Percy Jackson & the Olympians
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The European logo for the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series
|Genre||Fantasy, Young-adult fiction, Thriller, Mystery|
|Publisher||Disney Hyperion (formerly Miramax Books)|
|Media type||Print (hardback and paperback)
|Followed by||The Heroes of Olympus|
Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a pentalogy of adventure and fiction books written by Rick Riordan. The Lightning Thief is about a twelve-year-old dyslexic boy, Percy Jackson. Once when after returning home from his boarding school, Percy and his mother Sally Jackson, decide to go to the beach in Montauk. After a series of tragedies at Montauk beach, including loss of his mother, Percy finds out that he is a demigod, and son of Poseidon, the God of Sea. He also discovers that he is accused of stealing the weapon of God Zeus, the lightning bolt. Now, to clear his name off this thievery, and to save the world of World War III, he must find the real thief and return the lightning bolt to Zeus. Thus Percy Jackson, along with two companions, Grover Underwood, a satyr and Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, start on a journey to the Underworld and the God of death, Hades.
More than 20 million copies of the books have been sold in more than 35 countries.
As of October 28, 2011, the series has been on the New York Times best seller list for children's book series for 223 weeks. The first book was adapted into a film titled Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief in 2010, which was commercially successful, but received mixed reviews. An adaptation of The Sea of Monsters, titled Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, is due to be released in 2013.
Development for both The Lightning Thief and the Percy Jackson series as a whole, commenced when Riordan first began making stories for his son Haley, who had (at the time) recently been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. His son had been studying Greek mythology in second grade and requested that his father come up with bedtime stories based on Greek myths. Riordan had been a Greek mythology teacher in middle school for many years, and was able to remember enough stories to please his son. Soon Riordan ran out of myths and his son then requested that he make new ones using the same characters from Greek myths and add new ones. Thus, Riordan created the fictional character Percy Jackson and made the story of how he would travel across the United States to recover Zeus's thunderbolt.
In June 1994, Riordan had completed his manuscript for The Big Red Tequila and began looking for agents. During that time, he visited multiple local colleges looking for good editors until he eventually found an agent. While he left his manuscript to his agent and editor to review, Riordan took his book to a group of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to read and give their critique. Ultimately he gained their approval, and with their help, came up with the name of the book and created the way Percy's sword worked. In June 1997, Riordan signed with Bantam Books to prepare the book for publishing. In 2004, the book was sold to Miramax Books for enough money for Riordan to quit his job to focus on writing. After it was released on 28 July 2005, it sold over 1.2 million copies. The book was released in multiple versions including hardcover, paperback and audio editions. It has been translated into multiple languages and published all over the world.
The Lightning Thief 
The Lightning Thief is the first book in the series. It was released on June 28, 2005.
A 12 year old demigod named Percy Jackson lives in New York with his mother, Sally Jackson. During a field trip to a museum, Percy is attacked by a "Fury" disguised as his Pre-Algebra teacher, Mrs. Dodds, and he vaporises her with a sword given to him by Mr. Brunner, his Latin teacher. After Mrs. Dodds is killed, no one in his school remembers knowing her. The rest of the school year passes with strange weather. When Percy gets frustrated from studying for his Latin exam (Percy, as a demigod, has both ADHD and dyslexia), he goes to Mr. Brunner for help, and overhears a conversation between Mr. Brunner and his best friend, Grover. The two are discussing Percy's safety at his school, and when Percy accidentally drops his book and retreats into an empty classroom, he notices that the shadow of the creature searching for him is much larger than either his teacher or his friend. At the end of the school year, Percy attempts to leave for his home when Grover insists on seeing him to his destination. During the bus ride, the bus breaks down, and as the passengers get off the bus while the driver attempts to fix it, Percy notices three old ladies across the highway that cut a strand of electric blue yarn. The duo board the bus once more, and after Grover starts acting weird from witnessing the cutting of the string, Percy ditches him at the bus station and takes a taxi up to his mother's apartment. His mother, Sally, reveals that the two of them