so yesterday I was going through some old photos of my exchange high school semester in the USA and therefor found the topic for today’s booktalk: the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.
Based on this photo I remembered how I actually got my by now well read books and why it took me until my stay in the USA to get to know the Percy Jackson hype. Which is how probably a lot of people nowadays hop onto the book franchise train: the movie.
Back in 2010, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief hit theatres. It looked like a cool movie with a certainly new idea of gods and how they are involved in our lives today. Unfortunately I never got to see the movie in theatres since I’ve basically moved to the USA while it’s been out and I had nobody back then to go to the movies with. So I watched it online and really liked it. Then, somehow over the internet and friends, I got to realize that Percy Jackson is an actual well known book series.
Me, book nerd and all, went mental like READ ALL THE BOOKS! and got almost immediately book 2-4 and kind of read them as fast as well. I don’t remember it all. BUT I know that these books were the reason I have 3/4 of my books in english now and why I’m not afraid to read or write in english anymore. I read in english before, as in for school or the last two Harry Potter books and the last Twilight one. Simply because I couldn’t wait, not because it has been the easiest thing to do. Today, when I read these books, I read them as easily as I do in German. Maybe not knowing all vocabulary, but you understand and make sense of them, without really knowing the term. This might not be the best way to actually reading a book, but it works fine for me. Looking up vocabulary? Nah, I’m too lazy and inpatient for that (YOLO – haha).
For those who have heard of Percy Jackson by now, but haven’t had the chance to read it, here’s what it’s basically about (it’s spoiler-free / from The Lightning Thief):
Percy Jackson is a twelve year old boy from New York, living with his mother and his step-father. He’s not really popular and seems to drag trouble everywhere he’s going. He’s been kicked out from every school he’s attended so far, is dyslexic, has ADHD and his best friend, Grover, walks on crutches. Only his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner, doesn’t seem to hate him from all his teachers he’s got and challenges him to do better. So one day, on a field trip to the museum Percy’s teacher Mrs. Dodds turns into a Fury, a greek mythology creature, and tries to kill him. Mr. Brunner appears, throwing a pen towards Percy, which turns into a sword, so Percy can fend off Mrs. Dodds. Or more like, kill her. For the rest of Percy’s school year, everyone thinks that Mrs. Dodds has never existed and Percy starts to doubt himself and his sanity. Only when he overhears Mr. Brunner and Grover talking about Mrs. Dodds, he knows he hasn’t imagined his encounter with his pre-algebra teacher/fury.
Long story short (because I feel like I’m going to write down the whole book series now) Percy finds out that he’s a Half Blood – half human, half god – and that the safest place for his kind is a place called Camp Half Blood, which is located on Long Island. His friend Grover is in reality a Satyr, another greek creatures – basically a goat from the waist down – and his mother actually knew about his identity. At Camp Half-Blood he finds out that he’s not alone and that there are many more Half-Bloods with different godly parents and quests to fulfill. Until a certain event Percy thinks he’s an outsider who can’t fit into any description of a god and believes he’s probably the son of a lower god. But, it’s not like it seems and soon Percy finds himself in the middle of the greatest adventure of his life.
Let’s continue with my Percy Jackson story. So I’ve bought the books, read them, became obsessed with them. What now? Yeah, skyping with a friend, who has been on an exchange in the USA as well and telling her “look, I found this cool new book series, you have to read it!” only to find out she has started the series herself. I think this is a must-do as an exchange student, catching up with the hype that has never reached Europe.
You can say “oh well but it must be more popular now since it got a movie”, which is right, but apparently the movies never got as hyped as Harry Potter, Twilight or The Hunger Games. For that, there’s an easy answer: the adaptations must be good to convince people to watch the movie/read the book. If either is crappy, no chance to get popular. Or maybe the world starts to get exhausted with young adult movie adaptations, so it’s not easy for other adaptations to get popular who knows. It’s all about right place, right time. What I want to say is that the Percy Jackson movies might be okay-ish, but compared to the book you want to cry into your book, using it as tissue paper.
Back to Percy Jackson. Since the main series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the author has finished the sequel series Heroes of Olympus. Which also has the Percy Jackson characters in it, but focuses on new characters. Still, it basically starts with the question: “Where the heck is Percy Jackson???” (not quite like that) which has been a good move of Rick Riordan to hook old Percy Jackson readers on a new series. In this series, a new force awakens. Gaia, the greek mother goddess, creator and birth of earth herself wants to destroy humanity and how to better defeat herself than to unify Greek and Roman Half-Bloods? That’s right, the series takes a step up and teaches you about Roman mythology (how the gods have split personalities etc). If you read between the lines, it can teach you a lot in a nice and funny way.
So far so good. Rick Riordan has written next to Heroes of Olympus the Kane Chronicles trilogy, which is based on Egyptian Mythology and just recently started Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, which focuses on Norse Mythology and might have a tiny bit of Percy Jackson characters in it. I don’t know it yet, I’ve bought the eBook so far but haven’t read it yet. Oh and not to forget, just recently it got announced that Rick Riordan is writing a sequel to the Heroes of Olympus series, The Trials of Apollo. Which is following the Greek god Apollo, who has lost all his godly powers and has been turned into a 17 year old boy.
I’m kinda excited over this news and kinda not. Basically I get that feeling when you over-eat, let’s say Popcorn because that has happened recently, and you can’t see Popcorn for a while after that. Or marshmallows. When I was little, I couldn’t eat marshmallows, because I didn’t like them at all (weird texture and everything) so when I was thinking about them, I’d get sick. No joke. Same situation with this book series minus the getting sick part. Because it starts to feel weird that the author doesn’t get out of his comfort zone, as I say so. He keeps within his universe and for me, that starts to get boring. Yeah, as long as these book series with the same kind of universe keeps making money, why shouldn’t he do that? I’m the idiot who keeps buying his books (except the Kane Chronicles so far). And I’ll probably will buy the first book of the Trials of Apollo series because I love Percy Jackson (as a character) and because Harry Potter has left me years ago, so that’s it.
So I leave some questions here you might or might not want to answer:
- Did you read the Percy Jackson (main) series yet?
- If yes, how did you get introduced and if not, why not? Have you heard of it before? Is the plot not for your liking, etc…?
- Have you read the other books playing in the PJ universe?
- If yes, which ones and did you like them? If not, why not? Time? Not your cup of tea etc…?
- What do you think of so many books being in one Universe? Is it a “too much” or a “read all the books” situation?
- Last but not least, have you read any other books by Riordan that are located outside of the PJ Universe?
- Oh and not to forget: Why do you think Rick Riordan has blocked me on Twitter?
Three times I think??
I hope you liked this entry and maybe you have your own story to tell, Percy Jackson or not.
Have a great day,