The Percy Jackson Series: A Review

Peter, Staff Writer

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In 2005, now famous author released the first book of a now famous series, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The story revolves around a twelve-year-old boy with ADHD, and dyslexia, Percy Jackson, who lives in New York. His only friend is a kid on crutches. Over the course of the series, he finds out that he is a demigod son of Poseidon god of the sea, attends a special camp with other demigods and, eventually he goes on a quest to find a missing item, along with Annabeth daughter of Athena, and Grover who is a satyr. In the end, all is well.

 

The first few scenes of the first book are very average: it describes a kid with ADHD and dyslexia who goes to Yancy Academy, a school for troubled children. All is normal- he talks about school, talks about his substitute math teacher, and how he’s going to the Metropolitan. He also describes how he and his best friend are bullied. So far, this seems very typical.

 

Then, the first real hint of mythology occurs. Suddenly, his bully, Nancy Bobofit, is stuck in the fountain. While she claims that Percy pushed her, there are whispers that it appeared the water had grabbed her. Next, his substitute math teacher, Mrs. Dodds, arrives and calls Percy into a private room and this is where things start to get mythological because Mrs. Dodds turns a monster and attack him. The text describes, “Then the weirdest thing happened. Her eyes began to glow like barbecue coals. Her fingers stretched, turning into talons. Her jacket melted into large, leathery wings. She wasn’t human. She was a shriveled hag with bat wings and claws and a mouth full of yellow fangs, and she was about to slice me to ribbons.”

 

Next, he gets a sword from his other teacher who sees it, then kills the substitute teacher monster. Now, this beginning is original and funny because it shows that Percy doesn’t know what’s happening either. He eventually gets to Camp Half-Blood where he meets the teacher who gave him his sword and turns out to be the famous centaur, Chiron. He also meets Annabeth Chase who he bonds with, and his other friend Grover, who is a satyr. A spark of events causes him to go on a quest with Annabeth and Grover. They end up going to a whole bunch of places including Missouri and Vegas. (I will not delve too deeply here because it’s a gateway for spoilers.)

 

The first book in the now famous series was wonderful. The book was fun, and new since it puts a modern spin on each little god and myth. I believe it could have done better with keeping the plot in one place. Considering they go a whole bunch of places and meet a whole bunch of people, it might be hard for some readers to keep track of the setting shifts. But it doesn’t bother me too much. Overall I rate this first book 4 ¾ stars.

Since The Lightning Thief was such a success critically, with a 4.2/5 on Goodreads, and it made quite a bit of money, it was clear that fans would want a sequel.  So in 2006, less than a year after the first book was written, Rick Riordan wrote The Sea Of Monsters, which is also a quest but quite a different one.

This time, something happens to the protective barrier around the camp, which is a shield that only allows half-bloods to enter, but it starts to fail and monsters who roam the woods surround the camp. Percy and the gang, (Plus camp bully, Clarisse LaRue, and Percy’s cyclops half-brother.) go on a quest to The Sea Of Monsters, a place in mythology that is full of monsters (it was a spot in the Mediterranean, but is now in the Bermuda Triangle). The quest circles around getting the golden fleece that could heal anything, in hope of defeating the mighty Polyphemus, a cyclops who lives on an island in The Sea Of Monsters. As they go through the sea of monsters, they run across many mythological characters like Circe, Scylla, and Charybdis.

This book was just as successful with a 4.2/5 on Goodreads. I personally give it a cool 4 stars, and since it was also a success critically, Rick Riordan wrote another sequel.  With the addition of a third book, these sequels transformed into a whole series. This book is my favorite of the series and it’s called The Titan’s Curse.

In this book, it’s winter instead of summer like the previous books. This time Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and a new member recruit two new demigods. Both siblings and their names are Nico and Bianca Di Angelo. But a Manticore (a creature that has the head of a human, body of a lion and a tail of venomous spines similar to porcupine quills) kidnaps Annabeth in the process.  Also, the Hunters of Artemis show up and at the mention of The Great Stirring, she heads off. Percy and company head back to camp and prepare to leave to rescue Annabeth. Here, adventures ensue. I can’t exactly say much more.

The reason it’s my favorite is that everything onward is super important and can be considered a spoiler if said wrong. So 5 full stars in my opinion and a nice 4.5/5 stars on Goodreads. For our fourth book, we delve into one of the closest to Greek mythology with… The Battle Of The Labyrinth.

This book repeats something that Percy did in the second book: Percy blows up another school. It starts when he meets a group of cheerleaders at orientation. They are secretly Greek versions of vampires. Or as they insist to be called: Empousa; they don’t take the name vampire well. They escape with a fire and an exploded school.

Percy runs into Annabeth who was visiting, and together they head back to camp, and Percy meets Quintus, the new sword instructor and his hellhound, Mrs. O’Leary. Chiron shows up and brings Percy over to a wooded area where Grover is on trial with The Council Of Cloven Elders, for as the elders say, “making a preposterous claim,” and giving him one more chance to prove this claim, or Grover’s search license will be revoked. (His search license lets him hunt for demigods to bring to camp.)

Not unlike The Titan’s Curse. Most of the story is set in The Labyrinth which is a fictional maze that has magical properties. For example, you could enter the maze in CT, walk ten feet, and exit once again, and you could be in The French Countryside.

This book is personally rated 4 ½ stars, and Goodreads says the same thing.

Unfortunately, I can’t review the last book, because every single sentence is a potential spoiler if you haven’t read the previous books. But that’s the Percy Jackson series. Five totally amazing books, and two awful movies, that are a waste of your time.

If you read these books, I recommend reading the three series that are in the same universe as Percy Jackson. They are The Heroes Of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, and Magnus Chase. (Read in this order because Heroes Of Olympus is a direct sequel series to Percy Jackson.)

 

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