Friday, February 28, 2014

Series Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan


Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Goodreads 
Release date: March 21, 2006--May 12th, 2009
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: Duh
Source: Purchased
Rating: My new obsession.

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Be warned: this is probably the least intellectual review I've ever done. Here be fangirling, giffery, and keyboard-smashing.

Real talk: Before I read this series, I used to think Percy Jackson was sort of a Harry Potter rip-off. Now that I've read this series, I want to punch my past hipster self in the face.

To say I was engrossed in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series would be the understatement of my life. This series was, in fact, the binge-read of the century for me. I ate, drank, and slept this series. It consumed my every thought. I swear I was actually physically in the world of Percy and Camp Half-Blood and all the rest of them.

 

All I wanted to do for a week was read these books, and so I did. I read all five books in less than a week, and I had the best time. So good a time, really, that it's all a blur of

 

and

 

and then at the end of each installment a strong feeling of



Quick series concept overview for those who have no clue what these books are about:
Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old troublemaker about to be kicked out of his millionth school when one day his math teacher turns into a harpy and tries to kill him. This very subtle sign clues him in to the fact that he's no ordinary boy--oh no. He is the son of a Greek God, and for reasons which you should just go with, Olympus and its denizens reside in New York City, and their children, demigods and heroes, train and sometimes live and play capture the flag in a place called Camp Half-Blood, which is a thousand times cooler than any camp you went to growing up. I promise you.

People try to kill Percy like literally all the time, and then he makes them more annoyed and they try to kill him even more, but Percy somehow always stays alive. He becomes best friends with a satyr named Grover and a brilliant daughter of Athena named Annabeth who is obviously his soul mate.

I'm not going to do full reviews for each book, and will instead review the series as a whole, but here are a few baby reviews for the individual novels:

The Lightning Thief

I'm not going to lie; it took me a few chapters to really get into the story, though I loved the character of Percy right off the bat (more about him below). A LOT of time is spent not telling Percy relevant information, like, oh, he's the son of a Greek God. Small things like that, and when he's already battled a minotaur and is at Camp Half-Blood, even (aka the training ground/summer camp for demigods). The plot was a little too episodic and questy for me, plus worldbuilding had some holes at this early stage, but they get filled later on. However, I still loved it. The updates on the Greek gods and myths were hilarious. And PERCY. And PERCY AND ANNABETH. Is it wrong to ship twelve-year-olds with the power of a million fiery suns? If so, I don't want to be right.

The Sea of Monsters

Things really pick up in this, the shortest book in the series (especially because there's a lot of Percabeth and this is obviously the most important thing). Grover becomes more fully realized as a character, plus TYSON the adorable cyclops!!! All the points for Tyson!

The Titan's Curse

 AND THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET AMAZING. AHHHHHHHHHH. Rick Riordan, I can't EVEN. The new characters in this book were amazing (Nico! Zoe! Rachel!), and the plot is gorgeous and heartbreaking (ANNABETHHHHH! Luke! SURPRISE DEATHS ALL AROUND!). The villain fully VILLAINIZES here. I was blown away by this book. I loved it so hard I can't even remember how to word right now.

The Battle of the Labyrinth

Full on flaily flails falls over can't deal epically epic battle cool myths Percabeth PERCABETH oh wait so cruel utter heartbreak much pain and yet I'm laughing why is everything so perfect gahhhhhhh



I CAN'T, PHOEBE. I'M SORRY. I'M TRYING.

The Last Olympian

Perfection in book form. The big final battle starts in, like, the first third of the novel and continues all the way through. It is epic and wonderful and there are casualties and secret heroes and surprise endings to prophecies which is what Rick Riordan does and there are ships and there's my feelings going splat all over the floor.



I really meant to be more cogent in my analysis of these books. I really did.

Why you should be reading this series if you already aren't:

PERCY

What a little sass he is. Percy is the coolest kid, but he's also such a dork. He is brave and loyal and sometimes incredibly dense (particularly where girls are involved--oh, and keeping his tongue in check), but he's quick on his feet and never passes up an opportunity to be highly insulting to immortal beings who want to kill him. How can you not love that? Through all five books, all the prophecies and monsters and rogue gods and evil Titans all have it out for our Percy, but me? I loved him fiercely.

PERCY AND ANNABETH

MY SHIP. Hello brand new OTP. Throughout the series, Percy and Annabeth become best friends. They trust each other beyond all others, and there's no one else they'd choose to have their backs. And they're so different, Percy being all devil-may-care and kind of dumb about things, and Annabeth's all analytical and well-informed and likes to roll her eyes and correct Percy. And they banter and fight. And there's the smallll issue of Annabeth being in love with this other guy, Luke, but there's no good portmanteau of Annabeth and Luke, so obviously it could never work.

Percy and Annabeth. They just... I feel like... I really...



My feeeeeeeeels

This series isn't perfect, but the amount it made me feel was. The flaws vanished due to the strength of my investment. I cared so much about these characters I felt a little crazy. Like, whenever I think about Percabeth I get this painful crunched-up feeling in my chest. And omg how will I survive the Heroes of Olympus series? (SPOIL THINGS FOR ME AND YOU DIE).

Oh, the hilarity

Percy's voice is hilarious. The way Riordan modernizes the myths is hilarious. Everything is hilarious. Overall, this reading experience is fun, in exactly the way MG (and eventually MG/YA crossover) should be. I was tickled pink and giggling. I felt like I was whatever age Percy was in each installment. And Riordan really does do some amazing things with his plots and, in particular, his prophecies. Each book contains a prophecy delivered by the Oracle of Delphi that helps shape the novel's events. Riordan puts an interesting twist on the idea of the chosen one and fate. The prophecies that frame every plot are always fulfilled differently than you'd expect. Some of the surprises totally blew my mind, and they way he makes everything fit together ultimately is EPIC.



