Percy Jackson & The Olympians

8 12 2009

I came across the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series via my Book Read Adviser in Powerbooks. He knew the type of novels I like and he took a chance in recommending me a young adult fiction.

After he picked out and presented me with Book One, he allowed me to sit it off for a few minutes so I can get a feel of the narrative. I must say that the 30-minute test read was all worth it because I soon found myself purchasing the entire series in hardbound. Given that this is a young adult fiction, I had to remind myself that great fiction transcends genres. Plus, there was a much needed retreat for something lighter given that I’ve tackled serious novels after another for the past few months.

In the next four weeks (in between my crazy work and errands) , I followed the story of Percy Jackson until his quest came to it’s satisfying end.

Book One: The Lightning Thief

There is something quite odd about Percy Jackson. Apart from his ADHD and dyslexia, he can’t seem to stay in school. Kicked out and ostracized, he finally learns what makes him different from the rest.

He is a demigod. Born from a mortal mother and his father is the god of the sea. With this, comes a curse all demigods have to face; they are hunted to the death. Percy will find out about his origin and his allies the hard way after his mother is killed before they can cross to safety.

Grieving, Percy is presented to his race. He learns that his only friend in school is a satyr, his English teacher is a centaur and the rest of the kids in camp are children of Greek gods and goddesses. But his arrival is no safety, someone stole Zeus’s lightning bolt and it’s up to him and his new friend Annabeth to find who it is.

Book Two: The Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Sea of MonstersA tree that protects half bloods  is poisoned. Unless someone finds a way to heal it, every young demigod kept by Camp Half Blood will be killed.

On the side, while a traitor is gaining strength and rival demigods clash, Poseidon announces another son. With this, Percy is insulted and challenged with his father’s moral compass and eventually the gods and goddesses true colours.

Feeling the need to help and the need to be distracted off his unwated brother, the young heroes Annabeth and Percy suggests finding the Golden Fleece. But instead of earning the quest, their enemy Clarisse (god of War’s daughter) is sent to save the camp. Defying the Oracle of Delphi, Percy asks for his father’s help only to be caught by a seemingly harmless ship, the Andromeda. There they will find out Luke’s plan, how dangerous his anger is and a role an ancient enemy will play.

Book Three: The Titan’s Curse

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Titan's CurseThe dangers of being a demigod is escalating, in the middle of the hubbub Percy’s best friend Annabeth and the goddess of the Hunt, Artemis is kidnapped.

With Apollo’s help a rescue mission is sent. In their voyage they will learn never to steal anything from the gods even if it’s trash; death will follow you. Shorthanded and afraid, Percy reluctantly continues even after losing a battle and a friend.  After he is saved by a mortal who can see past the ordinary, something impending started gnawing in him.

Soon, Percy will find his friends imprisoned and dying.  To save them he needs to carry the sky in his back– a curse given to the Titan Atlas. Battle ensues causing a father to kill his child and an old friend to kill a formidable enemy.

By now, child’s play is over and they’re forced to step up or be destroyed like everybody else.

Book Four: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Battle of the LabyrinthA parallel universe exist. Via these corridors you can end up anywhere you want to. Realizing that their arch enemy can use this to bring Camp Half Blood to its knees, Percy, Annabeth and Grover seeks out to find it.

The problem is, its creator Daedalus is believed to be dead. Although the Labyrinth has been conquered before using Ariadne’s Strings, the goddess who has it is not willing to help. Percy then finds Rachel Elizabeth Dare , a mortal who can see the way through the Labyrinth – much to Annabeth’s chagrin.

Simultaneously, a new swordsman is hired by the camp. He brings with him a friendly but deathly hell hound that takes to liking Percy. On his way to his new quest, Quintus offers his help. Although hesitant, Percy uses it to his advantage.

But something is making them more nervous than the thought of  Half Camp Blood destroyed: The father of the gods and goddesses is rising  and he is not too happy being chopped to pieces by his own kids.

Book Five: The Last Olympian

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Last OlympiansThe prophesy is coming to an end. Either Percy makes the right decision or the world will plummet off safety.

Unknown to everyone who the real hero is, Annabeth and Percy continues to fight Kronos. While the gods and goddesses try to stop Typhon from reaching Manhattan, the demigods are protecting New York. In the sea, Poseidon is losing his fight and is slowly fading away. In all these chaos, Hades still refuses to help.

While the demigod death toll rise, Percy tries to beat Luke and Kronos. With his back against the wall, Percy decides to take a bath on the River Styx, taking in a possible fate all too familiar to Achilles.

In this final installment the drama rises as a hero commits suicide to keep a promise and to end the war between the Titans and the gods.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians proved to be a good read. What enticed me most was the author’s writing style (the protagonist’s voice is both wry and humorous) and the re-introduction of Greek Mythology. It edited off the tedium that entails this type of literature and because it cleverly mixes with modern setting, it bridges the plot for the readers. The readability of Greek Mythology have been a constant complication for many but the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series fixes this by allowing us to return to something with less load.

The voices also comes off simply albeit the breakneck pace. Perhaps because our heroes have ADHD and dyslexia, it is only proper that the author never linger longer than what was needed in order for readers to identify with the characters. It is also nice to note that it has a very clever premise, leaving readers enthusiastically flipping every page. The major denizens  are the children of gods and goddesses but it still holds true to the family tree. Whatever embellishes it has only constructs the protagonist’s story and doesn’t break what Homer (and his equally great cohorts) established. The updated allusions of the Greek gods is a fresh treatment that ultimately compliments the genre it is trying to serve.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh treatment of this series. Breezing through all five books meant carefree entertainment and because of that Percy Jackson & The Olympians delivers an irresistible read.

Yes, Greek myth may have had too much gory endings but this one is a complete peach, anyone with a penchant for fantasy will love.

Notes:

Percy Jackson & The Olympians is written by Texan author Rick Riordan. He has a double major in English and History, and is currently working on another Camp Half Blood series with a tentative release late 2010.

Book One: The Lightning Thief

ISBN 0786856297
Published by Disney Hyperion

Book Two: The Sea of Monsters

ISBN 0786856866
Published by Miramax Books

Book Three: The Titan’s Curse

ISBN 9781423101451
Published by Miramax and Hyperion Books For Children

Book Four: The Battle of the Labyrinth

ISBN 9781423101468
Published by Hyperion Books For Children

Book Five: The Last Olympian

ISBN 1423101472
Published by Disney Hyperion

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3 responses

28 01 2010
hani samir

damn this book is good,, keep the hard work Rick Riordan

5 05 2010
Kaycee Anderson

I just wanted to say I absolotly Love thes books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

25 03 2011
2010 in review « RunJeanRun

[…] The busiest day of the year was February 16th with 377 views. The most popular post that day was Percy Jackson & The Olympians. […]

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