So I decided on Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Before I thought about reviewing the series, I checked out Goodreads ('cause ya know they have lots of good book review information!) and it was interesting to see what other people had to say about the books. Seems like they were very polarizing - either you liked them or you hated them, but there wasn't a lot of middle ground. It seems like most of the criticism came from the fact that they were a lot like Harry Potter in a way. Which is good - I really LIKE the Harry Potter books! And yes, now that I read that, I can see how they are similar. (A "chosen one" spoken of in prophecy, someone with special gifts and abilities that doesn't realize it yet, a special school (in this case a camp) for special children, a smart female sidekick and a dorky male one...a lot of similarities.) But I didn't pick up on them as I read or think, "Hey, I'm reading a Harry Potter clone!"
The books were written for children ages 8-12, and for that they were wonderful! (I happen to be considerably older than 12 and I really liked them!) It was a fun introduction to Greek mythology. My only complaint is I wish there had been a pronunciation guide at the back of the book...some of those Greek names were AWFUL to sound out, and would have been even harder for young kids! A picture of a family tree may have been good to stick in the back too...I had a hard time remembering who everyone was and how they were related. Guess I'll have to go look them up online - which may have been the intent all along!)
I really struggled to like the main characters. The action was good and the story line was fine. I just really struggled to get into the characters. And maybe that is just me speaking from an adult perspective - maybe the intended audience doesn't really care of the characters are well-defined and deep! But as a grown up I wanted to care a little bit more about them. The first book starts out with the three main characters, (Percy, Annabeth and Grover) and then other characters are added as the series progresses. Some of them are great (Percy's cyclops brother was my favorite!) and others kind of get lost (I had two of the new girls confused with each other for the longest time!)
I can't wait for my girls to read these books (although I think if I had boys, they would like them better! Especially boys that didn't like to read! These are great books to get young boys interested in reading!). I'm not sure they are up to the Harry Potter standard (although maybe if they were longer like Harry Potter there would be room for more character development) but they are a fun, imaginative adventure series and well worth the read!