Book 181: Demigods and Monsters

Demigods and MonstersDemigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, edited by Rick Riordan

Well, first, this book IS NOT by Rick Riordan. It is a collection of essays EDITED by him. Just stressing that because in reading some other reviews, it seemed that others assumed it was by Riordan.

Anyway. “Demigods and Monsters” is a collection of 11 essays, including:
-Monster Recognition for Beginners, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
-Why Do So Many Monsters Go Into Retail? by Cameron Dokey
-Stealing Fire From the Gods, by Paul Collins
-Would You Want to Be One of Artemis’s Hunters? by Carolyn MacCullough
-Dionysus: Who Let Him Run a Summer Camp? by Ellen Steiber
-The Gods Among Us, by Elizabeth M. Rees
-Eeny Meeny Miney Mo(m), by Jenny Han
-Percy, I Am Your Father, by Sarah Beth Durst
-Not Even the Gods Are Perfect, by Elizabeth E. Wein
-Frozen Eyeballs, by Kathi Appelt
-The Language of the Heart, by Sophie Masson

There is also a glossary of Greek myths, and a good introduction by Rick Riordan. I think my favorite part was the introduction, because for me, it was the first I’d read directly from the author on why he wrote the Percy Jackson series.

The essays are hit or miss. The book is aimed at the teen level, but I think that some of the essays will make a teen’s eyes glaze over, or they won’t understand some of the concepts. But some are quite good, and pull in other famous series teens are likely to have read, from Harry Potter to Star Wars. For readers interested in mythology, there are essays that touch on how Riordan has used and twisted myths, and also give good sources for additional reading.

If you’re head-over-heels for Percy Jackson, this may book a book to expand your reading.

3/5.

Book 158: Percy Jackson: The Demigod Files

Percy Jackson: The Demigod FilesPercy Jackson and the Olympians: The Demigod Files, by Rick Riordan

“The Demigod Files” is a cute little book, perfect for younger fans of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. There are three short stories, interviews with a few campers, color pictures of the main characters, and a crossword and word search.

I say this is perfect for younger readers mainly because it is short, and the content beside the short stories didn’t really catch my attention. The three short stories are gems, though.

The first, “Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot,” features Percy and Clarisse, as he helps the daughter of Ares retrieve the war god’s hijacked chariot. The second, “Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon,” is about a very dangerous game of capture the flag, complete with gigantic ants. And the third, “Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades,” reunites Percy, Thalia, and Nico for an Underworld adventure. The stories all have that “Percy” feel, and I really enjoyed each one. They reminded me of my love for the series – I want to read all the Percy books again now!

My only complaint about “The Demigod Files” is that it’s far too short, but it was intended to fill in the gap between “The Battle for the Labyrinth” and “The Last Olympian.” I also would have liked the illustration of Annabeth’s trunk to be in color, as I found it hard to see all the details in black and white.

4/5.

Box Set: Percy Jackson and the Olympians 1-3

Percy Jackson Box SetI picked this set up mainly because it was a great deal for the first three books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I figured it would be an economic way to check out a series that’s gotten a lot of popularity.

This set is, simply, an amazing buy, and can’t be beat at $11. The books in the set are:

-Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightning Thief
-Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2: The Sea of Monsters
-Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3: The Titan’s Curse

Each book in the series is a contained adventure, but also part of a larger plot line that continues through the five books. I’ve reviewed each book separately; the reviews can be found on my profile/website if you’re curious.

The basic idea is that Percy Jackson is a young demigod, half human and half Greek god. He is the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea. He grows up over the course of the books, starting at age 12 and finishing at 16. Percy’s life is full of adventures and dangers, as he often heads off on quests to save his friends or Camp Half-Blood, sanctuary of the demigods. In “The Lightning Thief,” Percy and his friends must find Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt. In “The Sea of Monsters,” they hunt for the Golden Fleece. And in “The Titan’s Curse,” the young demigods search for a missing friend as well as the Greek god Artemis.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is an outstanding series, one that I will be rereading often. Riordan’s writing is witty, humorous, educational, fun, etc.; these are great books for kids and parents to read together.

5/5.

Book 109: Percy Jackson 5: The Last Olympian

Percy Jackson 5: The Last OlympianPercy Jackson and the Olympians #5: The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan

The adventures of Percy, a young demigod, are almost at an end. “The Last Olympian” is the last volume in the series, wrapping up an epic story that’s spanned five books.

Percy’s final showdown with the Titan lord Kronos is imminent, and he and the other demigods must hold out against the Titans to save Mount Olympus and America. Riordan’s created a situation right for plenty of action and suspense, and he delivers brilliantly in the conclusion to the series. Normally I’m anxious about reading the last book in a series, but I had no fears about unresolved endings or a lackluster finish with Riordan.

