Adam’s Review of The Crone’s Jewels (Pantheons #3) by E.J. Dabel

tcjejdThe Godfather 3, Mockingjay, and Scream 3 are all third installments that failed to live up to their predecessors. What is it about the third book or movie that just leads to such disappointment? Was it laziness on the author’s part or was it, as an audience, that we just didn’t care about the series anymore? Whatever the cause, I was hoping that Pantheons: The Crone’s Jewels by E.J. Dabel would break my third installment curse and equal the quality of the first two. Would my 27-year streak continue or would it be broken?

As referenced at the end of the previous book in the series Isaiah made six clones of himself, each of which had to complete a mission. The first clone’s mission is to travel to see Odin, accompanied by Amanda Golden, to get access to the Sleipnir so they can gain access to Taraturs. They do this so they can discover the fate of Cronos after his battle with the Balor of evil. Along the way we are introduced to new gods, hailing from Norse, Aztec, and even Japanese mythology. Through it all, we see the clone constantly tortured by Amanda, who calls him clone and often talks down to him. Will the mission be a success or will they fail to do what Isaiah had set out for them?

I will admit, this installment of the series didn’t grab my attention as quickly as the previous two. Perhaps it’s because I started reading it at the wrong time (in the middle of a very chaotic move, both personally and job-wise), but it took me a few attempts to really get in to this book. However, once I got over the bump of starting over and over, I really did enjoy the story. Once again, Dabel makes you care for the characters. He allows you the emotion of rooting for the underdog and you find yourself happy when something goes in their favor and upset when they are knocked down. I really enjoy that about his writing, because so often you read about characters that seem so distant and clearly fictitious that you can’t root for them. However, in this particular story, you find yourself rooting for Clone 1 to finish his mission and you want to see where the story goes next.

Another thing that I found really interesting about this book was the incorporation of the characters of Thor and Loki. As we’ve seen them in other forms of entertainment as two of the main characters in The Avengers, it was fun to see them in a story containing mythology. I feel that with the comics and the movies, both characters are so watered down with regard to their mythological side.  That being said, I really enjoyed seeing this new side to them. It was almost like watching a movie you love but from a different perspective. Different aspects were highlighted and as the reader I got a better understanding of the characters and more of their history. As a side note, if a movie is ever made of this novel, please do not cast Chris Hemsworth as Thor. He is about as dull as watching paint dry. Tom Hiddleston as Loki can be allowed, because he was pretty awesome in the role.

All in all I am really glad that I saw this book through to the end, as I was really nervous based on my initial reaction to the work. I really enjoyed the other two other books in this series, and I was looking forward to reading this work. I think that it is a little bit slower initially than the first two, but it picks up quickly. I still like the second installment the best so far, but I am glad I continued with this journey and finished up part three. I eagerly await reading part four, which as I saw on Goodreads, will be out in the fall.  Keep your eyes open!

4 out of 5 Stars

The Crone’s Jewels by E.J. Dabel
Sea Lion Books (2013)
eBook: 190 pages
ASIN: B00DZF439G

Special thanks to Sea Lion Books for my review copy!

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Adam’s Review of Game of the Gods (Pantheons #2) by E.J. Dabel

gotgRevenge is one of the most powerful feelings in the world. Mix that with feeling like you have to prove yourself for past mistakes, past failures, and what you have yet to accomplish, and this combination will drive you like no other. That mixture can have characters that are calm in nature driven to extreme actions. Pantheons: The Game of the Gods by E.J. Dabel, the second book in the Pantheon series, discuss all of this, along with the incorporation of characters we grew to love from the first book in the series, Pantheons.

Taking place a year after Isaiah’s battle with his father Zeus and the events of last novel, Isaiah is training in order to be better prepared for the next battle with his father. He is training with the mysterious man who rescued him in the last battle, and is trying to grow in certain areas, such as working with his lightning bolts. While this is happening, the powers that be decided that the teenage Gods must compete in the Fourth Great War (the legend was explained at the beginning of the first novel). However because the Gods are now in the bodies of strong teenagers, a game of tasselball (the game of the Gods) instead of a Great War will be played. Throughout the story, we see new characters introduced, old ones re-introduced, and find Isaiah learning about his true abilities.

