My older son, who is in now fourth grade, devoured Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books when he was in second grade, though he had to wait until third grade for the fifth and final book to be released. I haven’t read them myself, though I expect I will now that the movie is here. (Okay, I confess: I just had the first one, The Lightning Thief, which we had borrowed from the library, beamed to my Kindle).
My son loves fantasy — Star Wars, Harry Potter, Yu-gi-oh, Chronicles of Prydain, though not yet Tolkien — and he loves book series. But he’s also been quite taken with the narrative voice and general sensibility of — egads — Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which means that the Percy Jackson books are like a perfect narrative storm for him. (He agrees that the two narrators have somewhat similar voices.)
The first chapter of The Lightning Thief is entitled “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher,” and it begins this way:
Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.
If you’re reading this beause you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your om or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.
Being a half-blood is dangerous. It’s scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.
If you think you’re a normal kid, reading this because you think it’s fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened.
But if you recognize yourself in these pages — if you feel something stirring inside — stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it’s only a matter of time before they sense it too, and they’ll come for you.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Anyway, if you’re a reader of this blog, you’ve got a book that puts Mt. Olympus above Manhattan and makes the Empire State Building the access portal. Our former WNY TA Spence puts it this way: “In the novels, Olympus sits atop the Empire State Building (it moves with the epicenter of Western culture).” We’ve heard that they change quite a few things in the movie, but they didn’t change that:
What gives me pause: the director is Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter films, which are fine but don’t hold a candle to the later entries.
What I’m looking forward to: Uma Thurman as Medusa.