are going to spend time at a cabin in Montauk, a beach Percy went to when he was a little boy. The two leave for the cabin, and that night Percy has a strange dream of a horse and an eagle attempting to kill each other while a dark voice from underneath him urges them on. Percy is awoken by the arrival of Grover, who reveals himself to be a satyr (half goat, half man), and a hurricane. Percy tells Grover and his mother about Mrs. Dodds while his mom races them to Camp Half-Blood, a safe haven for demigods like Percy. While heading to the camp, the storm continues to rampage, and they are attacked by the Minotaur, a monster that is half man, half bull also known as "Pasiphae's son." While the Minotaur is, at first, unable to catch up to the trio, a blast of lightning knocks the car they are travelling off the road, knocking out Grover in the process. Percy's mother and Percy make it out of the car and start carrying Grover to the border of Camp Half-Blood as the Minotaur destroys the car. Eventually they reach the border, but Sally is unable to cross and is taken by the Minotaur. She turns into a shimmer of gold and is believed to be dead. Fueled by his anger, Percy manages to break one of the Minotaur's horns off and kill the beast with it just before passing out from exhaustion. When he wakes, he finds himself at Camp Half-Blood. He sees his former Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner, who turns out to be Chiron (a centaur), along with Annabeth Chase (Daughter of Athena). Percy is soon claimed by his Olympian parent, Poseidon(God of the Sea). But Poseidon only claims him because Percy was accused of stealing Zeus' master lighting bolt. Although Percy insists that he didn't do it, Zeus (King Of The Gods and Lord of the Sky) doesn't believe him. If Percy doesn't prove Zeus wrong, there will be another civil war between the gods. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover are given a quest to retrieve Zeus' stolen lightning bolt as Zeus believes Percy stole it. After they get the quest, the trio initially believes Hades (God Of The Underworld) to be the thief, and they travel across the United States to Los Angeles, the entrance to the Underworld, while facing numerous mythological monsters, including Medusa, Echidna, and the Furies. The trio come face to face with Hades, who accidentally reveals that his Helm of Darkness has also been stolen. The three then escape the Underworld, and Percy fights Ares (God Of War) and retrieves the stolen items. In the end, they learn the real thief was Luke Castellan (Son of Hermes), a camper who'd befriended Percy when he first arrived at Camp Half-Blood. Luke stole the bolt to allow Kronos (the king of the Titans, the Titan Lord, or the Lord of Time) the chance to rise again. In the end, Luke tries to kill Percy by releasing deadly scorpions on him while they are in the woods.
The book was adapted into a film by Chris Columbus and 20th Century Fox, under the title Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief on February 12, 2010.
The Sea of Monsters 
The Sea of Monsters is the second installment in the series, released on April 1, 2006.
If Thalia's tree (Thalia was a daughter of Zeus about to die, but he turned her into a tree to protect Camp Half-Blood) fully dies, then the camp borders will no longer be protected and more Monsters will start attacking the camp. Chiron (the camps head instructor) is accused of poisoning the tree and is banned from the camp. After Chiron has left, Percy has a dream about Grover in a wedding dress because Polyphemus, a huge, deadly cyclops wishes to marry him, thinking he is a female cyclops. Later in the dream, Grover warns Percy, "Don't let me die!" This will continue unless they find another way to protect the camp borders or the camp will be overrun by monsters. Percy then finds out that Tyson is his half-brother and a cyclops. To save the tree, a quest is given to find the Golden Fleece. Clarisse La Rue, a daughter of Ares, will lead the quest to find the Golden Fleece. Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson sneak off, not just for the Golden Fleece, but to find Grover Underwood. They meet Luke on his ship, the Princess Andromeda, but are able to escape. They soon join with Clarisse on her quest. Her ship is destroyed passing through the Sea of Monsters and Annabeth and Percy continue their search for Grover after becoming separated from the others. After encountering the Sirens and Circe, Annabeth and Percy reach the Polyphemus' cave. They are able to rescue Grover and Clarisse and Tyson helps defeats Polyphemus. They recover the Fleece and head to Miami. Clarisse heads to camp and the others are captured by Luke. They are about to be killed before Chiron and the Party Ponies (other centaurs) rescue them and take them back to camp. The Fleece is able to save the tree, but it also revives Thalia, whose spirit was in the tree. After this book is being adapted into a film by 20th Century Fox, under the title Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters which is slated to be released on the 7th of August 2013.
