A friend of mine has an entire bookcase of paperback books by Rick Riordan. In 2005, he began churning out books for kids 6th grade through high school, using his encyclopedic knowledge of Greek mythology, and turning that into fast paced, often funny, often scary, always interesting books featuring kids who are children of the gods, magicians or otherwise off the beaten path of American youth.
I agree with Sheila – these might be kids books. Then again, they might not. I’m sure enjoying them in an addictive, devouring kind of way. I get particular joy out of the ways Riordan slips in bits of arcane knowledge that I know as well, having been hooked on mythology since 7 or 8 years old.
I’m only on the first series of books – The Olympians, which has 5 books in it. I’ve now read the first 3, and have the Cincinnati Public Library finding the other two for me from their trove of books around the city. Percy (Perseus) Jackson, 12 years old when the series begins with the first book The Lightning Thief, is just discovering that he is a half-blood, a demigod. That fact has caused most of the many problems he has faced in his young life.
Arriving at the more-or-less safe Camp Half-Blood, somewhere on Long Island, he makes friends and enemies with other demigods, not sure which Greek deity is his parent. The second book is the Sea of Monsters, and the third, which I just finished this evening, is The Titan’s Curse.
The arcane creatures – pegasi, an ophiotaurus – and fellow students (Percy discovers he has a brother who is a cyclops) are well-drawn characters, with actions right in line with their descriptions, and interactions that make perfect sense in a magical deity-filled world.
For fun, for pleasure, for well-plotted writing, and light summer reading (or stressed-out winter reading), you might give these a try.