Percy Jackson & the Olympians
Percy Jackson & the Olympians, often shortened to Percy Jackson or PJO, is a pentalogy of fantasy adventure novels written by American author Rick Riordan, and the first book series in the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles. Five supplementary books, along with all of the books having graphic novels, have also been released. More than 69 million copies of the books have been sold in more than 35 countries.
U.K. logo for Percy Jackson and the Olympians (as the series is known there)
|Cover artist||John Rocco (from 2006 or 2007)|
|Genre||Fantasy, Children’s Fiction, adventure|
|Publisher||Disney Hyperion (US)|
Miramax Books (US, first edition)
Penguin Books/Puffin (UK, AU, NZ)
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book|
|No. of books||5|
|Followed by||The Heroes of Olympus|
As of October 28, 2011, the series has been on The New York Times Best Seller list for children's book series for 245 weeks. The first book was adapted into a film titled Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief in 2010, which was commercially successful, but received mixed reviews (because of the change in the sequence of various scenes and events) from fans around the world. An adaptation of the second book, titled Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, was released in 2013.
Development for both The Lightning Thief and the Percy Jackson series commenced when Rick Riordan began making stories for his son Haley Riordan, who had at the time been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. His son, Haley, had been studying Greek mythology in second grade and requested that his father tell him bedtime stories based on Greek myths. When Rick Riordan ran out of myths, his son suggested that he would make up new stories using existing mythological characters and new ones. This led Riordan to create the fictional character of Percy Jackson and create the story of how he travels across the United States to recover Zeus' lightning-bolt. Haley suggested that he should turn that story into a book, and Riordan wrote the book over the next year despite being busy at that time.
Leaving his manuscript with his agent and editor for review, Rick Riordan presented the book to a group of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to read and critique. He gained their approval, and with their help, came up with the name of the book and created the way Percy's sword works. In 2004, the book was sold to Miramax Books for enough money for Riordan to quit his job and focus on writing. After it was released on 28 June 2005, it sold over 1.2 million copies. The book was released in multiple versions, including hardcover, paperback and audio editions. It has been translated into multiple languages and published all over the world.
The Lightning Thief
The Lightning Thief is the first book in the series and was released on July 1, 20, 2005.
Percy (seaweed brain) returns home for the summer vacation, wherein he and his mortal mother Sally Jackson, travel to their cabin in Montauk to take their mind off things and to escape Percy's stepdad. However, the trip is cut short after a series of harrowing incidents, such as being attacked by the Minotaur. Percy finds himself at Camp Half-Blood, a training camp for demigods like him. He discovers that he is a demigod, son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Percy also learns that his best friend, Grover Underwood, is actually a satyr (a half-goat, half-man), and that Zeus is accusing Percy of having stolen his master lightning bolt, the most powerful weapon in the universe. To clear his name, save the world from another war between the Olympian gods, and maybe even save his mother, Percy sets out to retrieve the lightning bolt from Hades, who is suspected of being the real thief. Thus, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth Chase, a daughter of Athena, start on a journey to the underworld, facing numerous mythological monsters on the way. After confronting an innocent Hades, they learn that their friend Luke Castellan, son of Hermes, is the real thief who stole the bolt to allow Kronos, the defeated king of the Titans from the past, a chance to rise again.
The book was adapted into a film by Chris Columbus and 20th Century Fox, under the title Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and was released on February 12, 2010.
The Sea of Monsters
The Sea of Monsters is the second installment in the series, released on April 1, 2006.
Camp Half-Blood is under attack when Thalia's tree, which guards the borders of the camp, is poisoned and slowly begins to die. In order to save the tree and the camp, someone must recover the Golden Fleece, which is somewhere in the Sea of Monsters. At the same time, Percy finds out that Grover, who has left on a quest to find the missing god Pan, has been captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus and that the Fleece is on Polyphemus' island. Together with Annabeth and his half-brother Tyson, a cyclops, Percy sets out to rescue Grover. Meanwhile, Clarisse La Rue, daughter of Ares, is sent on an official quest by Camp Half-Blood to retrieve the Fleece. The trip to the Sea of Monsters is long and hazardous and along the way the heroes encounter several dangers including Scylla and Charybdis, the sorceress Circe, the Sirens and their former friend Luke Castellan. Percy also learns about a prophecy from the Oracle about a child of one of the three most important gods (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades), also called "the Big Three", playing a vital part in the success or failure of the resurrection of Kronos the Titan-King and saving Olympus. The heroes eventually retrieve the Fleece and restore Thalia's tree but also unknowingly revive Thalia herself, daughter of Zeus, who had been turned into the tree by her father when she sacrificed herself for Annabeth and Luke to get safely to Camp Half-Blood years earlier.
