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Wednesday 21 December 2011

Get your toes wet dipping into this series ★★★★

Another teen series for you this week, but this time one which is traditionally aimed at the boys. 

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series of books by Rick Riordan is a set of five books (with a spin off set of books having just recently been published) featuring the main character Percy Jackson and his group of friends going on adventures. 

As the title suggests the series is based around the mythical Olympus, the adventurers in the stories are children of the Greek Gods, half bloods, who are brought to Camp Half-Blood in order to train to undertake quests just like Hercules and the other heroes of myth and legend. Percy, the hero of the stories is the son of Poseidon, one of the Big Three Gods (along with Zeus and Hades) who were forbidden from having any more children, and so is in somewhat of a lonely position at the beginning of the series. The quests he undertakes with his friends vary in nature but they all relate in some way to the prevention of the rise of the Titans, who in the old myths were the race who came before the Gods and Demigods and Heroes. Is this sounding like a history lesson?

Although the whole idea of Greek mythology can be crazily complicated, the series manages to make it interesting and simple enough for kids (the books are technically placed in the 9-13 age bracket) while getting enough of the mythology in there for it to be educational. A full range of characters from the myths make regular appearances as both friend and foe, and the challenges are exciting enough to keep the reader entertained and thrilled. 

While they are obviously written to entertain, these books also manage to provide a role model for kids, especially kids who might traditionally shy away from reading. The main characters, the teenage Heroes, all have a range of learning difficulties such as dyslexia and have ADHD due to their God genes, and they use these features, which traditionally would be classed as a weakness, to help overcome battles, for the right child this sense of purpose could really provide inspiration.

For anyone interested there is also a film which is fun, though not as good as the books, and I know several adults who have read these as well as a fair few teens as well, they managed to keep them all happy, so good all round!


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