The Titan's Curse 
The Titan's Curse is the third installment in the series. It was released on May 1, 2007.
Percy, Annabeth and Thalia are sent to a gloomy boarding school to rescue two half bloods whom Grover found, Bianca and Nico Di-angelo. While on this mission, they are attacked by a Manticore, and are saved from the goddess Artemis and her hunters, all of which were girls from age 10-14. How ever as Annabeth also tries to help kill the Manticore, she falls with it and is stuck with Luke. Artemis goes on a quest to help Annabeth, not telling anyone. As soon as she is captured by Luke and his army, her lieutenant Zoe Nightshade, Bianca, Thaila and Percy go on a quest. How ever, Bianca is killed in a place where no water is found, and Zoe is killed by her father atlas, who ends up defeated and held the sky. Thalia replaces Zoe as Artemis' lieutenant during the gods' summit. Thalia's induction as a lieutenant of Artemis ensures that she never reaches 16, thus escaping the prophecy but leaving Percy as the only one who can fulfill it. They return to camp and Percy informs Nico about Bianca's death. He blames Percy, accusing him of failing to protect her and runs away. Percy learns that the underworld god, Hades, is Nico's father.
The Battle of the Labyrinth 
The Battle of the Labyrinth is the fourth installment in the series. It was released on May 6, 2008.
After being attacked by monsters, Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood and learns about the labyrinth. During a war game, Annabeth and Percy find an entrance into the Labyrinth in camp. Percy soon learns that Luke will use the entrance to lead his army through the Labyrinth straight into the heart of camp. Annabeth is chosen to lead a quest to prevent it, and chooses to bring Tyson,Percy,and Grover, even though it was traditional to bring only 2 companions on a quest, as explained by Chiron. While in the Labyrinth, Percy and Annabeth become separated from Grover and Tyson. They encounter Nico, who begins to forgive Percy. Percy and Annabeth arrive under Mount St. Helens, where Annabeth kisses Percy. Percy accidentally causes St. Helens to erupt and washes ashore on Calypso's Island. He returns, rather than staying with her, stating that she would always be his biggest "what-if". Then he and Annabeth recruit Rachel Dare to be a guide in the Labyrinth, finding her sight and knowledge useful for the quest. Daedalus is shown to be alive and to have given Ariadne's string to Luke. They find Grover and Tyson and discover Pan, and Grover tells him that he must return to the world. But, Pan says that he cannot come and before dying tells Grover to spread the word that Great God Pan has died. Grover does what he is told. Percy also finds Luke's body in Kronos' coffin, saying that there was a hole were Luke's heart should have been. After Pan's warning, they flee to camp, trying to stop the invasion. Kronos' forces attack the camp but are defeated. After the battle, Daedalus sacrifices himself to destroy the Labyrinth, as it's tied to his lifeforce of the time.
The Last Olympian 
The Last Olympian, the fifth and final book in the Percy Jackson series, was released on May 5, 2009.
Percy Jackson learns Kronos' forces are preparing to attack Olympus. Seeking to defeat Kronos, Percy bathes in the River Styx, making his body invincible except one small area, the only vulnerable part of his body. Kronos leads a siege of New York City and puts its citizens to sleep. Percy leads the campers, Hunters, nature spirits, and centaurs to protect Mount Olympus from Kronos and his forces. While they protect Olympus, the gods are holding down the Typhon monster, as he makes his way to New York. Kronos, possessing Luke's body, forces his way into Olympus and he and Percy battle in Olympus' throne room. Typhon reaches New York but is defeated by Percy's father, Poseidon, and his brother, Tyson. Luke is able to overcome Kronos. Percy gives Luke Annabeth's knife, and Luke stabs himself in his mortal spot (as he also was invulnerable from bathing in the River Styx) to temporarily destroy Kronos and save Mt. Olympus. The gods reward Percy and his friends, offering him immortality. He refuses, but they grant him one request. He requests the gods to claim all their children and have a cabin for all the gods, even the minor ones. Rachel Elizabeth Dare becomes the oracle and reads the next great prophecy although the last oracle was cursed by Hades but the spirit still left her body. At the end Percy and Annabeth earnestly start their relationship. At the final sentence of the book, Percy says, "For once, I didn't look back," and then runs off to meet Annabeth.
