Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 3 (of 5)
Author: Rick Riordian
Publisher: Hyperion (2007)
Genres: Childrens, Fantasy, Young Adult
Sub-Genres: Coming of Age, Greco-Roman, Myths, Prophecy
Plot Summary: Son of Poseidon Percy Jackson is sent on a quest with Thalia, the newly revived daughter of Zeus, and his best friends Grover and Annabeth to find two newly discovered half-bloods. But they encounter a monster that kidnaps Annabeth and is only defeated by the arrival of the goddess Artemis and her Hunters. And while Percy wants nothing more than to save Annabeth, there's little he's allowed to do - unless he takes a quest into his own hands.
What I Liked: There's something fun about this series. It's definitely action-packed, and the hyperactiveness of the main characters (explained in the books as being that half-bloods all have ADHD thanks to being programmed for battle) makes the plot move faster than pretty much any other book out there.
Riordan also does a good job of making his kids be kids and allows them to make very human mistakes in the midsts of all the supernatural and godly chaos going around. The pre-teens act very much like their own ages, and kids will definitely be able to identify with their struggles. Well, minus the whole saving the world thing.
What I Didn't Like: For a kids' book, the adults just don't show up at all. The gods, who are parental figures, are like the worst estranged parents you could ever have. The human parents, minus having one or two good moments, are basically like, "Yes, go out and get yourself killed!" I'm not sure what message this is sending to kids. As an author, I don't mind it, but as a teacher, I do.
I'm also slightly appalled by the way this series handles death. Now, I don't mind death in a children's book, because I firmly believe that death is a part of life and sheltering kids from that does more harm than good. But Riordian treats death so nonchalantly that I feel like he's trying to have his cake and eat it too. Look, here's violence! Consequences! People are dead! But it's ok! We'll just keep going without them! It's very strange.
The other big issue is that I simply want more from the series. Sometimes, I feel like Riordian takes the easy way out, simply because this is a kid's book and he can. The logic doesn't have to hold as strongly together as it would in a book for adults. But kids are smart. It's basically why this series will never appeal to adults (like Harry Potter does).
Similar Works: Other Percy Jackson Books: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1), The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2), The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), and The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5).
Other Kid's Fantasy: The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1), and Artemis Fowl.
Last Thought: A fun kid's book with lots of action and demi-gods that just doesn't hold up to an adult's more discerning eye.