After watching an older HBO show, Rome, with my boyfriend last weekend (which is a great show, by the way!) I started thinking about a certain set of books that had a sort of eerie, fantastical tone about them: the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.
I love young adult novels. I think they’re a great read – fun to read along to, with exciting stories usually about magic or mysteries, or in this case, the Gods of Olympus. I could read them nonstop all day. The combination of my love of reading and of Greek mythology (or Greek religion, if you will) is a sure-fire way to get me to read a book — as if I needed a reason!
The series begins with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. After finding out he is a demigod, the son of Poseidon, he is taken to a camp filled with other demigods where he can finally be himself. He makes new friends, and even meets a minor god in the Greek religion — and then a prophecy tells him that he must go on a quest to retrieve one of Zeus’ lightning bolts. Hijinks ensue, alliances are broken, and the villains of the series start to form. It’s a spectacular first book, with a great cliffhanger. The series just gets better with each book. It actually felt like the series was one continuous Greek myth that I was learning about for the first time. The writing was simple, but funny. You really feel as though you’re Percy going on these adventures.
After five books, Riordan finished off the Olympians series and focused on a couple of his other novels. He must have missed the characters, though, because he came out with a spin-off called The Heroes of Olympus. The Heroes of Olympus focuses more on the Roman gods, which were originally taken from the Greek religion. For example, the big ol’ lightning man himself, Zeus, is actually called Jupiter in Rome; and his wife, Hera, is called Juno. Roman religion was really just an amped up, angrier, more war-driven religion with nearly all the same gods and demigods as the Greek religion.
The first book in the novel The Lost Hero begins with a boy in a purple shirt on a field trip where he is attacked by mythological creatures, along with his best friend Leo and girlfriend Piper. Unfortunately, he has no memory of who he is, how he got there, or what that tattoo on his arm is about. He soon finds out that there is another camp, much like the camp that Percy Jackson found his home, but with the children of the Roman gods. The Roman gods are actually the same gods as in the Percy Jackson series, but almost with split personalities. It’s all incredibly interesting.
As with the previous series, there is a prophecy and a quest and the main character, Jason, must be the leader of it. Unlike the previous series, where the book was centered on Percy, this book is written by three different people. Jason, Leo, and Piper. The characters each alternate their chapters and pick up right where the last chapter left off. In the next book, we find our beloved hero Percy also unaware of who he is, where he’s from or how he got there while again being attacked by monsters. This book rotates characters for the chapters just like the last novel, but with new characters. It’s not until the third book that there are an array of characters from both books as the narrators of the chapters.
I would say during the third book I got kind of bored. I felt like I had been through these quests so long that it was more tedious than exciting. Each book had the same ebb and flow, starting with a quest, going on an adventure, almost getting killed, and then being fine. It was all the same. But about three quarters into the book Riordan started to get his steam back. I won’t tell you too much, because you have to read it for yourself! But it got SO good!
So my recommendation: if you love mythology, if you like young adult novels, if you like adventures, or even if you just like a fun read, these are the books for you. Remember though, if you feel like it’s getting a bit tedious, think of it like the How I Met Your Mother gag with The Proclaimers song, 500 Miles. You can listen to it over and over and over and eventually you get tired of it, but it always comes back around, stronger than ever.
And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…. Da da da! Da da da!
Is the song stuck in your head yet?
I’m still trying to figure out how many blogs per week I’ll be posting. So until I’ve figured it out, I’ll just post whenever I feel like it ;-P
Until next time!