I was hoping that I would enjoy this novel as much as the first one and boy did I. I regret not reading these back-to-back, because I did have to keep referring to the first novel to remind myself of characters.  I really enjoyed reading about the new developments of  my favorite characters. Isaiah is a great protagonist and great lead character because you root for him and want him to succeed. You see that he is human, despite his abilities that most humans don’t have, and you can’t help but cheer for someone who seems like the constant underdog. I enjoyed when the Red-Rovers were introduced and enjoyed their characters.

I didn’t mention this in my review of the first novel, but I was constantly double-checking the facts about the gods. I knew they would all be proven true, but I was amazed by the research that went into the novels. Dabel incorporated a ton of different gods, not only Greek, but Celtic, Babylonian, Norse, and Maori Gods and Goddesses. This made me really enjoy the historical background of the novel and opened me up to a brand new array of history. I had never researched any of the other Gods, but I definitely thought it was interesting to read about them to see their similarities and purposes among the different cultures. Even though this may be meant for a younger reader, I think it will not only prove to be entertaining, but also informational to all ages.

Like The Godfather Part II and Catching Fire, I think this second installment in the series was stronger than the first. It caught my attention from the first second and was able to keep me riveted until the end. This is my third time reading a novel by E.J. Dabel, and this was by far my favorite endeavor. Dabel really understands the characters and material he is writing about and this really shows in the context of the novel. He is able to give the reader what they want while always leaving them wanting more. I look forward to reading my next Dabel novel and hope they will continue to keep me engaged.

5 out of 5 Stars

Game of the Gods by E.J. Dabel
Sea Lion Books (2012)
eBook: 267 pages
ASIN: B008FEP09O

Special thanks to Sea Lion Books for my review copy!

The Staff’s Favorite Reads of 2012

heart-bookHi everyone!  I thought that since you all have heard so much about my own personal goals and favorite reads of 2012, it was about time that you heard from the rest of the staff.  I’ve asked them to send me their top reads of 2012, and I’ve posted them below.  I think it’s interesting to see what different readers choose as their favorites, and it’s always a great springboard for opening a discussion too!  So, without further adieu, here’s the Reflections of a Book Addict staff favorites of 2012!

Todd:

  1. Timeline by Michael Crichton
  2. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  3. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  4. A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis
  5. H10N1 by M.R. Cornelius
  6. Flesh and Fire (Vineart War #1) by Laura Anne Gilman
  7. The Sounding by Carrie Salo

Adam:

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
  3. Pantheons by E.J. Dabel
  4. Albino by E.J. Dabel
  5. Deal With the Devil by J. Gunnar Grey

Christine:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  2. Issues 1-6 of Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt
  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  4. The Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
  5. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  6. Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Jess:

  1. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
  2. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  3. Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton

What do you think?  Leave us a comment below!

Adam’s Review of Pantheons by E. J. Dabel

Zeus. When that name was said in my house growing up, I always thought of the picture of the Parthenon my mother had in the living room. I also thought of the most powerful God in the world and all the myths my YiaYia (Grandma in Greek) use to tell me.  Growing up in a Greek household, often times my bedtime stories were replaced by those of my ancestors and the myths of why certain things occurred in the world. With that being said, I was really excited to read Pantheons by E.J Dabel for two reasons. One, I really enjoyed reading his last piece of work, Albino (review here), and two, I’ve always enjoyed hearing/reading mythological stories (they are much better than fairy tales if you ask me).

The novel starts off with an introduction of the Gods and how they are still in existence, yet in a different form than you’d expect. In ancient times, all of the head Gods refused to fight in the Fourth Great War because of what Odin, the chief God of Norse, prophesied  He foretold that a great darkness would arise after the conflict. So, when the Gods refused to fight, the powers to be took away their immortal powers and replaced them with strong, but mortal, teenagers.

The story then picks up in the present day with an orphan named Isaiah Marshall and his group of friends Jeremy, Pip, and Monty, also known as the Red Rovers.  Isaiah doesn’t know anything about his past or where he came from, but constantly has a vision of a lady who he believes to be his mother. After a chance encounter with Principal Webb, the principal of Kaliber Academy, Isaiah and his friends are offered the chance to enroll in the academy and Isaiah learns the truth about his identity. He learns that he is a minor God, meaning his parents were both Gods. His father was Zeus and his mother was Metis, one of the wisdom Goddesses from ancient Greek mythology. Principal Webb, the mystery stranger who was so nice Isaiah, is actually Prometheus, one of the last two titans of Greece. He promised to look after Isaiah when his mother was killed. From this discovery comes a story of self discovery, mixed with information about various Gods and Goddesses from different ancient civilizations.

