Thursday, 2 October 2014

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson, half-boy, half-god, and one whole dramatic queen when he describes about… wait for it… Greek gods. Duh, what else would that demigod talk about anyway? Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods is a collection of short stories, but they are not really Percy’s short stories. If I may put it, the short stories are basically ancient Greek mythology being retold by Percy, and boy, Percy makes a really good storyteller.

“Greek mythology? It’s boring!” you said. You know what? Pray that Zeus won’t zap those butts of yours. Greek mythology is a serious matter and there are thousands and thousands of stuff related to Ancient Greece out there, be it stories of gods and goddesses, creatures, demigods and mortals. I won’t be surprise if Giorgos Sampanis is a demigod… (okay, haha, he’s not… Who’s that you ask? He’s a really awesome Greek pop artist. Yeah, a Malaysian listening to a Greek artist. What gives?).

So, this novel is mainly about the creation of the Earth by the Protogenoi or the primordial entities, the first entities that come into existence, followed by the Titans, and finally (and this group plays a large bulk of the book), our peaceful, people-loving Twelve Olympians… okay, I’m just kidding. They are not peaceful or people-loving. Many other gods and goddesses and heroes and immortals and mortals and nymphs and satyrs and giants and… well, a lot of stuff is also touched by Percy.

Honestly, knowing Percy Jackson from his original series and the sequel series, Heroes of Olympus, Percy is never, never, never a guy who likes to be serious (unless when he’s fighting, wielding his Anaklusmos or bidding the water to do his commands). Rick Riodan always makes Percy Jackson likable with his wit and attitude. We don’t learn much about Greek mythology in our schools, and usually the teaching of History subject in our school system is ughhhhh, but Percy, with all his sass, sarcasm, funny anecdotes, and rather ingenuous dialogues manages to bring the stories of Greek mythology in an all-around fun and comedic manner. Forget those Homer or Herodotus-styled prose. Percy is a modern kid, and like a modern kid he brings to us these tales. He even employs a little bit of dramatic license. I mean, of course, they didn’t have cell phones, Facebook, One Direction, or Justin Bieber back in Eighth-Century-Before-Common-Era Greece, but you can bet that the mythical characters all behave like they live in the current time. It’s a totally hilarious, non-boring way to learn about Ancient Greek myths. Me? I’m smitten with Percy, so yeah… uhhhhh, moving on…

Of course, I need to tell you that Greek stories can be a bit, mature I supposed? Besides, we’re talking about Greek gods here. So, expect rape, or murder, or incest, or revenge, or just about anything bad, but as usual, Percy Jackson (and Rick Riordan) describes those acts in a total family-friendly manner. Also, there are some community messages and really good advice on life, because hey, these Greek tales are also stories of human endeavours, failures, mistakes, and triumphs. Ancient tales are reminders of our way of living, even if they are told in a highly super-exaggerated manner involving immortal beings.

Speaking about ancient tales, Greek myths are a bunch on messed-up stuff! From this novel, I learn that Greek gods and goddesses were born out of every imaginable way you can think of (heck, I even think if bread toaster existed during those days, maybe a Greek god would be borne by jumping out of it. God of Toasters… think about it). Also, be prepared to be changed into either plants or animals of you ask for help from the gods. Don’t forget that they like to kill humans who do wrong things from their own perspectives, even if the humans are actually innocent. Oh one more thing, the book is HEAVY!!! I felt like asking a satyr to hold it for me while I’m reading it.

Anyway, this book is a whole pack of smart-arse-ness courtesy of Percy. Pick this thing up and sacrifice a cow, or maybe a goat, or a chicken or… you know, I’ll just leave it to your own decision.

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