I’ve been meaning to read at least the first book in the Percy Jackson series for a while. Last summer I watched the movie, and I really enjoyed it, so the books made my reading list. Unfortunately, as a graduate student, I don’t have a lot of time for pleasure reading. Winter break is a great time to catch up, so when I got a $30 gift card to Amazon, I decided to use part of it to buy the first book in the series, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
I left my Kindle at home two states away so this was also a great time to try out the Kindle for Droid and Kindle for Mac apps. I wanted to give them a try, because I am trying to find the finances to get an iPad, and if I do, I’ll likely use the Kindle for iPad app and sell the actual Kindle device (more on that in a future post).
Once I had the two applications installed, I located The Lightning Thief in the Kindle store, and purchased it, sending it directly to my Mac. I figured that I would read it in a few days, and if I liked it I might get the next book, or I might save my remaining credit, and check the rest of the series out of the library when I got home.
I finished within half a day, and continued on to the next book. Within 3 days I had completed all 5 of the books in the Percy Jackson series, and on the fourth day I read the first book in Riordan’s new series The Lost Hero. I never expected to read all of the books in one go like that.
So what drove me to read a whole series in only a few days? Well, I’ve always been a fast reader, and mythology has always been one of my interests so the time it took me to read all of the books is less than surprising. What caused me to read the whole series was that it was simply enjoyable. The characters were believable (and considering the characters include gods like Zeus and Poseidon, cyclopes and furies that’s a neat trick) and the main characters were flawed but likable. I rooted for Percy, Annabeth and Grover, and I could understand the motivations of those who fought on the other side of the battle. I loved this series. Riordan currently has 2 books on the Children’s Chapter Books Bestseller List published by the New York Times. Those books are The Lost Hero, which is currently number 1 and has been on the list for 11 weeks, and The Red Pyramid (part of a different book series dealing with the Egyptian gods) which has been on the list for 34 weeks. (The Red Pyramid is next on my list of books to read).
The quality of the books makes me wonder why Disney (whose Hyperion label published all of the books) felt the need to alter so much of the story when making the movie. I still like the movie, but I have no doubt that, like many of the fans of the books, had I read the series first, I would have had serious issues with the differences between the two. I understand the reasoning behind aging the characters from 12 to late teens (I read somewhere 17 but I don’t think the movie ever really specified the age of the teens). The books were primarily childrens books, and although popular, they don’t seem to have crossed the boarder to adult readers in the same way as a series like Harry Potter. Aging the characters made them more likely to appeal to an older audience, but most of the rest of the changes strike me now as unnecessary.
I absolutely recommend the books to readers ages about 8 and up. If you haven’t already read the books or seen the movie, I recommend you watch the movie first, then read the books. I always find that I am much more likely to enjoy both the book and the movie when I’ve seen the movie first.