Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Percy Jackson 1

I’ve first read about the Greek gods when I was still a kid. I’m still pretty good with all of the important stories about them. (Even though I could not name all the women Zeus ever slept with.) So the first “Percy Jackson” novel proved and interesting and entertaining read for me.

On the whole, the story of “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” is quite enjoyable. Twelve-year-old Percy (short not for Perceval, but for Perseus) is considered a trouble maker. One summer, after he’s been thrown from yet another school, he learns the hard way he’s no ordinary child, but the son of Poseidon. That leads to all kinds of trouble, especially as he’s also accused of having stolen Zeus’ master lightning bolt (although he missed the most basic of all things necessary for such a heist: a chance to get near that thing). But then, arguing with the gods rarely works. Together with two friends, he therefore starts a quest to find the lightning bolt and bring it back. And, of course, he brings it back in the end.

I liked the idea of the old gods still being around in modern days. I could also live with the idea of Olympus being above the Empire State Building. But some things just didn’t work out for me.

For instance, it is claimed that Artemis (the virgin goddess of the hunt … although in older times she wasn’t a virgin at all and also taking care of pregnant women) has no children, as she’s still a virgin. Athena, on the other hand, is supposed to have some – even though she is described as a virgin goddess, too. (And, given the fact that his wife is out of his realm for most of the year, I personally would expect Hades to have had a little fling every now and then. And how does Ares handle the idea of his lover Aphrodite – married to Hephaestus – having children with humans, too? Now that’s a love rectangle I would not want to be part of…)

The three most important gods – Zeus, Poseidon, Hades – are not supposed to have any children of their own. I personally very much doubt Zeus only ever had one child out of marriage in modern times. You’d need far more than just an agreement to keep that guy from chasing every skirt in sight.

Still, “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” is a good novel for kids or teens (or adults who, like me, have nothing against reading books ‘for younger readers’). And maybe it will teach kids something about one of the most interesting group of gods in mythology.

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