Supplementary Works 
The Demigod Files 
The Demigod Files, also written by Rick Riordan, is the first companion book to the series. It was released February 10, 2009, featuring three short stories, interviews with the campers, puzzles and pictures. It is set between The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian. The book received mixed reviews, with some reviewers criticizing the lack of substantial material and others commending the writing of the short stories.
The Ultimate Guide 
The Ultimate Guide is a companion book, second to the series, released on January 19, 2010. This book has a magnetic cover and holographic character pictures that change into four different characters. Its 156 pages include trading cards, full-color diagrams and maps. It also includes a dictionary of almost every monster Percy faces in the series, with pictures beside some, as well as various activities. The book tells of Percy Jackson's starting life as a half-blood, a tour of the Underworld by Nico Di Angelo, the story of Sally Jackson's parents, and items used throughout the series. There is also a paperback version.
Graphic novel 
A graphic novel based on The Lightning Thief was published on October 12, 2010. It follows a shortened version of Percy's adventures in The Lightning Thief with full color drawings. A graphic novel based on the second book in the series, The Sea of Monsters will be released on July 2, 2013. Another graphic novel based on the third book, The Titan's Curse is schedule to release October 8, 2013. 
Demigods and Monsters 
Demigods and Monsters is an unofficial companion book and was released on February 11, 2009. With an introduction by Riordan, it features essays written by various young adult authors that explore, discuss and provide further insight into the Percy Jackson series. At 196 pages, it also contains information on the places and characters of the series, as well as a glossary of Greek myths.
The Demigod Diaries 
The Demigod Diaries contains four new stories with character interviews, illustrations of Annabeth Chase and Percy Jackson, puzzles, and a quiz. The four stories include: Thalia's, Luke's, and Annabeth's adventures before the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series began A first-person narrative from Percy's viewpoint as he and Annabeth complete a task given by Hermes regarding his staff which happens a month after the end of The Last Olympian and before Percy went missing in The Lost Hero. It also includes a short story by Riordan's son, Haley Riordan, revolving around one of the demigods who fought for Kronos during the Second Titan War and survived the battle in Manhattan. It also includes a story involving Jason, Leo, and Piper during their time spent at Camp Half-Blood between The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune. This is part of the spin-off The Heroes of Olympus, also by Riordan.
Main characters 
Listed are the major characters in the series:
- Percy Jackson: age 12–16; demigod son of Poseidon; the protagonist of the series. Appears in The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.
- Grover Underwood: age 28–32; the satyr best friend of Percy; portrayed as teenager since satyrs age half as fast as humans. Appears in The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.
- Annabeth Chase: age 12–16; demigod daughter of Athena; best friend and (later) girlfriend of Percy. Appears in The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.
- Luke Castellan: age 19–23; demigod son of Hermes; an antagonist of the series; allows Kronos use of his body. Appears in The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and (as Kronos) The Last Olympian.
- Thalia Grace: age 15, immortal demigod daughter of Zeus, lieutenant of the Hunters of Artemis, formerly the tree that guarded Camp Half-Blood. Appears in the end of The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, and The Last Olympian.
- Nico Di Angelo: age 10–13, demigod son of Hades; ignored by Camp Half-Blood due to parentage; Bianca's brother; holds authority over the dead. Appears in The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. It is also hinted in "The Last Olympian" that he had already discovered Camp Jupiter when he was in one of Percy's dreams in the California area. Also in The Battle of the Labyrinth Nico wants revenge over his dead sister and he wants a soul to bring his sister back to life.