This series isn't perfect. I still don't buy one or two world-building elements, and a lot of the background characters (campers in particular) are names on the page for the first couple of books. But feeeeeels. Obsession. The flaws didn't even register, really, because I was totally, one hundred percent sold.

Well done, Rick Riordan. You've turned me into a... Percophile? A Camp Half-Blooder? A demigod? Whatever, I'm still a newbie. Your series is glorious. You deserve some Justin Finch-Fletchley slow clapping, so here you go. You've earned it, dude.



14 comments:

  1. I HOPE YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE 100% ENTIRELY THE REASON I AM REREADING THIS SERIES SOON. I miss the amazingness. No but seriously, I'm so glad you finally read them and can appreciate. I remember the summer I binge read them over two glorious days filled with coffee and Percy and Annabeth and Grover and Camp Half-Blood and NO SLEEP EVER BECAUSE I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. Oh the feels.

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  2. OMG THIS REVIEWWWWWWW IT'S SO PERFECT I'M CRYINGGGGGGGGGG. Seriously seriously I loooooove this because you hit the nail on the head man. This so echoes my experience with the series and if I'm honest I just want to go and reread them all right now. THE HILARITY. THE FEELS. THE PERCABETH. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    Your gifs are perfect, the best one being Thor lolololol that is soooooooo accurate.

    I love you Gillian :') *cough* I'm trying to not be creepy but clearly failing. Oh well. I tried.

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  3. This post was HILARIOUS. I read one or two of these books one summer while I was nannying. Yes, they were the kids' books... I was trying to get a sixth grader to focus on reading because he needed help in that department, so I wanted to prove to him how awesome it could be. I never did finish the series though because I got side tracked by some other books they were reading. Now I feel like I need to go back and read them all... it's never to late, right?

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  4. RICK RIORDAN IS A GENIUS. I seriously am grateful to my cousin for convincing me to try out this series because I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I actually had a similar story idea in my head before, and to see it come to life in a book series (and SO DAMN WELL) was disconcerting and amazing all at once. I just smile every time I think of these books, and I'm definitely a fan of rereading them whenever possible! SO. EFFING. GOOD. (Read The Heroes of Olympus now -- love that series too!)

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  5. I am cracking up over this because love love love. Also this is totally Percy in a nutshell: "People try to kill Percy like literally all the time, and then he makes them more annoyed and they try to kill him even more"

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  6. YAYYYYYY, ANOTHER PJO FAN IS BORN!! I agree with every single thing you mentioned. Flaws? What flaws? PERCABETH. NICO. TYSON. AHHH. I can't wait for you to read the Heroes of Olympus series. The last book comes out in October (NOOO, WHY DOES IT HAVE TO END), but seriously, there is so much Percabeth it's effing awesome. I can't even.

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  7. OHMYGOD Gillian this post is perfection! :) I read this series all the way back in middle school, back when my group of friends basically jointly owned the entire series, and I only just bought the boxed set for my 12-year-old bro last Christmas, and since he and I were so into it, my 18-year-old sister read it as well... it truly is a series that surpasses the boundaries of age, by way of snarky sarcasm, clever plot tricks, and lots and lots of fun. Glad you enjoyed it, because I sure enjoyed reading your Goodreads updates. :)

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  8. I LOVE YOUR REVIEW! You were spot on with those gifs! I'm a huge Percy Jackson fan and your review makes me want to re-read the books all over again, I think it's time for me to have a Percy Jackson binge read. They are just so much fun and make me laugh and are just so very very good. I hope you love the Heroes of Olympus, although I have no doubt that you will.

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  9. Welcome to the Fandom that is obsessed with all that is Percy Jackson. Your review receives 5 stars. I LOVED IT!

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  10. AHHHH WELCOME TO THE FANDOM. So glad that you finally read these! These books are so so SO amazing and oh my GOSH feels and oh my GOSH the characters the world just EVERYTHINGGGGG.

    You absolutely have to start reading The Heroes of Olympus series ASAP!! Such a good continuation to this series and you get to be with all the characters again and um HELLO MOAR PERCABETH!

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  11. OMG SO HAPPY YOU ALREADY DEAVOURED THIS!111111 WELCOME TO THE DEMIGOD WORLD!!!! EEEEP ISNT RICK'S WRITING SO DAMN AWESOME?? THE GREEK REFERENCE + ADVENTURE + CHARACTERS + ROMANCE (WHICH WAS REALLY ALL THE FEELZ)

    HEHE HOPE YOU READ THE SPIN-OFF SOON ♥

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  12. Haha, I love you and your reviews. This was perfect!! PERCEBETH FOR THE WORLD! Those two are made for each other. One of my top ten OTPs.
    Your short review of each book are spot on, really. Enough said.

    Welcome to the fandom, we have blue cookies :)

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  13. Yessssssssssssssssssss!! I adored this books!! I still mantain that the chapter titles are the funniest in existence!!
    I still need to catch up with the continuation of the series, I still have Mark of Athena and House of Hades pending, and I'm hoping once I catch up with review copies I can dedicate myself to them!
    Great review, Gillian!! I want to re-read the whole series now!!

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  14. Read Heroes of Olympus! It's soooo good! (And there are sooo many feels) Loved your review BTW

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