Okay, so I admit it. As an old dad, I love Percy Jackson.
None of that dark literary stuff. Just an action hero who is a kid and who is dyslexic. He is a hero to my 11-year-old dyslexic son.
So this morning, we started reading the newest book, Heroes of Olympus #2: The Son of Neptune, just out on Kindle....and I was transfixed by the big fight in the Berkeley Hills. I used to ride my bike there. Percy's giving it to the Gorgon as he looks out over the San Francisco Bay and ponders his demise.
The question that has bothered me throughout this series, though, is whether Percy Jackson is just a Harry Potter ripoff. Kid hero growing up with magical powers and all.
I think he is more. The writer, Rick Riordan, salts his work with lots of classical references -- and his books are wittier, more American, and less dark than those of J.K. Rowling, his richer, more popular contemporary.
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In some ways, the success of this most recent novel will likely cement Riordan's status one way or the other. I for one really like the guy -- and delight in the influence he is having on my kids.
Chuck Strouse is editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.