Showing posts with label Rick Riordan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rick Riordan. Show all posts

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Lightning Thief by Rick Rordan, Robert Venditti, Atilla Futaki

Rating: WARTY!

I failed the original novel because it simply was not entertaining, and this is no better. It's the same as the novel so if you came to this via the movie, be prepared for the two to be nothing alike. The movie was significantly better, even though it was average for a movie - and just as racist as this novel.

There is no Gorgon in the novel, which was sad, nor is there a visit to the faux Parthenon in Nashville, and no fight with a hydra. There is no lightning bolt hidden in a shield here, and no wise-cracking Rosario Dawson playing Hades's wife, which was a real highlight in the movie. The final battle isn't between Luke and Percy, but between the token black guy and Percy. Zeus is dressed in a business suit, and in the one single touch I did appreciate, Poseidon is dressed as a surfer dude!

Grover is white in the graphic novel, so I guess they made him black in the movie for no other reason than the one Hollywood always employs: we must have a token black person in this movie so they can't say we're racist. Well guess what, guys - and let me put this in an 'in a world' scenario so you in Hollywood can grasp it - In a world where the vast majority of people are not white, anything that doesn't fairly represent those proportions is racist, period. Get a fucking clue. Even the US is a quarter non-white, so where was that represented in this book? Yeah, you know it.

Every single person in the entire graphic novel was white except for one token villain, who has daughter who was white! I was done right there. This novel sucked and should be boycotted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Robert Vendetti, Nate Powell

Rating: WARTY!

This graphic novel is in the Percy Jackson world, but features a different main character named Jason, who wakes up on a school bus on a trip to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is as scary as it is awesome. Jason cannot remember who he is, although two friends, Leo and Piper (I'm sorry, but I can't take that name seriously. I just can't. I apologize to all who are named Piper, but I cannot. Honestly). Of course these kids are demigods as they soon discover, and all three are sent on a quest for a missing goddess, because gods are useless, and they're flying on a bronze dragon....

Riordan has carved out a fine empire with his take on Greek mythology, but it has singularly failed to impress me. I rather liked the first movie made from these books, The Lightning Thief, but I didn't like the second one and I didn't liked the book that gave rise to that first movie either! Nor have I liked an adult-oriented detective story of his, so I guess I'm done with this author!

My problem with this was several-fold. While Robert Vendetti's adaptation of the original was passable (and perhaps better than the original since it was shorter!), Nate Powell's art work left a lot to be desired. It felt slapdash and hasty. The biggest problem as usual, though, was the overall story. It felt choppy and staccato, and not a lot of it made sense. I don't know if this mirrors the original novel, or if this came about as part of the translation to graphic. All the evil villains had horrible faces or horrible expressions on the faces, and pointy teeth, so cheap stereotype found lucrative employment here.

Conversely, all the good guys have the looks of runway models. In fact, frequently we're taught in this book that women are only really worth anything if they're beautiful, No other quality comes close: not intelligence, not loyalty, nor diligence, industriousness, reliability, bravery, strength (mental or physical). Nope. The only thing a girl can offer is good looks, otherwise she's pretty much worthless. I resent that. Anyone who actually knows women (and it would seem that Riordan doesn't if he's judged by his writing) knows that their true beauty, just as in men, comes from the inside, not from the shallow depth of their skin.

I also didn't like that Riordan's world is pretty much whites only. Yeah, you can try arguing that it's based on ancient Greece which was a largely white world, but since Riordan abandoned Greece in favor of the USA, I think you can argue that he also abandoned excuses and he lost that high ground. I mean why base a novel rooted in Greek mythology actually in Greece when it can be based in the only country in the world worth writing about: the great US of A? The hell with the Greeks. The hell with native American mythology, let's and for no reason at all, simply migrate Greek mythology wholesale to the US! Steal the mythology, but god forbid any of the stories should ever take place outside the US.

The problem with a world like this - or any paranormal world is that you have to have some sort of intelligent framework behind it, to have it work in a coherent fashion, otherwise literally anything could happen and all smart plotting is out the window. I didn't see any framework here. The one consistent thing we learn here is how utterly useless gods are - of any stripe,. It doesn't matter if the god is Roman, Greek, Egyptian, biblical, Norse, or whatever, not a single one of these gods is worth anything! They're always begging us poor, weak, condemned, sinful, worthless humans to help them out! What's the heck is up with that? Why would any god worthy of the name need anyone's help?

So, to cut a long story short, as indeed did the the guy who adapted this, I can't recommend this graphic novel, It had no substance and really delivered no worthwhile story.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Devil Went Down to Austin by Rick Riordan

Rating: WARTY!

