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Revisiting My Childhood Obsession of The Percy Jackson Series

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Every day I find myself reading, on the train, at work, and to fall asleep. Usually, I tend to read books such as Sally Rooney, Taylor Jenkins-Reid, or Donna Tartt, you know, the books that make you question your life choices and bawl your eyes out —but in the past few weeks, I decided to take a break. The semester is halfway over, the weather is getting colder, and my brain just can’t handle some of the situations these fictional characters go through. I can’t just stop reading, though! I enjoy reading and its escapism (and I have a Goodreads reading goal to hit), but I had to find a new book or series to distract myself.

So, for the last two weeks, I’ve been spending my time re-reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series and The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan. In total, this spans ten books, and I accidentally finished it all in 2 weeks. Now, how does one “accidentally” read ten books? E-Books and Audiobooks are the best things in the world. Thank you, New York Public Library! However, I must note that it’s been a long time since I’ve read these books, and truthfully I didn’t remember much past the third book, “The Titan’s Curse,” so it’s been an exciting time.

Ranking Percy Jackson and the Olympians from Worst to Best:

Percy Jackson narrates this series. He’s introduced to the world of Monsters, Gods, and his identity as a Demigod. The Great Prophecy foretold a rise or destruction of Olympus at the hands of a child of the big three. Being the son of Posideon, Percy goes on many quests, and dangerous journeys as the threat of Kronos looms over the world.

#5 – The Sea of Monsters (Book 2)

This is the second book in the series, and I just didn’t love it. I remember reading it in middle school and feeling the same way. It follows a similar plot structure to “The Lightning Thief,” and I just wanted something different. I like the newly introduced characters; it develops the friendship between Percy and Annabeth, and the quest itself is interesting, but it doesn’t stand out to me. But, hey, who am I to complain? I am definitely not the target audience anymore.

#4 – The Lightning Thief (Book 1)

I do like this one… I promise! I think what makes this so low on the list is that it’s the first book, and I already know these characters, so I don’t want to reread the introductions. Percy as a narrator is extremely funny because he doesn’t know anything about this Godly side of him so his reactions are hilarious. It’s a great first book just not my favorite!

#3 – The Titan’s Curse (Book 3)

This is a placement I feel strongly about. It’s a strong story, and I love how the characters surrounding Percy are different from the first two books. Annabeth is kidnapped, and they must go on a quest to find her. So, Percy joins up with Thalia, Bianca, Zoe, and Grover. My favorite character would be Annabeth, so obviously, I wished she had been in this book more. It’s still a great book overall and it’s when the main threat of Kronos/Luke as a villain becomes more apparent and tedious. I love the detail of Percy’s loyalty being a fatal flaw, and it becomes undeniable as time goes on.

#2 – The Last Olympian (Book 5)

I feel like I should have this book, considering it a finale be my number 1, but I have my reasons. It was hard to choose. The Last Olympian is so fun; this book had me listening to the audiobook and reading on my phone with full attention. The writing in the battle scenes is so good to read; so much detail and foreshadowing come full circle here. So many characters come back; there are reveals and plot twists. I found myself so immersed. The prophecy, which has been talked about since “The Lightning Thief,” comes to fruition shockingly. I love how the series ended with another prophecy, Annabeth and Percy finally getting together, Luke being laid to rest as a “Hero,” amongst other things. It might not be my favorite of the series, but it’s an excellent conclusion to a highly deserving series.

#1 – The Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4)

I LOVE this book. These characters genuinely feel real here. The characters themselves are getting older, they all have more experience, and this book in itself is so insane that there’s so much that they get to do. Percy, Annabeth, Nico, Grover, Rachel, literally everybody gets to do something, and their arcs are interesting! The storylines are engaging and keep me on the edge of my seat. The book’s opening scene at Percy’s High School Orientation involves him and Rachel, Grover’s mission to find Pan, The Mount St. Helens volcano eruption, Calypso, the journey through the Labyrinth! It’s my favorite book in the series; I finished in one day and cried at the end for no reason. It’s fantastic, and I’m awaiting the day I re-read it again.

Ranking The Heroes of Olympus from Worst to Best:

This series directly follows Percy Jackson and The Olympians. Rachel Elizabeth Dare foretells the Prophecy of Seven in the Last Olympian, and now is the time. It’s the central plot of the five-book series and motivates the seven main characters. The Seven refers to Percy, Annabeth, Hazel, Frank, Piper, Leo, and Jason and their many quests to stop the awakening of Gaea.

