The Hidden Oracle

I love the relationships you build with characters… But I also hate them.

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I love Rick Riordan‘s writing.

Seriously, I love it. I love his style. I love how he creates his characters. I love how his books are not only entertaining, but they teach you about mythology.

But most of all, I love the relationships you build with the characters from the moment you meet them.

However, that’s also the thing I hate most of all.

See, I’ve been reading Rick’s books since middle school and have read all of them by this point. Even The Hidden Oracle, which just came out yesterday. Yes, I’ve already finished it. I read too fast to remember much of the plot (don’t worry, I’ll be re-reading it at a slower pace later), but I do remember multiple details that stood out to me.

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Anyway, after reading all of his books, I have many developed many different relationships with the characters. Some relationships are good. Some not so good. Some started off good, then got not so good.

I was met with many of these relationships while reading The Hidden Oracle, and I feel the need to share my reactions with all of you.

WARNING: The rest of this post WILL include SPOILERS. If you have not read the book yet, DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT. Thank you.

  • Sally Jackson: Just like with every other PJ fan, Sally Jackson holds a special place in my heart. She’s the perfect person without being overly perfect. She’s kind, intelligent, strong, protective, loving, loyal, and even a bit sassy at times. Not to mention, she’s an amazing cook who can make anything blue, she worked in a candy shop to make a living, she raised a son of Poseidon on her own, and she’s about to publish her first novel!

All we’ve ever wanted was for her to be happy. Now, finally, our prayers have been answers. Because oh my gosh Sally Jackson is pregnant, seven months pregnant, oh my gosh this is the best thing ever and it’s gonna be a girl!!!!!!!!

  • Percy Jackson: His sassiness will forever bring me joy.
  • Annabeth Chase: Haha, Magnus Chase reference! She’s dealing with family business in Boston! Haha, love it!!!
  • Solangelo: Yeah, I’m not separating these two. Literally, the thing I was most excited for in regards to this book was that Solangelo would finally be canon. They’re just so perfect… Honestly, I think I’m a bigger fan of Solangelo than Percabeth, and that is seriously saying something!

By the way, you think we could convince Rick to write a short story featuring Nico and Will at some point after they started dating? Seriously, as much as I loved what I got from The Hidden Oracle, I need more!!!

  • Leo Valdez: And this is where it gets rocky.

So when I first read The Lost Hero, the second I read that first line about Leo, I was completely taken. By the end of the first chapter, I realized I had fallen in love. With a fictional character. Like, seriously? Who falls in love with a fictional character? People can develop crushes, sure, but I was in love! As in, heart skipping beats, butterflies in my stomach, stupid smile on my face, and silly fangirl giggles whenever he was so much as mentioned.

Yeah, I’d fallen hard. I decided Leo was my official boyfriend, even if he wasn’t real. I could pretend, at least until the end of the series. It would be fine. Great, even! And when I found out he would be the seventh wheel, the only one without a girlfriend, I was ecstatic! I wouldn’t even have to contend with anyone!

(At this point, you might be thinking I’m a bit off my rocker. This is very true. Sadly, I have not been admitted to an institute yet.)

And then, Calypso happened. The whole time I was reading that part, my stomach was slowly curling in dread, but my mind kept telling me, no, you don’t need to worry! Every other girl has turned him down! It’ll be fine!

And then she kissed him. And he swore on the River Styx to return for her.

And my heart shattered.

I imagine what I felt is what girls feel like when the guy they’re in love with finds another girl. I imagine what I felt is what Nico felt like when Percy started dating Annabeth. Percy didn’t know Nico liked him, but he still broke Nico’s heart. Leo didn’t know I even existed because he’s fictional, but he still broke my heart.

By the end of the series, I thought I had come to terms with my heartbreak. I thought I was over it. But then, The Hidden Oracle happens and Leo shows up. I had thought that his appearance would be small and short-lived, but no! He comes back and, suddenly, he and stupid, perfect Calypso are going on that stupid quest with Apollo! Like, seriously Rick? Seriously?

