Percy Jackson and The Olympians: Ranked and Reviewed

Yes, I know I am a senior in high school. Yes, I know that this book series predominantly targets 9-12-year-old kids. Yes, I know that me spending hours rereading these five books as a 17-year-old is probably kind of sad. But, here we are.

“Percy Jackson and The Olympians” by Rick Riordan follows the fantasy story of Percy Jackson, a demigod hero that discovers he is the son of Poseidon, finds a community of demigods at a summer camp and goes on a series of adventures to prevent an evil Titan from rising and taking over Mount Olympus. These books were widely popular when I was in elementary school when I read them for the first time. Recently, now being a senior, I felt nostalgic and decided to reread some childhood favorites. These books were at the top of my priority list, so here is my opinion, 9 years from the first read, on the books ranked: worst to best. (spoiler-free)

Book #2: “The Sea of Monsters”

Honestly, there were only two main things I liked about this book. It introduced one of my favorite characters in the series through an amazing ending that perfectly set up “The Titan’s Curse”, and it was an ode to “The Odyssey” via its plotline. Other than that, I felt that the humorous writing was far weaker, the character development was slower and less engaging and the main plot of the series did not see much development. Despite this, many jokes and references in future books play off of “The Sea of Monsters,” so it is definitely not a book one can skip when reading the series (but according to readinglength.com, it only takes two hours and eight minutes to read, so not much time is wasted).

Book #1: “The Lightning Thief”

“The Lightning Thief” was a book that ultimately fulfilled its purpose. It served as an introduction to Percy Jackson, his interactions with other characters and his world of Greek mythology. In my opinion, this series becomes more engaging as the plot becomes more complex and intense; this is the main reason this book falls so far down the ranking. However, there were many memorable moments worth nothing. Riordan introduces us to his whimsical style of writing, and one scene is even set in St. Louis (I know I said no spoilers, but I can’t write this review without mentioning that one scene had Percy jumping off of the Gateway Arch and landing in the Mississippi River. I don’t think Riordan has ever been to St. Louis, or else he would know that it is physically impossible to clear a large grass walkway, a steep set of stairs and a river dock).

Book #4: “The Battle of the Labyrinth”

This is another book that heavily pulls from a fairly well-known myth. It uses the story of Icarus and Daedalus and utilizes their experience to further develop the impending battle against the evil Titan. There were multiple surprising plot twists, and a strong female took the lead on one of the quests. This book and “The Titan’s Curse” are very close in quality; I only opted to put “The Titan’s Curse” ahead because it has a little bit more of the humorous writing that Riordan incorporates into the rest of the books.

Book #3: “The Titan’s Curse”

“The Titan’s Curse” represents the walkway between the lighthearted first two books and the more serious last two books. This book develops and tests Percy’s love for his significant other, as the main plot of the book surrounds saving her. We are introduced to another child of a major Greek god that will serve an important role as well as a group of strong, independent women that many can look up to. Additionally, this book features the first major character death, proving that in the last two books, anything could happen.

Book #5: “The Last Olympian”

It may be kind of cliché to consider the last book of the series the best one, but I truly think that in this case, the last book is superior to the rest. “The Last Olympian” features Percy and his comrades in the final showdown against the evil Titan. It contains a plot twist that most would not see coming, beautiful relationship development between Percy and his significant other, a redemption arc, a satisfying conclusion and the perfect setup for the sequel series: “The Heroes of Olympus.”