Monday, May 17, 2010

Review #69: Percy Jackson & the Olympians

A special treat this week!  For a year and a half we've reviewed books that we read together as a family.  But the kids are all voracious readers on their own as well.  So I thought I'd chat with them one-on-one to find out about the books they are reading for their own pleasure.  These are books I personally know nothing about, so I'm learning too!  We invite you to check back later this week as well to hear from each of the kids.  Here's the schedule:

Today: Isaac with the "Percy Jackson" series

Tomorrow: Gracie with the "Just Grace" series

Wednesday: Lily with the "Cobble Street Cousins" series

And now, heeeeeeere's Isaac!

Dad:  Hello Isaac.
Isaac (age 11):  Hi.
Dad:  What books are we going to discuss?
Isaac:  Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Dad:  By Rick Riordan.  Did you like them?
Isaac:  Yes.  Tons.  I loved the action and adventure of them.  They are based on all the Greek myths.  Like, Zeus and the Big Three, and the 12 other gods...
Dad:  Who are "the Big Three"?
Isaac:  The Big Three are the greatest ones -- Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.
Dad:  Are they good guys, or bad guys, or a mix?
Isaac:  Zeus is the highest of the three, so he has the most authority.  He is really solemn.  Poseidon is really kind.  And Hades just really doesn't care that much.  He's angry at all the other gods.
Dad:  And who is Percy Jackson.
Isaac:  He's the main character through the whole series.  He's the son of Poseidon.
Dad:  I gather from the covers that he's got some special powers?
Isaac:  All the people who are half-gods have powers.  He can use water.  I guess you could call him a water-bender.  He can make huge tidal waves.  He can breathe underwater.  And if he wants, he can make himself never get wet.
Dad:  Go, go, gadget umbrella!
Isaac:  No, he does not have a giant robotic umbrella arm come out of his head.
Dad:  Is there one storyline that goes through the series, or is each a self-contained story?
Isaac:  Kind of both.  There are different adventures, but they tie into each other.  Especially the last two books.  They definitely go together.
Dad:  What storyline ties them together?
Isaac:  Kronos is trying to come back and take over.
Dad:  Kronos is the father of the Big Three if I remember my Greek mythology right...
Isaac:  Yeah, he is the Titan.  Percy has to stop the monsters because Kronos is trying to take over.  In myths, the gods have to send people to fight for them.  Not just in these books, but in real myths.  So Percy and his friends have to fight, because the gods can't do it by themselves.  But the gods would never admit that.
Dad:  Did you have a favorite book in the series?
Isaac:  The last book was really good.  It had a ton of action in it.  But I was really mad that one person died.  I was so mad.  And then you find something out that made me even madder -- the thing he died for was just a decoy, so he didn't die for any purpose.  It made me really mad.
Dad:  You really got into these books.  Now, why did you love them so much?
Isaac:  I'm not sure.  The first one was hard to get through...
Dad:  Yeah, you started it before you were a big reader.  It was a daunting task to finish that whole big book.
Isaac:  I almost stopped three times.
Dad:  But what happened when you finished it?
Isaac:  It was just so good I wanted to read the next one.
Dad:  And then you started reading them day and night!  Every time you finished one, you couldn't wait to get the next.
Isaac:  These are the books that got me into reading.  Now I read tons of 300 page books.
Dad:  You are a reading machine.  But tell us -- what happened when you finished the final Percy Jackson book.  Was life wonderful and cheery?
Isaac:  Uh, not really.  They are such good books -- so awesome.  But there were no other books like them.  No other books that good.
Dad:  As long as there are additional books in a favorite series, it's a safe bet you'll like them.  But when you're done, every other book you try is a roll of the dice...
Isaac:  You have to go searching, but you could never find another one just like them.
Dad:  You were such a good reader after finishing the series, I thought -- Yea! We have a house full of books! Go at 'em!  I gave you book after book after book.  But you always said, "It's not the same...  It's never going to be the same...  I'll never find a book as good as these..."  For a few weeks, you were such a sad little puppy.
Isaac:  I tried though.
Dad:  You tried a lot.  You began book after book.  And finally you found one that stuck.  And now you are a voracious reader again.  What was the book that finally broke the spell and set you back on the reading path?
Isaac:  "Leepike Ridge" was the book I finally found.  N.D. Wilson wrote it.  That was really good as well.  It had lots of adventure.
Dad:  And now you devour books like crazy again.  And I'm amazed.  But I'm actually kind of sad.  You are reading all these books that I've always wanted to read.  Up until recently, we've always read books together.  And now you are having all these adventures without me!  I'm jealous.  But you are a reader.  I guess that's how it's supposed to be...
Isaac:  Yeah.
Dad:  Now, I want to ask you about "The Shadow Thieves" from the Cronus series.  I specifically hunted that book down for you because I knew it was supposed to be similar to Percy.  I think the first books in both series came out right around the same time.
Isaac:  It's pretty much the exact same thing as Percy Jackson.
Dad:  I knew they were both based on mythology but set in modern times.  Did you like it?
Isaac:  At first it was extremely hard to get into.  The first half was really hard to get through.  It didn't really have any action.  It was just talking.  The book goes slower.
Dad:  But you finished it.  And it was a huge book.
Isaac:  Yeah, I did finish it finally.
Dad:  There are more books in that series.  Would you read those?
Isaac:  Someday.  I liked the first one.  At the end.
Dad:  Aww... so it took until the very end before you liked it!
Isaac:  Yeah.
Dad:  Do you ever think you'll read through the Percy Jackson books a second time?
Isaac:  I'd like to read through them again.  But I already have so many other books I want to read now.  It may take a while.
Dad:  And what are you reading at the moment?
Isaac:  100 Cupboards.  That is also really good.  Also by N.D. Wilson.
Dad:  Well this has been fun!  I've enjoyed talking with you one-on-one for Bookie Woogie!
Isaac:  Yeah!  It's really nice.
Dad:  We'll have to do it more often.  You don't have to divvy up time with other kids.
Isaac:  Yeah, I get to talk as much as I want.
Dad:  Thanks for sharing your favorite books with us, Isaac!
Isaac:  You are welcome.

