Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series)

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I’m in a post-Thanksgiving dinner food coma right now, so please bear with me… Spelling mistakes, run-on sentences, nonsensical conclusions and grammatical screw-ups will be the norm.

Book one of Rick Riordan’s latest series was released last week (review to come), and as I started reading it, realized I have never talked about his other series. The books have been out for awhile, and are some of my absolute favourites. SO worth reading. Be prepared, though. I am a TOTAL fangirl when it comes to Riordan.

12 year old Percy Jackson is a problem. At least, that’s what all the heads of schools who have kicked him out think. He can’t focus in class, has trouble doing the work, and always seems to be at the centre of conflict. One day, on a class trip to the Museum, his teacher turns into a monster and tries to kill him. But no one notices. In fact, he is blamed for the destruction that ensues.

Well, his friend Grover notices.  But while Percy appreciates the support, he also thought he saw Grover eat the wrapper from a sandwich and gnaw on a tin can, so he was starting to think he was seeing things anyway.

He is kicked out of yet another school, and his mom takes him away to their cabin for the weekend, to help him forget. That’s when more monsters try to kill him.

And Percy finds out that he is not alone, that he is one of hundreds of demigods, children with one mortal parent, and one a Greek god. The demigods are the heroes of mythology, and they still exist. Percy ventures to Camp Half-Blood, the only safe place for a demigod, discovers the truth about his father, and joins the others in their quests to save the world.

Riordan’s characters are fabulous. Why are demigods dyslexic? Their brains are wired to read Ancient Greek, so English is a struggle. The ADHD? They are always primed for a battle to fight ancient monsters. The list goes on and on.

Percy is SUCH a teenage boy. He is funny and smart and clumsy and loyal and brave and terrified all at once. He gets angry at his absentee dad and loves his mom and makes rash decisions for all the right reasons. He also saves the world. Annabeth, a daughter of Athena, is wise and brave. Grover is a satyr, perpetually hungry, and determined to save the Wild.

The world building cannot be beat.  Yes, it is based in contemporary New York, but the heroes’ travels take them far and wide and up and beneath. They fight battles on ancient mountains, trick gods and Titans, battle giants and make the world safe for mere mortals such as you and I. They visit Olympus and argue with the gods.

Riordan’s take on Greek mythology is, to me, perfect. Occasionally he might play fast and loose with a myth or two, but it works. After all, a bit of massaging is required if the gods are going to reside above NYC, yes? And having the entrance to Hades in LA sort of makes perfect sense.

It is considered a middle-grade series, but EVERYONE will love it. It is a great introduction to Greek mythology. And it will explain a thing or two for those who have trouble paying attention in class.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian) is published by Disney Hyperion Books.

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