This is the first of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the one that was recently made into a movie. I hadn’t heard of it before that but friends said, read the book, it’s good. They were right and I made sure my friends/family with kids in the younger age ranges knew about it. The protagonist, Percy Jackson, is 12 and that’s the age range this is targeted at but I’m considerably older and didn’t enjoy the story any less because of it. It’s smart and well versed in Greek mythology.
Percy is a young boy on the cusp of trouble. He’s been kicked out of almost every school he’s ever been to and it’s about to happen again. All he wanted to do was protect his friend, Grover, from the bullies since Grover is small with crippled legs. The fight quickly gets the attention of his math teacher but she turns into a monster that he manages to kill. Even Percy isn’t too sure that it really happened. Still, it’s even that even his favored Latin teacher can’t keep him in the school. It’s back home to his mother and his step dad, Smelly Gabe, who does nothing much other than play poker and bully Percy’s mom.
When she takes Percy to the beach, things go very bad and she tries to get him and Grover to safety at Camp Half Blood. Forcibly and permanently separated by his mother, who seems to have been killed by the Minotaur, Percy arrives at the camp stunned and dying. Revived by ambrosia and nectar, he learns that his Latin teacher is in fact the famed healer-centaur, Chiron and Grover doesn’t have crippled legs; he’s a satyr. Camp Half Blood is a home/training camp for the demi-god hero children of the Greek gods. Percy’s missing father is still a mystery but he’s no longer just ‘lost at sea,’ he’s an absentee god-father (excuse the pun). Turns out, Percy’s ADHD and dyslexia is a sign of having a god parent and that it’s his fate, the fate of all heroes, to attract monsters.
Once he learns his father’s identity, Percy is sent on a quest. Someone has stolen Zeus’ lightning bolt and Zeus thinks Percy is the thief. Percy has to get it back before the gods go to war again. He’s accompanied by Grover and Annabeth, daughter of Athena. However, the thief has no intention of letting Percy accomplish this but the boy is motivated. The bolt is supposedly in Hades and Percy wants to convince the God of the Underworld to give him back his mother.
Seriously, this is fun. Percy, Grover and Annabeth (who doesn’t need Percy to rescue her, thankfully. And she’s the brains of the operation) are great characters. This ends on a note that says, ‘buy the next book’ but that’s okay, what fantasy piece isn’t a series these days? Now when I tell people I had dyslexia, I’m going to add in the note, it’s because I’m the daughter of Athena.
Jormungand #1 by Keitaro Takahashi
I bought this at Halfprice Books because well, it was on sale and I have a thing for tormented boys. Jonah’s a little young for my usual tastes but I was curious how a boy orphaned by war turned into a child soldier and ended up working for the arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar, a young lady. But to be honest, this manga did nothing for me. Chapter one has the most back story and character development and that’s not promising. Jonah hires on with Koko even though he hates her and her men and he hates weapons. That said, the child is very good with them, probably a little too good to be believed. The rest of the manga is your typical ultraviolent shoot 'em up inter cut with scenes of Koko and her men. Bouncing around the world, selling weapons and escaping from those buying/using weapons makes up the bulk of the storyline. If you like war stories, you’d probably like this. For me, there was a little too much action and not enough story. I doubt I’ll be returning to see how this ends. The art is pretty good though so that’s a plus.