“A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don’t need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.” So begins Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic–and sarcastic asides–to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who’s who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. “If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that.” Dramatic full-color illustrations throughout by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco make this volume–a must for home, library, and classroom shelves–as stunning as it is entertaining.”
This book was hilarious, beautiful and made me learn a lot about the gods at the same time. I really wish I had this book when I was still studying greek mythology, because it would have made it a lot easier, and a lot more fun.
The book begins with Percy talking us through the rule of the primordial gods and the titans, and how the titans defeated their dad Ouranos. After that, he tells us about the birth of the gods and how they defeated Kronos. This is al wrapped up in about 2 chapters, and after this, every chapter is fully deticated to an Olympian god, Hades and Persephone. Each chapter tells us about the god: the birth, their ‘most noticable deeds’, a bit of their love life and their children. It provides you with a lot of information about the gods without making you feel like you’re reading a textbook, and it’s perfect for anyone who is even remotely interested in Greek mythology or who just loves Percy.
Even though Greek mythology is very complicated and weird, Rick Riordan figured out a way to tell it in quite a simple way. There are also a lot of different versions of these stories, but Mr. Riordan only discussed one version, which made things a lot more clear. He always chose the version of the story that made more sense.
The artwork in this book was absolutely beautiful, and it helped me visualize the story, because, honestly, it’s quite hard for me to visualize baby Hermes stealing a herd of cows from Apollo, for example. The book had a full-page illustration in every chapter, and small illustrations scattered throughout the book. This made the book a lot easier to read, because the huge pages were quite intimidating at times, and it wasn’t awful to look at either.
What I loved about this book was that, even though it was middle grade and greek mythology is full of murders and sex, Rick Riordan didn’t try to sugar-coat it. He made it clear that the gods are scumbags, and also gives you a bit of life advice at the same time, like “Pro tip: if you’re attacked by a creep, it’s never your fault. Tell somebody.” or while talking about Dionysus, Percy tells you to never drink wine because it’s bad for you.
Because this is a middle-grade book, the sex wasn’t discussed very openly. I don’t think the word ‘sex’ even appeared in this book, because Rick Riordan or, eh, Percy used words like ‘hanky-panky’,’cuddling’ or simply said ‘a while later’, and I think this was a good solution. The murders were also discussed in a ‘middle-grade way’, so no blood or gore. I personally liked this a lot, because greek myths/stories are usually very bloody and that usually makes me feel a bit sick.
Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I loved it, and I need to pick up the illustrated edition of Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes soon!