When I wrote my post about the Diary of Wimpy Kid books, I mentioned that the next set of books I wanted to read were the Percy Jackson books. To be honest, I really didn’t know anything about them until this year. I had vaguely heard of the first book, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, but I knew nothing about it other than it had to do with Greek mythology. Then one of the student teachers at our school came to the library to see if she could check out one of the books and started telling me how much she loved them. Her recommendation prompted me to give them a shot.
(And in case you wondered, my students really like the Percy Jackson books, too…in fact, I had three fifth graders almost get in a fistfight over them two weeks ago)
There are five books in the Percy Jackson series. The series centers around a teenage boy named Percy Jackson (duh). He finds out that he is a demi-god, which means that while one of his parents was mortal, the other was a Greek god (think: Zeus, Poseidon Athena, Hermes, Hades, Aphrodite, etc.). As a result, he has some powers of his own and there are monsters after him that want him dead. Throughout the books Percy and his friends have to go on quests to try to fight mosters and keep the demi-gods safe.
The author, Rick Riordan, then wrote a follow-up series called the Heros of Olympus. Some of the characters are from the Percy Jackson series but we are introduced to some new young demi-gods and heros as well. The Heros of Olympus series will have give books as well, although only the first three are out right now with the fourth being set to release next October.
In all honesty, when I first started reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief I wasn’t super impressed. I kept comparing it to Harry Potter and felt like there were a lof of similarities. However, once I got into the story I started to see it for it’s own story…definitely NOT a copy of Harry Potter…and I got hooked! I LOVED these books! In fact, I’d rank these up with Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games as some of my favorite books. I am still reading the most recent book and I’m already hating that I have to wait a whole year until the next one comes out.
The stories are very entertaining and of course (for the most part) I think that anything that will get kids reading is a good thing. However, what I liked even more about these books, from a teacher-librarian standpoint, is that they get you interested in Greek mythology, and then later in the second series, Roman mythology. I have never had much interest in mythology but while reading the Percy Jackson books I found myself wanting to know more. These could be used as a great teaching tool with kids to teach them not only about reading but also history and mythology. That’s a plus in my book.
The Percy Jackson books get two huge thumbs up. I highly recommend them to adults and kids alike.
Rick Riordan has written several other books – I’ve already reserved the first three books in one of his other seriers, the Kane Chronicles, (about Egyptian mythology, I believe) at our library so that I’ll have them to dive in to once I finish up the Percy Jackson books. Oh how I love to read :)