Not to mention, they’re coming to Indiana. Seriously, come on! Right when they’re actually coming to me… Why does Calypso have to go? She’s a stupid mortal now, she’ll be useless! Apollo’s one thing, she’s a whole ‘nother thing entirely!

I know I’m being a bit of a brat about this whole thing, but I really hate Calypso now. The stupid, perfect, good-for-nothing…

 

Happy reading!


Picture source: Riordan Wiki

Me Before You

I can’t cope.

Have you read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes?

If you haven’t, go to your local library or your favorite supermarket or a bookstore that sells new books and get it and read it.

You will not understand this reaction unless you have read it.

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From the beginning, I thought I knew exactly where the book was going.

Then I got around midway through, and there was that huge reveal, and suddenly I knew I was wrong and that was how it would end, and I was greatly upset, but I knew that I was right about the ending.

And I was right. But I also wasn’t right. The last fifty pages just threw me for a landslide. Just… Just everything. I thought I knew, and then something happened that made me think what? And then something else, and I thought what?!?!? And then something else, and I was like WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

And now, I just can’t. I just… Why? Why did Jojo Moyes have to do this to me?

No, I am not giving anything away about this book. If you want to know why I’m freaking out, you’ll have to go get the book and read it yourself.

If you have read it… Why? How do I cope with this?

I just can’t…

I can’t wait to see the movie.


Picture source: Cinema Bravo

Reading Flash Fiction

Before I say anything else, you’ll need to refer to this HubPages link to know what I’m talking about in this post. There are three Flash Fiction examples on this page. I will be refering to these.

Alright, you with me?

Great, now onto my story analysis.

I’ll start with the “A stitch in time saves nine” prompt, “Gasping in the Wind.” I was quite a fan of this piece. I love what it did with the prompt and how it fit so much imagery and so many poetic phrases into so few words. There really isn’t much else I can say about it. It was brilliant and I was in love with it.

Next was the “a damaged object” prompt, “Acceptable Condition.” Though “Gasping in the Wind” was my favorite of the three, I loved the take on this one. I actually had to laugh while reading this because it just so happens that I have a notebook that’s so worn that the binding has torn off. I’ve been debating what tape I want to get to fix it with: black duct tape, silver duct tape, or clear packing tape. The duct tape would hold better, but the clear tape would be less noticeable. It really is quite the dabate.

Anyway, I was very impressed with the usage of dailogue and how it was what really created the story. It was unique and I appreciated it. It added a simplicity to the story that you very rarely see in the modern day.

Last was the “around the coffeepot” prompt, “Before the Locksmith.” I wasn’t much of a fan of this one. It was good, but it could have been much better. Honestly, I don’t even know what about it I don’t like. The imagery wasn’t bad, and neither was the story. I just didn’t like it much.

Based on these stories, you can get a pretty decent idea of what Flash Fiction is. You would think it’s easier to write something short, but it takes quite a bit of skill to make it good. I’m definitely going to play around with it a bit, and you should try it out as well.

It only takes a few minutes to write, after all!

 

The Language of Flowers

A highly symbolic story that touches the heart.

If you’ve been wondering where my obsession with floriography began, here’s your answer.

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“The Language of Flowers”, a novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, sadly didn’t make my top ten list of favorite books. However, it’s definitely somewhere in the top fifty.

Without going into depth about the storyline, “The Language of Flowers” follows a girl named Victoria Jones as… Well, as a lot of things happen. She learns love, loses love, denies love, and finds love anew. She makes mistakes and runs away from them, then makes more mistakes and tries to make ammends.

She tries to make a life for herself when she has nothing.

It really is a beautiful story, and there’s so much depth to it. Strangely enough, my favorite aspect of it isn’t the flower meanings woven into the story, but rather the feeling of a double story.

Rather than trying to introduce the backstory then jumping into the present story, Diffenbaugh tells the story from the past and the story from the present at the same time. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t read the book, but it’s absolutely fantastic.

