Greek mythology is alive and well thanks to YAL author Rick Riordan. This won’t be new information for many of you, but I wanted to make sure I had a post celebrating Riordan’s fantastic effort at brining Greek mythology back to the forefront of adolescent minds. (And adult minds for that matter.)
Riordan’s quint-a-logy of Percy Jackson and the Olympians has sparked a
new flame on the hearth of Mt. Olympus. I picked up the first book, The Lightening Thief, not expecting much. You see, my wife and I had gone to see the film that was produced based on the book about a year and half ago, which now after reading the books I can say with confidence was terrible; however, terrible or not, the movie sparked a desire for us to read the book that inspired it. I bought the first two books not wanting to invest too much in the series in case we didn’t end up liking them. Needless to say, we (and by we I mean my wife) had to go out and purchase the other three books after we had devoured the first two.
Riordan has done a unique and magical resurrection of Greek gods and goddesses while relating it to the awkwardness of adolescence. I was surprised at how engrossed I became in the story of Percy and his fight to save humanity from a very ancient mythological evil. As an English teacher, I was immediately enthralled by the mythology component and how accurately it depicted the images and personalities of the gods without being too cheesy (a flaw many YAL books can have). I saw connections to Homer’s The Odyssey and the Greek myths of Daedalus and Icarus, Hercules, Medusa and many more. The connections are so strong to The Odyssey in the second book, Sea of Monsters, that my language arts team put it on our summer reading list last year.
If you’re a Greek mythology fan, or just a fan of great adventure novels, then pick these books up and experience them for yourself. If you’re an English teacher, or even a world history teacher, these books provide modern day connections to the ancient Greek world in an endearing, adventurous, humorous, and enjoyable way.
Don’t worry about checking out the movie though–it really is terrible.
(The book is always better than the movie!)