Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday Reads: Percy Jackson

Why did it take me this long to read Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan?  Probably because it's actually middle grade, not YA (won't be representing middle grade, sorry).  However, it's excellent.  A great read from beginning to end.  The characters, the plot, the wit.

First Chapter Title: "I Accidentally Vaporize my Pre-Algebra Teacher."  Before you even get to the first sentence, you are hooked.  Yes, it does give away what happens in the chapter, but it's funny enough not to really matter.  It also acts as a hook to keep you reading through a few pages of set up (slash brief back story).

First Sentence: "Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood."  You're thinking, what now?  You don't learn what that is exactly for a few chapters (unless you've read anything about the book, ie back cover blurbs), but you're intrigued enough to keep reading to find out.  It's a teaser.  And it works.

Synopsis:
"Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves."
Beefs: I wonder what would have happened had Riordan decided to make this a YA.  Would it have worked?  But Percy is a mature enough 12 year old to appeal to the older audience (me!) as well.

Brownie Points: Riordan has a gift at being able to incorporate Greek Mythology into present day.  Hopefully, a few kids who have read this wanted to know more about the gods and myths mentioned.  I have a college Greek Myth course under my belt, so I understood all of the references (go me!), and had a few laughs along the way.  Brownie Point #2: main character is a boy.  I've heard people say how books are never written for boys, well this is.  Not only that, but ADD, dyslexic, trouble making boys.

Recommendation: Much like how I tell everyone to read the popular stuff in their genre, you should read this if you A: like YA or middle grade, B: read fantasy (or urban fantasy, which I think this classifies as), C: like witty, smart humor, D: like Greek Myths, or E: like a good read.

Would I represent it? I won't be representing Middle Grade, so no.  But this is exactly the type of thing (grown up a few years) that I'm looking for.  Witty, smart, unique, etc.  And I love things that incorporate mythologies into them.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

Amy Tripp said...

I've put off reading this as I'd heard good and bad reviews on it. My son read it in school and really didn't like it, but I've talked to adults who have.

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