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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Percy Jackson: not as good as nostalgia might make it

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courtesy of John Rocco
Cover of the first book in the series, “Percy Jackson and The Olympians, The Lighting Thief.”

Rating: -5/5 Falcons (One for each book)

If you go back and re-read the Percy Jackson series, you’ll probably gain little or nothing from the experience. Nonetheless, as elementary school children, we had seemingly infinite time on our hands and a less-developed brain. Is that why the books seemed so good back then?

Merging ancient Greek mythology with the modern world, the “Percy Jackson and The Olympians” series by Rick Riordan presents a unique world to young readers. However, dig deeper, and it becomes blatantly obvious that the series repeats itself often, offers stupid side characters and has more plot holes than a slice of swiss cheese. 

Here is a quick list of the flaws. In the beginning, a special rule is made that Zeus, Poseidon and Hades can’t have children because that would turn into a disaster once their children turn 16. However, this rule is quickly forgotten as all three of the gods break the rules. 

Yet literally right after the series finishes, we learn that they had more children in the spinoff “Heroes of Olympus” series at Camp Jupiter, a Roman gods camp where all the children of the Big Three are 16. The book argues that the disaster from the other kids never happened because their aging was slowed down? But come on — how is that even possible? We know it’s a fantasy world, but as long as the world rotates around the sun, don’t humans still age?  

In addition, the ordinary humans mentioned in the novels are seemingly oblivious to the fact they are living in a world of gods. How is it possible that a person living by the sea would not realize there is some mystical power when a Godzilla-sized monster emerges from the ocean and creates a giant tsunami that nearly destroys the entire world. In our opinion, Riordan’s explanation of the “mist,” which obscured the immortal from the mortal world, never feels adequate. Even worse, the gods — supposedly all powerful beings — can barely even win a fight against the antagonist. They foresee the future, but decide not to change it just because …? Yeah — we couldn’t come up with a reason either.

Besides those questionable writing decisions, a recurring issue with the series is utter lack of surprises. Like many modern Marvel movies, when you’ve read one book, you’ve essentially read them all. 

Aside from the fact that the protagonist Percy is a demigod, the series incorporates a boring plotline to tie the books together. A quick plot summary of the entire series would be the following: Percy goes on a trip, bad guys appear and Percy needs to come to save the day. Oh, and don’t forget that he is the only one who can save the day, according to some prophecy that predicts he will make a decision that could save or destroy the world!

Nearly every book follows the same sequence: Percy and his friends go to the battle site — which is also always in America, by the way, and ignores the existence of the rest of the world — where they meet new companions that accompany them on their way. These friends in turn die, serving as nothing more than cannon fodder as Percy progresses through his journey to beat evil forces and return to his normal life. 

By the time you finish reading a book in the series, you realize the folly of your choice: You could have read thousands of better books and wasted your time on this one. Apart from the plot, another problem with the Percy Jackson series is that the characters are mildly infuriating.

Percy’s plot armor must be thicker than a Calculus textbook. He clearly should’ve died several times and his arrogance is overwhelming. Note to Percy: The whole world doesn’t revolve around you.

The side characters are about as exciting as cardboard, and only make you feel sick after a few pages. Percy’s love interest, Annabeth, proves really annoying, with her primary job basically consisting of  constantly insulting Percy. Why does he even like her, besides that maybe his hormones have gone crazy? Where does their romance sprout from? It is better than her being obsessed with the 19-year-old camp counselor and antagonist Luke Castellan, but their love triangle is one of the most messed up things about the book. Why is a 12-year-old falling for a 19-year-old? Even worse, why does he suddenly decide to like her back during his demise?

The only books you need to read to understand the entire seven-book series are the first and last books, and both of them have several filler chapters as well. 

Riddled with plot holes and a boring storyline, not to mention the unbearable characters, the Percy Jackson series is, to put it bluntly, a waste of time. Little is learned from reading a single book, let alone the entire series. Our advice: Spend your time reading better series like “Harry Potter” and “Wonder.”

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