#5 – The Blood of Olympus (Book 5)

I did not like this book. I was disappointed, and this took me the longest to read because it did not compare to any of the other books in the series. This felt like a step back, and I was bored while reading. The characters felt flat, the encounters with monsters weren’t engaging, and the book was a letdown. I understand why characters like Percy and Annabeth didn’t have POVs; the author finishes the series with the characters that started it, but it felt incomplete without them being major players. Maybe my opinion will change, but as of now, I didn’t enjoy this book—a very somber finale.

#4 – The Lost Hero (Book 1)

At first, I was disappointed because the story took a different direction than I was expecting, but it was in no way terrible. It took me a while to get acclimated, but I think once Annabeth meets up with these characters and goes to Camp Half-Blood, I was all in. It’s narrated by Jason, Piper, and Leo. The hook of this book is that Jason has no clue who he is, but they can tell he’s a demigod and the three leads make up 3/7 of the prophecy. Piper is a daughter of Aphrodite, Leo a son of Hephestus, and Jason, the son of… Jupiter? Until this series, Greek demigods couldn’t know about the Roman demigods and vice versa—the Greek Vs. Roman aspect is throughout this series, and the introduction to it all is just fantastic.

#3- The Son of Neptune (Book 2)

Like Jason, Percy has also lost memory, but he is at Camp Jupiter rather than Camp Half-Blood, and the only thing he can remember is Annabeth. Very cute. I think Percy is a fun character; he goes into battle thinking he’ll fail while everyone else is afraid of the power he possesses, I missed him in the last book. The trio between him, Hazel, and Frank was an amazing addition to a great series. Hazel is the daughter of Pluto (Hades) and Frank, son of Mars (Ares). These three of them all have their own unique powers like, Hazel controlling the mist that protects demigods, and Frank can turn into anything at will. SoN and TLH rank closely, but I’m giving this the higher ground simply because Percy is the main character. 

#2 – The Mark of Athena (Book 3)

This. Is. Annabeth’s. Book. I’ve stated previously that Annabeth is my favorite, but if I needed any more convincing, it’s all here. Percy and Annabeth reunite at the beginning of the book, and the Seven begin to fulfill the prophecy by traveling across the Mediterranean. One of my favorite aspects of the book is how the group dynamics are constantly changing. In “The Lost Hero,” we had Piper, Jason, and Leo and in “Son of Neptune,” we had Percy, Hazel, and Frank. Some of the groups for this book include a trio of Percy, Jason, and Piper, a trio of Frank, Hazel, and Leo, and Annabeth on her own. They are forming into this found family until the end where Annabeth and Percy fall into Tartarus, and everything changes. It’s so fun!

#1 – The House of Hades (Book 4)

I have thing for penultimate books; they just are always way better than the finales. Sorry! But seriously, this book is so intense, and everything is rich in detail and attention. Annabeth and Percy are separated from their friends in literal hell, and the other 5 are left to find them and close the Doors of Death. The book spends about four chapters with each character, but It’ll flip between a Percy/Annabeth POV to a Jason/Piper/Leo/Hazel/Frank POV, so there’s a lot of time spent with the duo in Tartarus. This felt like this most mature book in the series, especially with Annabeth and Percy; they’re 17 and fighting for their lives. It’s a lot darker than any of the other books. Their fatal flaws are crucial here because loyalty and hubris got them into Tartarus in the first place, but resisting them, in the end, got them out. Obviously, this book couldn’t be the finale because there was still so much story left to tell, but I wish I had stopped reading here.

Honestly, I love these books, and I’m a bit harsh in my critiques, but it’s all in love. I still love the series, but I’m also an adult now and not the target audience. Percy Jackson and The Olympians hold a lot of nostalgia for me, and it’s such a fun read, but I do have to give the Heroes of Olympus series my overall favorite. It’s much more mature, the stakes are higher, and the world is already built, so there’s so much more to enjoy as a reader. There are so many books that we read as kids but never revisit. Life is hard, and sometimes we just need to escape for a while. This series deserved to be a popular as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. My only hope is when the Disney+ adaptation finally releases, it gets all the praise it deserves.

A consumer of Film, Television, and Literature and their respective writings.
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