Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I’ve hijacked today’s regular blog content to participate in Barrie Summy’s monthly Book Review Club. You can find your way to others participating in the book review via Barrie’s snazzy typewriter logo on the left. Confession time – I chose, not one book, but my favorite new (almost five part) series for today’s review, Rick Riordan’s PERCY JACKSON books.

The Olympians meddle with the plot in my book PHAIAKIA and cause all sorts of havoc to my heroes, so I asked Zeus (the head immortal Olympian hombre) if he could do me a favor. Now, in case you’re wondering why he’s so eager to help, Zeus is under the impression that he’ll be shown in a positive light in PHAIAKIA. It’s amazing how vain these immortals can be, but that’s another story. Let’s start the review.

NOTE FOR BLOG READERS: I’ve gone back and bolded the gods’ highpoints as most of them think so highly of their own opinion that they tend to be rather verbose. If you’re in a hurry, just scan the bold text.

ME: First, Mr. Zeus, thank you for setting this up with your, umm … , fellow immortals. I didn’t realize that you were all such avid readers.

ZEUS: I am the greatest of the gods. You’ve written about that, of course. It’s no problem, Da. I’m glad you’ve the smarts to see to it to have me interviewed first.

ME: Actually, it is D.A., and yes, I’ve portrayed you quite favorably. Your thoughts on Rick Riordan’s series?

ZEUS: I figured the books were another drab retelling of Troy and were based in ancient Greece, an old ho-hummer, but Riordan surprised me. How he found out we immortals moved Olympus to Manhattan is beyond me. This mortal has true talent, a writing hero, I’d say.

ME: Is it true that the half-blood heroes have ADHD as the book says?

ZEUS: Of course, it is true. Double check next time you cross one of these mortals. Like Percy Jackson, all demigods have ADHD and dyslexia. It keeps them hardwired for battle ready mode, enhancing their lightning fast reflexes, if I do say. How it took Percy until junior high to figure this out just shows that Percy is Poseidon’s son. Learning you’re related to Poseidon would be a shock to anyone, but mortals like Percy seem to struggle most with it.

POSEIDON: Enough, brother. Percy reveals his true character in the books, all those quests and tests. True, Percy is a little brash and careless at times, but it does him favor as he contends with the rise of our villainous father, Kronos. Mortals should thank the sea, they have such a hero.

ATHENA: You two are hopeless. Were it not for Annabeth, Percy’s friend and my daughter, Percy Jackson would be overmatched. Stay focused. Mr. Riser had asked us for feedback on Mr. Riordan’s book. I am, Mr. Riser, goddess of wisdom. As such, I do appreciate a story with moral fiber. An added plus of Mr. Riordan’s series is that each instructs youth, his intended audience. Knowledge, Mr. Riser, is key. It’s clear to me that Rick Riordan was an excellent Latin teacher before he turned to writing. He certainly knows his mythology and geography.

ME: Thank you, Ms. Athena. Uh, Mr. Zeus, can you please remove that thunderbolt from Poseidon’s neck? The fire sensors here at my work are rather sensitive.

ME: Mr. Hephaistos, I see on your bio that you are god of the forge. You don’t really appear until the fourth book in the series, but what do you feel about the nature of Percy’s quests. Are they realistic?

HEPHAISTOS: Pardon me, I was fixing the wheel on this here rolling chair. Realistic? Yeah, I read all of Rick’s books. Rick even asked me for help on a part or two. I didn’t have to give much as Rick fills these PERCY JACKSON books with ingenious situations, things even a smart creator like me marvel at. Every chapter of every book puts Percy in some creative fix, and even I puzzle at how Percy Jackson will work his way out. Rick is one clever mortal. He does you credit, Athena. Is Rick one of your offspring?

ME: Alright, well, it seems to me that kids and adults alike will enjoy these books and learn lots reading them. Rick Riordan writes all of your immortal histories and such so that they rather seamlessly fit into all the different plots. Mr. Hephaistos, what are some things, besides learning more about Greek mythology, I mean your esteemed selves, that you think mortal readers will come away with after finishing the books?

ZEUS: I’ll take that question. Hephaistos has said his piece, same for you, Athena. Now, I, of course, rule all. Mortals know that so no surprise for them there. Readers do get to learn more about Olympus and some of those minor gods, but most will be surprised to learn little tidbits such as Olympus being atop the Empire State building and the entrance to Hades being in an L.A. recording studio and Daedalus’ labyrinth exiting into a Marriott basement.

POSEIDON: Quiet brother. You will ruin the story for Riordan’s readers.

ME: Thank you, Mr. Poseidon. Perhaps since Percy Jackson is your son, you could give potential readers a quick summary of the books?

