Tag Archive: Percy Jackson



(Way, way, way overdue I know…it’s been sitting in my comp for two months. But here you go.)

The Heroes of Olympus #2: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Ages 12 and up

In The Lost Hero we learned of Camp Jupiter, the Roman counterpart of Camp Half-Blood. In a desperate attempt to save Olympus, Hera had switched the leaders of the two camps, Percy Jackson and Jason Grace. Jason has been at Camp Half-Blood helping the Greeks, and now it’s time for Percy to make an appearance on the other side of the continent. Percy resurfaces with almost no memory of who he was. Of course, that doesn’t keep the usual brand of trouble from following him. Apparently, that Death has been taken hostage by the giants and until he is released, killing the monsters is going to be impossible. And it seems that the gods can find no better guy for the job than an amnesiac Greek demigod. After only a few hours at Camp Jupiter, Percy and his newfound friends set off on a journey to a land where the god’s power may not even reach.

I know, it’s short and sweet. But seriously, I’m not sure how much I trust myself to tell you. Now, I’m not saying that I have a favorite author. That’s just not a choice I’d be able to stick to for more than a few minutes. However, Rick Riordan ranks very close to the top, so naturally I was more than a little ecstatic when this book came out. And it was was almost (I’ll get to that) everything I could have hoped it would be.

Now, if you know me (or have read my blog), you would know that I have had a thing for Greek mythology since I was a little girl. That is what got me into the Percy Jackson books for the first time. (Okay, that and the movie trailer reminding me that I kept meaning to read them.) So I won’t deny that that is part of why I love these books. Riordan does more than just retell the Greek and Roman myths (and sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which), he reimagines them. He takes them and changes them is a way that his readers will recognize, while still keeping them true to their original character. For example, he takes the Amazons and turns them into business moguls funding their way of life through a company even children will recognize in this day and age, Amazon.

I didn’t figure it out until about halfway through, but there are several parallels between this book and the original Percy Jackson books. Not that I will tell you what they are (or maybe this amnesia thing is clouding my view). But, considering that his missing memory is constantly on Percy’s mind, I think that making him go through trials that the readers would recognize—even if it was only subconsciously—was a beautiful touch.

The characters in Rick Riordan’s books (I’m talking about all three mythology series here) have always been some of my favorites. I love them. They bounce of the page and come alive. You feel like you know them, like they’ve been your friends (or enemies) for ages. I could totally see myself hanging out with Annabeth and talking about books for hours. His characters, even the minor ones, so often have distinct characteristics that define them and make them different from all the others around them.

That little “almost” up at the top has probably been bothering you for three whole paragraphs. It boils down to one small fact. The book was great, I loved it. I can’t wait for the next one (The Mark of Athena Fall 2012). In fact, I’m already excited about the next one, all things considered (if you know, you know). However, despite how much I love him and how great I imagine he looks in a purple t-shirt (C’mon ladies, you know you were thinking about it too), Percy Jackson is not in fact my favorite character in the books. He is hair’s breadth close, but he is not. My favorite character sadly, has a very small part in this book…though I think I can bet on seeing a lot more of [redacted] in the next book. (It’s kind of a given.)

All of this, the characters, the mythology, the settings, the crazy, twisting plot that he seems to come up with—all of these things are used to create a book that keeps moving right up to that very last page. No joke, I’m pretty sure that my heart stopped for about five seconds when I turned page 513 and realized that the twenty or so pages that were left were actually the glossary and several black pages. Had my whole family not been asleep, I probably would have yelled. It’s a brilliant ending, but it doesn’t stop you from feeling like you’ve been thrown off a cliff. (Cause obviously, with three books left, we still have the world and Olympus to save.)

This a good example of:

  • Multiple POVs
  • Raising the stakes
  • Reimagining vs. retelling
  • Characters
  • Story Movement
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First off: Congratulations to last week’s winner, Mariajose. Who will be receiving her very own copy Heist Society by Ally Carter in the mail just as soon as she gets me her address.

And now, on to this week’s book: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. For those of you who’ve never heard of Percy Jackson, keep reading. If you’ve had your eye on this series for a while (or you already love the series) just skip the italic bits and get to the good stuff.

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 text book 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. (Disney Hyperion)

If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning…or really, for the last few months…you’re probably aware of some of the authors that I just adore: Scott Westerfeld, Lauren DeStefano, Suzanne Collins, Eoin Colfer, Cassandra Clare (oh, wait, I haven’t told you about her yet), Ally Carter. The list is rather long.

Rick Riordan is somewhere near the top. Like way high up there.

His Percy Jackson series is currently my most battered and beloved set of books. I’m addicted. I love Percy. I love Annabeth. I love Grover. I even love Clarisse on occasion.

I picked them up one January day, right before the movie came out (because, when possible, I prefer to read the book first).

And I could not put them down.

Seriously, I made a late night run to Barnes & Noble just to get The Last Olympian, because I could not stand just hanging where The Battle of the Labyrinth had left me. I was addicted. And I still am.

And thankfully, he didn’t stop with Last Olympian. Anything of Riordan’s that I can get my hands on, I devour. I’d probably show up to purchase his shopping list if he published it.

And it’s not just because his writing jives with my own sense of humor. Or that his characters are so memorable and fun. Or that his plots are not what I would expect from a borderline YA (actually, it’s more middle grade, but I don’t care). Nor is it the fact that I have loved Greek mythology since I was eight.

He has taken something that I love, something that I am utterly familiar with, and he has done more than retell the stories. He has reinvented them with the humor and the characters and the plot.

The Lightning Thief is the first book I bring up when I hear someone reads. It’s the first book that I recommend when someone is looking for something to read. It’s the book that I gave as birthday presents to my two best friends. I reread this series often, because I love it and because it just makes my day happier to dive into Percy’s world. I think, if I could live in any of the books that I have read, this is the one I would choose (unless, of course, I could be an elf in Middle-Earth).

You can bet that when Son of Neptune comes out, I will have scraped all of my pennies together and will be waiting on the sidewalk, for my Barnes & Noble to open so that I can take my copy home and read it. Or at least, I’ll go over right after work.

And this wonderful experience can be yours too. There is a copy of The Lightning Thief sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for someone to comment below and win it. Tell me about an author that you absolutely adore, or one that you’ve followed forever…but make sure you do it by 5 p.m. EST on September 22nd. And if you’d like extra entries into the contest, try one of the three ways below (all of which will get you entered into this week and next week’s drawings):

  1. Follow me on Twitter. Make sure you put your Twitter handle in your comment so that I know to give you the credit.
  2. Help spread the word. Comment on another of my blog posts and then post the link to Twitter (or facebook). Just make sure you give me the link (or tag me if you choose Twitter).
  3. Subscribe! This one will earn you not one, but two entries into the next two drawings!
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