Percy Jackson & The Olympians: A Review
“When Percy Jackson receives an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he’ll need his powerful demigod allies at his side; his trusty bronze sword, Riptide; and…a ride from his mom.
The demigods race to the rescue to find that Grover has made an important discovery: two new powerful half-bloods, whose parentage is unknown. But that’s not all that awaits them. The Titan lord, Kronos, has set up a devious trap, and the young heroes have just fallen prey.”
I am not mature enough to not fangirl over this series.
What a fun and wild ride this one was. I feel like each book in this series just keeps getting better and I never tire of the mythology so wonderfully integrated into the plot in new and different ways. It’s so refreshing, exciting, fun, and hilarious! And Percy Jackson is just the coolest dude in the realm of children’s/adolescent fiction. From the first pages of The Lightening Thief I immediately loved this kid. I was about twenty-four when I first cracked open the series and still wished that this kid was one of my friends.
In a way, he kind of is, because since I finished reading The Lightening Thief I find myself wondering about Percy Jackson: what’s he been up to, how are Grover and Annabeth, how is his mother Sally? So I pick up the next book, then the next, and the one after that.
Some people would be crazy enough to compare this series to the world of Harry Potter. And while there are some similarities, Camp Half Blood is all about battle. Hogwarts is all about witchcraft and it is in all ways a school. I see Camp Half-Blood as a boot camp of sorts, and a place where Half Bloods (offspring of a Greek God and a mortal man or woman) can hone their skills in order to carry out missions for the Gods.
Every single one of their lives is wrapped up in a prophecy, all of their fates decided, and their lifelong path already rolled out in front of them like a tornado ravished yellow-brick road. It’s sad in a way. Even though this world they live in is full of magnificent creatures and monsters, and gods, these kids are stuck in a painful in between. They live in the real world, where mortals can’t see through the misty veil between the world of the gods and the world of mortal humans, where these kids are forced to see that these people, normal people, carry on average lives.
Rick Riordan puts a lot of work into these books. It takes a truly gifted writer to write a plot so sophisticated that the reader can’t see where it’s going. When I thought I knew what was going to happen, I was taken for surprise and in a good way! A lot of books try and throw in an out of the blue plot twist that feels, tastes, and looks like a plot device. When I sense a plot device(in a bulky can’t avoid the white elephant in the room way), the whole entire narrative loses its integrity. Everything I’d read up to that point feels like a lie. Riordan’s plot twists are hinted at through out the novel in such subtle and sneaky ways that once the twist is revealed I’m bouncing in my seat, my brain starting to draw the greatest epic scene of connect the dots that you can imagine, from one hint here, another there. This is why Children’s literature shouldn’t ever be considered less than Adult Literature. It can be just as wonderfully crafted that I think my old brain is actually growing new connections even through it has lost that ability for at a couple of decades.
In The Titan’s Curse, we do not pick up right where The Sea of Monsters left off. Thalia, who was formerly imprisoned in the form of a pine tree, in back on two feet. She’s now integrated back into the life of Half-Blood Camp and is on a mission with Percy and Annabeth. Grover, who has been scouting half bloods at a private school in Maine, has hit the panic button and sent for help. Here, at this private school, he has found two half-bloods, Nico and Bianca, brother and sister.
This book had so many twists and turns. The storytelling was phenomenal. I never get tired of the new and inspirational ways that Riordan is able to flesh out and play with Greek mythology. The God’s are fun and terrifying. The creatures are unique and so darn interesting that I just wish they’d make it into a freaking theme park.
And before I get into the characters, the particular ones I liked, or the interactions that I adored, let me just say that if Riordan didn’t create these characters the book just wouldn’t be what it is. They are the most beautiful thing about these worlds. Without the gods, the demigods, the creatures, even the humans, the story would just flop, obviously. But I wouldn’t want more. That’s how I feel when I’m done. I just want more.
In The Titan’s Curse Annabeth pretty much goes AWOL right off the bat. Percy and the rest of the demigods are desperate to get her back. Unfortunately there are several other things going wrong at the same time. Artemis, the goddess of the hunt goes missing, and the rest of her maidens are desperate to find her, as well as Apollo, her brother. However, when the demigods are selected for their quest to bring back Artemis and, hopefully, Annabeth, Percy is pointedly not allowed to tag along. Along with the missing kids and gods on the milk carton, we have Luke still trying to raise Kronos from Tarturus.
An aside: Seriously, this kid just won’t give up and he’s still pulling the my daddy never paid any attention to me card. We get it Luke, you’ve had a bad childhood. So have millions of other children out there. Get over yourself.
