I was introduced to Riordan during S’s research on fantasy fiction. I was apprehensive initially but S thought it would be useful for both me and her; me, because I would loosen up a bit from reading too much of Magical Realism and existentialism (which was my research topic) and her, because there’s someone whom she can discuss her topic without going clueless. The favor was one-sided because she couldn’t handle the pressure of reading the kind of books I was reading.
Anyway, I started reading the Harry Potter Series, the Artemis Fowl series and the Percy Jackson series during my leisure, which was more common than my research time. The Percy Jackson series was a beautifully written piece by Riordan, at least the first two. To give those who haven’t read them, Greek Gods do exist. You know, the Zeus-Poseidon-Hades trio and the other gods with several other smaller departments to rule….? Yes them! Contrary to the popular belief that they are forgotten and unwanted, they still do have some power over human affairs. Above all, they are in the U.S. Apparently, the position of the Gods change according to the centre of political power on earth. Also, they have relationships with humans and that leads to a small population of Half-Bloods; sons and daughters of different Greek gods being trained in a secret location called Camp Half-Blood in Long Island. The series starts with Percy Jackson realizing all the above mentioned things with extra information; that he is the son of Poseidon, the great Sea God. Being a half-blood is not easy, they have to fight the wars of Gods since the Gods cannot interfere with human lives directly and also they have to stay alive in a world where the opponents of Gods and their minions trying to kill them. The central theme of the books is that Kronos, the father of the God-Trinity is waking up and gathering an army to challenge and defeat the Gods and grab power. The half-bloods are given the task to find and defeat them through quests, with occasional help from their respective godly parent. But, before all that, the Gods have to settle the petty differences between them. ‘The Lightning Thief (2005), The Sea of Monsters (2006), The Titan’s Curse (2007), The Battle of the Labyrinth (2008) and The Last Olympian (2009) takes you through a bumpy ride as Percy Jackson and his friends (Annabeth and Grover) battle monsters, find forgotten Gods, travel through different parts of America discovering secrets and face their enemies. It was a thrilling read. It is also good to notice how Riordan has converted certain popular beliefs and historical facts to fit into the category of fantasy fiction… like the Second World War as something being fought to settle a squabble between the three main Gods (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades) using their Half-Blood children in which the children of Hades lost. These books mention these types of nice things all over. It’s worth a read to all those who are familiar with Greek Mythologyand are interested in Fantasy Fiction. Take my words and try it.
The next thing from Riordan is a spin-off from the Percy Jackson series. Greek Gods still exist except they are not really Greek Gods for some people, but Roman. Like when Greece was taken over and was made a part of the Holy Roman Empire, their gods were also subjected to the massive cultural change that followed. Gods had to adjust themselves to fit in the new representation. Like Zeus became Jupiter, Hera became June, Ares became Mars, Hades became Pluto, and Poseidon became Neptune and all. They have a different Half-Blood training program; Camp Jupiter. It’s a replica of Rome hidden from human eyes. There, half-bloods are trained into legions and made to fight the wars for Gods, when needed. Both Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter are unclear about each other’s existence. All they have is rumors about each other’s existence but nothing proved. After Kronos’ fall in the earlier series, now it’s time for Gaia, the Earth Goddess to wake up and thwart the ruling Gods from power. This series is about the two camps slowly made aware of each other’s presence through an exchange of heroes from both camps to each other; Jason Grace from Camp Jupiter sent to Camp Half-Blood and Percy Jackson from Camp Half-Blood sent to Camp Jupiter. This hero-exchange program was initiated by the Goddess June for the benefit of Gods. The third book in the series is about to come in October and needless to say, I am eagerly waiting for it. This book also mentions certain things about the history and popular notions about it in a mythical way. Somewhere in the second book Hazel, daughter of Pluto mentions about a rumor regarding the existence of a Greek Camp. She also says that there’s a rumor that the American Civil War was fought between the two sides of Demigods; Greek and Roman.
The third series that I like of Riordan is The Kane Chronicles. It has three books; The Red Pyramid(2010), The Throne of Fire (2011) and The Serpent’s Shadow (2012). This series is also about Gods; Egyptian Gods. The only difference is it’s not strictly American. It talks about the existence of supposedly forgotten Egyptian Gods (Ra, Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis etc.) and the ancient Egyptian ways continuing into the Modern world. The novel explains it in a detail manner; like Egyptian symbols existing all over the world. For example, the Washington Monument being the tallest obelisk in the world, the pyramid in the dollar bill, the single obelisks in Paris, London and Moscow etc. The story revolves around two children, Carter Kane and Sadie Kane, both witness their father Julius Kane blowing up the Rosetta stone in British Museum magically. His plan goes wrong and he ends up releasing a few gods who possess whoever was around, only to repeat the ancient fight they had started among themselves.
The first book deals with Carter’s and Sadie’s adventure to destroy Set, the god of Evil, and his plans to abduct the throne of Egypt by summoning a storm strong enough to get rid of half the world. Carter happens to be hosting the power of Horus and Sadie, the power of Isis. They have help from some minor gods too all along the way. They realize that they belong to an ancient family of the Pharaohs who hosted Gods and channeled their power in the Ancient Egypt. There are nomes all over the world trying to keep the energy of Egypt intact.
That series is over with the final book dealing with Chaos rising in the world, in the form of Apophis the Snake, who to keep up with the ancient prophecy, try to swallow the Sun God, Ra. Carter and Sadie try to restore order by rallying the magicians and Gods together for the cause to avert an apocalypse.
The interesting part is when Sadie winds up the last book by saying reports of unauthorized magic from the Long Island area. She was also told by Amos Kane that the other part East River has its own problems and he warned her not to go there. Sadie intends to investigate about it.
I am more than thrilled by this new twist. I hope Riordan is going to take up the mammoth task of bringing the three civilization and their gods together to make a spin-off from these series.
Also his new Norse Series is supposed to come as the author has mentioned about it in his site. It is untitled so far. I wish October would come soon so that I can grab a copy of the latest book in the ‘Heroes of Olympus Series’ and sit down for a while.
- Rick Riordan – The Lost Hero (fyreflybooks.wordpress.com)
- Bargain Alert! The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2) by Rick Riordan is $2.99! @camphalfblood (randomizeme.net)
- narfna’s #CBR4 Review #47: The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan (cannonballread4.wordpress.com)
- The Battle of the Labyrinth (onmyminddylan.wordpress.com)
- Son of Neptune – Review (danielottalini.com)
- The Titans Curse (onmyminddylan.wordpress.com)
- The Serpent’s Shadow (thejkreview.wordpress.com)
- Book review: “The Serpent’s Shadow” by Rick Riordan (islandergirl.wordpress.com)
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (thechildrenslibrarian.wordpress.com)
- Talking with ‘The Serpent’s Shadow’ author Rick Riordan (seattletimes.nwsource.com)