- Tyson: age 6-8, Percy's half-brother; he is a Cyclops; has an ability to withstand fire and lava; he is skilled with machines; acts like a child. Appears in The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.
- Clarisse La Rue: age 14–18, demigod daughter of Ares; does not get along with Percy; she is very combative. Appears in The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.
- Rachel Elizabeth Dare: age 14–16, a clear-sighted mortal girl who assists Percy by seeing through the Mist; later becomes the Oracle. Appears in The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. She is introduced in The Titan's Curse, and is an important character in The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.
- Chiron: centaur and activities director of Camp Half-Blood; trainer of heroes, son of Kronos. Appears in The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.
The Lightning Thief received mostly positive reviews and won awards including the School Library Journal Best Book of 2005. The New York Times praised The Lightning Thief as "perfectly paced, with electrifying moments chasing each other like heartbeats". Author Rick Riordan said of the various awards:
"The ultimate compliment for a children's writer is when the kids like it."
Like its predecessor, The Sea of Monsters won several prizes and received generally positive reviews as well. It sold over 100,000 copies in hardcover by the time it was released in paperback and reviewers have praised the storyline, themes and the author's style of writing. Matt Berman, of Common Sense Media, praised the book, saying "The Percy Jackson series continues to be pure fun, with the author doing nearly everything right to produce a book that few kids will be able to resist." Kirkus reviewed The Battle of the Labyrinth as, "This volume can stand alone, but no one will be able to read just one...look no further for the next Harry Potter, meet Percy Jackson as legions of fans already have."
These films have been made from these books:
Chris Columbus directed and produced Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief for 20th Century Fox through 1492 Pictures. The film was released in 2010 in the United States, Canada and in the United Kingdom on February 12 and in Australia on February 11. Columbus has stated that he was drawn to directing the Percy Jackson movie because it gave him the "opportunity to do a movie that we haven't really seen before for this generation. When I was a kid, there were movies that dealt with Greek mythology, which in terms of visual effects was really primitive. So I thought this was an opportunity to deal with Greek mythology which children and adults all over the world are fascinated by and it was not a new genre but a new avenue, dealing with mythological creatures in a contemporary setting."
Video game 
To accompany the film, a video game was produced. Michael Splechta gave it a 6/10, saying "Percy Jackson might not make a splash when it comes to movie tie-in games, but fans of turn-based combat might find some redeeming qualities in this otherwise bare-bones game."
The Heroes of Olympus 
A sequel series, also based on Camp Half-Blood and the Greek mythology universe, was written and the first book released on October 12, 2010. Like the first series, there will be five books. Riordan has also stated that the time between the two occurrences of great prophecies is not as long as Apollo assumes it will be. The series has been named The Heroes of Olympus, and the first book is The Lost Hero. The official website requires a password, revealed as newhero. On June 1, 2010, the site went live. A medal with a password was needed to unlock the first two chapters. The cover was revealed on June 20, 2010, along with the password. The second book in The Heroes of Olympus, The Son of Neptune, was released in October 2011. The third book, The Mark of Athena was released on October 2, 2012. The fourth book, The House of Hades, is set to be released in the fall of 2013.
In popular culture 
- 'The Perseus Attraction' is a popular story parodying the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels. In it, many of the characters have been subverted (save Percy, who remains the series 'straight-man') into humorous, sometimes authentic, versions of themselves. It is focused around Percy's super attractiveness (as hinted in the books) and the novels respective plotline itself, while parodying modern culture at the same time. It has been nominated for a Phoenix Award and is highly reviewed.
See also 
- List of artistic depictions of dyslexia
- From the Files of the Time Rangers – also based on the premise of Greek gods active in the modern US
- Olympians (Marvel Comics) – comics based on the same premise
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Percy Jackson & the Olympians|
- Official Percy Jackson UK website
- Official Percy Jackson US website
- Official Percy Jackson Persian website
- Rick Riordan's website for news about Percy Jackson
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database