Tag Archives: Percy Jackson

Dude Review: The Son Of Neptune

by Richard

With The Son of Neptune, the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series, author Rick Riordan knocks yet another one right out of the park, away from the city and somewhere into the next continent over.

Seriously, this is one amazingly good book.

As long-time reader dudes know, I’m a big fan of the Percy Jackson series of books (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), which details the rise of Percy Jackson, a young demigod, the son of the Greek god Poseidon and a mortal woman. It seems the Greek gods are still busy getting busy, if you know what I mean, because there are a lot of half-blood demigods running around in the modern world. Not to mention more than a few monsters.

The previous series ended in a climactic battle to save the world. In an epilogue, we readers learned about another dangerous prophecy that might be coming true soon. Turns out, oddly, it started coming true in the current series of books. The first book in the Heroes of Olympus series (The Lost Hero) made a serious departure from form in that it didn’t actually star Percy Jackson. Well, problem solved here.

An amnesiac Percy Jackson stumbles into the deep end once again when he stumbles into a camp full of Roman demigods, to be distinguished from their Greek counterparts such as Percy. Although he doesn’t know much more than his own name, Percy is accepted into the Legion of descendants from the Roman aspects of the Greek gods. Danger in the form of giants leading a giant army of monsters threatens the camp, so Percy and two new friends, Hazel and Frank, must go on a quest to Alaska to defeat an unbeatable enemy and bring back the Legion’s standard, that just might be able to turn the tide in battle.

Rotating among the three friends, each serving as the narrator in various chapters, Riordan does a great job of letting us into their heads, bless their little confused hearts. Both Frank and Hazel carry some pretty heavy burdens, and some secrets that are even heavier. Both of them will be called upon to make sacrifices they don’t want to make.

Full of adventure, monsters and a fun-loving sense of humor, this is a fantastic book and a great continuation of the story. I basically tore through this thing in a day or so. It’s well worth your time in reading it and I highly recommend it to you and to any younger dudes and dudettes who love a good story. This is the good stuff.

I give it five (5) dudes out of five. Great, great book. Go get it. You won’t regret it.

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Dude Review: The Lost Hero

by Richard

The ancient gods of Western civilization have withdrawn from the world following the epic events detailed in the Camp Half-Blood books, starring Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), by author Rick Riordan.

Of course, just because the gods say they’ve withdrawn from their interactions with mortals, well, that doesn’t make it true. Knowing those gods as we do, through myth, legend and a great series of books, we can be pretty sure there’s still some godly meddling going on.

And there is.

In The Lost Hero, the first book of a new series called The Heroes of Olympus, we’re introduced to a whole bunch of new main characters, most notably Jason, a half-blood demi-god with little to no memory of his past, a strange tattoo on his arm, and a metaphorical target plastered on his back.

For now, let’s all get down on our knees and thank those self-same gods that Rick Riordan is back with another book set in the same universe as the magnificently wonderful Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. This truly is a cause for celebration. To me, the Percy Jackson books are what Harry Potter would have liked to have been if he had any ambition at all. They’re full of fantastically complex characters, fast plotting, tight action scenes and genuine emotional heft. These are books that all young dudes would love to read or have read to them.

Both my oldest (Sarcasmo) and youngest (Hyper Lad) young dudes loved these books. Zippy the Monkey Boy, who’s of the opinion that a book without pictures is a waste of paper, preferred to read the graphic novel version and leave it at that. His loss.

Anyway. Back to the book.

Riordan takes a bit of a chance with this book, consigning as he does, Percy Jackson to, if not limbo, then at least the literary equivalent thereof. That is, Percy Jackson does NOT star in these books. He’s talked about and missed, but he’s not actually on stage. The main player here is Jason, who’s memory begins on the back of a school bus on his way to a class trip with two people who may or may not be his girlfriend and best friend.

The action here is fast and furious, starting early and pausing only to let the reader catch his breath before barreling headlong into another adventure.