POSEIDON: We immortals usually hear about the demigods after trouble at one of the mortal schools. In Percy’s case, he vaporizes his math teacher on a field trip to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was one of the Furies so no loss there, but the ‘accident’ results in Percy’s first visit to Camp Half-Blood. It’s over on Long Island for those that don’t know. Zeus stuck Dionysus there as the camp counselor, and all the young demigods split into their family houses for hero training. I suppose it to be a good place for them to learn, if they survive. Zeus caused quite a stir making Percy’s first summer there a bit more life threatening than usual. Percy had to roadtrip with his friends across the US.

ZEUS: Don’t blame me for Riordan’s misinterpreting my feelings in the matter. Percy Jackson has since faced more problems than my wrath. The final book, the one due in May, has the fate of the whole world resting on Percy’s shoulders as he takes on Father Kronos. He’s had to cope with more than Camp Half-Blood.

ME: I guess that does it. Thanks, Mr. Zeus and team, for participating in Barrie’s Book Review Club with me. It sounds like we are all fans of Rick Riordan’s PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS series.

That concludes my first book review with Zeus and his Olympians. You will love Rick Riordan’s clever YA fantasy series with its loveable characters and continual thrills. Mr. Riordan writes these funny, fast-paced, first person narrated books with a delightful blend of myth and pop-culture that will effortlessly engage and amuse readers from ages 10 and up. Each scene always outdoes the last and the characters grow with each book. You finish without even realizing you’ve learned so much or become so attached to Percy and his friends. Just be careful as you read. Like Percy Jackson, you might start looking around you for a centaur or demigod in hiding.


  1. My 13 year old loves this series! And he's a tough reader to please. Dan, I think you should try The Emerald Tablet by PJ Hoover. If you like Rick Riordan, like her. She did a book review today, too. Here's a link to her blog:

  2. I read P.J. and the Sea of Monsters to my 7 year old and she loved it. We're starting the first one, P.J. and the Lightning Thief now. The action is great, and there is fun stuff on several levels. Thumbs up!

  3. Thanks for the tip, Barrie. I definitely plan on trying PJ's Emerald Tablet.

  4. Hi Nimble. It's hard to believe after reading Lightning Thief, but I honestly think each of the books get progressively better. Book #4 piled on scene after scene of incredible situations for the characters to sort through.

  5. Thanks, Kathy. I'm glad you enjoyed Zeus and the Olympians. Unlike Rick Riordan's book, my writing places the immortals in their natural setting. That said, I just couldn't resist the temptation to do a little writing myself with them in a contemporary setting.

  6. I tried posting earlier, but I guess it didn't go through...

    Very impressive! My son has read this book, and being a lover of mythology, I've been tempted. And now you've tempted me even more!

  7. Ooops! I meant my son has read the first in the series.

  8. Alyssa, you definitely need to read these. If you don't have time, they also are available in audio book (confession time -- I listened to one of the books in the series while commuting).

  9. What a clever way to do a review!
    Rick Riordan's books are my absolute favorite. These are the books I re-read over and over again.

  10. You sure put a fun twist on this! I hadn't heard of the series but I'm just starting to get to know YA. Thanks for this review. I'm interested in reading them now.

  11. Thanks, PJ. You share the same initials as Percy Jackson! I agree that the books are definitely fun to re-read.

  12. Hi Blue Violet. I'm just getting into YA as well. YA books like those by Riordan are so well done that it seems a shame to label them based on age. It's like reading the Monopoly box and thinking only age 8 or whatever can play. Maybe some of the YA books should be marketed as YA and up. It works for gameboards. Oh well. I do look forward to finding other YA books to read.

  13. I don't have any young adults at home, but this series sounds delightful. I just may pick them up for myself :-)

  14. My teenaged son enjoyed the first book in this series before moving onto adult books. I read it to my almost then tween daughter and enjoyed how it enlivened mythology. You’ve lived up to the spirit of the books by interviewing the gods themselves. I can see how it has inspired your own writing. How fun!

  15. Don't worry, Sandy. I don't have any young adults at home, either.

  16. Sarah, you're right. Riordan definitely enlivens mythology. His portrayals of Poseidon wearing a fishing hat or Hephaistos a workman's jumpsuit, etc. give a fresh spirit to the Olympians. Anyone familiar with the old tales will certainly grin as they see how Riordan's descriptions 'update' and enhance the old characterizations.

  17. This is the most clever book review I've read! Two thumbs up! I look forward to reading more of your writing and hopefully your Greek novel, too!

  18. Thanks, Leigh. I'll give credit on the book review to the immortals. They're so entertaining that it's hard for even me to mess them up. Hopefully, I'll be talking about a PHAIAKIA book review soon.

  19. Hey D.A.! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I own The Lightning Thief but haven't read it quite yet. I'm definitely looking forward to it now.

  20. Oh, and I forgot to ask: What's the status on your completed novel? Are you shopping it around to agents? Seems like a cool book!

  21. Mitch, you definitely need to read the Lightning Thief. Truthfully though, I think the books get progressively better.

    My book? You guessed correctly. I just started the process of shopping it around. It's my first try at all this, so we'll see what happens (and how long it takes). Thanks for saying it sounds cool. Encouragement is definitely appreciated!