Boozy Books: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Welcome back booze-lovin’, bookwormin’ Nerd Cacti followers! It’s Friday once again which means we’re on a mission to get your weekend off to the best possible start… With books and booze!

This week (clears throat) may I recommend the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.

I can literally hear what you’re thinking:

Isn’t that a series for kids?

Those movies were dreadful…

My response to the above is yes. Let me explain.

Much like Harry Potter these books were meant for a younger readership and – also like Harry Potter – they didn’t translate particularly well on-screen. OK, y’know what? NO. I take that back. Harry Potter did just fine on-screen in comparison to the ludricous mangling of Riordan’s Olympians series. So there. In either case I think you’ll join me in my sentiment that the movies are simply no comparison to the books. End tangent.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a series of five books that begins with The Lightning Thief. Beyond that are: The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. While the whole series does follow an overarcing struggle against evil I am going to focus tonight’s blog a little more directly on The Lightning Thief for the sole purpose of setting you on your way. Trust me, if you have any interest in book one you will be hooked and I really won’t have to sell you on the rest anyway.

We begin with a troubled youth named Percy Jackson. Well, not troubled exactly… a lot of weird stuff happens to him resulting in his expulsion from multiple schools and he doesn’t know who his father is; but he’s a good kid. We learn soon enough that the strange happenings he experiences are due to his lineage. Because Percy Jackson is a demigod. (Oooooooh). Of the Greek variety. (Aaaaaaah). Yep, if you’re up on your Greek mythology you’re gonna enjoy the fun, modern twist Riordan puts on the stories of old.*

*Note: although he does tweak a few things for the purpose of storytelling, Riordan does a pretty decent job of holding true to the standard mythology. You hear that Disney? (Just to be clear: I adore Hercules. Happy, smiling, adoring Hera and all.)

So anyway, Percy’s dad turns out to be a Greek God (I won’t tell you which, but it’s super easy to piece together), his best friend is actually a satyr, and one of his old teachers is a centaur. He finds himself at a summer camp for demigods called Camp Half-Blood where he makes friends and learns he is not alone. Things are looking up. Until they aren’t. Let the adventure begin! Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen and Percy must find and return it in order to relieve his father from the blame. He then proceeds to fight mythological creatures and work his way towards his ultimate badassery. It’s really quite fun and written at a rather humourous clip. Keep in mind, it was originally intended for young adults, so yeah, it’s an easy read. BUT FUN!

Now seeing as the main characters are all under the legal drinking age there are no obvious pairings to be found within the text. Or are there? Dionysus makes an appearance as the Director of Camp Half-Blood and although he’s enduring a hundred year hardship (banned from drinking his beloved wine) he has taken solace in diet sodas. Would I drink diet soda as my pairing? Certainly not. Would I drink any and all wine as a toast to poor, fun-loving Dionysus? Absolutely.

We are also given an interesting conceptualization of Nectar, AKA the drink of the gods. In myth it can only be consumed by gods, but in Riordan’s world demigods can have a teeny tiny little bit for healing purposes.  It is suggested that Nectar tastes like whatever the drinker wants or likes. Percy finds that it tastes like his mom’s cookies (d’awww). So in honor of Percy’s particular flavor of Nectar, I present the Chocolate Chip Bailey’s Milkshake. No need to thank me.

So happy reading and happy drinking and don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for another exciting installment of Shakespeare Saturday!



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