Monday, March 5, 2012

Abducted by Percy Jackson

Well, my friend Steph has made some great recommendations for me over the past year. So, when recently she posted about all of the Percy Jackson novels, I had my hopes up pretty high for...

Unfortunately, I was left a little...underwhelmed.

Now, let me stress that I actually listened to the audio version of the novel. I did not read it for myself. And I do feel that the majority of my frustrations lie with the recording and not the story itself.

For example, Percy Jackson is supposed to only be 12 years old. However, recording studios don't actually employ 12 year-olds to read a book into a microphone for hours on end. At least not that I'm aware of. I can only assume that the individual that preformed for the recording I listened to was, at the youngest 16 or 18, but it was probably more likely that they were in their early 20's. And while I'm sure that he did the best he could, there was still something a little odd about hearing an adult man read me phrases like "What did you think I said, Seaweed Brain."

My other problem with the recording was the voice the reader used for all of Percy's teachers. They all sounded the same to me, and they all sounded like burnt out surfer dudes. Trust me, it got really old, really fast! It just made it hard for me to trust any of them.

And of course, because I couldn't trust anybody, it drove me crazy that Percy was so trusting of everybody! Every single chapter there was another crazy situation Percy was getting into with yet another crazy God. So when he would go into these situations without blinking an eye I just wanted to shake the crap out of him!

***You trust this guy, Percy? Really, you do? He sells mattresses in a back alley and you want to trust him! You don't see anything fishy about a girl taking you to a restaurant in the very far back of some weird statue garden store? Nothing fishy at all? Really? Okay, if you say so. But don't come crying to me when something doesn't go the way you just assumed it would!***

Now, I know that a lot of people like to compare this book to Harry Potter and I don't really want to do that. However, Harry Potter is the best example that I can think of for this next point so just bare with me for a moment...

The only other thing that bothered me with Percy Jackson was that I felt like I never really had a handle on what was going on. 

Harry Potter introduces us to a world of magic. And if you can think back to who you were before you read that series, I think it is fair to say that you already had some kind of knowledge of magic going in. You had some kind of awareness of it. But that didn't matter, J.K. Rowling didn't rely on that prior knowledge in order for her stories to work. When those stories started we got paired up with Harry and we learned everything we needed to know as he did. 

However, Rick Riordan didn't do that. At the point when we meet Percy Jackson, he already has all this prior knowledge about the Gods and Mount Olympus. Sure, he thinks the stories are just stories and myths and none of it is actually true, but still. So, when Annabeth says something like "Percy, you know who Ares and Hades are." Percy will say "Oh, yeah, they are blah blah blah blah blah blah blah....."

The differences is that I didn't know all of the stories about all of the God going into reading this book, and since I didn't get to learn them along side Percy it was hard for me to really keep them all straight. Especially because Percy encounters someone or something new every freaking chapter!

Ultimately, in the end, it isn't that I didn't like the book. It was just like I said, I was underwhelmed. But I do think that if I give it a few months, then go back and actually read it myself I'll be able to picture things for myself and follow it a bit better. So for now, I'm going to have to give Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief an abduction rating of...


Kate said...

Aw, I love this series! I'm sad you weren't thrilled with it. If it makes you feel better, I read the book and later listened to the audiobook, and the audiobook really annoyed me. I think the actual book is much better, so maybe when you read it, you'll enjoy it more. And I guess if you didn't know much about Greek mythology going in, that would also make it confusing. Wikipedia? lol

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I actually watched the movie before I read the book, and I have the second one awaiting my attention on my kindle. I like the series, but then again I really, really like Greek mythology. In fact my biggest beefs in the book was any detraction from traditional myths. The major one being that Percy is kind of a modern day Perseus (and who he's named after), and yet Poseidon not Zeus, is his dad.

fakesteph said...

I'M SO SAD YOU DIDN'T LIKE THIS! I'm going to hunt down the narrator... and punch him. These books are awesome. Very, very fast paced, but I love them. And I love that Percy is so trusting... to me it makes him an innocent kid... I'm blaming the narrator... :(:(

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