The Titan's Curse
On a mission to rescue the half-bloods Bianca and Nico di Angelo ; Percy, Annabeth, Thalia and Grover are attacked by a Manticore and rescued by the goddess Artemis and her Hunters. However, Annabeth falls off a cliff while fighting the manticore and is said to be captured. Later, Artemis is captured by Luke's army while on the hunt for the Ophiotaurus, a cow-serpent monster that was foretold to bring the downfall of Olympus when its entrails are sacrificed to a fire. Her lieutenant Zoe Nightshade, daughter of Atlas, leads Bianca, Thalia, and Grover on a quest to save her. Percy, who was not invited to join the party, follows them on behalf of Nico Di Angelo, promising that he will do his best to protect his sister, Bianca. The others eventually find Percy, and he joins their group. They become the prey of skeletons, who chase them across the country. Bianca is able to kill one, which leaves the others mystified. Bianca later dies as they make their way across a godly junkyard. They find Annabeth with Luke and Artemis, who is holding up the sky. Percy then takes it from Artemis and they trick Atlas into his original position under the sky. Thalia replaces Zoe, who dies, as Artemis' lieutenant. Thalia's induction as a lieutenant of Artemis ensures that she will become immortal, never aging to 16, thus escaping the Great Prophecy and leaving Percy to fulfill it. They return to camp and Percy informs Nico about Bianca's death during the journey. Nico blames Percy for failing to protect her and runs away, only after causing skeletal warriors that invade the camp to fall into the dark void of the Underworld, thus alerting Percy to the fact that Hades is Nico (and Bianca)'s, father.
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Battle of the Labyrinth is the fourth installment in the series. It was released on May 6, 2008. Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson go on a quest to find Daedalus's workshop and (maybe) Ariadne's string, which Luke Castellan and his army are looking for too. A swordsman named Quintus is subbing for Mr. D, who is on a mission to get the minor gods to be on the gods' side of the war. Once they find the workshop, they find out that Quintus is actually Daedalus in his 5th body. Daedalus dies and then they go back to camp and have a battle with Luke's army. Casualties include Castor and Lee Fletcher. After the battle, they prepare for the Battle of Manhattan.
The Last Olympian
Percy Jackson learns that Kronos' forces are preparing to attack Olympus. Poseidon, Percy's father, decides that it is time for Percy to now fulfill the Great Prophecy. Seeking a way to defeat Kronos, Nico di Angelo tells Percy his plan, though Percy doesn't like it. Percy bathes in the River Styx, making his body invulnerable except one small chosen part of his body (the small of his back). Kronos leads a siege of New York City and puts its citizens to sleep. Percy leads the campers, Hunters, nature spirits, and centaurs to protect Mount Olympus from Kronos and his forces. While they protect Olympus, the gods hold down the monster Typhon as he makes his way to New York. Kronos, possessing Luke's body, forces his way into Olympus and battles Percy in Olympus' throne room. Typhon reaches New York but is defeated after the arrival of Poseidon's forces, led by Tyson. Annabeth is able to make Luke come back to his senses, and Percy gives him Annabeth's knife. Luke stabs himself in his mortal spot, his armpit (as he also was invulnerable from bathing in the River Styx) to destroy Kronos and save Mount Olympus, dying heroically. The gods reward Percy and his friends and offer him immortality. He rejects the offer but instead requests the gods to claim all their children and to have cabins for all the gods, including the minor ones. The Curse of the Oracle was bestowed by Hades when Zeus took his wife, and Rachel Elizabeth Dare becomes the next Oracle and recites the next Great Prophecy. The book finishes with Percy and Annabeth becoming an official couple, and ominous clouds looming over Rachel's next Great Prophecy. There are other series after this one called The Heroes of Olympus and The Trials of Apollo.
