I’ve been rereading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series lately, as I’ve never managed to finish the Heroes of Olympus sequel series (despite them all sitting on my shelves for years) and wanted to read the whole thing again from the start.
I didn’t get into this series until about 2011/2012, by which time the whole of the first series had already been released and were ready on Amazon in a handy boxset for me to devour in one go. The reason, I think, why I hadn’t been interested in reading them – despite being a fan of well-written ‘middle grade’ children’s literature – was the advertising for the film version, which made it look very similar to Harry Potter. This did the books a disservice, I feel, because they have a very different feel and a very different writing style (Riordan’s voice, which is personable and humorous, has become one of my favourites in this genre).
The Lightning Thief does a great job of introducing a world of teenage demigods and fantasy creatures. The story kicks right into action and doesn’t let up till the end, with Percy and his new friends Annabeth and Grover embarking on a desperate mission to find Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt before it causes a war among the Greek gods.
The story is actually very educational – I studied classics at university and yet there are Greek myths I remember better due to this series than due to my studies – but never in a dry or po-faced manner. The way the myths are translated into a modern context is always very fun, and the classic mythical figures are characterised really nicely.
I’m already several books down in this series, so I’ll be reviewing the others soon!