Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Have you heard of Percy Jackson?

Guest blogger and librarian, Derek is here to tell you all about this exciting series of books that will appeal to fiction readers of all ages.

The Battle of the Labyrinth
(Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, Book 4)
By Rick Riordan
Call #: J Fic RIO

Having recently read the fourth book of Mr. Riordan’s debut fantasy series for kids and young adults, or those just young at heart, I am still very impressed with his ability to tell a story and leave you wanting more. If you enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, you may definitely love reading the four books that have been published so far in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a quick background:

Imagine that the ancient Greek gods were actually real and still alive today, only as a human mortal you can’t see clearly through what is called “the mist,” a sort of screen that prevents us from seeing the ancient monsters and delightful creatures that still wander the Earth while every now and then the gods themselves come down and interfere with daily life when they’re not on Mount Olympus (now above the Empire State Building in New York City) or other far-flung reaches of the world. What’s more is that the gods still have children with mortals, half-bloods, and there’s even a magical camp out on Long Island where they train to use their special abilities granted at birth. Nowadays, however, a full-fledged, nasty war is threatening to break out between the Olympians and the Titans, the older generation that was overthrown by Zeus. Percy Jackson, who seems like your average young teen, is probably the only one who can save the world from total doom and destruction.

If this sounds like exciting reading to you, I recommend you start with the first three books in the series, The Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters and the Titan’s Curse. Each one is thrilling, page-turning and hard to put down because they are written very much like mystery books, which is Mr. Riordan’s specialty. He has written many adult mystery books, and he was inspired to try writing for a younger audience when his son responded well to a story he made up for bedtime. It has grown into popular and successful novels because not only do they provide entertainment but make you feel like one of the characters because you can easily identify with Percy and his friends, who are just like you and I but face way difficult circumstances. They have their flaws, and Percy himself struggles with dyslexia just like any other young person. Ms. Rowling also created real, believable characters in the Harry Potter books.

This fourth book won’t be the last, but for me, it was the best one so far. I was completely wrong about a lot of my guesses as I tried to put many of the clues together. The book, like the others, cleverly adapts many of the Greek myths and legends into modern times, and it’s also funny at times. Mr. Riordan is also a great expert at blending the serious with the humorous, intense with the everyday stuff and really describes battle scenes with a lot of imagery and imagination. Check these books out!

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