Rating: Very Good
Source: Library - Audio
Description: Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Genre: Middle Grade
Why I Picked This Book: I've been meaning to read the book for years and when I saw that my library had it on audio I decided now was the time.
My Impression: I am coming very late to the party on this one! My daughter discovered this series shortly after it came out and has gone on to devour pretty much everything Riordan has written. I love mythology and despite that and all the buzz about this series I somehow never managed to pick this one up. I was thrilled when I discovered that my library had the audio on it's digital site and since this is the year I'm trying to take more risks and read books I've been meaning to read I decided now is the time.
I was a little worried that it was going to be Harry Potter with Gods but it really didn't feel like it. While there are some similarities (a world hidden from regular people, 3 teenagers saving the day, a boy who has never fit in) the tone was so different that it definitely didn't feel like I was stepping into Potter land. Percy is a challenging kid. He's making his way through boarding school after boarding school and stuff just always seems to happen to him. He's got a bit of a chip on his shoulder but he is never a bully and I couldn't help but like him.
Even before the quest gets going I never felt like the pace was slow or that we were bogging down in world building. Annabeth and Grover are perfect companions for the impulsive Percy. I loved how Annabeth always had to have a plan and is very confident in her own abilities. I enjoyed seeing how the friendship between the three develops and I was on the edge of my seat to see how the quest played out. I loved how Riordan wove in elements of Greek mythology to the modern world and I will certainly never look at garden statues the same way again!
I'm so glad I finally took my first visit to Half Blood Hill and this is definitely a place I'm looking forward to visiting again soon! I have to know what happens next!
Age-wise I think this would be a great book for 4th grade or so and up. While there is some suspense there really isn't any on the page violence and it would be a fantastic way to get kids interested in the myths!. Jesse Bernstein did a fabulous job as narrator. He just sounded like I would imagine Percy sounds. My only complaint was that I didn't love his interpretation of the Gods' voices but that's such a small part of the book it wasn't really a problem.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely. This is a fun adventure story and I love the mythology elements and seeing how they were woven into a modern world.