A December 2022 Wrap-Up

What is supposed to be my last 2022 post comes out a little late, but a wrap-up post in a brand new year seems to be quite fitting. Absorbing the new year ambiance in a morning photograph, I can't think of another fun way to spend January 1st daybreak with. So here is my December 2022 wrap-up, along with a random puzzle I found when looking through a drawer of mine:

Eliza Mirk is not an ordinary high-schooler. Even if she's shy and socially awkward in real life, Eliza's webcomic titled Monstrous Sea is widely known on the internet and has gained a massive fandom. Feeling protected by the anonymity that the internet is able to offer, Eliza explores her love for arts behind the username LadyConstellation, and shares her true identity with only two online friends: Max and Emmy. When a new boy at school is bullied for his love for Monstrous Sea, Eliza is shockingly quick to come to his defense. It's not until her true identity is out for the public to know that she risks losing everything she has built with all her heart.

To be honest, it took me quite a while to decide how many stars I would give this book. Eliza and Her Monsters was definitely a good read with quite an interesting topic. The mental illness rep was quite well-written, while the friendship between Eliza, Max, and Emmy was heartwarming. It's just that the character development was a bit of a disappointment, and I was not the biggest fan of both Eliza and Wallace.

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief is the first book in Rick Riordan's demigods' world following a twelve-year-old boy named Perseus Jackson who has trouble fitting in at school. Diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, the best Percy could score in school is D, but everything changes when his pre-algebra teacher turns into a monster and tries to kill him. It is only then that every weird thing seems to click into place. His mother finally sends him to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (half-man, half-god), where he finds out that he is a son of Poseidon, and there is a super dangerous quest waiting for him or else a big war would happen between the gods of the Olympus.

While I could remember fragments of Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, I had honestly forgotten the rest of it, and so my rereading experience felt a lot like the first time. Albeit the prior had been as good as a blur, as I closed this book, I thought to myself how 'different' the experience seemed to be this time. Some aspects hit differently now that I matured. I became more aware of the little things too. In conclusion, I would recommend Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief for fellow middle-grade book lovers, either for a read or a reread. If you think middle-grade is not your cup of tea, this book might be an opening for your new interest, so why not try it yourself?

(Please skip this part if you haven't read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief)
Following another of Percy's quests, this book starts with a normal year Percy has been having before learning that Camp Half Blood is under attack due to the poisoning of Thalia's tree. Despite the fact that he is prohibited to search for a cure by Tantalus, the new activities director replacing Chiron, Percy still goes. Along with Annabeth and his cylcops half-brother Tyson, Percy dives into a journey of finding the Fleece and saving Grover's life.

Again, rereading this book proved to be a good move since I had forgotten almost everything about the story. Percy was still a fun narrator to go through this journey with, and Annabeth was still as badass as she had been in book one. I still liked this book particularly the ending, though I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first one. Don't get me wrong, it was still a fun good book, but I just didn't feel the pull to read it as fast.

(Please skip this part if you haven't read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters)
Picking up where it left off in the previous book, Percy has yet to discover what and who the big prophecy means. And when Annabeth is kidnapped by the Manticore, one of Luke's personnel, followed by the missing goddess Artemis, Percy tries his best to rescue them alongside Thalia, Grover, and Artemis' loyal hunters.

I admit, the first few chapters of Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse were a bit hard to go through. A part of me was afraid that the third book would go downhill given that rereading the second one felt a bit like a letdown. Rest assured as it had proved that the contrary was true: out of the three books I had reread, this one became ultimately a favorite. In conclusion, if you've found the previous book quite disappointing, I urge you not to get rid of the series that quickly. Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse was really good that I would even go as far as to say that it was worth staying up late at night for.

(Please skip this part if you haven't read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, and Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse)
Following the story of a now almost fifteenth-year-old Percy Jackson, this book strings along Annabeth's new quest in an enchanted labyrinth that sprawls underground. Full of traps leading to various ancient monsters, the two have to figure out the right way to the maze's heart to navigate it better. Along with Tyson and Grover who is still on the look out for Pan the god of the wild, the group tries their best to compete with the ticking clock and Krono's new armies.

It's an honor to admit that I liked this series the more that I dig into it. The story got darker and more intense, something I was sure I hadn't bothered to appreciate the first time I read it back in high school. But Riordan managed to balance the seriousness well enough that I could still cherish the aspects I loved about middle-grade books: fun adventures, the security of knowing that the main characters would be safe no matter the danger, and curious kids in a mission.