Welcome to the world of Greek Gods and demons. No I am not taking you all to Greece or anywhere. Rather I am taking you on a journey of adventure and fantasy with our hero Percy Jackson. You may ask who this Percy Jackson is. So let me first introduce him. He is the protagonist of the Percy Jackson Series which happened to be the books chosen for discussion at the Habitat Children’s Book Forum. By now you all must be well acquainted by the forum and the work it does for children. The forum aims at keeping alive the love for books and reading among children. We have come to a point where books are being taken over by e-books and computers. It’s essential for children to retain and develop love for books. This is where the forum plays a pivotal role in bringing fun and reading together. It has kindled the love for books in many children who now have accepted books as friends for life. I will not bore you further. Let’s embark on the ride to Camp Half-Blood .
On February 13th HCBF organized a fun discussion for children age 10+. Seven students from our school participated in this. So let’s get started with the books.
The Lightning Thief
The Lightning Thief is the first book in the series. It was released on June 28, 2005.Percy Jackson is a twelve year old boy diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). After going on a field trip and being attacked by his math teacher, he finds out that he is the son of a Greek god. He is sent to Camp Half-Blood , a camp for children with a Greek god as a parent, located off Long Island. Not long after he arrives, Poseidon, the sea god, claims Percy as his son. Percy is accused of stealing Zeus’ thunderbolt. He is given ten days to return the thunderbolt to Mount Olympus in order to stop a war between the gods from starting, and save his mother, who has been held hostage in the Underworld.
The Sea of Monsters
The Sea of Monsters is the second installment in the series. It was released on May 3, 2006.In this book, the shortest novel of the series, Percy’s empathy link kicks in when he has a dream which is the reality of Grover the satyr, who has been kidnapped and taken to an island in the Sea of Monsters, a dangerous sea that is almost impossible to pass through getting out alive. Percy, Annabeth, and his new half-brother Tyson the cyclopes go and try to not only save Grover, but retrieve the Golden Fleece, the only thing that can stop Thalia’s Tree from dying and revealing Camp Half-Blood vulnerable to an attack by the Titans and other monsters.
The Titan’s Curse
The Titan’s Curse is the third installment in the series. It was released on April 1, 2007.Grover has gone undercover to a school in search for half-bloods, and finds two powerful siblings, Nico and Bianca di Angelo. While on this mission, they are attacked by a manticore, and then the Hunters of Artemis arrive just in time to help. Annabeth falls off a cliff in an attempt to kill the manticore, and Percy soon learns that somehow she survived and has been captured by Luke. Also, Bianca di Angelo has joined the Hunt and leaves Nico at camp. Soon after arriving at camp, Percy learns that Artemis herself has been captured too. Percy, Grover, Thalia, Bianca, and Zoë Nightshade (Artemis’ lieutenant) go on a quest to rescue them. They learn that Atlas has escaped his torment at the Mountain of Despair on California’s Mount Tamalpais, and is intent on stopping the heroes from success. They defeat him, but not before losing both Hunters in the quest. At the solstice, Thalia replaces Zoë as Artemis’ lieutenant. As soon as they return, Nico is told about Bianca’s death, and blames Percy. He runs away, and Percy realizes that Nico is a son of Hades. At first Percy, Annabeth, and Grover think that this goes against the promise of the Big Three, which is to never have demigod children, but then they remember that Bianca had told them that she and Nico were stuck in the Lotus Resort & Casino for possibly decades. Percy now has a new enemy in Nico, son of Hades.
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Battle of the Labyrinth, released on May 8, 2008, is the fourth book in the series.After being attacked by monster cheerleaders at his new school, Goode, Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood and learns about “The Labyrinth”, part of the palace of King Minos in Crete that, according to Greek mythology, was designed by Daedalus. During a game of capture the flag, Annabeth and Percy find an entrance into the Labyrinth. Percy soon learns that Luke had used the entrance and will lead his army through the Labyrinth straight into the heart of camp. To get into the Labyrinth, Percy has to find the Delta Symbol (Δ) on a passageway, touch it, and then enter the Labyrinth to find Daedalus.
Using the Labyrinth, Percy tries to find Daedalus so Luke cannot get Ariadne’s string, thereby foiling Luke’s invasion. He gets the help he needs from a mortal girl named Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who proves herself by hitting Kronos in the eye with a blue plastic hairbrush. Kronos finds out that Nico di Angelo is a son of Hades and also could be the child of the prophecy. Luke reaches Daedalus and gets Adriadne’s string. Using the magical instrument, he leads his army and attacks camp. Grover comes to the rescue and causes a Panic to scare away the enemy. After the battle, Daedalus sacrifices himself to close the labyrinth, which is tied to his life.
The Last Olympian
The Last Olympian, the fifth book in the Percy Jackson series, was released on May 5, 2009.Percy Jackson and his friends fight in a war resembling the original war between the Greek gods and the Titans and in a final battle with the powerful Titan, Lord Kronos. They ultimately defeat Kronos in the battle and Olympus is saved.
The gods grant Percy, Grover, Annabeth, and Tyson each a reward. Tyson becomes the General of the Cyclops army and the weapon they grant him of his own request is a “stick” (a.k.a. club). Grover receives a seat on the Council of Cloven Elders. Annabeth will be in charge of rebuilding Olympus . Percy is offered the granting of one wish as his reward, and he is told he can choose immortality. Instead, seeing all the damage done, Percy makes the gods promise on the River Styx that they will recognize all of their children by the time the children turn 13. He also asks them to build cabins for the minor gods like Hecate and Morpheus, which is at the request of another demigod, Ethan, who was killed during the battle, and whose mother is Nemesis, the goddess of revenge and balance.
Rachel becomes the Oracle of Delphi, and Percy and Annabeth share a kiss. Afterward, the other campers dunk them in the lake and Percy makes an air bubble, in which they share an underwater kiss. The story concludes when Annabeth and Percy race down the hill at Camp Half-Blood and for once, Percy does not look back.
The programme began with an introduction to Greek mythology and the various Gods like Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Hades, Aphrodite and so on. This was followed by a quiz based on the series. It was surprising to see that the children knew everything about the book. It felt as if they lived with the characters. The day concluded with the children writing on the given topics: A day in the life of Percy Jackson, or A day in the life of a Greek God.
The event was thoroughly enjoyed by the kids. And the end was met with disappointment by the children. When fun and books come under one roof the day should never end. The highlight of the discussion was that it’s easy to read about Greek Gods because unlike our mythologies the gods are unreasonable and make mistakes like humans. They have their flaws in their character making them grey rather than all white.
Well Percy Jackson continues to win hearts as it’s not only Greek mythology but a coming of age story as well. The remarks of the students about the books are:
Sneha (VII –A): “Percy Jackson series is irresistible and fun for all, not just boys. Its like a joy ride that comes with surprises you can never guess.”
Siddhant (VI-D): “It was fun to have a peak at Greek mythology and see that even gods make mistakes. Our Gods are all white and we are scared of them. These Gods seem approachable.”
Dhruv (VI -B): “A must read for all. If you loved Harry Potter this will blow your mind away.”
Deven (VI-C): “I was unable to sleep for because of the suspense in the book. What you imagine or think never happens in it. It’s always the unexpected.”
P.S. Hope you all would bear with me for such a long report but what to do. I too am caught by the Percy Jackson fever. It’s a book which will make you burn the midnight oil and will destroy your sleep. So before you pick the book be sure you are ready to sacrifice your sleep and be haunted by the Greeks………