Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

I actually just read the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, although I would say that I really only skimmed #2. I think for me Titan's Curse wasn't as strong as it may be for others, simply because I read the books one after another in quick succession, and I was a bit tired of the story by the time I got through to #3. That said, Riordan writes a fast, funny adventure fantasy with lots of intelligence built-in. Yes, yes, his narrative involves a whole secret world that exists alongside ours, a world where gifted students attend a secret school to train and hone their skills, and that there is a trapped but almost all-powerful bad guy desperately trying to manifest himself and take over. Hmmmmm.... sound familiar? Well, the truth is that this book is more original than it appears on the surface, and that Riordan makes it work. His use of Greek and Roman mythology as his frame slips in educational content that is funny and easy to digest. I.e. readers won't even know they're learning as they learn about Greek mythology along with Percy. Like Rowling's work, Riordan's works on many levels and slips in allusions that only adults will "get." Percy Jackson, like Harry Potter, is an accidental hero whose personal bravery and loyalty are amazing and whose big heart often carries him beyond his actual skill. These books would be quite appropriate for boys or girls starting in about 4th/5th grade (strong readers) up to 8th or 9th grade. I actually think the content would go even higher, but sometimes those kids might consider themselves "above" the books. Oh, and these books would make AWESOME graphic novel adaptations! Hope someone gives them the Artemis Fowl treatment!

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