Readers will rejoice as they accompany Percy, his friends, and other Camp Half-Blood demigods on their fight to save New York City and Mount Olympus, overcoming incredible odds. Several characters from previous books join the fight, giving readers an opportunity to welcome back old favorites.

An excellent book, and an amazing series. Very highly recommended.

5/5.

Book 107: Percy Jackson 4: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Percy Jackson 4: The Battle of the LabyrinthPercy Jackson and the Olympians #4: The Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan

Percy and company traipse into Daedalus’s Labyrinth in this installment of the popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. They are in search of the maze creator’s workshop, looking for a way to seal the Labyrinth off from the Titan lord Kronos.

Riordan re-imagines the mythological Labyrinth as a sprawling construct beneath the entire United States, growing and adding to itself, with a conscious to boot. The maze provides plenty of action for readers, along with some tense moments as Percy and his friends journey through it.

Percy’s adventure continues in “The Battle of the Labyrinth” with the author’s trademark mix of Greek mythology and fast-paced action, and isn’t a book to be missed.

4/5.

Book 104: Percy Jackson 3: The Titan’s Curse

Percy Jackson 3: The Titan's CursePercy Jackson and the Olympians #3: The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan delivers another delightful installment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series in “The Titan’s Curse.” Percy and his friends make a daring rescue of two new half-bloods, Nico and Bianca, who may be instrumental in turning the tide against the Titans.

Readers new to the series should start with book one, “The Lightning Thief,” but there is a recount of all that’s happened before to refresh memories. And by now, there’s quite a bit of backstory, but it all flows seamlessly; Riordan is a masterful story teller.

In “The Titan’s Curse,” the goddess Artemis is missing, and it’s up to Percy and his friends to rescue her. The gang rushes through danger after danger, but they don’t know that they’re heading right into a trap set by the evil Titan lord Kronos.

5/5.

Book 103: Percy Jackson 2: The Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson 2: The Sea of MonstersPercy Jackson and the Olympians #2: The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan

Fresh from his quest of finding Zeus’s lightning bolt in the first book, Percy is back! And now he’s about to set off an another adventure to find the fabled Golden Fleece to save Camp Half-Blood.

Readers will find their favorite characters from book one back in “The Sea of Monsters,” and may make some new friends. Tyson, a Cyclops, stars alongside Percy, Grover, and Annabeth in this installment, and he instantly became one of my favorite characters.

Riordan’s writing is excellent again, with a great combination of adventure, humor, wit, sarcasm, and Greek mythology. I’ve always enjoyed Greek myths, and I really like how the author weaves them into modern day, and adds to the myths by having teenage demigods.

I’m purposely trying to avoid talking about the plot, because I think this series is best when read “fresh.” If you’re on the fence about trying the series, give it a shot, and be prepared for an amazingly fun read.

5/5.

Book 102: Percy Jackson 1: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson 1: The Lightning ThiefPercy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightening Thief, by Rick Riordan

Okay, I admit I wasn’t too sure of the Percy Jackson books. I’d ignored them for a long time, thinking the hype was silly, but when I found the first 3 in the series for a good price I couldn’t resist.

And wow! I regret not jumping on the Olympian bandwagon earlier, because I’ve been missing out on one fantastic series. Riordan’s writing is witty, detailed, humorous, thrilling, mysterious, and about any other adjective I could think of. His is the kind of writing I would love to see in adult fantasy books, but rarely find.

Percy Jackson isn’t your typical hero. He’s dyslexic, ADHD, and a bit of a troublemaker. Percy’s been kicked out of every school he’s ever attended, usually for something beyond his control, such as the time he hit his schoolbus with a Revolutionary War cannonball.

The book is written as if Percy is talking to the reader; “The Lightening Thief” starts with him warning readers to be careful if they’re half-bloods, or to read on for some good fiction if they aren’t. It’s a good style that lets Percy share his thoughts and feelings with the audience, and really gets readers inside his head.

“The Lightening Thief” follows Percy as he learns he is a half-blood, a demigod who is half human and half Greek god. His status gives him some unique abilities, but unlike gods he is mortal and can be killed. Yet Percy is often willing to risk his life for those he calls friends. At Camp Half-Blood, the summer camp for young demigods, Percy and others like him learn to read Ancient Greek, to fight with swords, archery, and to do a hundred other things I’m jealous of. Camp Half-Blood sounds like a really fun place, and Riordan describes it well.

Percy feels at home in Camp Half-Blood, but he doesn’t get to enjoy it long. Soon after his arrival, he is sent on a quest to retrieve Zeus’s lightning bolt to prevent war on Mount Olympus. Percy sets off with Grover, a satyr, and Annabeth, a daughter of Artemis, on an adventure that will delight readers, young and old.

Immediately after finishing “The Lightning Thief,” I recommended it to a few friends. I think Percy Jackon and the Olympians is an incredible series, and one that I will reread endlessly. There’s not a thing I would change about this book!

5/5.