I love this aspect because it’s so meaningful. In real life, stories can’t just start without a backstory. At the same time, it’s a huge no-no for an author to tell you exactly what you need to know rather than show you.

So if your story has a really long and important backstory, it’s nearly impossible to tell.

Unless you’re Diffenbaugh, in which case you’ve created a new-era story design.

And of course, when I first read this, I was fascinated with the fact that there’s actually a language of flowers. Like, that’s so awesome!

And as I discovered that the language wasn’t just pretty words but also covered the darker emotions and ideas of humanity…

… Let’s just say I didn’t put the book down for a week after finishing it.

It really is a great read, and the symbolism is simply famtastic. It’s been at least a year since I read it, and I can’t get past that. It was just so amazingly thought out…

I just can’t even!

So if you’re looking for a good book to read over Spring Break and simply cannot get enough of symbolism, I would definitely suggest this one.

It may not be packed with adventure, but it’s definitely packed with feels.


 

Picture source: Amazon.com

Flawed Characters

Why the characters of Percy Jackson will forever live in our hearts. *spoilers*

Nobody’s perfect.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s a sad (and amazingly beautiful) truth of life. Everyone is flawed in some way, usually in dozens of ways, and fictional characters are no exception.

In fact, a character’s flaws are the reason we love them so much.

The characters from the world of Percy Jackson are my favorite examples of flawed characters. Save a few of the characters who continuously try to ignore their flaws (Jason, Piper… You know the type), they’re all so imperfect that you can’t help but love them.

One of the most obvious examples of this: Percy Jackson.

Though Percy grows quite a bit over both series set in his world, he never really grows out of his “I never really know what’s going on so I’m just going to be sarcastic and sassy about it” faze. He’s a complete idiot and cares more about the safety of others than his own personal health. He’s looked up to by everyone, yet he always steps out of the spotlight and acts like he’s completely normal.

And, of course, he’s completely oblivious.

You gotta love the guy.

But he’s not the only one. Here’s another guy you gotta love: Leo Valdez.

Before I start, I’m just going to get this out there: ever since the fist moment Leo was introduced, I was head-over-heels for the guy. I swear I’ve never had a bigger crush on anyone, ever. My friends called my crazy, said he was annoying, but I thought he was amazing. He was sarcastic and funny, always looking for the positive in every situation, and they way I imagined him was downright hot.

But that wasn’t why I liked him. I liked him because, from the very beginning, I knew he was different from the other characters. His smile was too bright to be real, his humor too common to be careless. I knew he was hiding something, and before the books even told us, I knew what. I knew he was hiding his pain, his sadness, his guilt. I knew he was hiding his hurt and longing.

I knew, because he reminded me of myself.

His flaws were so real and so understandable that my heart went straigt to him and stayed with him. And when he fell for Calypso, I felt true heartbreak for the first time in my life.

People say you can’t truely love fictional characters?

Those people are liars. You can. And they can hurt just like any real person.

Anyway, enough about that. You don’t want to know about my heartbreak. You want to know about the last flawed character I’m going to discuss: Nico Di Angelo.

Nico may possibly be one of the greatest characters ever created. He’s introduced as a supporting character, a character you expect never to see again. Then his sister dies, and you know you’re wrong.

Everything about him is flawed, and that’s why we love him so much. He’s the youngest physically, but the oldest in every other sense. He starts off only wanting revenge, then he decides otherwise and ends up playing a huge part in every victory. Yet he never feels like he can fit in, so remains a loner.

Then you find out he’s gay and had a crush on Percy, and your love for him is increased tenfold.

And that’s not all. He started off wanting revenge, but he ends up only wanting to help, even if it means losing himself to the darkness.

And if that’s not enough, he understands death in a way no one will ever understand and has to let people die when he could have saved them.

Oh yeah. You gotta love the angel.

And this is why the Percy Jackson world is the best place to find flawed characters.

(On a side note, please don’t copyright me on any of these piectures. I just like them a lot more than the official ones and can’t find the artists. If you are one of the artists or know one of the artists, would you please let me know so I can give you credit?)