Percy Jackson, by Isaac

Author: Rick Riordan
Book 1: "The Lightning Thief" published, 2005: Hyperion
Like it?  Find it


Carrie said...

Ooo! Ooo! What a fun idea.

I'm a big N.D. Wilson fan. I've read both of those and JUST picked up the second book in the 100 Cupboards series which I'm looking forward to getting to.

Haven't read The Lightening Thief but it's getting such publicity that I'm definitely becoming more curious about it.

Thanks for the interview with Isaac!

Heidi Noel said...

We really enjoy that series in our house. I am interested in the movie.

My son is a big reader. He is currently enjoying the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull and is almost done. I may have him try the Percy Jackson series next. I am just not sure if he will understand the mythos, though.

Z-Kids said...

Fablehaven is next on my list! As soon as I'm done with 100 Cupboards, I'm going to read it. It is waiting on my table right now. It looks really exciting and cool.
- Isaac

Rebecca Gomez said...

I enjoyed The Lightning Thief too. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Has Isaac read the Fablehaven books? Lots of magic and adventure and assorted mayhem--sounds like his taste. My twelve-year-old daughter is currently devouring that series and I've read the first three myself. Good books!

Rebecca Gomez said...

Oh, I should have read the comments before commenting! :-)

Heather Zundel said...

The Z-kids with their own reviews now too!? This is the coolest thing since popcicles. And Isaac, you did a great job reviewing it. I love this series too. The last one was awesome, because like you said, there were a lot of great battle scenes. But I also really loved the second one.

And don't fret, he has a new series that just came out, The Kane Chronicles, that deals with Egyptian Mythology. I can't remember for sure, but I think he's even hinted that there will be reappearances from the characters of Percy Jackson. Here is the link that says it, I think.

Fablehaven is a good book series. I think you might also like The Hunger Games. If you ever get in a reading slump again. :)

Heidi Noel said...

Oh, if we are suggesting books, might I suggest The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. It starts with The Book of Three. I enjoyed them, though they are not as lengthy as the books you are reading now.

Z-Kids said...

Thankyou everyone for the recommendations.

I love the Prydain Chronicles. They are probably some of my favorite books. And that's true. Me and my dad read them together.

- Isaac

Anonymous said...

The Cronus Chronicles are DEFINITELY not as good as PJO. They are pretty sad in comparison. And the 100 cupboards series was good through the third book. READ THE LOST HERO BY RICK RIORDEN if you haven't already. It's awesome. and the Kane Chronicles are also REALLY GOOD!! :)

Bekah Hain said...

I've read the complete Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and completely fell in love with it! I started reading them last year, and finished them completely. I've started on the Heroes of Olympus series, which follows three new kids through their adventures in Camp Half-blood and Camp Jupiter. Loving it and can't wait until Rick releases House of Hades! :D I also wanna read the Kane Chronicles. And these other series being suggested sound really good, too. (:

Mayur Babu said...

Nice review,
Nice series and movie Percy Jackson And The Olympians
I so much like it.