Book Review 05 – Percy Jackson and Gods of the Olympus series

239ca539-0455-40c7-8030-60fec27a9f4fPERCY JACKSON (1-5) and HEROES OF OLYMPUS (1-3)

(RICK RIORDAN)

RATING: The overall rating of the series would be 5 stars.

REVIEW:

I’ve decided to do a short review of the two series together instead of individual books as that would take too much time to do properly. Most of the books deserve 5 stars, but every now and then a book would warrant a 4; mostly that happened with books that start each series. I think that has more to do with me getting used to the premise and the laws of the world than the author’s skill.

I love these two series, I really do. No wonder I’ve read the books from start to finish in less than a month, if I’m not mistaken entirely. This is high praise and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment that comes out later this year (October 8th).

It’s a wonderful YA series incorporating old Greek and Roman myths into modern-day America and Europe. Some characters are better than other, but the overall quality of the plots and humour is great. Of course I see things differently as an adult reading YA books, but I am absolutely sure I would have loved these series to bits had I gotten my hands on them as a teenager.

The gods meddle in one way or the other, or stay out of things to the detriment of the heroes, but usually the teenagers manage to save the day; only to have it do all over again – hey, nobody said that life of a demigod is easy! Each quest sees the children band together, using their different gifts to support each other against the powers that would see them crushed. Of course there are arguments, resentment, misunderstandings and other awful stuff children do to each other, but ultimately they must learn to cooperate or perish.The plots are formulaic – every year the young demigods get a prophecy and a quest, but you can bet there are going to be twists and turns. Nothing is ever as it seems and even if you manage to solve a hint or two, you can never be truly sure you’ve got it right until the very end. I love that – despite the simplicity of the quest premise, the stories never get boring. Just the sheer amount of old monsters and myths is enough to keep you entertained.

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The Percy Jackson series is focused entirely on the Greek myths. This means that the gods are quarreling far more than their Roman counterparts, and that we learn more about the very origins of Olympus and its occupants. Percy himself is a very interesting character – his confusion and anger about Camp Half-blood, the brutal teaching lessons and the ridiculous practices, made it easy to sympathise with him. We can understand his frustration, grief and hopes, and I came to deeply love the character; I was very sorry to not read anything about him in the first book of the spin-off series.

The Heroes series, in contrast to the first one, gives us a rare glimpse into Roman aspects of the old religion and the completely different social order of Rome. I was pleasantly surprised at that, though I did not particularly care for the brand new characters like Piper and Jason. Somehow I got used to Percy and co. too much to let go with grace. It is a very interesting premise to have the gods fight Gaea, and the Roman heroes quickly stole my heart with their bravery and willingness to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, but I nonetheless love the characters that introduced me to the series a bit more than the newcomers.

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My favourite characters would be Percy and Annabeth of the first series. The second series characters I find best of all would be Hazel and Frank. These two pairs are so lovely and balanced, despite all the trouble they must face. The level of trust between them is really something and I admire the writer for writing such amazing female characters – they take no bullshit from anyone.

The bottom line is that I would recommend the series to anyone enjoying a fast-paced plot and lots of action. The older these children, the better the books. I love that we clearly see them grow up each year, which was a big complaint of mine for the Harry Potter series. In my mind’s eye, Harry and co. remained children, which is a pity. Here, I have no such problem. Even the movie adaptation they’ve done is ok and I enjoyed it without having read the book. I hear there’s a second movie coming out – I’m going to see it on DVD when it comes out, not in the cinema, but I’m definitely a fan. 😀

Here are Goodreads links to the Percy Jackson books:

And the Goodreads links to the Heroes of Olympus books:

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