The Demigod Files
The Demigod Files, also written by Rick Riordan, is the first companion book to the series. It was released February 10, 2009, featuring three short stories, interviews with the campers, puzzles and pictures. It is set between The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian. The book received mixed reviews, with some reviewers criticizing the lack of substantial material and others commenting on the writing of the short stories. The stories are Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot, Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon, The Camper Interviews, and Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades. At the end of the book, there are portraits on the characters of the series.
The Ultimate Guide
The Ultimate Guide is a companion book, second to the series, released on January 19, 2010. This book has a magnetic cover and holographic character pictures that change into four different characters. Its 156 pages include trading cards, full-color diagrams, and maps. It also includes a dictionary of almost every monster Percy faces in the series, with pictures beside some, as well as various activities. The book tells of Percy Jackson's starting life as a half-blood, a tour of the Underworld by Nico di Angelo, the story of Sally Jackson's parents, and items used throughout the series. There is also a paperback version.
A graphic novel based on The Lightning Thief was published on October 12, 2010. It follows a shortened version of Percy's adventures in The Lightning Thief with full-color drawings. A graphic novel based on the second book in the series, The Sea of Monsters was released on July 2, 2013. Another graphic novel based on the third book, The Titan's Curse was released on October 8, 2013. The fourth book in the series, "The Battle of the Labyrinth"'s graphic novel was released on October 2, 2018. And the last book of the series, "The Last Olympian"'s graphic novel is to be released on August 13, 2019.
Demigods and Monsters
Demigods and Monsters is an unofficial companion book and was released on February 11, 2009. With an introduction by Riordan, it features essays written by various young adult authors that explore, discuss and provide further insight into the Percy Jackson series. At 196 pages, it also contains information on the places and characters of the series, as well as a glossary of Greek myths.
The Demigod Diaries
The Demigod Diaries contains four new stories with character interviews, illustrations of characters and more, puzzles, and a quiz. The four stories include the adventures of Thalia, Luke, and Annabeth, and others that precede the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and a first-person narrative from Percy's viewpoint. Set a month after the events of The Last Olympian and before he goes missing in The Lost Hero, Percy and Annabeth retrieve Hermes' stolen staff. One of the stories is written by Riordan's son, Haley, and revolves around one of the demigods who fought for Kronos during the Second Titan War and survived the battle in Manhattan. As a part of the spin-off The Heroes of Olympus series, The Demigod Diaries contain a story involving Jason, Leo, and Piper that recounts their time spent at Camp Half-Blood between The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.
The Lightning Thief received mostly positive reviews and won awards including the School Library Journal Best Book of 2005. The New York Times praised The Lightning Thief as “perfectly paced, with electrifying moments chasing each other like heartbeats”. Author Rick Riordan said of the various awards:
Like its predecessor, The Sea of Monsters won several prizes and received generally positive reviews as well. It sold over 100,000 copies in hardcover by the time it was released in paperback and reviewers have praised the storyline, themes and the author's style of writing. Matt Berman, of Common Sense Media, praised the book, saying “The Percy Jackson series continues to be pure fun, with the author doing nearly everything right to produce a book that few kids will be able to resist.” Kirkus reviewed The Battle of the Labyrinth as, “This volume can stand alone, but no one will be able to read just one […] look no further for the next Harry Potter, meet Percy Jackson as legions of fans already have.” As of December 11, 2019, it has been on the New York Times Children's Series Best Seller List for 445 weeks.
Some critics, especially Christian critics of Riordan have disapproved of the emphasis on pagan gods in his books. Riordan responds to these complaints by reminding his readers that first and foremost, "The Lightning Thief explores Greek mythology in a modern setting, but it does so as a humorous work of fantasy. I’m certainly not interested in changing or contradicting anyone’s religious beliefs. Early in the book, the character Chiron makes a distinction between God, capital-G, the creator of the universe, and the Greek gods (lower-case g). Chiron says he doesn’t want to delve into the issue of God, but he has no qualms about discussing the Olympians because they are a "much smaller matter."
Critics such as The Calico Critic have also disagreed with the fusion of Greek mythology and modern American culture. They have stated that it is difficult to believe "the reality of the tale", claiming that "monsters in the St. Louis Arch" and "the entrance to Olympus in New York" were unimaginable, despite Riordan's explanations of why he chose these certain locations.
