Percy Jackson & the Olympians
U.K. logo for Percy Jackson and the Olympians (as the series is known there)
|Cover artist||John Rocco (from 2006 or 2007)|
|Genre||Greek mythological fiction, fantasy, adventure and children's fiction|
|Publisher||Disney Hyperion (early volumes originally Miramax Books)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book|
|No. of books||5|
|Followed by||The Heroes of Olympus|
Percy Jackson & the Olympians, often shortened to Percy Jackson, is a pentalogy of adventure and mythological fiction books written by American author Rick Riordan. Five supplementary books, along with three graphic novels, have also been released. More than 45 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 second book, titled Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, was released in 2013.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Books
- 3 Supplementary works
- 4 Characters
- 5 Reception
- 6 In other media
- 7 Sequels
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Development for both The Lightning Thief and the Percy Jackson series commenced when Rick Riordan began making stories for his son Haley Riordan, who had at the time been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. His son, Haley, had been studying Greek mythology in second grade and requested that his father tell him bedtime stories based on Greek myths. When Riordan ran out of myths, his son suggested that he make up new stories using existing mythological characters and new ones. This led Riordan to create the fictional character of Percy Jackson and create the story of how he travels across the United States to recover Zeus's lightning-bolt. Haley suggested that he should turn that story into a book, and Riordan wrote the book over the next year despite being busy at that time.
Leaving his manuscript with his agent and editor for review, Riordan presented the book to a group of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to read and critique. He gained their approval, and with their help, came up with the name of the book and created the way Percy's sword works. In 2004, the book was sold to Miramax Books for enough money for Riordan to quit his job and focus on writing. After it was released on 28 June 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 and was released on July 1, 2005.
After returning home from his boarding school for the summer, Percy and his mother, Sally Jackson, travel to their cabin in Montauk. However, the trip is cut short and after a series of harrowing incidents such as being attacked by a minotaur, Percy finds himself at Camp Half-Blood, a training camp for demigods like him. He discovers that he is a demigod son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, earthquakes and father of all horses, that his best friend Grover is actually a satyr and that the Greek gods are accusing him of having stolen Zeus' master lightning bolt (the most powerful weapon in the world). To clear his name and save the world from another war between the Olympian gods, he sets out to retrieve the lightning bolt from Hades, who they believe is the real thief. Thus Percy Jackson and his companions, Grover Underwood and Annabeth Chase, a daughter of Athena, start on a journey to the underworld, facing numerous mythological monsters on the way. After confronting an innocent Hades, they learn that their friend Luke Castellan, son of Hermes, is the real thief who stole the bolt to allow Kronos, the defeated king of the Titans, a chance to rise again.
The book was adapted into a film by Chris Columbus and 20th Century Fox, under the title Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and was released on February 12, 2010.
The Sea of Monsters
The Sea of Monsters is the second installment in the series, released on April 1, 2006.
Camp Half-Blood is under attack when Thalia's tree, which guards the borders of the camp, is poisoned and slowly begins to die. In order to save the tree and the camp, someone must recover the Golden Fleece, which is somewhere in the Sea of Monsters. At the same time, Percy finds out that Grover, who has left on a quest to find the missing god Pan, has been captured by the cyclops Polyphemus and that the Fleece is on Polyphemus' island. Together with Annabeth and his half-brother Tyson, a cyclops, Percy sets out to rescue Grover. Meanwhile, Clarisse La Rue, daughter of Ares, is sent on an official quest by Camp Half-Blood to retrieve the Fleece. The trip to the Sea of Monsters is long and hazardous and along the way the heroes encounter several dangers including Scylla and Charybdis, the sorceress Circe, the Sirens and their former friend Luke Castellan. Percy also learns about a prophecy from the Oracle about a child of one of the three most important gods (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades), playing a vital part in the success or failure of the resurrection of Kronos the Titan-King. The heroes eventually retrieve the Fleece and restore Thalia's tree but also unknowingly revive Thalia herself, daughter of Zeus, who had been turned into the tree by her father when she died.
The Titan's Curse
The Titan's Curse is the third installment in the series. It was released on May 11, 2007.
On a mission to rescue half-bloods Bianca and Nico di Angelo; Percy, Annabeth, Thalia and Grover are attacked by a manticore and rescued by the goddess Artemis and her Hunters. However, Annabeth falls off a cliff whilst trying to fight the manticore and is said to be captured. Later, Artemis is captured by Luke's army while on the hunt for the Ophiotaurus, a cow-serpent monster that was foretold to bring the downfall of Olympus when its entrails are sacrificed to a fire. Her lieutenant Zoe Nightshade, daughter of Atlas, leads Bianca, Thalia and Grover on a quest to save her. Percy, who was not invited to join the party, follows them on behalf of Nico Di Angelo, promising that he will do his best to protect his sister, Bianca. The others eventually find Percy, and he joins their group. They become the prey of skeletons, who chase them across the country. Bianca is able to kill one, which leaves the others mystified. Bianca later dies as they make their way across a godly junkyard. They find Annabeth with Luke and Artemis, who is holding up the sky. Percy then takes it from Artemis and they trick Atlas into his original position under the sky. Thalia replaces Zoe, who dies, as Artemis' lieutenant. Thalia's induction as a lieutenant of Artemis ensures that she will become immortal, never aging to 16, thus escaping the Great Prophecy and leaving Percy to fulfill it. They return to camp and Percy informs Nico about Bianca's death during the journey. Nico blames Percy for failing to protect her and runs away, only after killing skeletons that invade the camp, so that Percy realizes that 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. 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 two 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. Percy accidentally causes St. Helens to erupt and washes ashore on Calypso's island, Ogygia. He returns to Camp Half-Blood, rather than staying with her, stating that "she would always be his biggest 'what-if'". Then he and Annabeth recruit a mortal girl, Rachel Dare to be a guide in the Labyrinth, using her sight through the Mist, the magical veil that separates the mythological world from the mortal world, and her knowledge 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 tell those who will listen that he has died. Grover does what he is told. Percy also finds Luke's body in Kronos' coffin. A final demigod joins the Titans' cause, and Kronos fully rises, using Luke's body. They flee to camp, trying to stop the invasion. Kronos' forces attack the camp, but they are defeated. The book ends with Daedalus sacrificing himself after the battle to destroy the Labyrinth, as it is tied to his life force, and Nico Di Angelo fully forgiving Percy and proposing a dangerous plan for defeating the Titans.
