The Lightning Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan’s Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian All by Rick Riordan
To be short and sweet, this is a really fun children’s fantasy series, focusing on what would happen if the Ancient Greek gods were around in present day America. Percy Jackson has always been getting into trouble, and he can never stay in the same school for more than a year, but he learns when he’s 11 that there’s a reason for this. He’s actually a demigod, a son of Poseidon. Monsters are drawn to demigods and wish to destroy them, and Percy finds a relative safe haven at Camp Half-Blood, where all the campers are demi-gods. In the first book, Percy has to clear his name and prevent war between the gods, when Zeus’ Lightning bolt goes missing. There is also an overall series plot, coming from a prophecy that one of the children of Hades, Zeus or Poseidon will making a choice when he or she turns 16 that could lead to the destruction of Mount Olympus, and therefore the Western world.
I liked that Percy, although the star of the series, is not the best at everything. He always needs to rely on his friends, including the brilliant Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover, a nature loving satyr. I loved that there are lots of smart and strong girls and women in the series, and Percy regularly had to rely on their support to survive. I loved that even though I knew most of the myths that the plots are based on, Riordan would surprise me by changing the details to better fit a modern retelling. I loved that all of the demigods were dealing with disabilities (dyslexia and ADHD), but that the ADHD improved their fighting skills, and the dyslexia is caused by their inborn gift to read Ancient Greek. I thought it was a nice touch, for kids to see heroes with those issues.
I did feel like the stories did have a slight formula (Percy being kicked out of school after fighting a monster, Camp Half-Blood is in danger, there’s a prophecy from the Oracle, etc.) but I still enjoyed it. My other complaint is that SPOILER AFTER THE JUMP
the last book ends with the set up for a new demi-god series. I really love a good solid ending to things, but the kids at my library seem to be enjoying the fact that they can read on and on. I think that what the kids want does really matter.