Much to my surprise, I won the raffle and thus, got the book for free!

Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

infinity ring, book two - divide and conquer coverHundreds of ships carrying thousands of Viking warriors are attacking medieval Paris. The Parisians are fighting back, but they can only last so long. And that’s bad news — especially since Dak has been captured and forced to work with the invading army while Sera and Riq defend Paris from within. No matter which side wins, the kids will lose . . . unless Dak can find an ally among the vicious Vikings.

I’m not familiar with the Siege of Paris that happened in 885 so this sparked my curiosity about how this event has become a significant part of history. I have to warn though, that those who don’t know what exactly happened in the Siege of Paris in reality should not take the content of this book as a fact. As informative and educational as the book can be, the series intend to make a twist out of the plot by changing parts of the history so this might confuse a few. And trust me, I have to keep reminding myself of that. So yeah, just don’t mix up the real history with this one.

Moving on, once again, Dak, Sera, and Riq transported into a war period and this could endanger their lives. It’s hard to imagine being involved in real life war. If I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t know what to do. I might just cowardly hide myself, curled up in a corner and wait until everything is finished. Thinking this reminds me of how my parents have survived during the Martial Law in our country, as well as the Second World War which I believe my grandparents were part of while they were young at that time. Scary thoughts came into my mind and I was glad that I wasn’t born during those dark days yet.

Anyway, in this book, readers can now get more glimpses of the Remnants of Sera. No exact explanation or elaboration has taken place, but somehow, we start to comprehend what the Remnants are all about. I’m quite disappointed that Riq’s Remnants haven’t yet been fully revealed. However, in this book, we get to see a little more of Riq as he is slowly opening up his heart to show his true self.

It’s quite surprising that while I read through the book, I have not become biased as to which group to side with. With Dak separated from Sera and Riq which forced him to work with the Vikings, I have come to see the softer side of the Vikings and more or less feel a bit more sympathetic towards them. Furthermore, I also agree with some of Dak’s realizations at some point that the written history can be clouded by judgment, depending on who wrote it. It seems unfair to those who merely pass on their words orally. In this case, questioning the accuracy of history is reasonable.

The pacing of the story at the beginning starts off slow which took me a while to get past that portion. As the story progresses, it gets more interesting with the battle and everything. Overall, I still enjoyed the book. I’m quite fond of Vígi, Rollo’s dog, and it’s fun to read how she slowly takes a liking to Dak. Aside from that, the bond she and her master shares is so heartwarming and inspiring, makes me love and appreciate my pet dogs more. At the end of the day, the book will convince you enough to pick up the third book. Not a bad read indeed.