Good characters make a strong book


Hannah Miller

The "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" 5-book series lines the bookshelf in Hannah Miller's room.


A good story should immerse you in the world created by the characters, setting and plot of the book. Fictional or not, stories should not necessarily be judged based on whether or not they’re good literature- consisting of a tasteful blend of figurative language, complex character development or question-evoking themes- but instead by their ability to enrapture a reader. The Percy Jackson series is a childhood favorite of mine, but it is a good story that can therefore be enjoyed by readers of all ages.


The Percy Jackson series, written by Rick Riordan, are the first books that really got me into reading. They are a modern young adult classic, unfortunately overshadowed by Harry Potter. The five-book series is a leisurely read, written around a sixth-grade reading level, and yet I still get sucked into the books as a 16-year-old. In fact, the lower reading level is one of the great things about them; a combination of simple flow with a captivating storyline leads to a quick and easy read.


The characters are yet another pleasing part of these books; you can’t help but wanting to know all of them in real life, even the bad ones. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a character that isn’t so complex you need to keep a notebook beside you to take notes. The series spans over the main characters’ teenage years, following them from the ages of 12 to 18. Six-year-olds and 24-year-olds alike can relate to the sense of humor presented, though. Riordan gives his characters a sense of nonchalance and sarcasm and instantly makes them likeable.


Even non readers will agree that these books are enjoyable in comparison to school assignments. The main character is what you’d call an underdog: he was a loser in school, lives in a struggling household with a single mother and he has dyslexia. Little does he know that this is all because his father was a Greek God, meaning he is a demigod. The book takes the reader on his journey through challenges presented to him around every corner in this newly discovered world. Reading Percy Jackson arguably teaches people more about Greek Mythology than the Odyssey, just because it’s so much more interesting.


I own all five of these books, and if I’m ever feeling in a slump I will pick one up and thumb through it. Regardless of whether it is considered “good literature,” this series is a classic. Readers will find themselves connected to the characters and their lives, and every page will provide a good story.

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