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Reunite with Percy Jackson in “Chalice of the Gods”

Reignite your love for Percy Jackson with “Chalice of The Gods,” a heartwarming and nostalgic adventure that explores the challenges of growing up while holding onto the magic of childhood.

As a devoted fan of the original series, just hearing the name ‘Percy Jackson’ sends me back to my childhood, where each book was an exhilarating escape into a world of adventure and myth. 

When I got wind of the news that “Chalice of the Gods,” a continuation of the “Percy Jackson & The Olympians” series, was set to hit the shelves at the end of September, I could hardly contain my excitement. Finally, after years of following different character arcs, I would get the chance to hang out with my favorite demigod again, in a setting similar to that of the original series that captured my heart as a child. 

Now, after reading, my advice for readers contemplating a return to Percy Jackson’s world is simple: take the plunge!

Reading “Chalice of the Gods” feels like catching up with an old friend who can still make you smile. The book deserves a solid 4 out of 5 stars for capturing the timeless essence of the series and providing a delightful return to Percy’s adventures. 

 However, casual fans beware, as I would argue that it is necessary to read both the “Percy Jackson & The Olympians,” and “The Heroes of Olympus,” sagas to fully appreciate this book. While the story is self-contained and does not technically hinge on the plot set-up of a previous book, the pages overflow with inside jokes and callbacks to moments in both series that would make casual readers scratch their heads. 

Furthermore, if readers are expecting an action-packed fantasy novel, they are bound to be disappointed, as the novel offers more slice-of-life entertainment than the earth-shattering events of previous books. 

But for readers who grew up with Percy Jackson and are simply yearning to rekindle the magic of their youth by spending light-hearted time with beloved characters, I promise, “Chalice of the Gods” won’t let you down. 

According to Rick Riordan, the decision to pen a new Percy Jackson novel is, at its core, a celebration of the impending Percy TV show. Disney Publishing had the idea to create companion books for the show, and “Chalice of the Gods” materialized in response—a heartfelt nod to the dedicated fans who’ve been yearning for a remarkable adaptation and containing a heartwarming dedication to the Disney+ cast, including Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Jeffries. 

 Even more exciting, this book may introduce a new trilogy, exploring Percy’s senior year of high school and his quest for crucial college recommendation letters. Riordan has already teased the sequel, “Wrath of the Triple Goddess.”  

What stands out most is the book’s exploration of character growth and evolving narratives. Percy, now older and wiser, faces personal challenges that resonate more profoundly than the world-threatening crises of earlier books. 

Narrated through Percy’s perspective, the story unfolds during his senior year, providing a unique glimpse into his life between the events of “The Heroes of Olympus” and “The Trials of Apollo.” The plot centers around Percy’s mission to secure a letter of recommendation from Mount Olympus for his application to New Rome University. His task? To help Ganymede, Zeus’s cup-bearer, retrieve his lost chalice—an artifact that can transform mortals into gods. 

Joined by Grover and Annabeth, Percy embarks on this latest quest, traversing the streets of New York City and reuniting with familiar faces, including his mother, Sally Jackson. 

 Annabeth, Percy’s steadfast partner, continues to shine in a genuinely supportive and uplifting partnership. In contrast to previous books, the narrative has shifted to focus on Grover, a character often overshadowed in earlier books. The book offers many heartwarming glimpses of the trio and highlights the depth of their friendship in a manner that refreshingly reflects the themes of the first book.

However, there are reasons I couldn’t give the book 5 stars.  I found Percy’s character occasionally lacking his trademark sarcasm and wit, feeling forced or slapstick at times in his uncharacteristic responses to certain situations. Percy’s hard-earned abilities and competency occasionally seemed to be minimized for comic effect, while his ignorance was exaggerated to serve as a punchline or make Annabeth appear more intelligent. I wouldn’t go as far as to say Percy was flanderized in the novel, but there were moments when he came uncomfortably close.

There are pop culture references like WandaVision and TikTok, which may feel out of place for a 17-year-old Percy, who was canonically 12 years old in the first book that was published in 2005. I’m not necessarily a stickler for timeline accuracy, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

There were also minor plot inconsistencies with previous books that made me raise an eyebrow. While writing this novel, Riordan was also drafting the screenplay for the show and subsequently rereading the original series, so I was surprised by a few careless mistakes he made. For instance, Percy borrows Annabeth’s Yankee’s cap, a magical item that grants the wearer invisibility and is surprised by how physically uncomfortable he feels while wearing it. However, his reaction made me pause because this was not, as his shock would suggest, the first time he had borrowed her cap. By my count, he has used the magical item in at least three other books, particularly in ‘The Titan’s Curse,’ wherein Percy’s use of the cap was an important plot device.

Nevertheless, Percy’s signature sass and humor persist, providing an authentic Percy experience. Riordan’s writing captures Percy’s snappy comebacks perfectly, creating a unique charm that fans have come to love. Some of the humor is spot-on, with references ranging from Shrek to Zeus zapping Percy’s kite out of pettiness. Percy’s misadventures in his academic adviser’s office and the gods’ excuses for meddling in his life provide many hilarious moments (and chapter titles, as these books are well-known for). 

Overall, “Chalice of the Gods” does a fantastic job blending nostalgia with new adventures. Riordan’s knack for crafting captivating worlds and thrilling adventures remains as strong as ever, and he skillfully blends humor with touching moments throughout the story. While the novel is shorter, lighter in tone, and lacks the grandiosity of previous quests, it serves as a love letter to die-hard Percy Jackson fans.

In many ways, Percy’s journey mirrors that of his now-adult readers, making “Chalice of the Gods” captivating. Percy Jackson’s return isn’t just a reunion; it’s a reminder that, like Percy, we can navigate the challenges of growing up while holding onto the magic of our past. 

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