Jason, you see, isn’t like the other children of the gods who inhabit Camp Half Blood. In fact, his appearance at the summer camp for the children of the gods causes quite a bit of consternation among the staff there, and not a little bit of fear. But what is it about Jason’s very existence and attendance at the camp that’s causing this level of panic?

That, dudes, is the question. And it’s got a great answer. (Of course I had it figured out, but, then again, this is written with the younger dudes in mind. The fact that I and most other older dudes can enjoy it is just a happy bit of synchronicity.)

The Lost Hero is a fantastic read. If you’ve got a young dude or dudette who is even the tiniest bit interested in Greek and Roman mythology, likes fantastic adventure and well-developed characters, then you must get this book. Without question, this rates five (5) dudes out of five.

Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. Then suffer along with me until the next book in the series comes out.

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Dude Review: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Richard

So let’s talk about unrealistic expectations. And, no, I’m not talking about the fact that every girlfriend I’ve ever had has walked off in a huff never to reappear except in Youtube videos that involve a lot of laughing. (No I’m not bitter. Quit asking.) I’m talking about the fact that Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief was the greatest movie ever made in the history of cinema and will continue to be the gold standard for visual entertainment through the millennia. In my head, that is.

On screen? Well, it couldn’t help but come up short compared to the visual feast I and other readers concocted on the screens behind our eyelids. Yeah, I’m a little down on the actual celluloid product currently gracing screens around the country.

My youngest little dude, Speed Racer, and I had to fight my oldest little dude, George of the Jungle, — literally — to see who would get to read the fifth and final book in the first Percy Jackson series first. We all loved those books. Eventually, though, George of the Jungle, Zippy the Monkey Boy and a friend, all went to see the latest iteration of the full-moon curse, while Speed Racer, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Have Popcorn, and I checked out the olympics (no athletic competitions here though).

While Speed Racer and I were a little bit disappointed, his mom came out of the movie with a smile on her face and said she really enjoyed the flick. She’s not alone. Currently, the movie has close to a 50 percent positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, a movie rating site.

The movie follows a traditional path; boy with troubles learns he’s different, works hard to overcome problems, quests for something vitally important, finds out he’s the best evah and then wins against overwhelming odds. Sounds familiar because just about every filmmaker and novelist has read Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. The difference is in the execution.

In this movie, Percy Jackson discovers he’s the son of a Greek god and a human woman. He also finds out he’s not along. The Greek gods, it seems, remain a randy bunch. However, just as he discovers his true nature, he also finds out he’s been accused by the head god, Zeus, of stealing the most powerful weapon in the universe. To make matters worse, he has just a little more than 10 days to find the weapon, clear his name and prevent an all-out war of the gods. And all he’s armed with is a pen, which actually isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The acting, especially by the younger set playing Percy, Annabeth and Grover, is actually pretty good. The special effects could use a lot of work, really. The herky jerky motions of the centaurs were especially distracting. Still, I thought the actors all gave it the ol’ college try.

The problem, though, came in trying to fit in the important bits from a book that, if filmed scene for scene on a movie screen, would take probably four to five hours. The director and writers had to make some cuts. Unfortunately, what they ended up cutting out where some of the best parts of the book. They also took a lot of short cuts in character motivation. Meaning, characters would do things for any reason or no reason as long as it would advance the plot. I was especially disappointed by the behavior of certain characters when facing the snake-headed Medusa.

Leaving aside the whole it-was-better-in-my-head thing, the movie really was pretty good. Especially for those who came into it with no preconceptions at all.

I can easily recommend the movie for any young teen dudes and dudettes and younger. There’s no cursing or naked nudeness or anything like that. It’s got a good message and some exciting passages. I’ll give it three and a half (3.5) dudes out of five. Not bad.

I just hope they get a chance to make a movie of the second book. Now that one should be spectacular. I mean, here’s what I see happening. In the opening scene. . .

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