In early June I finished the Percy Jackson Series so I have been sitting on this post for a while.
The Percy Jackson series, by Rick RIordan, is based on the Greek Gods having children with mortals this leads to children who are part immortal and are therefore used as pawns against these Gods often hunted by mythical monsters. The series allows you to see how this affects the children and in some ways their mortal parents. These children go away to a summer camp once they have attracted some monsters which helped to equip them to survive the year in the mortal world. The strength of your ‘godly’ parent depends on how affected the child is by monsters, some of the children stay at the summer camp all year round and others are able to spend a couple of weeks there before going back into the mortal world.
During this series we see the three main characters mature and grow in young adults. The characters all change during the series and their relationships develop. Percy learns how to fight to survive the various monsters that stalk him throughout the series and he stops complaining about his ADHD and understands that it keeps him alive. He also matures into a young adult, understanding that his mum has her own life and accepting her choices and opinions even if they discomfort him.
Annabeth develops a lot over the course of the five books, She not only tries to live with her dad and his new family again, she learns that she is not always right, she allows others to occasionally take the lead which can be a very wise choice.
Grover the the third and final main character is the oldest of his friends he grows a lot during the series. Not only is he the first of them to become romantically involved with someone, he also faces challenges which take him away from his home without any expectation of returning. He becomes a strong leader despite what the Elders believe and people look to him for strength.
Another key thing which occurs during this series is, that despite the ‘arguments’ the different gods have with each other,the children start off following this trend before realising that they have the ability come together despite these issues. This shows that the ability to overlook petty squabbles can be key to being victorious.
The series addresses a long list of themes but I think one of the most important themes Percy Jackson addresses is growing up. Everyone can relate to this in some way, even if it is not the supernatural growing up that the demi gods do. But we all know what it can be like to be a teen and not be treated as a grown up, or to suddenly be in charge of something that you have not had to worry about previously, like finding someway of paying for the roof over your head, or a way to keep food in your stomach. But this series addresses some of the more awkward parts of growing up, like your first kiss, or when you realise you have your first awkward crush or moments of jealousy. All of these are things that readers can relate to and they can make reading this series all the more satisfying.
Another key theme in this book is family. The family of all the demi-gods are understandably complex, between being distantly related to all the others in Camp Half-Blood. But they are also related to the immortal gods who have milenia of arguments between siblings and in some cases affairs which understandably filters down to the children even with minimal contact with them. The children are very competitive with each other, each wanting to catch the eye of their immortal parents. However they will band together with their brothers and sisters against other cabins, and for those such as Percy, who do not have any demi-gos siblings I am sure that this can be incredibly isolating for those characters. Despite this when it is necessary for them all to come together, they do to fight a common enemy. You can trust that your family will support you no matter what.
The final theme I want to address is the theme of redemption. We don’t see many heroes in real life. There are people that do extraordinary things and we do not always celebrate them, but that doesn’t mean that we do not believe in heroes, they just tend to be in stories. This story centres around the fact that the demi gods are heroes, even those that may not appear at the time. Anyone can make a poor decision which then spirals out of control and you do not know if you can ever recover from it. However like some of the characters in this story show you can change the path your decision has led you down and be redeemed in the eyes of those around you.
Now this series is aimed at a younger reader than I usually cover and that is in some ways reflected in the writing, but the following series Heroes of Olympus are much more focused at young adult readers and this series gives you a good basis in this world for you to read that series (though it is not required).
I personally really enjoyed reading the Percy Jackson series and it certainly pulled me out of a reading slump. Have you read the series? Did you enjoy it, leave a comment to let me know.