On your current reading book. What strikes you the most about the story? How does the author use language to make meaning of his/her message?
Currently I’m reading a book by Rick Riordan, while I’ve read most of the series when I was younger. I thought since I had enjoyed it so much then, I would have a reread with a more mature and less naive eye. Reading this book now, it still feels very fresh, only now do I realize all of the references and and small details which I wasn’t to find or understand as a elementary school kid reading simply for enjoyment, and the thrill of seeing my favorite characters in the climax of a long journey.
In terms of what strikes me in the story, I think the biggest thing which really makes this story special is the sense of belonging which Rick Riordan creates. The book is centered around 7 main characters and their journey in saving the world, but for every single duo or trio within those 7 characters there is a special connection that the reader knows about. For example Leo, Jason, and Piper are a trio. Although they spend time in the book with a whole multitude of characters, every time the three of them interact the reader knows how their relationships work. And this isn’t the only examples, groups like Hazel Frank and Jason have a similar effect. This is further perpetuated in two ways, firstly the effects of the reader feeling and recognizing a connection goes outside of just the 7 main characters. there are about a dozen or more other characters which readers can still be invested in, and their relationships are seen through the lens of the main characters. The second thing which really makes the reader invested and intrigued by the characters, is this notion of different matchups. For a reader like myself who has followed much of the stories which Rick Riordan wrote (Which are all in the same universe mostly) by the time we get to the fifth book in the series (and presumably the tenth for readers who’ve read Percy Jackson), there is some understanding of the Greek and Roman gods which Rick Riordan subtly teaches throughout the series. We know how Zeus acts when other characters disobey him, we know that Poseidon is relaxed until distressed when he becomes just as ruthless as his brother. From this, Riordan makes what is almost like a matchup system. Many traits and characteristics of the demigods the story follows are derived from the real personalities directly from Greek Mythology, the many contrasts which the readers can draw are pivotal in making the characters relationships interesting, for example if we see Piper (The daughter of Aphrodite) Interact with another character, we as the readers already have some general idea of how that relationship will work, and continuing to read to see if we are right or not is something that keep us invested, and keeps us reading. Just like Greek Pantheon, the demigods and many characters in the story are just a messy mix and match of different huge personalities and egos, there is always interest in reading about them.
In terms of language, Rick Riordan is excellent with his diction, as well as imagery. I think these two overall contribute to the story the most, the diction always gives a good idea of what that character is thinking, and the way he speaks through the lenses of different characters varies depending on who is talking. When reading dialogue it never feels like the same author wrote all of it, readers are able to associate diction and speaking through the lens of tone and attitude. For example when hearing a phrase in dialogue, a reader would be able to say
“Oh, that sounds like something character x would say”
Secondly, in terms of imagery, the challenge when writing a fantasy story in the modern age, is putting into illustrations how these huge entities would look like in the status quo. Rick Riordan pulls this off amazingly, and I think its one of the best things about his mythological series as a whole. Portraying them in the world we live in today, not 3 thousand years ago. The gods have lived a long time, and they adapt with the culture of society. One may ask, if the gods are so powerful why do they have to be in line with what humans are doing. Riordan explains in his world building setup that the gods derive power from humans, and that humans are necessary in keeping the gods alive. The mechanism here is key, it keeps these entities we are led to believe to be “Larger than life” to be inevitably tied to us in some way, through the lightning bolts and giant monsters, all of these divine and seemingly immortal entities are kept grounded by Riordan throughout the series.