Saturday, June 13, 2009

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

by Rick Riordan

I have truly enjoyed these books. They became books I couldn’t put down (apologies to my family for my irritability as I plowed through book 5). I think perhaps I enjoyed them even more because I was able to read the series from start to finish rather than having to wait on pins and needles for the next book to come out, although that anticipation is kind of fun, too. But at any rate, I can say that I loved the whole series!!

The first book, The Lightning Thief, introduces us to all the main players. Percy Jackson is a twelve year-old boy in Manhattan who just can’t seem to fit in at any school he attends. He is dyslexic and has ADHD and he struggles with both of those. (The author started these stories to help his own son, who is dyslexic and has ADHD, by capitalizing on his son’s interest in Greek mythology). After being booted out of several schools, Percy finally learns that he is actually a demigod, the son of one of the Greek gods and his mortal mother. He goes to Camp Half-Blood and eventually learns who his other parent is and therein all sorts of adventures begin. The other books are The Sea of Monsters (a Cyclops in a baby-blue tuxedo/kilt for his wedding—good stuff), The Titan’s Curse (this one made me cry), The Battle of the Labyrinth (probably my favorite of the series), and The Last Olympian (non-stop action, probably the funniest of the series).

In my opinion, each book gets better as Percy gets stronger and more characters come into play. There are monsters galore and information about all the Greek Gods, Titans, minor gods, heroes, it’s all there. But this is not your high school teacher’s Greek mythology. The author has catapulted these characters into a modern setting which makes each book so enjoyable to read. Each of the gods has a modern personality like Zeus in a pinstripe suit, Poseidon as a beach comber, Ares as a total biker dude, Aphrodite looking like a Marilyn Monroe type movie star and I won’t spoil any more for you. The books are all very funny and the dialogue is clever and witty.

Are they quite similar to the Harry Potter books? Yes, quite. But that’s what makes them fun! I was totally ready for a new series that was funny and exciting like Harry Potter. I can’t wait for the rest of my family to read the series. My teenage son read them all before I did, and he aced the Greek mythology unit in his English class last year because he was familiar with all the characters, monsters and events thanks to Percy Jackson. This is a great series for families with children of all ages.

I give all the books 5 stars because the author succeeded in creating a fabulous story that sucked me in completely. Hooray for Percy Jackson!!

(The books are all available in audio form with a reader who does pretty good voices for all the characters—a nice thing to have for a summer road trip!)


Stephanie said...

This sounds like a fun series! I am going to have to read it. I can't wait to see what all the other gods and goddesses look like.

Bryce and Mandy said...

I agree, this does sound like a fun series. I will have to give them a try.

TheBlackSheep said...

Did you have to like them to Harry Potter? My To Read list is already long enough! Oh well, one more won't hurt.

Lula O said...

Ooo, I really want to listen to these! I'm listening to Harry Potter right now and what fun it has been. Listening to good readers is like watching a movie version of the book in your mind, with no parts left out, like in real movies.