I am probably one of the last people to read this series. :) Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it certainly feels that way! The first three books in this series have been on my bookshelf since 2008. I picked them up at a Scholastic warehouse sale, hearing that they were good from some of my students (I was student teaching at the time). However, the sat, unloved, on my shelf.
I picked up the fourth title when it was released in paperback, but after hearing that a fifth book would complete the series, I decided to wait for that one too. When it finally came out in paperback, I finally bought it to complete the set.
A couple weeks ago when I had two snow days in a row, and was stressed to the max, I wanted something to relieve all that pressure. After asking on Twitter, I settled on this series and dove into the first title, The Lightning Thief.
I was immediately hooked. The storyline was fun, original, and surprisingly accurate to the original myths. My knowledge of Greek mythology is limited, but after researching some things I didn't remember, it turns out Riordan knows his stuff! After a while, I began to trust him and quit looking things up on Wikipedia.
The first book introduces us to Percy Jackson, a young boy who always has strange things happening to him. He eventually winds up at Camp Half-Blood where he learns the truth about his parentage. His father, turns out, is an Olympic God. Apparently the gods get a little frisky for human mates, creating half-blood children with powers. Percy is thrust in "hero-dom" and must save the day. Of course, there is a prophecy about his future, which adds to all the mystery and suspense.
Part of me wanted to not like this. After all, it was fun literature and not overly deep. I was gaining a great appreciation for literature like I do when I am reading War and Peace, but I love it anyway. Every moment of it was wonderful and exciting and captured my imagination.
The second book, The Sea of Monsters, picks up a year later. This was my second favorite of the series, since the storyline was so familiar. We see a lot of the myths and legends rampant in Odysseus' tale from The Odyssey, and since we all know that I love Homer, I loved every moment of this. It was excited and captured the essence of the monsters and villains perfectly. When Percy encounters Circe? I was in love with that chapter.
The third book, The Titan's Curse, was my favorite of the series. It picks up the story later on, and we begin to see a new maturity and strength in Percy. I am always bothered by series where the main character shows little growth, especially over a period of time. But Riordan made sure to have his characters grow, and that is clear in this novel. There are scenes where Percy is challenged to do things he never thought he could-that shows growth.
We also get to meet Atlas (just in time for my Atlas Shrugged readalong? Is there a big connection there?). That was a myth I was unfamiliar with beforehand, so I am glad Riordan threw it in. :)
The fourth book, The Battle of the Labyrinth, was my least favorite of the series. While the writing was certainly good and captured my attention, I had a hard time getting into the story. Perhaps it was the way they story developed, but in certain areas, I felt the story was rushed. In other places, I wanted more action. I also was not a fan of the character Rachel. I think she took away from the action and pace of the story. I was also unhappy with the fact that I didn't get the answers I thought I deserved. I wanted more.
The last book, The Last Olympian, was the perfect ending to a superb series. It made up for the last book with powerful passages and gripping action. I was flipping pages as fast as I could read them. I couldn't wait to see what would come of the prophecy, who would win in the last major battle, and what would happen to Percy. I was sucked in.
The battle scenes and action were non-stop. It comes close to the Battle of Hogwarts for my favorite fictional battle of all-time. I loved the scenes in New York City. But more than anything else, I LOVE how Riordan brought his series to a close. The answer to the prophecy was perfect and fitting to the growth and change Percy underwent throughout the series. I couldn't have asked for a more satisfying ending.
So if you have been avoiding this series thinking they won't be any good, or that they're silly, or that they're trying too hard, you need to set those thoughts aside and give them a try. I found them to be fun, action-packed reads that did something original. And did it WELL.
And if that recommendation isn't enough for you, I read all five books in four days. THAT is how hooked I was.
If you've read this series, what did you think? What was your favorite book?