24 September 2015

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

In my senior year of college, the very last thing I wanted to do was work. Senior semester was even worse. I didn't have a lot of classes and the only one I really paid attention to was my Research Seminar aka Senior Thesis. If I wanted to graduate on time (and oh boy, did I ever!) this was the one class I really had to pass. But the sun was out and I wanted to not worry about grades and classes. 

I picked up Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead and got lost in the re-imagined Arthurian Legend. I found it at a used book store and promised myself I would only buy one at a time. I made so many extra trips out of my way before and in-between classes that semester! No one spins a British legend the way Stephen Lawhead does. I mean, yes okay, Tolkien created a masterpiece that no one can touch. No one. Full stop. Sometimes, I think of Lawhead as the modern Tolkien, doing what he did on a slightly smaller scale, but just as good. You feel like you are reading a history when you read Lawhead's books. Thing is, his books are 400+ pages. They are worth it but it is an investment to finish a series. I think I got through the first three books before graduating. I bough the fifth but never picked it up. It is sitting on my shelf, all sad and lonely, because I know that if I want to understand the story, I'm going to have to start at the beginning again. 

The Pendragon Cycle is probably the last long series of books I started but never finished. After that, I kind of wrote off series. Who has the time to finish them? I was convinced that I was never going to finish all the books I wanted to read if I kept reading series with a bajillion books in them. 

Until Percy Jackson. 

I have been wanting to pick up The Lightening Thief for a while, but kept putting it off because of the series thing. The Pendragon Cycle isn't my only unfinished series and I was worried that I was starting a bad habit of starting books and not finishing them. Coffee, chocolate and books: if I start them, I must and will finish them. It's just what I do. 

I was innocently browsing in the public library and there it was, sitting in a summer reads book display, front and center. I'm not all about signs and things but after weeks of checking the shelves and not being able to find it (or forgetting to look for it...) I figured now was my chance. 

I finished it in two days and knew that I probably was going to need to read the whole series, even if it took me forever. But it didn't! Actually it took me less than two weeks to read all five...

Guys, I loved this series! It was like Harry Potter in reverse; instead of anxiously awaiting the school year to be with his friends, Percy Jackson attends Camp Half-Blood during the summer. And when I say "attends Camp Half-Blood" I mean he starts his summers there. He usually ends up, well, anywhere but camp by the end of the summer.

Rick Riordan does a fun take on classic mythology, bringing the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus to life in a hilarious way. I mean, when you have Poseidon in khaki shorts and flip-flops, it kind of changes the way you view the gods. I keep wanting to say that the gods are humanized, but I realize how that sounds. I think maybe a good way to explain it is that Riordan infuses them with color and vitality that we lack in some of the more traditional stories about them. 

Percy Jackson was my fun summer read and I am sad that I'm finished with the series. I know there are more Riordan books about the Olympians out there. Maybe I will save them for next summer! 

P.S. This post is SO LONG OVERDUE. I apologize. I'm hoping to have more posts up soon. Reading has been slow these days because it's knittin' season, ya'll!