Hello all, and welcome once again to one of our many book reviews. We do seem to do a lot of them here at FW, mostly because when it comes down to it we’re all very big on reading and books hold important spots in all our lives. Now this review, apart from being one your friendly neighbourhood Z has wanted to do for a while now, was also requested by one of our dear readers! Won’t mention who it is, as I seem to have misplaced the email at the current moment; it’s been very hectic here following the brief holiday in which most of us did fandom based research of some sort. But that person knows who they are and to them we say thank you for giving us an excuse to re-read these books. Not that I needed much of one, but it’s always easier to say to the Editor that you’re reading it for a review than just for your own amusement. (Note to self; manga reviews, must look into that)
So Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a five book series by writer Rick Riordan. Set in the United States, the series follows the titular Percy Jackson from 12 to 16, dealing with all that life entails and throws at you when you happen to be a demigod of the Greek variety. Yeah, think Harry Potter meets X-Men and you’re getting somewhere along the right lines for this series. Lead character Percy even looks a little like the infamous Mister Potter himself, though he doesn’t need glasses and he prefers to fly on a winged horse than a broomstick. And he doesn’t use a wand, more a god-given pen that turns into a sword that can just about cut through any monster it comes across.
Yeah, okay, I know, making comparisons to the world famous franchise that is King Harry Potter is really not fair to any book series trying to make it; but Percy Jackson and the Olympians is big enough on its on to be able to hold itself up well next to the famous boy wizard – who we’ve never really looked at have we? Note to self; something for a future issue? Anyway, not the point here, the Percy Jackson series, to pull it down to its basics, takes Greek Mythology, and updates it, setting it in the United States of America and looking at just what life would be like for a modern day demigod. Long story short, it’s not easy and through the five books we can kind of understand when Percy says that sometimes his life feels like a practical joke.
See, for demigods, life isn’t really expected to be all that long. Monsters are always after them and the higher up your godly parent is on the hierarchy, the worst your luck is likely to be. For Percy, who is a son of the Big Three, this means he’s a constant target. Also the apparent lucky demigod who gets to be the one of the big prophecy that could mean death and ruin for all of the Olympian Gods. Good thing Percy can become one with the plumbing then, and also happens to fight like a demon but that’s neither here nor there and takes until the last book in the series to really happen to come into truth.
As a lead character, Percy is very endearing, facing the trials of his life with equal doses of humour and sarcasm. He’s a literal nice guy, who actually fits the mould and title ‘nice guy’. His dear mother, Sally Jackson, did a fantastic job in raising him and it’s clear to see. Other demigods of the series include smart girl daughter of Athena, Annabeth Chase who is queen of the world and you’d better believe it, and dark and sullen Nico di Angelo, who can raise zombie armies when you really need a lot of back-up. Seriously, that kid is just cool. There’s also friendly neighbourhood satyr Grover, who happens to be Percy’s best friend and is very cool in his own right and I’ve just realised how long I’ve been rambling on about this series.
So let’s get down to the basics. Is it is a good series? The answer to that is an unwavering yes. It’s one of those series that manages to be huge amounts of fun, as well as having its serious and scary moments. The characters are well written and relatable and in terms of our lead, well, I’ve personally never come across as lead character who is so likeable.
It may still be a Harry Potter world, but there’s enough space for Mr. Percy Jackson on your bookshelves as well.
Z McAspurren (Looking forward to The House of the Hades)