Reminiscing on Percy Jackson

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Today’s #dearjune prompt, lightening, also takes the form of a book review/discussion.

I think of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series fondly. It reminds me of my middle school days- years five to seven – before I moved county’s and, thus, schools. I picture myself sitting in my school’s library in what was known as the ‘Beaumont Building’, running my fingertip along the shelf to find the Percy Jackson novel I was up to so I could check it out and deliver it home in my backpack to devour its pages ravenously. Shortly afterwards, I’d return the book and it’d be rinse and repeat.

When I think about this series, I think of comfort. These books were among many that I borrowed, read, bought and then reread. The mythology enticed me, the plots had me up too late under my covers and the characters spoke deeply to me. For my younger self, they were endearing and attractive – specifically Percy’s witty quips stick in my mind as one of the virtues of the series.

To this day the novels sit on my bookshelf, their pages a little worn-looking or at least well-loved. Often I would slide a volume from the shelf when I couldn’t sleep and let the familiar plot and characters lull me into a state of repose. For me, there are few better ways to escape that anxious restlessness of insomnia than rereading something so well-known. It becomes a process undeniably intimate. And repeated often enough, the novel becomes a little haven in itself.

Despite this, I regret not having kept up with the series. The last of the novels I read was ‘The Son of Neptune‘ and I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Part of me, even now, is curious about where Riordan’s cast of Gods, demi-gods and beasts ended up. What happens to Percy, Anabeth, Piper, Nico, Leo, Clarissa, Thalia and so on? Back in the day, I used to wait in anticipation for the next novel’s publication before eagerly getting my hands on it, but then something happened. I moved onto other things, other books, and let Riordan’s series fade in my memory.

I wish I had the time to revisit them now and to continue where I left off. Yet, at the same time, I have so much unexplored literature to get my teeth into- works that would benefit me so much more in terms of literary knowledge. It is such a shame knowing that my interest in classical Greek and Roman mythology has bloomed in the past months, having studied Ovid and Homer as part of my literature degree. In a module titled, Transformations, I was taught the intricacies of textual transformations and the rewriting of authoritative, canonical works. Percy Jackson fits this thematic core so well; it being a contemporary reworking of the Greek classics. It would be so interesting returning to the YA series with this newfound perspective but, again, if only I had the time…

I suppose this is ultimately every reader’s catch-22; the more we read, the more we realise that we can never read everything we set out to.

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