Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1, #2, #3, #4, #5
Published by Disney Hyperion
Published on March 1st 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Friendship, Humor, Love & Romance, Middle Grade, Mythology, Young Adult
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends -- one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena -- Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
A couple of months ago I convinced Kelly to read the Percy Jackson series. As the Percy Jackson series and its follow up, the Heroes of Olympus series, are some of my favourite books ever, I wanted Kelly to experience the joy that I felt when I read this series a while back. Now she’s finished the series, so we thought it would be a good idea to do a collaborative review. How did you like the series, Kelly?
Oh gosh, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved it. It’s no secret how much I enjoy middle grade reads, but always assumed that Percy Jackson would have been far too young to keep my interest. Usually mythology and fantasy aren’t my first choice of reading either, but the characters were just so engaging. Book two, The Sea of Monsters was my clear favourite. The introduction of Tyson just endeared me even more. Which has been your favourite within the original series?
Tough one Kelly. I’m going to have to go with The Titan’s Curse. I love intensity in books, and even though the main drawing point of this series was its humor and playfulness, there were a couple of intense moments in this book involving my favourite characters that made my heart pound. Can you guess what it is?
It’s funny you say that actually, for me The Titan’s Curse was the weakest book of the series. Compared to the rest of the series, there seemed to be so much going on and I wanted more of Tyson and that humour we saw in book two. Was it ‘holding up the sky’? That was intense. There’s one thing you can’t fault Percy on, and it’s his loyalty. Which character was the overall standout of the series for you, besides Percy of course.
Tyson was actually my least favourite character! LOL! I mean, I liked him, but I found him to be a little simple and one-dimensional. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to his character- it’s hard when the rest of the cast is SO good. My favourite moment was indeed when Percy and Annabeth were holding up the sky. SO INTENSE! I was holding my breath and willing them to be strong. To answer your question… Tough one. Percy was by far the best thing about this series- I could go on and on about him and why he’s my favourite male character in YA fiction (and I probably will at some point). Aside from Percy, I would pick Annabeth for her bravery, loyalty, and intelligence. But can we PLEASE talk even just a BIT about Percy? I need to gush about his amazingness.
I must admit, he’s one of my favourite characters in middle grade and young adult too. I was surprised that he was only twelve when the series began. He was depicted as being much older and more mature than most twelve year old boys. The aspect of her personality that I loved the most, was his selflessness. He was willing to give his own life to save the world from an apocalyptic war, and took it all in his stride. I loved his friendship with Grover. Books one and two, I loved their banter. I missed that as the characters developed and aged with the storyline.
I loved practically everything about him; his humour, his strength, his bravery, and his morals were all traits that I really admired. But I agree with you- his loyalty was the thing that I loved most about him. His willingness to sacrifice himself for the good of others was very touching. I liked the banter with Grover as well- I thought it added a bit of comic relief to the story. On aother note, I really loved how imaginative this series was- didn’t you love the way that Riordan weaved the mythical setting into the real world?
It’s probably one of the first instances I’ve read where mythology in a modern day storyline has actually worked. I loved his unique take on the God persona, and that he created them with flaws rather than perfect heavenly beings. It gave them a humility that made the storyline far more engaging. The elephant in the room, the book to screen adaptations. Before I finished the series, I decided to sit down and watch both The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters. Big mistake. The books are absolutely magical, but I felt the movies made a completely mockery of how special they truly were. Pierce Brosnan as a shirtless Chiron was laughable, no wonder he didn’t go on to play the role in Sea of Monsters. What did you think of the movies?
Ugh. You know, I watched The Lightning Thief BEFORE I read the first book. At that time, I thought Percy Jackson wouldn’t be for me, so I watched the movie and then only later on decided to read the books (same thing happened with HP). I thought the movie was alright when I first watched it, but when I read the books, I realized that the movie was a horrible adaptation of the book. I thought the casting and the plot was terrible, so I didn’t bother watching the second movie. I will say though, I thought Logan Lerman as Percy was sublime. He was born for the role, and delivered a really good performance. It’s too bad that the moviemakers screwed it up for him. When I ended up reading the books, I actually pictured Percy as LL, because I thought he fit the role really well. What did you think of him?
