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Rereading My Childhood Favorite Book Series, Percy Jackson & The Olympians, After 12 Years

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

The summer after 3rd grade I was gifted a box set of the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series as part of my summer reading list. Since I was little, I have always enjoyed reading, and would sit and read a whole chapter book in a day, but from the first book this series captured my heart. After finishing the initial series, I went on to read the rest of Rick Riordan’s books, from the follow up series, The Heroes of Olympus, to his trilogy following Egyptian mythology, The Kane Chronicles. Sometime around sixth grade, I ended up donating several of my old chapter books to my elementary school, including my entire Rick Riordan collection. While I was happy to give back to my community, I also regretted passing on a few of them- as life has gone on, I have become a HUGE re-reader. Several of my favorite books like The Selection series and come off of my shelf annually, and I spend lots of my summer diving into these fictional worlds again.

With the release of the Disney+ series this year, I finally made the decision to repurchase the books. As much as I wish I could be a kindle girly, I truly can only read the physical book in my hand, which meant having to spend more than I would like to start to rebuild my collection. After finding the cheapest box set of all 5 books, I ended up waiting about two months for them to be delivered. I absolutely tore through the books, and at one point even drank a Celsius at 11:00 P.M. to stay up all night and finish the last 2 books. Now that I’ve taken a few days to gather my thoughts, here’s what I think about these books despite them being a *bit* below my currently reading level:

First and foremost, the books are a LOT darker than I remember as a kid. Considering that as a teenager Percy is tasked with saving the world multiple times, it is no surprise that he had many dark and depressing thoughts throughout the book, I just seem to have blocked them out as a kid. While the books are still fast-paced, light reads, I found myself shocked at how bleak the outlook was for our main heroes in their journeys.

Additionally, there were many storylines and details I recalled entirely differently, or at the very least, diminished or glorified the importance of in my childhood mind. Warning you now that the spoilers start here! To start, I was shocked by the lack of “Percabeth” content in the books and was even more shocked at how much Annabeth’s crush on Luke was mentioned. I also completely forgot the period where Nico hated Percy, Artemis being captured as a main plot point of The Titan’s Curse, and about a dozen other important parts of the storyline.

I also think I love these books even more now that I am older. I am sure nostalgia contributes to some of that feeling, but I also just generally seem to like them more after learning more about Greek/Roman mythology in school and living through the ages of the characters in the book. Despite what fans may say about The Sea of Monsters, there is not a single bad book in the original pentalogy. After all these years, The Last Olympian is still my favorite, but I don’t think I could name a least favorite in the series.

My favorite part of reentering this world of books, though, has to be seeing how my connection to the characters has both changed and remained the same as I’ve grown up. Annabeth was my absolute favorite book character as a kid, and to this day I still see so much of myself in her. From her strength to her wit (and also weakness for a boy with dark hair and green eyes), I’ve resembled her my whole life. But with age, I also have developed a lot of Percy’s traits. While elementary-school me always believed I would’ve been a daughter of Poseidon (like every other competitive swimmer at the time), I didn’t share a lot of Percy’s traits; however, with age, I have found that my loyalty and fierce protection of my friends is my strongest trait, just like him.

So what next? I think instead of going back to reading more “age appropriate” titles, I’m going to stick with Uncle Rick for awhile. I’m thinking I reread the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus next, followed by all his new books I haven’t read yet, including new books in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series!! Anyway, please pray for my wallet, it has a lot of book purchases coming it’s way…

Carly is a biology major with minors in pre-physician’s assistant and honors. Outside of school, Carly enjoys swimming, reading, watching sports, and all things pop culture.