Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

I am a grown woman who, like many grown women, loved Harry Potter. I cried a little when the series ended, I knew I’d miss those little wizards. I’ve been looking for a similar experience since The Deathly Hallows came out and I finished it the next day. Percy Jackson and his band of merry demi-gods doesn’t exactly fill that void, but it comes close. Kind of like how the box of powerdery Kraft Mac and Cheese isn’t quite the same as the dreamy, creamy Velveeta, but still satisfies the need for the comfort food.

I’ve seen Riordan’s series called derivative, and maybe it is a little. But maybe Harry Potter was derivative of other books of a similar nature. Maybe it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s entertaining and still gives you a chance to connect with a set of characters for an extended period of time in a series of books leading up to an ultimate challenge.

So if it’s not derivative, then why all the Harry Potter comparisons? Well, they do both follow a similar theme- underdog champions rising up to fight a great evil, aided by their closest friends and sometimes their worst enemies. They’re both “coming of age” stories, and they both are filled with magical worlds co-existing alongside our regular, boring world. Also, most important, they both inspire children to read, and to learn. While Harry Potter inspired a generation of kids and adults to put away the tv remote and open up a book, Percy Jackson inspires kids ot delve deeper and learn about the exciting world of Greek mythology. The books are, more or less, fairly mythologically accurate. Sure, Mt. Olympus is now located in NYC and Hades resides below LA (which I’m sure many would say is an appropriate place for it, although I rather liked LA the one time I was there). And yes, the gods are more modern in appearance and mannerisms, but at the core lies the basic groundwork for learning about the myths of one of the most popular ancient religions. When books go beyond the pages and inspire kids to delve deeper, they’ve more than done their job.

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