He’s super cute and I thought he was perfect for the role as well, apart from the fact that Percy was supposed to be 12, not 16. All the characters were far too old for the roles they were cast in actually. Even Tyson, who’s my favourite character over the series wasn’t at all as he was described. He’s meant to be this hulking brute of a kid. I can understand that a lot of the storyline probably wasn’t feasible with the budget they would have been given, but both films were ridiculous. I’m about to start the spin off series, what advice would you have for those wanting to read beyond the Percy Jackson series? Should we expect more of the same awesomeness?
More of the same awesomeness. Way more. You know the great prophecy that is introduced at the end of the Percy Jackson series? Keep that in mind; that is the driving force of the new series. A whole new batch of characters is introduced: Jason, Piper, and Leo are the main additions to the cast, and they are the main characters in the first book of the spin-off series. Then, Percy and Annabeth get POV’s in the second book, along with OTHER new additions Hazel and Frank. All seven of these characters are pivotal in the spin-off series, and we see some appearances other old characters as well, like Nico. Grover is absent from the series, and so is Tyson, except for some rare pop-ups here and there, so two of your favourite characters are not big factors here, unfortunately. But I trust you’ll like the new characters. I liked them a lot- maybe not quite as much as the old gang, but they were still very well developed. You will DEFINITELY like Leo, who is very silly, goofy, and provides a lot of comic relief, just like Grover did. This series offers a lot of action, mystery, well-balanced romance, and just as much fun as the PJ series. Once you start reading, you’ll never be able to let go!
Leo sounds fabulous, and with Tyson and Grover not featuring in the spin off, it needs that central character who can inject a bit of silliness. Seeing Rick Riordan seems to be fond of the middle grade / young adult mythology, do you think he’s at risk of being dubbed another Cassandra Clare, with only publishing similar type books? What are your thoughts on his upcoming Magnus Chase series?
Well, first of all, I personally don’t really have an issue with Cassandra Clare and her.. Um… “Inability” to come up with something new. I happen to like the TMI series, so no problems there. But I do understand that she is milking the Shadowhunter world for all its worth. I don’t think Riordan will be accused of pulling another CC. Why? While Riordan’s series all focus on mythology, it’s mythology taken from different regions of the world. So each of his series (PJ, Kane, Magnus) are their own stories. There are a couple of subtle ties between the series that are fun to recognize (cameos, familial connections), but each series is different and original enough that I think he’s ok. But we digress. Why do you think the PJ series is so appealing to not just middle-grade readers, but also to young adult and even adult readers as well?
I think firstly because it’s entertaining. There’s no horrid love triangle or instant love. It doesn’t follow the same young adult / middle grade tropes either, which make it more appealing. Uncomplicated and characters you can really fall in love with. I think it appeals to parents because it’s so clean cut. No cursing. Who would you recommend the Percy Jackson series to?
I also loved the fact that the romance was not forced upon too quickly, and was slowly developed. I personally would recommend this to just about everyone. Fans of Greek mythology and fantasy will surely enjoy this series. But that’s not to say that other people cannot enjoy Percy Jackson. I knew basically nothing about mythology before reading this, and I also do not love fantasy reads. But I really loved this series. This series has a cast of tremendously likable characters, a realistic, fun writing style, and a plotline that will keep you hooked throughout the entire series. If you’re thinking about picking up this book, I assure you they are great reads. They may be targeted at younger, middle-grade readers, but they appeal to all age groups; there’s something here for everyone. If nothing else, the Percy Jackson series provides quick fun reads that can surprisingly grasp you emotionally as well. PLEASE give this a shot.
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