Rating: 4 Stars
I have always found mythological stories very fascinating. I was very young, around 16 I think, when someone gave me a Urdu translation of Plutarch’s book on Greek and Roman gods. It was most definitely not age appropriate, very extensive, and in old Urdu. None of that deterred me from reading it cover to cover. From there started my love for Greek and Roman mythology, which later went on to include Egyptian, Norse and Hindu mythology as well.
Ever since my son started reading Percy Jackson, some five years back, I had wanted to read it. I like discussing books with my kids. It is the one thing that we bond over the most. Somehow, I never got around to picking up Percy Jackson and actually reading it, even when my kids insisted that I do it. But last year, when I finally managed to make a bookstagram account, Crazy Bookish Love, I started reading all the books that I had neglected previously. So, last week I borrowed the first Percy Jackson book from my son and decided to find out what the fuss was all about.
Percy Jackson And The Olympians is a series of five books that follow the adventures of a dyslexic boy with ADHD, who unbeknownst to him, is a Greek demigod. Demigods are children of gods from mortal partners. If anyone has read anything about mythology, almost all mythological gods are quite low on morality and fidelity. Greek gods are no different. Hence, the abundance of Half-Bloods, or children of Gods with one mortal parent.
Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old with a penchant for getting into trouble. He has never spent more than a year in a single school as he keeps blowing things up or getting almost killed all the time. After he accidentally kills his Math teacher while on a trip to the museum, he realizes that he is not an average kid with dyslexia; he is a demigod. And his awkward friend Grover, who Percy is always trying to help, is actually a Satyr sent to keep him safe. Thus begins his new life that take him to Camp Half-Blood and introduces him to others like him.
At camp, Percy meets Annabeth, Luke and Chiron, who go on to have the most profound impact on his life. He has no idea who his godly parent is until he is shown a sign, and all hell breaks loose. What follows is a roller coaster ride that not only takes him across the country, but also into the Underworld. On the way, he manages to get into some mischief, ruffle some godly feathers, find family, and make some everlasting friends; all while fighting monsters and keeping other worldly threats at bay.
Rick Riordan is one of the most prolific writers of mythological fiction. He is adored all over the world. For me, the best thing about these books is the humour and wit that Riordan manages to infuse in his characters. Even in the direst of circumstances, the characters manage to come up with hilarious quips and one-liners which makes everything easier to read, keeps up the interest.
There are very few things that I didn’t like in the books. The first was how everyone was always hiding things from Percy and exchanging “looks”. It was funny in the first couple of books, but by the last book I was getting really irritated by the whole “we-know-something-you-don’t” vibe. The second was Annabeth. I just couldn’t like her. She was too full of herself and a proper Miss Know-It-All. She kept secrets from Percy, and made him appear foolish. Not something a real friend would do.
Still, I managed to finish the whole series in one week, which just shows how interesting it was. Definitely worth reading.