The Daily Bongo

December 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012 -- Evening

Cover of The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
I spent a good portion of the University winter break reading The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. It is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus. The Percy Jackson & the Olympians told the story of the Greek demigods of Camp Half-Blood. This current series has a mix of Greek and Roman demigods. In the first book, The Lost Hero, Annabeth and Camp Half-Blood was looking for Percy Jackson who had gone missing. Jason Grace showed up, with a case of amnesia, and after Jason and Annabeth, Piper, and Leo from Camp Half-Blood freed Juno, Jason realized he was a Roman. In The Son of Neptune, Percy came back into the story. He had been missing for eight months. Juno had blocked his memory of who he was. Percy found himself making his way to Camp Jupiter. Percy had to prove himself to the Romans of Camp Jupiter, and of course, he does. Mars, aka Ares, appeared at camp, claimed Frank Zhang as his offspring, and told Frank that three of them would have to journey to Alaska to free Thanatos, the god of Death, who was imprisoned in Alaska. In order to free Thanatos, Because Thanatos was captured, people can't die. In particular, monsters can't die. Frank, Hazel Hazel Levesque, and Percy Jackson will have to kill the giant, Alcyoneus. We learned the back story of Frank, who was a mix of Roman and Chinese god, and would die when a particular piece of kindling he has burns out. Hazel died in the 1940s trying to prevent the rebirth of Alcyoneus. She was a daughter of Pluto, and was brought back by her half brother Nico di Angelo to right her wrongs.

As with the other books that Riordan wrote, this book had lots of good action and lots of mystery about what the future would bring. Would Frank die? What is his mystery? Will Hazel stay alive and right her wrongs? Would Percy get his memory back and rejoin Annabeth? Some of the questions were answered; others weren't. Ever more questions were brought up before the book ends. Will Percy, Frank, Hazel, Jason, Annabeth, Leo, and Piper succeed in the Prophecy of the Seven? We'll just have to read the other books to find that out. This book was a great example of Riordan's action adventure for kids that even adults could enjoy. If you haven't read Riordan, start with The Lightning Thief, and enjoy the journey!

Friday, December 21, 2012 -- Afternoon

Street of the Five Moons by Elizabeth Peters
Cover of Street of the Five Moons by Elizabeth Peters I have been busy with the end of term, and the best remedy for the stress is a good, ripping yarn! So, of course, I turned to Elizabeth Peters. Peters knows how to write a funny, entertaining story, with a bit of thrills and suspense. Since it's been a while since I've read one of her Vicky Bliss novels, I chose the second one in the series, Street of the Five Moons.

Vicky Bliss is not your typical romantic suspense heroine. She is tall, blond, beautiful, smart, and able to take care of herself. Well, she has to take care of herself because she's always getting herself into jams because she doesn't stop to think about what she is doing. Street of the Five Moons is one of my favorites because it is the book that introduces Sir John Smythe, who we later learn is really John Tregarth. In Street of the Five Moons, the story begins with a dead man who has a fake copy of the Charlemagne necklace sewn into his clothes. This is brought to the attention of Vicky's boss, Herr Professor Anton Z. Schmidt, who is the head of the museum that houses the Charlemagne necklace. Schmidt finds out that the necklace in the museum is really the real one, but he sends Vicky off to investigate the mystery. She talks to the police and figures out for a cryptic note in the dead man's pocket that 37 Street of the Five Moons is the source of the necklace. Of course, she realizes that this is a street in Rome. Schmidt gives her the time off to investigate, and off goes Vicky. Of course, when she breaks into the antique store at that location, Vicky finds a list of names and a hungry Doberman. Vicky, although smart, isn't sensible, and she goes back to the store the next day. She meets Smythe, and later winds up getting kidnapped. Smythe, although one of the bad guys, rescues her and tells her to get the heck out of Rome. Does our Vicky listen? No, of course not! Instead, she has figured out where she was taken while kidnapped. And of course, she manages to finagle an invitation to meet the people she thinks are the masterminds behind the crime. What else would she want to do? Well, before you know it, Vicky and Smythe are running of their lives, and murder is on the horizon.

The story is quite entertaining, and once I started reading, I didn't want to put the book down. Peters knows how to write repartee, and Vicky and Smythe are quite likeable. Eventually, Peters tied in Smythe's history to the Emersons, of the Amelia Peabody Emerson line. The youngest daughter of Ramses and Nefret is Smythe's grandmother. The whole series is fun and entertaining. Smythe is an entertaining answer to other British criminals, like Raffles. I have the next book, Silhouette in Scarlet on my TBR pile from the library. If you haven't read a Vicky Bliss, get Street of the Five Moons now. Read it; you'll love it!