Review of Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about this book? This is the second time I’ve read the novel and I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time.

Mr. Riordan does a fantastic job of both storytelling, creating characters that are both believable and enjoyable to be around. I’m not a big person for first person narrative but this book does such a fantastic job of creating a character with a voice that is both unique yet enjoyable.

The story is great. The characters are terrific. I would recommend this story to anyone old enough to understand the words. It’s great for children and adults alike.

There is humor. There is action. This story has everything you could want for a quick read.

Not much else for me to say. If you have seen the movies, forget them. The book is a whole lot better.

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Review of Grayshade

Grayshade (The Gray Assassin, #1)Grayshade by Gregory A. Wilson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I picked up Grayshade on release day because I love the things that the Ed Greenwood Group is doing with shared worlds and bringing together hundreds of creatives to create story settings with limitless possibilities.

Grayshade is the second book released under the StormTalons setting and the first of the Gray Assassin Trilogy.

Reading this book was both a joy and a miss-fit for my tastes. Following along as I read let me stay within the StormTalon story world and help create a broader picture of the setting that these writers are creating. The story itself though just did not resonate with me.

Grayshade itself is a story about what in fantasy is called the assassin with a conscience. As the story description goes, we follow our protagonist through a complete mission where the first seedlings that something is amiss in the organization are first planted. From there, the road is slippery and followed my several situations which make the life of Grayshade worse at every turn.

The things that make this fall flat for me is that it is in First Person narrative. I’m not a big fan of First Person because to me it removes a lot of tension. In every story with this type of narration, I never feel like anything is going to happen to the character. How could it? They are telling me the story, aren’t they? This leaves the author’s job on make me care about all those around the character which I know nothing will happen to because the only danger/tension lays with them. With Grayshade I just never connected with any of the characters.

Second, comes from my taste in fantasy. I’m a big “Grim-Dark” fan where things tend to get bloody and violent pretty quickly. There is violence in this book, but for an assassin book, it seems pretty low key. I read StormTalons book #1 from Ed Greenwood and found a tale full of grit and fantastical magic used for all types of violence. Not so much with this story. The protagonist is relatively non-violent though it gives tidbits of back story that lets you know he is capable of incredible feats of violence. Too bad it didn’t happen on the pages I was reading.

Grayshade, looking at it as an addition to StormTalons, fits in nicely. Gives some more information on the way religions and city states work within the world. As a book for my taste, it just didn’t work.

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Review of Words of Unbinding

Words of UnbindingWords of Unbinding by Ed Greenwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Words of Unbinding is the first novel in the new StormTalons world set up by Ed Greenwood and all the creatives of TheEdGreenwoodGroup.

I will admit this is my first book I have read by Mr. Greenwood. I’ve heard many things through how much of his work has dealt with stuff like The Forgotten Realms and other works, but this is my first experience with a stand alone story of his.

I found Words of Unbinding to be a good book if you understand what it is. I would call it a “Set-Up Book.” By this I mean unlike other books by authors writing in a world where it’s either a single overarching story covering a world (Game of Thrones) or sets of trilogies that span periods of time (Shannara by Terry Brooks), this book felt like Mr. Greenwood’s attempt to introduce the readers to the StormTalons world as fast as possible over a single book so that the trilogies and other stories being written by so many other creatives would make sense.

The beginning of the book, though very well done and entertaining for what they are, for me became an info dump of the best kind. Unlike what I have heard said a million times by readers who can turn away from what they consider “epic fantasy,” the info dump in the first half of this book was not paragraph after paragraph or worse page after page of information. This was an entire world of information, from history to current events, geography to cultures molded into a story line where it felt natural and entertaining.

Personally, to me, this speaks volumes of Mr. Greenwood’s skill that he was able to put so much information out there without there ever being a boring moment. Of course, the second half of the book is where it all starts. By this point, all the information that he needs to reveal is out, and it’s time to let the blood start flying, and not for a moment does he hold back.

Characters die left and right. The fighting is fantastic, and absolutely no one is safe at any moment.

I truly enjoyed this book. Once I realized what it is a set-up book in my mind, I was able to sit back and absorb as much as possible until the real action started. Mr. Greenwood sets up a real live breathing world where there is so much going on that you can just tell it will take hundreds of books to learn it all.

Well worth the read if you are thinking of jumping into his StormTalons world. The excitement and skill of his writing are well on display here, and I couldn’t be happier I’m giving this Story Realm a chance.

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