Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: "Percy Jackson & The Olympians" Series Books 1-5

Percy Jackson & The Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
3.4 out of 5 stars averaged

I read all 5 of these on the OverDrive app on my iPhone. I love that app, especially when I finally run out of books in my to-read pile and don't have any money for new ones lol (probably around August this year) can check out books from your library and read them on your phone. My library has quite a good selection, so I was pretty happy with it. Okay, I'm done advertising. :) (Oh and I was not paid or given this app for free or anything!)

I wasn't sure if I would even finish this whole series, especially after the second book. I'm really glad I did though and I might even go buy them eventually so I can have them. The first book, The Lightning Thief, starts out with a pretty good premise. Percy Jackson is a 6th grader with dyslexia and ADHD about to get kicked out of another school for mysterious fights and trouble that no one can explain. Until he is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finds out he is really a demigod: half-human, half-immortal.

That's when things start to get really crazy. His dad is Poseidon, Greek God of the sea. There's a prophecy about Percy that may result in the end of the world. And he has to go on a quest with a satyr (half goat boy) and a daughter of Athena (Goddess of wisdom) to the Underworld to help prevent a war between the Gods. And that's just book 1.

I know a lot of people have compared this series to Harry Potter and while I agree that it "feels" the same in some cases, it is definitely a different story. This would be a great series for younger kids and especially ones who love adventure. I think it would be a great way to get them interested in Greek mythology for sure. Although, I think a companion guide to Greek mythology would have been useful...I had a hard time keeping them all straight and I (used to) know a lot about the Gods and Goddesses.

Consider yourself spoiled for anything past this point if you haven't read these books and still want to! :)

The second book, The Sea of Monsters, just wasn't as great to me and almost turned me off the rest of the series. It didn't seem to have as much story and adventure like the first one. I did love Tyson though, Percy's cyclops half-brother.

The Titan's Curse starts to get a little better and there are some more new characters, including Nico (son of Hades) and Rachel Elizabeth Dare (a human who can see through the "Mist" and later has a much bigger part).

One of the things I really liked about this series is that it, like Harry Potter, grew with its readers. I can see an 8-9 year old kid (especially a boy) reading the first book with his parents and then progressing with each as he gets older. Riordan did a good job of keeping it age appropriate and the humor and relationships grow with the series.

The Battle of the Labyrinth starts off with some vampire cheerleaders, so you know it's going to be good. :) The quest this time takes them into Daedalus' Labyrinth where they run into lots of crazy/fun characters, including the Sphinx, God of the wild Pan and a giant Hellhound named Mrs. O'Leary. There is plenty of action in this one and one of my favorites, which leads us to the last one...

The Last Olympian takes place in New York City and brings the prophecy told way back in book 1 to its end, but maybe not in a way you expect. I really love the cover of this one (that's one problem with reading eBooks, you don't get to enjoy the covers). Mount Olympus is at the top of the Empire State Building and Kronos (the bad guy throughout the series) is advancing to take it over. He's also set up a little side project for the Gods in the name of Typhon, a scary dude rumbling across the United States (causing earthquakes, tornadoes and all kinds of destruction). With Mount Olympus unguarded, it's up to the Camp Half-Blood kids to take over and protect it. Lots and lots of action plus a little romance even in the last book.

And in the end, you get a setup for Riordan's next Camp Half-Blood series, Heroes of Olympus. I'm actually pretty excited to continue reading these! :)

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