Author: Rick Riordan
I think I´ve learned more about Greek mythology with Rick Riordan´s books than I did the several times I studied it throughout Middle and High School. My love for this culture also started that faithful summer after third grade…wait, third grade? Why, yes, fellow bookworm. Third grade! These books are for all ages, from kids to grownups all around the world. And even if it can be read by children, there is nothing childish about it: it´s just as intricate and well developed as any YA book.
Rick´s trademark is his unmistakable humor. It´s not just that the main characters are usually witty and adorably ridiculous, but it´s also how half of what happens is completely unexpected. The contrast between normal and oh-my-gods-what-the-heck is just perfect. For example, you´ll be reading about two teens walking across a crowded bus stop, when suddenly, oops, one of them loses their pants, and oh look, he is half goat. I love it. Percy Jackson and The Olympians is honestly one of the only series that can make me actually laugh aloud. And I´m not saying like snickering or giggling, but pure, I´m-gonna-pee-my-pants laughter (really not good for sneaky reading during math class).
Also, it´s like, impossible not to fall in love with Riordan´s characters. Even the villains. They´re all unique, detailed and full of quirks and mannerisms. It doesn´t matter if they eat the occasional soda can or happen to share their sole eye with two other old ladies, they all feel very much like real human beings. And so far, I haven´t met one single person who has not fallen for Percy and the fact that it´s an absolute miracle that he´s even alive. Like, really. For about 80% of the books, Percy is just really confused and winging it, and in the other 20% he´s either showing off his son-of-Poseidon skills or being yelled at by Annabeth for something stupid he did. And yeah, Annabeth is my ultimate role model, while Grover is a precious (sort of furry) cinnamon bun that must be protected at all costs. I love them allllllllll.
But it´s not all fun and games, oh no. Rick Riordan pretends to be this kind and smiling author, when in reality, under all that awesomeness, there is a cold, cold heart. He picks up our fragile little fangirl and fanboy hearts and crushes them with a merciless fist. Oh, yeah, I´m onto you! I know your plans! I´ve seen them with my own tear-filled eyes. But once again, I must quote the esteemed Ron Weasley from the far, far lands of Hogwarts and the Crumple-Horned Snorkack: “You´re going to suffer…but you´re going to be happy about it.”
And Merlin´s beard! Where does he get his plot ideas? Like, yowza, I remember a nasty little trip to a place that rhymes with Gargapus in one of the cousin book series to PJO. And that wasn´t even the most surprising thing in his books.
Percy Jackson and The Olympians kickstarted what I like calling the Mythology Smorgasbord. We now have a butt-load of incredible books that bring myths and magic and awesomeness to life. And yep, right along with thousands of readers around the world, I´ve read them all.
Keep bringin´ ´em, Rick.
P.s. I keep imagining this Greek god, maybe Apollo or Hermes, talking to one of their kids and the conversation going somewhat like this:
KID: Daddy, can we go to Brooklyn?
ENTITY: No, child, we cannot. That is a place we must never visit, for it festers with dark forces.
KID: What about Boston, Daddy, can we go?
ENTITY: That is another place we cannot go to.
KID: How about San Francisco, we could-
ENTITY: Um, yeah, we can´t go there either.
KID: Then lets go to-
It just seems complicated for all these gods from different cultures to exist in the same country and not accidentally meet. Or maybe they do, and it´s like, “Hey, Apollo, I´m hanging out with Thor tomorrow, can you take sunrise duty this time?” “Sure thing, Ra.” “Thanks, man.”