This is a story that I saw on Amazon as a recommendation for people who liked Inkheart, so I figured I’d check it out.
Written in the first person, there are a few places that are a bit off, but overall it is written quite well. The mix of mythological characters, inside the setting of the modern world, is an original concept as far as I know. At least, how it is done in this book.
This is a great story for kids with ADHD and/or other learning disabilities. As having been one of “these kids” myself, I can appreciate Jackson’s messages of encouragement.
Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, a kid struggling with ADHD and dyslexia, is constantly finding himself in trouble and getting kicked out of different schools. But one day, something amazing happens at the school he currently attends; he finds himself using a magical sword to protect himself against one of his teachers, who just so happens to be a Fury in disguise.
This doesn’t keep him from getting banned from, yet again, another school, and so he goes back home, accompanied by his friend Grover. Receiving a less than ideal greeting from his stepfather, Gabe, Percy is at least able to go on a camping trip with his beloved mother, Sally Jackson. But the trip goes bad and Percy finds himself trying to escape a minotaur, who destroys their car and injures Grover. And all though Percy ends up killing the beast, it was too late to prevent the mysterious death of his mother.
Percy wakes up in a cabin, which is in a special camp for “Half Bloods.” He discovers that his father was a god, and, in order to stop a war between the gods, he ends up going on a quest in search of Zeus’ master bolt, which was supposedly stolen by Hades. Accompanying him are: Grover, his goat-like friend, and Annabeth, the twelve-year-old half-blood daughter of Athena. With only words from an oracle’s prophecy as his guide, Percy faces many adventures before reaching the new Olympus and seeing his father for the first time.
At first, I wasn’t sure about the story, but I kept with it. I was glad I did. By the end I was hooked. I will be reading the next one in the series in the coming months. Oh, and Ares as a biker? Nice touch!
Things to consider:
This story covers mythological gods, but it makes a distinction between “god” and “God.” Keep in mind that this is a fictitious telling of old gods in a modern setting, do not take it literal as if it’s trying to say that they are real beings. This book would be good for pre-teens (tweens) +, and for both girls and boys; though more so towards boys. There’s no bad language, sexual situations, or excessive gore, however there is plenty of action violence.
Opportunities for discussion:
There are several elements in this story that are good discussion points: Pride, arrogance, manipulation, betrayal, deceit, friendship, and family. Among these are attributes of love between parent and child, loyalty, determination, and honor. I particularly liked how Jackson made the main character’s disabilities a strength. Share with your children how people have different gifts and talents, and just because they struggle with others, it doesn’t mean they are stupid. Also, one of the messages here is that sometimes people need to solve their own problems rather than having others do it for them.