Rated it: 4.5 stars
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
I’ve had this on my to-read list for a couple of years, until recently I finally decided to give it a try. I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. Percy Jackson is a smart mouthed kid, more than a little hot headed, slightly annoying, I’d say strong minded when it counts and vulnerable but yet ready to take chances. In the beginning I was thinking if he could get more complaining it’s going to be a problem, however, as it turned out he was okay.
Prior to reading this I was aware of Harry Potter parallels. There are certainly similarities, I can make a list now that I’ve finished; there’s the twelve cabins of the major Gods and Goddesses (twenty in all) in the place of the four houses for example. It’s no problem to me because whatever those intersecting concepts are they have valid purposes, it doesn’t seem like a cut-and-paste.
So yeah, he’s found out that he’s the son of Poseidon but I don’t recall if it ever got to his head. Though he’s inherited a couple of wicked cool abilities he wasn’t powerful by a lot and was still very much human. Percy’s well aware that he wouldn’t have gotten this far without his friends and he appreciates them for putting up with him and the dangers that gives chase in his wake, drawing strength from their support and faith in him.
What I really liked most was the Greek mythology, it’s much more fun to see how Riordan fits them in with the modern world than, say, reading on Wikipedia. Each character stands out, from main characters to the secondary ones; mortals, demigods to the real deals, no cardboard cut outs.
I have to agree with Carrie’s opinion that these books are totally readable for teenage boys, who are largely under-represented in YA literature. I’ve long stopped wearing a look of mild surprise when a boy I’d meet would echo my fervent joy of this delightful age-old pastime. I believe boys read as much as girls do and it doesn’t make for too much conversation, I guess, when there’re so many girl centered books in the genre, that is not to say some guys don’t like reading those as well.
There was a decent balance of events and of the likability of characters. I wasn’t set definitely for or against most of them, even Hades. Nothing’s black and white, rarely is life that simple. Gods live by their own rules since they’re well … Gods, but they have feelings too. Hades’ sentiments of resentment for drawing the shortest straw (getting the Underworld and his subsequent ‘banishment’ there) is understandable when his other two brothers get the sky and the sea.
Already in my possession, I’m look forward to The Sea of Monsters, unfortunately I don’t have the rest of the series but I’ll remedy that as soon as possible.