Ah! I love these kids so much!
Right off the bat, it’s clear that Thalia and Percy don’t exactly get along. And if you don’t remember who Thalia is, let me remind you. She’s Zeus’s kid. Was turned into a tree to preserve her life just outside of Halfblood camp when she, Annabeth and Luke were trying to get inside. In order to save her friend’s she more or less sacrificed herself. At the end of Sea of Monsters, the golden fleece healed the tree that Zeus had turned her into so well that Thalia was released from the tree in her true physical demigod form.
Good? Good! Because Percy and Thalia’s interactions were a highlight in this book for me.
Now, Percy always says the right things to just push Thalia to the edge. And they are both incredibly impulsive. Though Thalia is more experienced than Percy and had been at Half-Blood for longer than him (before she became a tree), Percy hates the fact that she is more knowledgeable and by far more effective in the battlefield. Several times through out the book, they are at each others throats and may or may not try and kill one another. 😉
Quite frankly, I loved Percy and Thalia’s banter. She was so fierce and he was so snarky, but they had moments where I felt a true friendship blossoming, the kind you don’t find everyday, where you can hate one another sometimes, even hurt one another, but still in the end wish the best for each other. It was so fun! So for this reason, I wasn’t too upset that Annabeth was missing from the majority of the book, following an unfortunate circumstance, after breaking Nico and Bianca out of the private school.
It’s pretty clear in this book, as it kind of-sort of was in The Sea of Monsters, that Percy has an extremely soft spot for Annabeth, the daughter of Athena.
Annabeth is obsessed with architecture and hindered with the annoying and unwavering loyalty towards Luke, the son of Hermes gone-rogue, trying to overthrow the Gods of Olympus like a scorned and vengeful brat who never got enough love from his parental unit. Her loyalty towards Luke irritated me as much as it did Percy. I mean, the guy has tried to kill her and Percy and all of their friends so many times that I think it’s pointless to go back through just three books to point out each and every time. So in ways, I didn’t miss Annabeth for other reasons too, but I’m trying not to be biased against her character just because of my devotion for Percy’s.
And now, the seacow!
“Mooo!” Oh goodness, Bessie! Oh how I loved this creature. The creature, meant as a sacrificial lamb of sorts in order to obtain great and terrible power to overthrow the God’s of Olympus, is best described for me as a sea-cow.
Here, just read Percy’s description after he first rescues it, not knowing what it was yet, “I got next to the thing and saw that it was a cow. I mean… I’d heard of sea cows, like manatees and stuff, but this really was a cow with the back end of serpent. The front half was a calf—a baby, with black fur and bog, sad brown eyes and a white muzzle—and it’s back half was a black-and-brown snaky tail with fins running down the top and bottom, like an enormous eel.”
My first reaction? I want one! I want on! I want to pet it, hug it, swim with it, play with it, feed it, and love it forever and ever and ever.
I’m not kidding, that was my over-zealously childish reaction. Yet I feel not an ounce of shame. I still want one. If some toy factory could spit out a stuffed animal version, I’d buy it.
The God’s were interesting and different with several different personalities and wonderfully humorous. Even the villains, though crafty and evil, were pretty easy to feel a shred of compassion for. Take Atlas for example, doomed to always hold the sky up on his shoulders. I mean, who doesn’t feel bad for that guy? He can’t go to parties, have dates, eat dinner at a table, or watch the boob-tube. I would be pretty vengeful and willing to force someone else to shoulder the weight myself. Why do I have to be the one to carry this responsibility forever? Why can’t I have a night off? Even prisoners at the penitentiary get yard privileges!
There was something that bothered me, and it was nit picky and stupid. I considered not even noting it, but even after I was done reading the book, it still jabs me in the back of the head. There is a scene that takes place about halfway through the book. Percy has been chased by basically the walking dead, and finally makes it back to his friends in the snack bar at Hoover Dam. They are unaware of Percy being chased until the horrible monsters shoulder into the snack bar. Grover gets, what Percy says, a brilliant Grover-like idea. He starts a burrito fight, which knocks of the monsters head.
Percy says that the burritos are “right up there with grenades and cannonballs.”
What? I mean…I don’t get it. This book is absolutely packed with swords and shields and nasty weapons of battle and then a burrito is compared to a cannonball? Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and my imagination is slowly but surely decomposing as we speak, but this was just a strange twist to me. It just threw me off.
Other than my ridiculous nit-picky complaint, or rather confusion, this book is top notch, with out a doubt, a completely thrilling ride. I’ve already gone online and purchased the next book The Battle of the Labyrinth.