Author: Rick Riordan, 2005.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy. Greek Myth.
Other Details: Paperback. 384 pages.
I bought this first book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series in one of those tempting 'buy one, get one free' offers. My resolve to just browse melts away when I see those signs!
Twelve-year old Percy Jackson considers himself a fairly normal kid though he is dyslexic and also suffers from AD/HD. He seems to attract trouble and has been expelled from six schools in six years. His only real interest is Greek mythology, which is quite handy really as it transpires that he is a demi-god, the son of a Greek god and a mortal woman. After a frightening encounter with a Fury during a school field trip, his Mother reveals that his father, allegedly lost at sea when he was an infant, had wanted Percy to be sent to a special camp. This is Camp Half Blood, a place for children with a Greek god for a parent. Percy is quite bewildered by all this talk of gods, demi-gods and monsters. Yet after he arrives at the camp he soon begins to make new friends and also a few enemies.
When he is claimed by Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, it creates something of a stir as the 'Big Three' (Zeus, Hades and Poseidon) had made a pact to not father any children with mortal women. Things get worse when Percy is accused of having stolen Zeus' master lightning bolt. If the bolt is not returned to Mount Olympus by the Summer Solstice, ten days away, an apocalyptic war will break out between Zeus and Poseidon. In order to clear his name and prevent the war, Percy has to undertake a quest assisted by two friends to recover the master bolt. Thus begins a road trip from New York to Los Angeles and encounters with various beings and monsters.
I've always enjoyed Greek myths and legends and this was a fun read that I zipped through in a couple of days. It is now doing the rounds of friends who are keen to also try it. Riordan is a masterful story-teller, updating these myths in a modern setting with a light-hearted touch. Of course, it's hard not to draw some comparisons with the Harry Potter series given the premise and the way that the Percy Jackson books have been titled and marketed. Certainly both writers have drawn on the rich well springs of myth, legend and folklore to delight readers of all ages.
Did you get that from Harry Potter? - A 2005 blog entry from Rick Riordan that tackles this question!
Note: It is also fun to scroll down to the end where among his recent reads he includes Twilight and makes some amusing comments.