Where reading is a way of life

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Percy Jackson Books

Book 1 The Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
 Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Editorial Reviews:
At the outset of this fast-paced tale by Rick Riordan (Hyperion/Miramax, 2005), it would seem that Percy Jackson is just another New York kid diagnosed with ADHD, who has good intentions, a nasty stepfather, and a long line of schools that have rejected him. The revelation of his status as half-blood offspring of one of the Greek gods is nicely packaged, and it's easy to believe that Mount Olympus, in modern times, has migrated to the 600th floor of the Empire State Building (the center of Western civilization) while the door to Hades can be found at DOA Recording Studio, somewhere in LA. With his new friends, a disguised satyr, and the half-blood daughter of Athena, Percy sets out across the country to rectify a feud between Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. Along the way they must cope with the Furies, Medusa, motorcycle thug Aires, and various other immortals. Although some of Jesse Bernstein's accents fail (the monster from Georgia, for instance, has no Southern trace in her voice), he does a fine job of keeping the main characters' tones and accents distinguishable. He convincingly portrays Percy, voicing just the right amount of prepubescent confusion, ironic wit, and the ebbing and waning of concern for himself and those around him. Mythology fans will love this take and kids who haven't been inculcated with the Classical canon will learn aspects of it here while having no trouble following a rollicking good–and modern–adventure.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

My 2 cents:  The start of a great series!  These books are quick reads and hard to put down!  They reminded me a lot of the first 3 books of the Harry Potter series, before things got really heavy in that series.  The Lightning Thief is nonstop action, which is great for kids, and all the fun mythology references are great fun for all ages!  

Book 2 The Sea of Monsters
Editorial Reviews:
In this sequel (Miramax Books, 2006) to Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief (Hyperion, 2005; Listening Library, 2005) 13-year-old Percy is just finishing up his school year and is looking forward to another great summer at Camp Half-Blood with all the other demigods. But even before school ends, things start happening, and soon Percy is at camp along with Tyson, a homeless kid adopted by Percy's school. At camp, Percy not only discovers that Tyson is a Cyclops and a son of Poseidon, which makes him Percy's half-brother, but also that the camp is in trouble. There's a quest to rescue Percy's friend, Grover the satyr, and to retrieve the Golden Fleece. The plot zips along with plenty of action; lots of mythological monsters, titans, and gods; and a leavening of humor. Jesse Bernstein does a good job of giving Percy a youthful voice in this first-person narrative, while at the same time creating appropriate voices for the other characters. Listeners who have not read or listened to the first book in the projected trilogy will want to do so before the next installment is published.–Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
My 2 cents:  Remember reading Odysseus in school?  If not, you will as soon as you start reading this installment of the Percy Jackson series!  Because I LOVED Odysseus, I loved this book as well!  It was a great follow up to the first book.

Book 3 The Titan's Curse
Editorial Reviews:
In this installment, Riordan continues to enliven ancient mythology with wit, contemporary staging, and teenage heroics. Percy Jackson is now 14, a bit older and wiser, yet still entangled with the Fates. Friends, monsters, dysfunctional gods, and the romantic stirrings of all things natural and mythological are encountered. His good friend, if oft-time rival, Annabeth (daughter of Athena) is missing, as is Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Joined by best buddy Grover-the-goat-boy and an argumentative array of accomplices, Percy sets off to fulfill, and hopefully foil, the foreboding prophecy of the Oracle. Plagued by ominous dreams, thwarted by hideous monsters, and challenged by conflicting partnerships, the search party's success hinges on unlikely unity. The droll pitch is teen-perfect, as when Apollo heats up the scene by arriving in his fire-red Maserati, wearing jeans, a sleeveless T-shirt, and loafers. 'Wow,' Thalia muttered, 'Apollo is hot.' 'He's the sun god,' I said. 'That's not what I meant.' Intricate prophecies and relationships are neatly braided into the adventurous plot. Teachers will cheer for Percy Jackson and the Olympians as they inspire students to embrace Greek mythology and score the ultimate Herculean challenge: getting kids to read. All in all, a winner of Olympic proportions and a surefire read-aloud.–Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved My 2 cents:  This is where the series really takes off.  I had so wished Hollywood would have kept the movies going, even after The Lightning Thief, just for this book!  This is where the drama starts to unfold, and by the end we are left to wonder what just does that stinking prophecy mean?  Or, I should say, WHO?  

Book 4 The Battle of the Labyrinth
Editorial Review:
The battle starts, literally, with an explosion and doesn't let up. After Percy destroys the high school band room battling monsters called empousai who have taken on the form of cheerleaders, he has to hide out at Camp Half-Blood. There, Grover's searcher's license is going to be revoked unless he can find the god Pan in seven days. An entrance to the Labyrinth has been discovered, which means that Luke, the half-blood turned bad, can bypass the magical protections and invade the camp. Annabeth insists that she must follow a quest to locate Daedalus's workshop before Luke does. Percy is disturbed by visions of Nico, the son of Hades, who is summoning forth the spirits of the dead with McDonalds Happy Meals. Percy, Grover, and Percy's Cyclops half-brother follow Annabeth into the maze not knowing if they will ever find their way out. Riordan cleverly personifies the Labyrinth as a sort of living organism that changes at will, and that traverses the whole of the United States. Kids will devour Riordan's subtle satire of their world, such as a Sphinx in the Labyrinth whose questions hilariously parody standardized testing. The secret of Pan is revealed with a bittersweet outcome that also sends an eco-friendly message. Like many series, the "Percy Jackson" books are beginning to show the strain of familiarity and repetition. However, the overarching story line remains compelling, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave readers breathless in anticipation of the fifth and final volume.—Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
My 2 cents:  WOW!  That was all I could think by the time I got to the end of this book!  I think "Labyrinth" is my fave book in the series!  Of course the mythological story of Daedalus and his labyrinth is intriguing in its own right.   I loved this book and read it all in one sitting! 

Book 5 The Last Olympian
All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded.  Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.  In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

Editorial Reviews:
“The clash of modern and classical worlds is both exciting and entertaining.” —The New York Times Book Review
”Riordan masterfully orchestrates the huge cast of characters and manages a coherent, powerful tale at once exciting, philosophical and tear-jerking. The best-selling series’ legions of fans will cheer their heroes on and rejoice in such a compelling conclusion to the saga.”— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

My 2 cents:   The series finale does not disappoint!  Again, the story is non stop action (great for kids) with most of the book being a big battle in the middle of Manhattan.  The ending is superb, and finally the prophecy and all the characters and their actions make sense!  Its a nice, neat ending but there is a lot of room left for more adventures and sequels!

 All in all, I give the whole series 5 stars!  If you have children that really aren't big readers (like mine where a couple of years ago!) I wholeheartedly recommend this series!  It will keep them engaged, plus they get to learn a little mythology along the way!  A great action packed adventure series! 


  1. I haven't read these myself by my son DEVOURED them. And last year, his language arts teacher paired reading The Lightening Thief with their section on Greek history, just in time to see the movie at the theater for a special class outing! He was stoked beyond words, since this was already one of his favorite series'. :)

  2. That is awesome! Our school does not "teach" the books to the kids, but definitely recommends them! Most kids read them in 7th grade when they are covering Greek Mythology!
    My oldest 3 have not been big readers. These books got there reading grades back on track when we started reading them last year. Now the kids are reading machines! (YES!)

  3. That's fantastic! It doesn't hurt that mom is such a book lover, too. ;) Keep it up, hon. And (in my best Prof. Trelawney) Broaden their MINDS! :D


I love reading your comments, and will try to respond as much as possible!