What the Heck Happened to the Comb?!?

A continuation of my post “In a Bamboo Grove” (may contain spoilers).

Yeah, I decided to go into that separate rant I mentioned.

If you haven’t read my post entitled “In a Bamboo Grove”, then here’s a little background:

In Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s short story “In a Bamboo Grove”, a comb is mentioned by the woodcutter in his testimony about the murder that serves as the basis of the story. He states that he was the one to find the body, and all he found with it was a rope and a comb. That comb is never mentioned again by any of the other characters.

So, my question is, what happened to the comb?

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I have many thoughts surrounding the comb, and I’ve had many discussions with one of my friends about it (check out her blog here! https://madelynejacks.wordpress.com), but I still haven’t come to a conclusion that I really like.

The most likely conclusion is that the comb fell the wife’s hair when she was being raped. It was most likely a Japenese comb, and though it is never mentioned if she was wearing a comb or not, it is relatively likely.

However, the problem with this possibility is that we don’t know if the wife was actually raped or not, and if she was, a veil was on her head as well, covering her face. If the comb had fallen from her hair, wouldn’t the veil have fallen too?

Actually, the veil must have because the others could see the wife’s face. So why wasn’t the veil found? Why was it only the comb.

And if the comb had been in the woman’s hair and fallen, why was it never mentioned again? Why did only the woodcutter notice it?

There’s also possible that the woodcutter’s testimony is wrong and he didn’t find a comb, but that possibility seems unlikely. The woodcutter’s testimony is mostly based on facts. He had no reason to make anything up.

You could argue that no one noticed the comb because it seemed rather small and unimportant, but that doesn’t seem right. One, Japenese combs were and are very pretty and rather noticeable, in my opinion. The comb probably looked similar to the image near the start of this post. And two, once again.

Why was it only the woodcutter who noticed it?!?!?

It just doesn’t add up. Something’s up with that comb, and I’m desperate to find out. If anyone has any theories, let me know.

Together, we can solve the mystery of the comb.

 

In a Bamboo Grove

An extraordinary work by an extraordinary writer.

It is my great pleasure to announce my discovery of a writer nearly as fabulous as Poe!

Anyone who’s read Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s works knows what I’m talking about. He’s dark, but not wicked. He’s twisted, but makes sense. He’s a wizard of words and an artist of language.

Basically, he’s everything I strive to be.

But enough about Akutagawa. Let’s talk about his short story, “In a Bamboo Grove”.

bamboo grove

To start off, the format is incredibly unique in a really intriguing (and amazing) way. Instead of being a straightforward story, “In a Bamboo Grove” is set up so that you slowly figure out the mystery through the testimonies, confessions, and stories of different characters. This gives you a look at all the different perspectives of the many individuals that surround the main event of the story.

And Heaven knows I love the idea of perspectives.

Obviously, Akutagawa did as well. The story is about a murder trial, and he twists the perspectives in a very realistic way so that, in the end, you still don’t know what exactly happened. Seriously. Three people claimed to have killed the same person. In three different ways.

What. The. Heck.

However, this is the truth about perspectives, a truth that very few authors seem to understand. No two people can possibly see or experience one event the exact same way, especially an event as traumatic as a murder. The fact that Akutagawa understood this truth so fully is the main reason he’s now on my top writers list.

Real quick, before I wrap up this lengthy post, just a little something I noticed.

WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO THE COMB?!?!?

Reader, if you have access to the story at this time, please read the very first testimony, the one from the Woodcutter.

Notice that he says all he found next to the dead man was a rope and a comb.

That comb is never mentioned again.

So, I ask again. What. The heck. Happened. To. The comb?!?

And with that thought eating at your mind, I bid thee farewell. Have a great day (or night)! If you have a theory about the comb, let me know! I’m going insane over it. I may even go into a separate rant about my many thoughts surrounding the comb.

Until next time!

*Image is of a Bamboo Grove. Use for better imagery when reading.*