Happy Thursday! Today I want to share my thoughts on the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I usually post individual book reviews for each book I read, but I decided I would post a general, spoiler-free discussion for this series instead. I picked up Percy Jackson for the first time in 2015 after hearing how much people love it. While I don’t read a lot of middle-grade books, I thought it would be fun to read this fantasy series while I was studying for the bar. I knew it would be easy to get through, and also entertaining. I did read the first three books of this five-book series in May, but it wasn’t until December where I finally picked up the last two. Percy Jackson took me on an epic adventure, and I want to share it with all of you!
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series follows 11-year-old Percy Jackson. Percy is a good kid, but he always seems to get into trouble. The series opens when Percy is on a field trip with his class, and all of a sudden his math teacher turns into a monster! It turns out Percy is a half-blood, which means his dad is a God. Percy goes to Camp Half-Blood, which just happens to be located in Long Island, New York. There he learns more about the mysterious world of the Greek Gods, and meets a wide array of characters.
The first book, entitled The Lightning Thief, was my least favorite of the series. While I really enjoyed Percy as a character and first-person narrator, the book is so derivative of my beloved Harry Potter that it actually made me angry! I spent the majority of the book grumbling about how everything in the novel parallels Harry Potter, and was quite frustrated as I reached the ending.
Nonetheless, I continued on with The Sea of Monsters, book two in the series. While it still had Harry Potter undertones, I really liked the new characters introduced to the reader. I also loved how author Rick Riordan wrote a middle-grade story that discusses the importance of accepting those who are different than ourselves. Thus, I picked up book three, The Titan’s Curse directly after finishing the second book. The Titan’s Curse was a turning point in the series for me. It broke away from the pack in terms of the Harry Potter similarities, and while I don’t remember too many details of the story, I knew for sure I would finish the series.
As I mentioned above, I took a few months off from Percy Jackson after completing the first three books, mainly because I was busy. That made it difficult for me to get back into the story when I picked up book four, The Battle of the Labyrinth. I ended up listening to the first third of the book as an audio book to help jump back into the world, which really helped. I was a bit disappointed with the fourth book, but the ending was excellent, and I had to find out how the series would conclude.
The last book, The Last Olympian, is by far my favorite. It is non-stop action, and I absolutely loved how all the loose ends got tied up in the end. Because The Last Olympian was so strong, it really gave me a favorable opinion on the series as a whole, and made me want to pick up Rick Riordan’s other books. I definitely look forward to starting The Heroes of Olympus series, which is a continuation of this one.
What I Loved:
- The well-developed, likable, and relatable characters
- The incorporation of Greek mythology
- The adventures and quests
- Percy’s sassy narration style
What I Didn’t Like:
- How derivative it is of Harry Potter
- The predictability (despite it being middle grade)
The Lightning Thief: ★★★
The Sea of Monsters: ★★★★
The Titan’s Curse: ★★★★
The Battle of the Labyrinth: ★★★★
The Last Olympian: ★★★★ 1/2
Overall, I highly recommend the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, especially if you enjoy middle-grade fantasy books. If you go into it prepared for Harry Potter similarities at the beginning, then you will like it more that I did from the start. You can pick up a box set of the entire series on Amazon HERE or on Book Depository HERE. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this series, and what your thoughts are! Please use a spoiler disclaimer at the start of your comment if you are mentioning anything that could spoil another reader.
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