2009: 102-104. Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Books 1-111.

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”

The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, Rick Riordan

       I gobbled up the first three novels in this young adult (well, maybe even children’s) series, and fully intend to read the last two, once I get my hands on them.  My general conclusion is that 1) the premise is pretty fantastic, 2) the author owes a tremendous debt to J.K. Rowling - the parallels to Potter are pretty much spot on (chosen one, three friends, big bad enemy etc.), and 3) Riordan isn’t as good of a writer as Rowling, particularly in building the richness of the world he’s created.  However, the premise is so super fun (and the books so easy to read) I would recommend the series to anyone who likes kids books, or has kids looking for something to read.

        So, here is the premise - the Greek Gods are still with us, and what’s more, they are still interfering with the lives of mortals, just like in the ancient myths.  Specifically, they are still having half-blood children with mortals, who are heros (just like Hercules, Achilles, et. al), and those heros are still being chased by ancient monsters (your minotaur, gorgon etc.).  Regular humans don’t see them because of “the Mist” which clouds our vision (that’s your basic people don’t want to see what they can’t understand trope, so common in fantasy).  Camp Half Blood is a place where half bloods go to train and learn about their heritage.  Some kids just spend summers there, others, whose mortal parents have rejected them, live there full time.  

     Percy Jackson is a kid who has had trouble.  Learning disabilities, kicked out of schools all over New York, despite his best efforts to play nice - things just get out of his control.  Then (after an incident with a teacher who is really a harpy in disguise) he learns his problems are caused by the fact that he is a half-blood.  He has to figure out which god is his father (could have been a goddess - his best friend is the daughter of Athena, but he knows his mom!) and then, to deal with a problem that has arisen in the half-blood world, and requires a special hero to solve.

     Ok, this is so fun and so clever, and Riordan plays nicely with it.  It seems petty to wish that it was better written - that I couldn’t see the plot twists a mile away.  After all, it is a series for children. I guess I was spoiled by Rowling, who wrote for children, but kept me guessing.  Nonetheless, I want to know how it all turns out, and I really want to read more set in this world.  

Date/Place Completed:  August & September 2009, D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, Young Adult

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017