After loving the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series, I went back to reread the original Percy Jackson books. I forgot how much I enjoy reading them. The characters are real and relatable. The plots are fast and twisty and clever (but not for clever's sake). The books make me laugh, they make me cry. I had read them before, so I knew what was going to happen, but I was surprised by how much I had forgotten.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief introduces us to Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and hero-in-training. He takes the blame when Zeus's master bolt is stolen and must go on a quest to find and return it before the summer solstice in order to prevent a war between the gods. *SPOILER* In the process he uncovers something far more dangerous than warring gods: the titan Kronos is stirring and there is nothing he wants more than to overthrow the gods.
Even though I had already read it, I couldn't put this book down. The action is constantly moving, the situation is constantly changing. I read this book with my brother and at one point he read ahead two chapters, so I had to go back and read them after we were done with the book. The amount of story in those two short chapters... tons. Until that moment, I honestly didn't realize just how much story was packed into each of these books.
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters has Percy denied the opportunity of a quest to save his friend, Grover, and retrieve the mythical Golden Fleece--a magic object that can restore the dying magical boundaries of Camp Halfblood. It wouldn't be much fun if Percy just sat around waiting for Clarisse to save the day, so obviously, he sneaks out on his own quest.
One of my favorite scenes in this book is when Annabeth wants to listen to the sirens, in order to learn her fatal flaw. Not only was it a great scene, but it also reminded me of why I love this series so much. Yes, there is adventure in every book. Yes, there is a big bad, and a good cause to fight for. But the characters are so flawed. They are tempted by Kronos, they care about the people who have already betrayed the gods. They don't stop wanting to save the people they love. I've said a few times already that the plot is fast, but the plot doesn't work on it's own. Even with the hyperactive pace of the novel, the characters and their relationships develop.
Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse is probably my favorite in the series. It is the necessary turning point. This is the part where Percy takes on the prophecy, accepts that it will be about him, even though that will make his life extremely difficult. There are deaths and touching moments and it is the saddest of the first three books, but excellent none the less.
This is the book where we meet Nico Di Angelo. We meet him as an inquisitive, dorky ten-year-old who won't shut up. He's one of my favorite characters of the entire series (and he even shows up in The Son of Neptune), but it broke my heart meeting him for the second time. He never goes bad, but his loss of innocence is one of the most haunting parts of the book for me.
I'm looking forward to rereading the final two books in this series and then I may reread the Heroes of Olympus again, just for good measure. This series isn't better than Harry Potter, but, for me, it is as close as any series is going to get.