Hello all! I know I’ve not been online much this week, it’s been a crazy one, but I have what will hopefully be a very fun review to make up for my absence. I was in need of a bit of relaxation recently, so decided to pick up the Percy Jackson series. Though I read the first one about a year ago and did do a mini review for it, I decided to rework the review here, so that you could get my thoughts for the series as a whole. Plus I had a few more thoughts, now I’d read the whole thing.
The Lightning Thief– the first thing that struck me about the Lightning Thief is how much I wish I’d read this series when I was younger. I loved the inventiveness and how it presented the gods in a modern, yet awe-inspiring fashion. This was most apparent in how much I enjoyed Riordan’s representation of Hades’, my favourite god, which made me laugh out loud. He made him sufficiently scary, whilst not doing that contemporary thing of making the God of the Underworld = Satan. Percy is a bit of an everyman, but I’m okay with that. And I do like the spin on the other two main characters, Grover and Annabeth, who are best described as mini versions of their forebears, but with a twist. The one sticking point I had was that there was a false ending- and I felt like the second one was tacked on for the sake of sequels. It was a pity, to me as an adult reader, that the betrayal was incorporated into the earlier BIG SHOWDOWN. Still, it was a lot of fun and it definitely inspired me to read more (admittedly a year later).
Rating: 4/5 bananas
The Sea of Monsters– the opening for this one was stellar and I thought it was very smart to connect the bullying aspect to Lord of the Flies– it made these books seem doubly educational. This actually feels like a much smarter read in general- especially if you look at the allegory on racism, as Never Not Reading did in her amazing post. Tyson is a fantastic new addition to the story and I loved the depths that it explores on the subject of family as well. Plus, like the first one, there are some really clever connections to mythology, like the use of Tantalus and the chain stores as hydras. Above all, the plot was the plot was a real whirlpool of adventures. Plenty of this was entertaining and made me laugh. And where I had a few issues with the ending of Lightning thief, Sea of Monsters made me go ARGHHH!! So it was a reading success. I’m still lamenting that I didn’t read this when I was younger, because it doesn’t land as well as it could have- and that’s pretty much the only reason I couldn’t give this series 5/5 bananas.
Rating: 4½/5 bananas
The Titan’s Curse– this was so non-stop and I got really caught up in the twists and turns, so I completely forgot to take notes. Given the length of the review, you might assume I didn’t like it, but I really did enjoy it and thought it was a MIGHTY addition to the series. I particularly appreciated the budding romance in this one and how it developed organically. And as always I loved the details about the gods- I thought it was very clever how the goddess of love made you giddy in her presence and Ares made you mad.
Rating: 4½/5 bananas
The Battle of the Labyrinth– firstly I dug how the labyrinth was conceptualised here- again Riordan took the imaginative route and allows the reader to get lost in his genius world building. I did like the addition of flashbacks as well- even if Icarus and Daedalus is right at the pinnacle of my favourite myths and it’s basically impossible to live upto the classic mythology. Hera and Hephaestus were exactly how I imagined them for this series- so that was a perfect work of art. I’m loving the weirdly authentic take on Greek mythology. I also like how this series uses turns of phrase like “All Hades broke loose”- it’s a nice touch and things like that always make me giggle. I think it was great how this book began to deal with deeper themes, like dying. This also had some of my favourite character development, with Grover growing up and gaining some responsibility. Even more than that, I really liked Nicos’ growing role in the story.
Rating: 4½/5 bananas
The Last Olympian– unfortunately, this felt like it leapt ahead in the narrative. Noticing how jarring the start felt, I looked and saw there was a novella in between, go figure. I don’t mind that big series have tons of spinoffs, but I would rather that the basic story got told first and I didn’t feel a little out of the loop when I go to the next book. Otherwise it was completely absorbing as a story. Again, I thought Nico was an amazing character. I appreciated the versions of the Furies, Hades, Persephone and Demeter the most again. Like I said, Hades is definitely my favourite god, so anything that casts the spotlight on him and doesn’t go for the Christian imagery is great in my book. While I did enjoy this book overall, I was a bit torn about a few things. Firstly, I know it’s a kids’ book- but the prophecy just isn’t nightmare-worthy- I’m never keen or sold on books that tell you something is *SUPER SCARY* and it just isn’t. Mostly though, I was really torn about the ending. It completely worked, but the message of “you are not the hero” is a bit of a sad note to end the series on- I actually wished that Percy’s role in the final battle could have been more significant. It is nice to have a new Oracle and the promise of more… but it also seemed rather inconclusive, especially given Percy did not have as strong a role as I’d have liked. I feel like this could have been solved if he’d had a few more flaws/those flaws had been taken advantage of. This is based on Greek mythology after all- and it’s fine if his hamartia is that he’s too trusting, but (spoilers for the ending) it ended up feeling like there weren’t enough costs, because it depended on him trusting Annabeth with the knife… and the only trouble with this is that he’s always trusted her, so there was ZERO character growth here. I just think there could have been a more killer ending.
Rating: 4/5 bananas
Anyway, despite that last disappointment that I kind of ranted about, this series completely appealed to my inner Classics geek and I definitely want to read more Riordan.
Have you read this series? Do you plan to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!