This review will be very different considering I can’t really critique narrative values of myths. I feel like a lot of the content talk will either be me hating on or praising the Greek Gods.
Regardless, Percy Jackson was the series that got me seriously considering writing my own books. I loved it to no end as a 10 year old, binged the whole series in half a year. Thanks to my Year 5 teacher for sparking the fandom inside our classroom!
Anyway, everybody’s favourite son of Poseidon is telling us a new set of stories. This time, he’s exposing the Greek Gods, from the tale of creation to every last Olympian on a throne. And of course, it’s in Young Adult jargon. Though it was published in 2014. So… millennial jargon? American millennial jargon.
I’m just going to get my overall thoughts about the Greek gods first. A lot of them would be arrested in modern society. When I first read Percy Jackson I really liked Zeus, but his godly portrayal is disgusting! The king of the gods was a rapist. And a major player. And heavily tempered. All I read in the books initially was that he had a temper. This makes me look at a lot of the content that the gods do very differently and it makes me question the morals of ancient Greek society.
Leading off of that, I’m surprised this book was still appropriate for it’s age group of 10+. There were some dark things being mentioned, but they were done in a way that was appropriate. Somehow. Maybe it’s just because it’s been years since I read the original Percy Jackson series. Regardless, I didn’t gasp out loud too much. I’d call that age group appropriate.
That being said, you could tell this was for their age group because there was a PSA on every five pages about not cheating on your partners, not having a relative as a partner, and condoning underage drinking. In literally every scene that contains it. This was one aspect that felt first off, very distracting, and secondly, out of character for our narrator, Percy. Especially to the ridiculous extents that they went to, like saying wine is only drunk by middle aged people. They can hope! I may not drink alcohol much, but I wouldn’t be such a buzzkill for those that do.
Let’s talk more about Percy’s voice. This honestly had some very mixed results with some questionable executions. It is fair that Percy makes a lot of modern references to put the Greek gods into a more relatable perspective. My main issue was how some of them pulled me out of the story. For one, there was the constant comparison of saying Mt. Olympus was an apartment complex? That was one of the worser ones that added nothing to the way each god’s story was told. Some of the others made absolute sense, like setting up the dinner date scene for when Uranus died. But a few really had me question a lot of things.
One of the most enjoyable parts of this read was how Percy’s voice and comparisons humanised the gods. Throughout this I imagined the tales of the Greek gods working just as well as a modern drama series, probably on the Game of Thrones side with the war and bloodshed still going on. These gods were put down as much as they were glorified and it showed them as true of colours as any well written character. The wordings worked wonders too, able to take a mature concept to a younger audience without degrading the stories themselves. For the right moments, Riordan was able to write something serious and beautiful despite the narrator typically not being that way. And it felt natural.
Speaking of realism, what I really appreciated was the moments of ambiguity that related to changing views in classical society and a lack of sources. Having taken history and classics in high school, I approve highly of this. And the way this was explained felt organic to the world, with Percy implying the issues with word of mouth.
I think I reviewed that okay? It’s harder to review something without a typical narrative when that’s your strongest point of study in the writing craft. Hope this review suffices.
Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods gets a score of 4/5. Those PSAs were so frequent and corny that they need to become memes, but the rest of it was literature.
Yours in writing