E.J Dabel is an excellent character writer. He is able to write characters that people will relate to and root for. The way he wrote the main protagonist Isaiah was really outstanding. He really makes him seem like any other teenager, with flaws and all. I was really looking forward to reading this, especially after reading Albino and seeing how he made those characters jump off the page. I think being a big movie fan makes me want to have characters to root for. These characters, both good and evil, jumped off the page and made the story come to life in my head. I thought all the minor details were really important and really made for a fuller story.

One thing that immediately came to my mind while reading this novel is how great of a read it would be in a middle school language arts class. Maybe it’s the teacher in me that has me in a constant mode of cross curriculum, but I think this could be used while learning mythology, or about Ancient Greece  in Social Studies. With some of the material, especially having to do with the Gods and Goddess, I found myself checking up the facts because it had been so long since I had studied this. Not only was the book entertaining, but also it was really interesting and I think it could definitely be used to introduce kids to the ideas behind the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient world.

With everything said and done, I really enjoyed reading Pantheons. I thought Mr. Dabel was able to once again create a protagonist that the reader can truly root for and see a little of themselves in. I think teenagers in particular will truly enjoy the novel, as it is fun and adventure mixed into one. If you want to learn more about ancient Gods and Goddesses and don’t want to read a history textbook, I think this would be a great introduction.

4 out of 5 Stars

Pantheons by E. J. Dabel
Sea Lion Books (2012)
eBook: 257 pages
ASIN: B006V7NPJE

Special thanks to Sea Lion Books for my review copy!

The October Round Up!

I can’t believe it’s time to write yet another round up post.  October wasn’t super packed with stuff, so I got a lot of good reading time in.  The highlight of the month though was definitely heading to my favorite bookstore, R.J. Julia, and seeing Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis discuss their newest book Invisible Murder.  The book is the second in their Nina Borg chronicles, the first being The Boy in the Suitcase (which I reviewed here).  Hearing them discuss the research that went into the book, their travels through Hungary, and the tragic stories of what life is like in Hungary for gypsies was harrowing.  I’m excited that I have some background on the real life instances that parts of the book are based on.  It’ll only add that much more to my reading of it.

Me and two of my best friends Kate & Ashley!

We also participated in our second read-a-thon of the year!  Todd and I made it through an hour longer than our first read-a-thon and completed more books as well. We considered it a success and are already looking forward to the next one in the spring.

Besides the read-a-thon our month was spent celebrating our birthdays and Halloween!  Our birthday celebration consisted of Todd, me, and 12 of our friends hitting up downtown New Haven for pizza and beers.  Following dinner we took the group saki bombing!  Those unfamiliar with the term – you take a glass and fill it about halfway with beer (preferably Japanese beer) and then balance a shot of hot saki on top.  You bang the table, let the shot drop in the beer, and then chug down the rest. (Sounds gross but is actually really delicious!)  It was a fabulous celebration and I can’t wait till next year!

Our Halloween party was as always a ton of fun.  Todd’s home-brewed pumpkin beer was a huge smash. (Such a smash all 5 gallons was drunk in one night!)  Everyone went all out on their costumes this year! (Todd and I were newsies) I’m already anticipating how we’re all going to top ourselves next year.

October was a fantastic reading month!  I met my second reading goal of the year of 160 books and have decided to up the goal to 200 books by year-end.  As of today I’m at 176, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can make it through 24 more before year-end.  I completed 19 books in October with my favorite being The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley (my review is here).  Great great great book.  I really hope y’all will add it to your to-read piles.

The staff has been diligently working on getting through a whole slew of books this month. Adam’s been reading the historical fiction novel Deal With The Devil Part II and recently posted his review for it.  His next review is for a young adult mythology book, Pantheons.  Todd’s been reading a new thriller novel Targets of Deception and the fiction novel Believe Like A Child.  Christine’s been reading a short story/poetry anthology called Everblossom.  Jess is reading the memoir Taking Flak, while Charlie’s been working on a review of the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I do also want to inform all of you about the addition of another staff blogger for the Reflections team, Sam!  Sam’s been working on a young adult dystopian thriller, The Tube Riders.  You can find out more about Sam and her reading tastes on The Staff page!

Let us know what you read last month and what books we should be adding to our to-read piles! As always, happy reading!