cover image Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods

Rick Riordan, read by Jesse Bernstein. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 10 CDs, 12.5 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-0-8041-6844-1

Percy Jackson is your average teen guy who just happens to be the half-human son of the god Poseidon. Claiming that a publisher in New York asked him to give insights into the Greek gods, Percy tells listeners the Greek story of creation, then covers the lives and adventures of many of his “relatives.” Although this is sort of an encyclopedia and could be a dry listening experience—imagine reading informative essays for a dozen hours—having the snarky Percy relate these stories is a delight, as if a sarcastic teen cousin is telling funny and humiliating family stories. As mythology is packed with “lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism,” the stories are lively, and narrator Bernstein keeps pace with them. He portrays Percy with dry wit and slacker-dude tones, creating wonderfully campy voices for the Greek gods, mindful that he’s portraying Percy portraying these other characters. The male gods generally sound like dumb jock stereotypes while the females get whiny tones. As the myths are packed with action and melodrama, Bernstein cannot overact enough to fit the atrocities the gods commit. This is an entertaining, humorous, cheerful, and surprisingly informative audio book. Ages 10–up. A Disney-Hyperion hardcover. (Aug.)