Gods Bless (and Curse) America!

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.

If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now.  Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life. 

Being a half-blood is dangerous.  It’s scary.  Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.”

Unless you live inside a cave or something, I don’t think anyone here does NOT know Rick Riordan’s beloved Percy Jackson, a series of adventures by the titular character himself that takes place in the modern world where Greek gods, heroes and monsters exist. The final months of the last year had left me book-less, in which during this phase I absolutely lose my reading appetite. It is during this time when I choose books at random, mostly ones I have no intention of reading ever, and as the Fates had decided, the wheel pointed to Rick Riordan, whose books are displayed in every bookstore that you couldn’t possibly miss it on a reading slump phase. As it seems, Percy Jackson has always been a fly hovering at the corner of my sight. It is constantly everywhere, from bookstores to Facebook posts, and never did I had the desire to follow-up its hype or simply put, read the books. Until now.

Now, what is it in this book that appealed to so many? If you have not read it, why should you read it? What should you expect from it? Why is that person hushing me when I mention the name Zeus in public? Why do girls and boys like Nico so much? Why did Luke deserve better (no really, he deserves better)? All these, I won’t answer, unfortunately, but there are more than enough reasons to start reading the series. 

“In which Percy discovers his parentage and tries to deliver a lightning bolt he did not stole. I enjoyed The Lightning Thief a lot because the experience is all new to me. Hyperactive children fighting against gods and monsters around America. Why the Hades not?”

-Chesca on The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

One of the delights of reading Percy Jackson for the first time is experiencing its treatment of modernized Greek mythology. Or rather, Westernized Greek mythology. Though written a decade ago, it’s refreshing to read a fantasy book that takes place in modern times. I don’t read too many novels like that. Percy and his friends travel around America’s famous landmarks and we discover the amazing legends behind them. It’s almost like taking a tour around the country but with mythology mixed into it, which would have made going outside much more interesting but, meh. You could sense the author having loads of fun making famous figures into Demigods and monsters. Most often, fantasy books has its own time and lore that subtly reflects today’s age but it isn’t done as boldly as in Percy Jackson. 

“In which Percy tries to rescues a friend from a doomed marriage. Probably my least favorite book in the series. It does have ships and ghost pirates so all’s well. Oh and Tyson.”

-Chesca on The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

The gods, heroes and monsters themselves keep up with the times and more often you’ll find them riding on bikes, singing pop songs, feed fries to the dead, fly cars to the sun and other common modernly things you could think of. It’s all fun and the concept is pretty creative and witty, and even ironic at times. The concept heavily reminds me of Terry P and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, but for kids. There’s a sense of goofiness in its narration that gets tiring for a while but it does make a a realistic portrayal of a hyperactive boy with a hyperactive imagination.

Praise for The Titan’s Curse and The Battle of the Labyrinth

In which Percy and his friends search for the missing Artemis who is literally carrying the world on her shoulders. Dionysus’s crowning peak. He is, by the way, the greatest jerk in this book ever (and I love him).

In which Percy travels through a maze to prevent a war. The war happens anyway. 

Even so, the book does splendidly with its endings. It has enough cliffhangers to make you read the next book and at the same time, it resolves a lot of loose endings though not completely answering them all. It’s adds a bit of satisfaction and a bit of curiosity altogether. The Last Olympian, especially, has an equally satisfying and nerve-wrecking finale that makes you both happy and hungry for more. Endings should all be like this.

Percy defends Mount Olympus. Pretty much the whole book. Imagine a Marvel battle, say The Avengers, and someone made a book out of it. The worst and best book of the series. The ending in this book rocks.

–Chesca (book blogger, intellectual, aspiring librarian) on The Last Olympian

Overall, I can’t say the book impressed me. I certainly enjoyed it enough to read the next series. It is an enjoyable read that makes fun of the idiosyncrasies of Greek myths with enough colorful characters that you’ll adore.

PS: The sequel, Heroes of Olympus, is 10x better.


THE VERDICT

4 hunny


SIMILAR READS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Riordan

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. While teaching in San Antonio, Saint Mary’s Hall honored him with the school’s first Master Teacher Award.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre – the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children’s fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today over fifty million copies of his books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 37 countries. Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons. Website | Twitter

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4 thoughts on “Gods Bless (and Curse) America!

  1. I still haven’t read any Riordan, though The Lightning Thief’s been on my shelf for years. I’d been planning to read it as my just-for-fun break away from Obsidian, and you’ve officially given me the need to start it IMMEDIATELY (if only to get to its sequel). Excellent review!

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