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 that Kronos' forces are preparing to attack Olympus. Poseidon, Percy's father, decides that it is time for Percy to now fulfill the Great Prophecy. Seeking to defeat Kronos, like Achilles did, Percy bathes in the River Styx, making his body invulnerable except one small chosen part of his body (the small of his back). 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 hold down the monster Typhon as he makes his way to New York. Kronos, possessing Luke's body, forces his way into Olympus and battles Percy in Olympus' throne room. Typhon reaches New York but is defeated after the arrival of Poseidon's forces, led by Tyson. Annabeth is able to make Luke come back to his senses, and Percy gives him Annabeth's knife. Luke stabs himself in his mortal spot (as he also was invulnerable from bathing in the River Styx) to destroy Kronos and save Mount Olympus, but Luke dies. The gods reward Percy and his friends, and offer him immortality. He rejects the offer, but instead requests the gods to claim all their children and to have cabins for all the gods, including the minor ones. Rachel Elizabeth Dare becomes the Oracle and recites the next Great Prophecy. The book finishes with Percy and Annabeth becoming a couple, and ominous clouds looming over Rachel's next Great Prophecy.
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 commenting on the writing of the short stories. The stories are Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot, Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon, The Camper Interviews, and Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades. At the end of the book, there are portraits on the characters of the series. 
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.
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 was released on July 2, 2013. Another graphic novel based on the third book, The Titan's Curse was released on 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 characters and more, puzzles, and a quiz. The four stories include the adventures of Thalia, Luke, and Annabeth, and others which precede the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and a first-person narrative from Percy's viewpoint. Set a month after the events of The Last Olympian and before he goes missing in The Lost Hero, Percy and Annabeth retrieve Hermes' stolen staff. One of the stories is written by Riordan's son, Haley, and revolves around one of the demigods who fought for Kronos during the Second Titan War and survived the battle in Manhattan. As a part of the spin-off The Heroes of Olympus series, The Demigod Diaries contain a story involving Jason, Leo, and Piper that recounts their time spent at Camp Half-Blood between The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.
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.” As of February 13, 2016, it has been on the New York Times Children's Series Best Seller List for 379 weeks.
Some critics, especially Christian critics of Riordan have disapproved of the emphasis on pagan gods in his books. Riordan responds to these complaints by reminding his readers that first and foremost, "The Lightning Thief explores Greek mythology in a modern setting, but it does so as a humorous work of fantasy. I’m certainly not interested in changing or contradicting anyone’s religious beliefs. Early in the book, the character Chiron makes a distinction between God, capital-G, the creator of the universe, and the Greek gods (lower-case g). Chiron says he doesn’t want to delve into the issue of God, but he has no qualms about discussing the Olympians because they are a "much smaller matter."
Critics such as The Calico Critic have also disagreed with the fusion of Greek mythology and modern American culture. They have stated that it is difficult to believe "the reality of the tale", claiming that "monsters in the St. Louis Arch" and "the entrance to Olympus in New York" were unimaginable, despite Riordan's explanations of why he chose these certain locations.
However studies show that overall, readers appreciated the mundane language, witty tone and aesthetic plot of the novels, as well as how it introduced Greek mythology to them.
In other media
These films have been made from the books:
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters
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."
Chris Columbus stated that there will not be a third movie any time soon.
To accompany the film, a video game was produced. Michael Splechta gave it a 6/10, saying Percy Jackson & the Olympians 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 is a sequel series, also based on Camp Half-Blood and the Greek mythology and Roman mythology universe. The first book The Lost Hero was released on October 12, 2010. Like the first series, there are five books. The official website requires a password, later revealed as newhero. On December 1, 2010, the site went live.
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, was released on October 8, 2013. The fifth and final book of The Heroes of Olympus series, The Blood of Olympus, was released on October 7, 2014.
Riordan is currently at work on yet another follow-up series to The Heroes of Olympus book series titled, The Trials of Apollo. The first installment titled, The Hidden Oracle (2016), features Apollo and his journey after being cast down from Olympus. The second book titled, The Dark Prophecy is currently slated with a May 2017 release date.
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- 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 quotations related to: Percy Jackson & the Olympians|
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series site from publisher Disney (readriordan.com)
- Rick Riordan Myth Master at publisher Penguin Books (UK)
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians official Persian-language website percy-jackson.ir (archived 2010)
- Teacher's Guide at Educational Resources from Rick Riordan (rickriordan.com)
- Rick Riordan at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database