Though it was read quite competently by Tom Stechschulte, and though it started out reasonably well after a slightly rocky first couple of chapters, this audiobook soon devolved into endless family politics with very little of interest to me happening, so I started skipping and skimming, and then quickly gave it up as a bad job. Life is too short to waste on stories which don't grip you. I skipped to the end before I dropped it off back at the library and discovered, not to my surprise at all, that the main suspect turned out to be not the real bad guy, and one of the guys I'd encountered briefly earlier, who I'd tagged as a possible main villain was actually the villain, so no real surprises at all.

This is apparently number four in the "Tres Navarre" series, that name (the first part of which is pronounced 'Trace') being the name of the main character. If I'd known that before I picked it up, I'd not have picked it up. As it was, it looked like it might be interesting, and it was a story set in central Texas, but it really could have been set anywhere and remained the same story (with local details changed of course), which meant it wasn't really about Texas. It was a stand-alone - that is to say, as far as I could see I didn't feel I'd missed anything by 'starting' this series at number four. On the other hand, I didn't really feel I'd missed anything when I DNF'd it, either!

I liked the idea of the PI coming to Austin to teach literature for the summer (although he actually does no teaching!), and that this brother is a software engineer who is in trouble with his new anti-virus app, but neither of these things really played a large part in the story except as a rather flimsy background.

Most of it (at least the parts that I listened to) was boring. There was far too much extraneous detail, and far too much tedious twisted family history which some readers might like but which turns me off a story. For me it made a stodgy dough of a recipe which the occasional nice turn of phrase did nothing at all to leaven in the long-run. Based on what I did listen to, and the uninventive ending, I can't recommend this one. Maybe Rick Riordan should stick to his Percy Jackson series?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Rating: WARTY!

I started listening to Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief this past weekend and this morning. It's pretty bad and very much a rip-off of Harry Potter. It's like cut-price Greek mythology - set in America no less - meets Harry Potter. There's even a wand, after a fashion - it's Zeus's lightning bolt. Someone stole it and evidently the gods are, as usual, utterly incapable of discovering who took it or where it is. For reasons unexplained, they zero-in on Percy Jackson, who is, unbeknownst to him, the son of not only his mother, but also Zeus's brother Poseidon, who's been banned by Zeus from seeing his son. The Greek gods were the original dysfunctional family.

In order to protect Percy from unspecified potential enemies, his mom evidently had no other choice than to take-up residence with a disgusting guy who abuses her to a caricatured degree, mentally and physically. Evidently his smell is powerful enough to hide Percy from enemies who are evidently as dumb as the gods. Percy attends a special private school, although who pays for this goes unspecified. The only thing taught at the school, it would seem, is ancient Greek mythology, and Latin. Why Latin, I have no idea whatsoever. No Roman gods are involved in this story! I studied Latin for two years in high school and got nothing out of it other than a better understanding of English, which I could have arrived at in far less painful ways, trust me!

As is typical for this magical child trope, Percy, like Potter, grows up in pain and is kept in ignorance about his true origin and nature. Like Potter, he's bullied at school, and he's been told that he suffers from ADHD and dyslexia. He discovers he can read ancient Greek with no trouble, but plain modern English escapes him. I never knew that was what dyslexia was all about! Wow!

I was having a hard time getting into the story, mostly because Percy was incredibly stupid and blind, and the mythology had been dumbed-down to childish levels presumably to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I had quite liked the movie, which despite its flaws, was considerably better than the novel. It was tighter, smarter, better told, and more 'sensible', although it still fell short of being truly good.

The movie changed a few significant things, too - such as Percy saving Grover from the minotaur in the book, which was changed to Grover saving Percy in the movie; then came the second movie which sucked! This morning, I decided that this first novel was very much of the same nature as the second movie, and I skipped to the last couple of disks figuring I could skim through those before I drop it off at the library this afternoon. It's gone, girl!

My conviction that this novel would never improve and would be just as bad at the end as it was at the beginning, was fully confirmed and amplified upon. After hearing the guy who was reading this story pronounce Charon as Karen as opposed to Care - on, and discovering that Kerberos (not pronounced with a K, but begun with a 'ser' - as in Ser-bian in this novel), and discovering that this fierce guardian of hell was really just a puppy who liked to chase balls, I had pretty much heard all I could stand. I never like Annabeth in the movie (she was better in True Detective), and I liked her just as little in the novel. And why was she named Annabeth? She's the daughter of a Greek God and she's named with a Hebrew name? Grover is a Satyr, and gets an English name?!

This author has no respect for the mythology and dumbs it down incredibly. What in the name of the gods inspired him to take Greek mythology and then divorce it entirely from Greece and set it in the USA? What logic or rationale is behind that? Obviously none. The Empire State Building is Olympus? It's really saddening that he trashed and cheapened some fine mythology instead of fully capitalizing on it. On the other hand, he has a best-selling franchise from treating his readers like they deserve nothing better, so maybe the rest of us should jump on this bandwagon and start turning out equally careless LCD novels? I honestly don't l think I can do that, and I certainly can't recommend this as a worthy read. The grpahic novle is no better. I posted a negative review of that in June of 2017.