was it worth it reading percy jackson as a grown up?


BLURB (BOOK 1): 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 (Goodreads).

My name is Percy Jackson. I'm twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York. Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that.

Title: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #1) 
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mythology
Goodreads rating: 4.28
Pages: 377
Publication: 2006 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Book Depository | Amazon | Popular | Google Books
Reading format: Paperback
Review type: Non-spoilery
My Goodreads review (click)

Hi. I never planned on writing a book review for this series because it's already a big name in the book and film industry, with huge followings. But with the TV show coming, I kind of feel the urge to promote the series. I just want more people to read the series because it meant so much to me, and I first read it as an adult too! Just a note, this is only a review of the first series, strictly only Percy Jackson & the Olympians, not including the Heroes of Olympus and the Trials of Apollo. There is a similarity in terms of the writing between this series to the other series, though. So here's my review of the series:

Let me begin the review by talking about the writing. It was written in first POV, meaning that we see the story from Percy's eyes. The writing itself was very easy to read and follow, there were no hard terminologies and you can easily read this even if your first language is not English since this series's target audience is middle-grade peeps. There was also no poetic bits, so it made a very easy and quick read. I never tried listening to the audiobooks, but that would actually be a good idea, since the writing was so engaging, as it was told as if Percy is telling a story to us! It made the reading experience even more fun because he was a funny narrator. And if you're only starting to read fantasy books, this book will be good for beginners!

A moving picture from the first Percy Jackson movie, showing Camp Half-Blood entrance

The world-building and the magic system was also very easily understandable. You basically know all the basics within 50 pages of the first book. This series sets in a world where all the Greek mythology thingy was real. Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hercules, name any of them, they did exist in this world. And since this is a middle-grade book, no you don't need to have prior knowledge regarding Greek mythology because you'll learn everything from the series. 

Plot-wise, in each book, the story would start with Percy and his friends having a new quest, them finishing said quest and the ending. Every book is an action-packed story with funny commentaries from Percy. And everything was also set in a short time period, which can feel very fast so if you're quickly burned out, I would not recommend binge-reading the books in a week despite how short all the books actually are. My experience binge-reading this was awesome but it was also tiring. There was also a very minimal romantic subplot and it only started on Book 3, I think? The series started when Percy himself was only 12 so that made sense.

Sure, the adaptation sucks but these three did such great jobs portraying the characters. If we can age down humans I would've cast them for the TV show.

I apologise for the fangirling that is about to happen but now, I'm going to talk about the (beloved) characters. In this series, we have three important characters; Percy, the main character, his best friend, Grover and Annabeth, the only reason both Percy and Grover were still alive by the end of the series. I loved all of them. I think that it's not a secret that this series was applauded for its diversity, in that the majority of the characters in this series were with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and were also dyslexic. I think that there is more diversity in the latest middle-grade books, but it wasn't very common during the time this book was first published. It was a very interesting and new perspective for me when I started reading this book because my reading list wasn't exactly filled with lots of diversity back then. 

Percy fan art by Viria

I'm not ashamed to say that I turned 10 when I started reading this and Percy Jackson became my ultimate comfort character in a heartbeat. I can cry talking about him. He's like a little brother that I'm really rooting for. He's just an overall a very nice kid. He's not perfect but he has a heart of gold. I loved being inside his head because he thought of the funniest things during the most inconvenient times. He's just a very lovable character. And his character development... CHEF'S KISS!

With Percy comes Grover, the ultimate sidekick. If Percy was funny, Grover was the utterly hilarious character. He's supposed to be Percy's guide but he was just as clueless as Percy was. Nonetheless, he was a very persistent character throughout the series. I don't want to say more about him because it will be a spoiler but I just know that everyone that reads the book will definitely love him.
Grover fan art by Viria

Annabeth fan art by Viria

I'm saving the best for the last. Obviously, Annabeth was the 'mom' character. She was the smartest among the three, intelligent, had a wonderful strategic mind. I loved her with my absolute being, her 12-year-old self was even smarter than the 19-year-old me. She also shows great character development; by the end of the series, she was just as courageous and genius as she was at the beginning of the series, but she learned to open up more. And I'm not kidding when I said that THEY WOULD ALL DIE WITHOUT ANNABETH.

So... was it worth it reading the book as a grown-up?

Absolutely yes. I don't think there's an age limit for reading middle-grade books, by the way. Technically, I was just entering my adulthood when I first read this so I really was still a kid at heart, but I've heard a lot of people in their 30s and even 50s reading this series and loving it (read this Reddit thread for more reviews) As for me, when I was reading this book, the whole world was quarantining and I was stuck at home. I only lived through Percy's adventures with his friends. This book became my escape from the repetitive four walls of my room and kept my sanity. Each respective book in the series was also short and it made a quick enjoyable read. The plot wasn't complicated and there were not a lot of frustrating things, so you can expect to just relax by reading this book. Especially if you're a beginner to fantasy, I would recommend picking up middle-grade as a starter, since the writing and story are much easier to read. 

For the people who want to introduce this series to their little ones...

If you're asking when, for English users, I would say 8 is fine. Earlier is also fine, if said child is interested. For the kids with lower English proficiency levels, I would say around 10 to 12. But I think, in some countries, there are translated versions of the books. For my fellow Malaysians, if you're interested to introduce this series to a kid, the series does exist in Indonesian. I haven't read that version, but I'm just mentioning it here, in case. The series was written for kids, so there was nothing that shouldn't be read by a child. There were a lot of fighting scenes since this is a series about kids fighting monsters, though.

Just a suggestion, for parents, buy the audiobook. Audiobook CDs are very costly, I know, but this series is something you'll come back to again and again. Trust me. Or use Scribd and listen to them for a cheaper option. There are also public libraries that provide the audiobook, you can check on Libby for that. You can play the audiobook in the car to listen to with your children! I know I would've loved this during road trips as a child.

While we're here... books from Rick Riordan Presents are just as great and more diverse, from own-voice authors!

RICK RIORDAN: Basically, our goal is to publish great books by middle-grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage. Over the years, I’ve gotten so many questions from my fans: “Will you ever write about Hindu mythology? What about Native Americans? What about Chinese?” I saw that there was a lot of interest in reading fantasy adventures based on different world mythologies, but I also knew I wasn’t the best person to write them. Much better, I thought, to use my experience and my platform at Disney to put the spotlight on other great writers who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I’ll do whatever I can to help those books find a wide audience (Source).

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