Where to start? There's so much good stuff to say. Well, why do we love the Percy Jackson books so much? Because of the action and the adventure. Yet there's one thing more. The one thing that Mr. Riordan does better than anyone else--the humor! And that's what this book has LOTS and LOTS of! This book is LOL with capital L's. I Laughed completely out Loud while reading this thing. So will you! I mean, just look at some of the title chapters--"The Golden Age of Cannibalism"---"Athena Adopts a Handkerchief"---"Apollo Sings and Dances and Shoots People"--"Dionysus Conquers the World with a Refreshing Beverage." How great are those? And then you get into the stories of those old Greek myths with heaps of Percy's trademark humor. For instance, when Demeter, the goddess of agriculture disguises herself as an old woman and takes care of a mortal baby. "She sang him nursery songs from Mount Olympus, like 'The Itsy-Bitsy Satyr' and 'I'm a Little Cyclops.'" Or when Apollo goes to slay Python, the giant snake and says:
Python opened his eyes. "What do you want?"
"To sing you a song about my awesomeness."
"Oh, please, just kill me now."
"Okay!" Apollo drew his bow and shot the snake between the eyes.
There are so many more examples. Just wait until you hear Athena and Arachne trash talk either other before the weaving contest. But there's more than just humor. We must remember that these old myths were stories. There are still reasons we tell them thousands of years later. They are still great stories. They still excite and move us. We want to find out what happens next. Take a look at the story of Typhoeus. Or the story of Persephone. And no one tells a story like Mr. Riordan. This book will keep your attention, make you laugh, make you thrill, make you disgusted (some of those gods were disgusting--more about that in a minute) or do all those things at the same time. I haven't enjoyed a Rick Riordan book this much since I first read The Lightning Thief these many years ago and a whole new world of enjoyment opened up for me. This is it, guys! Get to your local library and check one out.
BTW, did I mention the totally great illustrations by the fantastic John Rocco, the guy who's done the Percy Jackson book covers? Well, he has created the absolutely perfect pictures for this book. Drama, awsomeness, creepiness, more awesomeness. That's what you'll see in these illustrations.
OK, I do need to add a NOTE TO THE YOUNGER READER GUYS AND OR THE GROWNUPS. If you are a seven or eight or even a nine-year old or if you're the parent of one, this may not be the book for you. These old Greek myths dealt with some revolting stuff, like the stories dealing with the Titans and their encounters with the gods. And the gods themselves were pretty disgusting at times, willing to transform poor mortals into yucky things or put them in awful tortures for the pickiest reasons. And they spent most of their time chasing around for...well, you know. The brilliant Mr. Riordan presents all those stories entirely appropriately for older kids. I'd call them PG rated. If you are or have a younger reader guy, you might want a book such as D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, a G-rated book and an oldie but goodie and maybe the best intro to Greek mythology for kids ever.
All that said, however, reading this book has been some of the most fun I've had all year and that's why it gets--
The Iron Guy Seal of Approval as One Terrific Book
(Not to mention it's a really big book and great for building up your muscles!)