I have been reading an awful lot of YA fiction lately – partly out of interest, and partly out of reading to my son. I figure I better read to him while he is willing to listen, and Santa brought him the Percy Jackson box set for Christmas. I have recently lost him at story time to his father and Harry Potter, and I confess I am tempted to read ahead and see where the book series goes. I can only be patient for so long.
I have previously seen, and been generally unimpressed by, the movie version of this book. Percy Jackson has been struggling in school and in his personal relationships. Near the end of the year at his boarding school for troubled children, things start to go awry. He ends up fleeing to Montauk with his mother, fleeing his awful stepfather, and they are confronted by a monster that he considered mystical. It turns out that Percy is a demigod, a child of the Greek gods, and he finds refuge at a sleep away camp filled with other demigods. He gets caught up in mysterious plot, goes on an epic journey, and becomes a hero. It’s a pretty dense book, truly, and is only the first of five.
Although this book is certainly plot dense, it doesn’t really drag and the characters seem to be developed fairly well. That characterization is helped along because many people will already have a clue as to their personalities through their association with certain Greek gods – Athena, Hermes, etc. While I was referencing books such as Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, while reading the book, I was able to enjoy the story as is. Percy is not terribly precocious or precious, and his status as a demigod is an interesting way around how unlikely it is that a 12 year old protagonist would ignore the advice of the adults surrounding him and run off into danger. It’s a clever conceit, and well written. I look forward to finishing the rest of the series.