However, studies show that overall, readers appreciated the mundane language, witty tone and aesthetic plot of the novels, as well as how it introduced Greek mythology to them.
In other media
These films have been made from the books:
Chris Columbus directed and produced Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief for 20th Century Fox through 1492 Pictures. The film was released in 2010 in the United States, Canada and in the United Kingdom on February 12 and in Australia on February 11. Columbus has stated that he was drawn to directing the Percy Jackson movie because it gave him the "opportunity to do a movie that we haven't really seen before for this generation. When I was a kid, there were movies that dealt with Greek mythology, which in terms of visual effects was really primitive. So I thought this was an opportunity to deal with Greek mythology which children and adults all over the world are fascinated by and it was not a new genre but a new avenue, dealing with mythological creatures in a contemporary setting."
Chris Columbus stated that there will not be a third movie any time soon because Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters wasn't the greatest success according to Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Logan Lerman later clarified saying the films could still continue, depending on what Fox has planned.
The third film, Percy Jackson: Titan's Curse, was planned but never made it to production.
To accompany the film, a video game had also been produced. Michael Splechta gave it a 6/10, saying "Percy Jackson & the Olympians might not make a splash when it comes to movie tie-in games, but fans of turn-based combat might find some redeeming qualities in this otherwise bare-bones game."
On January 12, 2017, A Series of Unfortunate Events story editor Joe Tracz wrote a new Off Broadway musical adaptation of Percy Jackson tale “The Lightning Thief. This musical is now going on a national tour in 2019.
Possible television series
On September 30, 2019, We Got This Covered announced that a television adaptation of the series for streaming is in development. Unlike the film version, the series will be more faithful as the leads will be more age-appropriate. It is currently unknown as to which streaming service it will air on, but since the Walt Disney Company owns the rights to the series due to its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, it will likely air on Disney+. On December 12, 2019, author Rick Riordan revealed on Twitter that he had begun meeting with Disney about a possible adaptation, but stated that it was "way too early to know what if anything might happen", but said he would "keep at it".
The Heroes of Olympus
The Heroes of Olympus is a sequel series, also based on Camp Half-Blood and the Greek and Roman mythologies. The first book The Lost Hero was released on October 12, 2010. Like the first series, there are five books. The official website requires a password, later revealed as newhero. On December 1, 2010, the site went live.
The second book in The Heroes of Olympus, The Son of Neptune, was released in October 2011. The third book, The Mark of Athena, was released on October 2, 2012. The fourth book, The House of Hades, was released on October 8, 2013. The fifth and final book of The Heroes of Olympus series, The Blood of Olympus, was released on October 7, 2014.
The Trials of Apollo
Riordan is currently at work on yet another follow-up series to The Heroes of Olympus book series titled The Trials of Apollo, which is a sequel series to both Percy Jackson & the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus. The first installment titled, The Hidden Oracle (2016), features Apollo and his journey after being cast down from Olympus. The second book titled The Dark Prophecy was released in May 2017. The third book titled The Burning Maze was released on May 1, 2018. The 4th book of the series, The Tyrant's Tomb was released on September 24, 2019.
The Kane Chronicles
The novels are set within the same fictional universe as the three previous book series, and is narrated alternately in first-person by the two protagonist-siblings Carter and Sadie Kane. The siblings are descended from the two pharaohs Narmer and Ramses the Great and are powerful magicians. They and their friends are forced to contend with Egyptian gods and goddesses who still interact with the real world. The series includes a trilogy consisting of The Red Pyramid (2010), The Throne of Fire (2011), and The Serpent's Shadow (2012), as well as three crossover books with the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
The main protagonist Magnus Chase, son of the Vanir god of fertility Frey, narrates the novel in first person. He is a cousin of Annabeth Chase, a main character of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series, who links the two series together. The series consists of a trilogy of books, The Sword of Summer (2015), The Hammer of Thor (2016), and The Ship of the Dead (2017).
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Percy Jackson & the Olympians|
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series site from publisher Disney (readriordan.com)
- Rick Riordan Myth Master at publisher Penguin Books (UK)
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians official Persian-language website percy-jackson.ir (archived 2010)
- Teacher's Guide at Educational Resources from Rick Riordan (rickriordan.com)
- Rick Riordan at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database