Januar 7, 2010
Because it’s Thor’s Day, and thunder and lightning kind of go together, and … oh screw it
Soooo…I saw this trailer:
And my first thought was along the lines of „SeanBeanisZeusOMGthisisgoingtobeabsolutelyawesome!!!!1!!!“.
My second thought was „Another book franchise in the hands of Chris Columbus…ah well.“
My third thought was „Hang on a minute…book franchise?“
So what did I do last night? (and I literally mean last night…from ten to about two in the morning, because that’s the smart course of action to take when you have three Franch tutees at your mercy the next day)
You guessed it – I read Book One of the franchise: „Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Lightning Thief“.
The writing is…not exactly brilliant, to put it mildly. First off, I dislike first person narratives intensely. They always and up in that nebular half-world between inner monologue and description…that’s not a pretty place for a story to be in unless it’s written by someone extremely capable, which Rick Riordan isn’t. On the one hand, you’d think that any writer choosing to write from the POV of a 12 year-old boy would make an effort to make his words sound like those of a 12 year-old boy. (They don’t…I’d say 14…there’s just a mature kind of sarcastic smartassery about him that I don’t buy from a boy who hasn’t even hit puberty.) But on the other hand this oversight (why not just make him 14? it wouldn’t make any difference to the narrative) gives us some of the more brilliant quips in the book. They were what kept me reading even when the plot had tied itself up in knots and fast-forwarded for no reason at all when things got interesting. (Shit – I’ve only got 56 pages left and they haven’t even reached L.A. yet!!! – that sort of fast-forwarding. It’s weird.)
But really, in between the classic AU tropes, the summer camp coming of age stuff, the somewhat predictable questing and the bits of exposition that made absolutely no sense whatsoever („You’re dyslexic because your brain is hardwired to Ancient Greek“ ?!?), this book was absolutely hilarious.
The chapters have titles like „Three Old Ladies Knit The Socks Of Death“, Dionysos („Mr D“) has been punished by his father Zeus to serve as training camp director for the demigods and drink only Diet Coke (I love that guy), Cerberus is adorable, and the elevator musik to Mount Olympus is a muzak version of „Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head“.
„You do know how to play pinochle?“ Mr. D eyed me suspiciously.
„I’m afraid not,“ I said.“I’m afraid not, sir,“ he said.
„Sir,“ I repeated. I was liking the camp director less and less.
„Well,“ he told me, „it is, along with gladiator fighting and Pac-Man, one of the greatest games ever invented by humans. I would expect all civilized young men to know the rules.“
„But a quest to …“ Grover swallowed. „I mean, couldn’t the master bolt be in some place like Maine? Maine’s very nice this time of year.“
The Chihuahua bared his teeth at me, foam dripping from his black lips.
„Well, son,“ the fat lady sighed. „If you insist.“Ice started forming in my stomach. „Urn, did you just call that Chihuahua your son?“
„Chimera, dear,“ the fat lady corrected. „Not a Chihuahua. It’s an easy mistake to make.“
„Have you any idea how much my kingdom has swollen in this past century alone, how many subdivisions I’ve had to open?“
I opened my mouth to respond, but Hades was on a roll now.
„More security ghouls,“ he moaned. „Traffic problems at the judgment pavilion. Double overtime for the staff. I used to be a rich god, Percy Jackson. I control all the precious metals under the earth. But my expenses!“
„Charon wants a pay raise,“ I blurted, just remembering the fact. As soon as I said it, I wished I could sew up my mouth.
„Don’t get me started on Charon!“ Hades yelled. „He’s been impossible ever since he discovered Italian suits! Problems everywhere, and I’ve got to handle all of them personally. The commute time alone from the palace to the gates is enough to drive me insane!“