Saturday, February 20, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

This article is about the book and not the movie. I have yet to see the movie, so I cannot compare the two.

Percy (Perseus) Jackson is a 12year old with learning difficulties, and has been expelled from a number of schools up to now. Percy however, is not just another child; he is the son of one of the most powerful gods of the Greek pantheon: Poseidon, lord of the seas.

Someone has stolen the master bolt from Zeus and the helmet of Hades. The gods are blaming each other and they are on the brink of war. Zeus thinks that Poseidon is responsible, Poseidon thinks that Hades is responsible, and Hades again, blames Poseidon. Percy is in the middle of it all, because both Hades and Zeus think that he was the means by which Poseidon stole the items. Percy, along with Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr, will travel to the depths of the the Underworld to find out the truth.

The book is aimed at children aged 11-15, but also to older children, those of us who have refused to grow old, who have kept a part of our childish wonder and awe, and love a good story. The story is similar to many other stories: a 12year old with problems, finds out that he is not just a child, but has some powers, and that he is destined for bigger things. The backplot that will tie all books together is apparent from the first book, as is the usual case.

Written in first person, but sometimes I got the feeling that it was not the 12year old Percy that was writing, but an older Percy, that is remembering his adventures and writing them down for whatever reason. I thought that some parts needed a bit of revision, but all in all it was good writing.

The plot was good, and as a book, it kept my interest. It has action, good and accurate descriptions, the characters are likeable and believable, especially since they are based on Greek Mythology. It is obvious that Riordan knows Greek Mythology, and respects it throughout the book. By respect, I mean that he does not alter myths and legends, and when he talks about events from mythology, his information is accurate. And this is one of the things I liked about the book.

I must say that I was a bit biased about the book, when I bought it. Because a lot of shows and books, have mistreated Ancient Greek Mythology, which is a small passion of mine. But I also like to read anything, whether fact or fiction, about mythology. I was wrong about my bias in this case, and I enjoyed reading it.

I love stories of ancient gods and legendary heroes; they are often very beautiful. And this was a good book for children, and as a big child I enjoyed it. So, next time I find myself in a bookstore, I will probably look for the second installment.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Torchwood - Children of Earth

Last Torchwood season was a special of 5 episodes, entitled "Children of Earth". This is the best episode up to now, this is exactly what I was looking to see from Torchwood. Surprises and twists, and if the series continues, I expect the same quality.

The story is simple but complicated at the same time. Extraterrestrials are using the children all over the world to communicate with humans. "We are coming": nothing more nothing less. But who are they? Have they been here before? Why are they coming? What is the link between them and the children? And what does Jack have to do with all this?

Spoiler warning, for the rest of this post. So, if you haven't watched the special, and you don't want to know some details, don't read ahead.

Their name is the 4-5-6 and they have been here before. They want children, specifically 10% of the world's children population. What do they actually want with the children?

Jack, Ianto and Gwen need to know what's coming. Torchwood has been destroyed, Jack has been jailed, Gwen, Ianto and Rhys are on the run. They do find some unexpected help, but is that enough before the 'units' are shipped?

When Jack tries to stop the 4-5-6, they respond, killing everyone in the building that houses them, including Ianto. Torchwood has lost, Gwen and Rhys are taken back to Cardiff, Jack is once again jailed.

However, the people that initially tried to kill Jack, free him. He finds a way to stop the 4-5-6, but this way has a terrible price for Jack: he has to sacrifice his grandson...

The deaths of Ianto and his grandson, as well as the deaths of Owen and Toshiko, weigh heavily on Jack. He spends a few months here and there on Earth, but he can't escape his feelings. He finds Gwen and Rhys to say goodbye, and leaves Earth.

Again Davies left us with a bitterness at the end of this season of Torchwood. It is after those events in Torchwood, that the Doctor finds Jack to say goodbye, and Davies has tied the timeline quite well.

I hope to see Jack and Gwen in the future, even as guest stars in the new season of Doctor Who. Can you imagine Rhys in the TARDIS?

My information tells me that the new Doctor Who series will start March 13th. One month more or less, and more information says that River Song will return in Episode 4. Can't wait.

I want more Torchwood. I want more Doctor Who.