It is highly unlikely that this is the first time you are hearing about Percy Jackson. But if it is, rush and get hold of The Last Olympian and its four predecessors. Rick Riordan’s character is every boy’s dream come true.
Jackson is a demi-god. It means that one of his parents is a god—a Greek god—or goddess, and the other a human, or “mortal”, as the creator of the series would call them. What started with a 12-year-old Perseus (Percy) Jackson in the Lightning Thief has culminated in five thrilling adventures of the boy hero, so far.
Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian: By Rick Riordan, Puffin, 361 pages, Rs 350
Percy’s 16th birthday comes with a prophecy that says: A Hero’s Soul, Cursed Blade Shall Reap. Percy automatically assumes the worst since he is the one who gets to decide the fate of the entire world.
It starts on a quiet afternoon, with Percy taking his friend Rachel out for a spin in the car. Halfway through the drive, Blackjack, a Pegasus, carrying Charles Beckendorf, senior counsellor for the Hephaestus Cabin at Camp Half-Blood, lands on the hood of the car. Percy has to leave abruptly since he has to stop the evil Kronos, Lord of the Titans, and save the world.
Camp Half-Blood (situated on Long Island) is a school where the offspring of mortals and gods can live and study in peace without being spotted by humans. It has cabins such as Ares, Hephaestus, Demetar, Apollo and Poseidon (which is Percy’s). America is the location for all of Percy’s adventures. In fact, the series is a crash course in Greek mythology set in a contemporary world. For instance, the entry to Mount Olympus is through a lift in the Empire State Building. And Hades can be accessed through Los Angeles.
Beckendorf tells Percy that Kronos is on his way to New York to take over Mount Olympus. The two fly out and intercept the enemy on his ship, the Andromeda. Unfortunately, before they can blow it up and flee, Beckendorf is caught. He urges Percy to get away and blows up the ship and himself.
Back at Camp Half-Blood, Percy gathers his companions, Annabeth, Grover, Mrs O’Leary (a friendly hell-hound), Chiron, Silena (Beckendorf’s girlfriend) and Nico di Angelo (the son of Hades) to fight off the invasion and destroy the enemy. Mission “Stop Kronos” gets tougher when they discover that the dreaded monster Typhon is heading towards the Big Apple, which is causing storms of unprecedented fury. Shockingly, Mount Olympus is virtually unguarded.
Can they pull off a task that seems impossible?
Riordan knows how to tell a gripping tale. More importantly, he knows his audience and what they like.
The writer is the editor of Heek, a children’s magazine.
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