Percy Jackson books, by Rick Riordan

I’m an unapologetic lover of children’s literature — really liked the Harry Potter books, grew up with The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and some (now) obviously horrible books by Piers Anthony.

So when I heard that my 11 year old nephew really loved these books, more than the Harry Potter books, I gave them a try. I read all 5 books, in order, but didn’t really like them very much. They’re sort of like a cross between Harry Potter and Greek mythology, but with all the action, including Mt. Olympus, centered around present day Manhattan.

What could go wrong, really?

Yeah, everything you just imagined as an answer to that last question is pretty much true. This really isn’t a very good series of books. I totally understand why my nephew liked them — they’re basically fun books with a teenager in control, with some tortured Greek mythology thrown in the mix.

Anyway, since I read all 5 books, they’re obviously not horrible, but they weren’t really what I was hoping for. The mythology is pretty dubious, but it did cause me to run down the rabbit hole on Wikipedia a few times to learn about various Titans and minor gods, so that’s not all bad.


  1. My 13-year old and 11-year old both like them, but they also will be the first to say they’re good but not great books. They’re what you read in between the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books.

    I’m very fortunate to have kids who like reading with me each night (I read a different book to each of my four every night), and the Asay household has settled on some favorites, which you might also enjoy.

    In addition to the standard classics, we love the Mysterious Benedict Society books, plus Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (not at all threatening to our faith – instead, I found them confirming, as did my daughter), the Artemis Fowl books (not great literature but very entertaining – who could resist dwarf flatulence on such a grand scale, and to such potent effect?), The Graveyard Book (but not Coraline – I didn’t really like it but remember that you did), and several more obscure titles that are classics in Britain but which we don’t really read in the States. (Happy to provide a list of the best. Basically, a few years ago I secured a list of the best British children’s literature and started buying them through Amazon UK or on my trips to the UK, and we’ve plowed through the list. Some gems in there.)


  2. I really enjoyed Jack Mitchell’s “The Roman Conspiracy”, and probably would have even if I hadn’t taken high school Latin with the author for several years! 🙂

    I also hear good things about Shadowmagic by John Lenahan, but haven’t quite got to it myself. My wife will have Strong Opinions on the topic, I’ll point this post out to her!

  3. Two more for your YA-fiction fix (as the son of a middle-school librarian, it’s a love I understand all too well):

    The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
    Endymion Spring, Matthew Skelton

    Both are well-written, compelling stories, and really take advantage of the worlds they create.