Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Review | Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series By: Rick Riordan

I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series by way of recommendation from Stephenie Meyer's website. I looked into it first and seamed to be modern world, young boy, magic involved theme. While I am no longer a YA I still like to read YA books. It gives me a good idea as per what is popular on the market and the type of books Young Adults like to read. Plus they can be vastly entertaining.

I just finished the series several days ago and have been digesting my feedback on it (shhh… it’s not procrastination). I will give you a brief rundown of synopsis for each of the books and then give you my overall feel towards the series.


The Lightning Thief

By: Rick Riordan

This is the beginning. Were Percy starts to suspect all is not normal in his world, and that he himself is not a normal kid. After his mad race to Camp Half Blood (a summer camp for Heroes or demigods – child of both a mortal and god parent), he finds out who his dad is. However his mom is “killed” in the rush to get him to camp. He is angry and afraid and alone and just wants his mommy back. So when he is given the opportunity to go on a quest to find Zeus missing lightning bolt which they suspect might be with Hades in the underworld, he accepts on a more personal level to hopefully free his mother from the underworld.

The Sea of Monsters

By: Rick Riordan

In this next installment we meet Tyson. Tyson is a Cyclopes, who just turns out to be Percy’s brother. At first resentful, Percy slowly comes to terms with his half-brother and a bond of brotherly love forms. But that is only a little hiccup. The boundaries for Camp Half Blood are failing. The tree has been poisoned and the only thing that could remedy that is the golden fleece. Unfortunately is has been missing in action for quite some time. Also, his friend Grover has gone missing in his quest to find Pan and has created and empathy link with Percy to get his help. On top of all that Percy is refused the quest for the fleece and to find Grover. Like that stops him.

The Titans Curse

By: Rick Riordan

Percy, Anabeth and Thalia are called to help Grover bring in two new half bloods. But it couldn’t just be a simple mission of picking them up at school and leaving. It turns out some monsters were already on the trail. Amidst all the chaos Anabeth goes missing. Furthermore, the Goddess Artemis, head of the hunters, goes missing trying to rescue Anabeth. Also there is a very powerful monster on the loose that they must find before it finds them. And the crème due la crème, the forces of Titan are trying to rise, backed by an opposing army to Camp half blood and the Olympians. Once again Percy is not invited along on the quest, but somehow still manages to get involved.

The Battle of the Labyrinth

By: Rick Riordan

The Titan Lord Krnos has almost risen. His army is getting more powerful. Their first mission is to destroy Camp Half Blood so that they can not come to the aid of the Olympians. Their tool to sneak into the camp past the magical borders: The Labyrinth. Which only means that Percy and his friends must find the magic string before Luke and his forces can find it and the path through the labyrinth. Anabeths quest amidst the labyrinth brings many twists and turns.

The Last Olympian

By: Rick Riordan

This is the book of the final battle. Were the final prophecy regarding Percy Jackson and his sixteenth birthday is revealed. Were forces of good go head to head with forces of evil. Were the prophecies aren’t all black and white, and can have various meanings and interpretations. Hearth fire.


The first three books I listened to as audio books. I loved this as I was working and in a play and didn’t have much time for reading but lots of time for listening. As mentioned before in my blog I was a previous skeptic of audio books for various reasons, however, as long as they have a pleasing voice I am more than willing now to try an audio book.

Now I read the last two books. What this means is that whenever a character would pop up, the narrators voice for that character would also pop up in my head. Particularly the Pegasus Black Jack. The problem with that is that I found that interpretation particularly annoying while listening to it, but hilariously endearing while reading. Try listening to the series than reading it and you may pick up on what I mean.

I think this is a wonderful series with an intriguing concept. Perhaps a bit farfetched, but books aren’t meant to mirror reality. Books to me are an escapist pursuit. It is very well targeted towards its age group, starting Percy at the age of 12 progressing as the series unfolds. This allows YA to emphasis with the character and really back them up. As an adult I am kind of left in disbelief of the situations they must handle at such young ages and am thinking were are the older Heroes to help them out? But that is looking upon it from an adult’s perspective. As a youth, I can see were they would be gunning for him. He even acts like a youth, and not trying to be a 30 year old in a 12 year olds body. I love that and hate it at the same time, because often I was left frustrated by the lack of insight the character had, but at the same time it suited his age.

I also really loved the voice of the character. He sounded like an adolescent. Thought process and everything. It was very funny and amusing and very gripping to read (or listen to) as you get lost in their world. It really helps sweep you into the concept.

The quests kept the action coming and really drove the books. It is one event after then next. The books are good standalone, as each story line is wrapped up within a book, besides the foreshadowing for the ultimate prophecy which, was dealt with at the end of the series.

What I liked most about the concept of the book is that youth would be learning about Greek history and the ancient gods and not even realize it. Of course they are given modern personifications but that is what makes it all the more engaging. Learning while being entertained.

All in all, they are highly engaging reads, very well targeted to their intended audience. I would buy them for any young boy on my list. Give them a Hero.

EDIT: There has been some debate about YA (Young Adult) and MG (Middle Grades) over between the Twitter accounts of Brandon Sanderson and Stacy Whitman. Wether books are being properly categorized. In my neck of the woods, I go by what is on the shelves at the book store (Chapters), as I am not involved in the publishing industry. Books get grouped over in the children's section of the book store, and then by age. The last age group is 9 - 12 (I believe) and then everything after that is YA. The Percy Jackson books can be found in the 9-12 age category. I think this would make them MG instead of how I described them in my above post as YA. They are great books either way, but they would be intended for the younger audience.