Review: Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Due to many reasons, I read the first book in the Percy Jackson series years ago, but never gotten around to reading any of Riordan’s other books. A big part of that is probably having no idea where to start – the man has written so many books! But I’m just gonna take them one at a time, starting with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series:)

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Since a lot of people stressed how much they love Rick Riordan, and some even went out of their way to create lists of reading orders for me, I figured I should start this series. Admittedly, the enthusiasm of all those people raised my expectations really high. So I’m not surprised the book didn’t reach them. And I did enjoy the story, I really did. It was funny, and light, with loveable characters, and I loved the references to Greek mythology. However, it felt too much like a middle-grade book and nothing more. I was hoping there would be an extra layer to the book, but I don’t feel like the book offers more to an adult reader. The rest of the series might prove me wrong though!

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Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

Again, this was an entertaining read, that, like the first book, lacked an extra layer for adults. Some parts of the book also moved too slow for me, since it’s basically a retelling of the Odyssey and thus I figured out what would happen next well before the characters did. Still, the characters are highly believable and loveable, and it makes for a fun read.

Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse

This book was a lot better than the first two installments in this series! The plot was considerably more interesting, and the character development made more sense. A big part of that was the interesting addition of the Hunters, and also that of the side story of Bianca and Nico. Furthermore, both ‘Bessie’ the Ophiotaurus and Blackjack the pegasus formed a welcome addition for comic relief. Lastly, I loved how the character of Thalia developed.

If book 1 was an adaption of the Orpheus myth, and 2 was based on the Odyssey, this one was based on the stories of Hercules. Still, Riordan definitely doesn’t copy. If anything, it’s fun to see the references when you know the myths that inspired him.

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth

Since I really enjoyed the third book in this series, this one was a let-down for me. It had plenty of potential, especially when it came to the labyrinth, but it didn’t live up to it in my opinion. It could have been a lot more suspenseful. That being said, I really like Percy, he’s a very cute, loveable main character.

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian

This was a worthy finale of the series! I especially loved that there weren’t many detours: most of the book was focused on the endgame, which was deserving of that. Riordan has a way of making a fight funny to read at times, without taking the suspense out of it.

As I said before, I like how he based each book in the series loosely on one myth, and also blending in a lot of other myths of course. This one was clearly mainly based on Homerus’ Ilias. The good thing about this, is that Riordan doesn’t simply modernize a myth, but also adds a lot of fun extras.

Conclusion

This series made for an entertaining read in a lot of aspects. They’re the perfect books for younger readers, and for somewhat older readers the Greek mythology is a lot of fun. However, I didn’t like all the books equally, because some moved too slow for my taste. The third book, Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse, was my favorite by far. The overall strength of the series, is that good and bad aren’t black and white, and Percy isn’t necessarily always the hero who saves the day.

All in all, I’m happy to have read this series, and I can’t wait to dive into Heroes of Olympus!

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