Book Review – “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Chalice of the Gods”

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Chalice of the Gods is a heartfelt coming of age story about a teenage hero having to make the biggest choice of all, growing up. This high stakes, action packed novel from writer Rick Riordan, brings us into Percy’s world as he tries to finish high school and apply for college at New Rome University. There’s just one problem. He needs three letters of recommendation from three different gods to apply.

Forced to accept quests from the gods, Percy is tasked by Ganymede to find the chalice of the gods. It has been stolen, and fortunately for Ganymede he has been able to conceal this fact from the other gods. Ganymede doesn’t want to upset Zeus, and though the chalice has been missing for some time, he decides now is the moment for Percy to find this treasured item.


For Percy, finishing high school and starting that first step into the adult world was keeping him busy enough. A goldy quest was not needed. However, like all good heroes, Percy will rise to the challenge with the help of his friend Grover Underwood and his girlfriend Annabeth Chase.

As a fan of all things Percy Jackson, I welcome this newest addition to my library, and at the same time, this is the book that I feel gives readers a deeper look into the personality of Percy Jackson. Sure, we have witnessed him save the world countless times, turn down immortality from the gods, and manage to survive some of the most dangerous quests on the planet, but Chalice of the Gods is unique because we get to see inside Percy’s mind as he takes that next step from teen to adult.

Monsters are around, and Percy must deal with the whims of Greek gods, but here in this slim-down tale of growth is the story of a boy who is on the cusp of adulthood, who must learn to embrace the wisdom of getting old, and to look forward and not look back.

As a teenager, Percy has saved the world, but here we get to see a Percy who has reached an age that many demigods haven’t, and he must learn to embrace new ideas. There is a moment in the book where Percy gets into a wrestling match with Geras, the god of old age. This decrepit old man looks like an easy victory, but Percy soon learns that the god of old age is anything but a pushover.

What does Percy do? He realizes that growing old is not a bad thing. The idea that we must look back on our youth with fondness and think about the good times as old age takes us over is all a matter of perspective. For a kid who has faced death, and seen friends die too young, Percy learns that he must embrace age, the challenges and difficulties, and the rewards of time.

Riordan delivers an action-packed story with his usual flair, and his incredible sense of humor, which is layered throughout the book, but it is the message of looking at your accomplishments and what those accomplishments mean regarding one’s own life that stands out the most to this reviewer. A person should not look back on what you missed but appreciate and love what you have because of what you have done.

This is a difficult time for Percy. He just wants to finish school and move on, but the quests are another action he must take so that he can have the life he wants. If he wants to go to New Rome University with Annabeth, then he needs to complete the quests. He loves and cares deeply for his mother and is thrilled that she gets to have the life she has with her husband Paul. Learning that his mom is pregnant is exciting, and while everyone is worried how Percy would accept this news, Percy embraces this change.

Growth requires action and change. Gaining years in your life is not a punishment, but something to look forward to because it is a sign of the accomplishments you have had. Sure, Percy has anxiety, not to mention having to constantly deal with his ADHD, but Percy Jackson teaches us in this lovely little novel, that age is a number and a measure of your success. Don’t fear bad knees and grey hair, look at what it means and how you got there.

Not only does Percy show his true abilities and make the big decisions like an adult, but Riordan has also managed to show some healing and acceptance between Percy and his father Poseidon. It’s not easy being the son of the Greek god of the sea, and for most of the danger Percy has experienced, his father has been a distant participant. It’s hard for Percy to understand his father’s motives and choices over the years. This feeling can be very true for anyone who may have a distant parent. For Percy, he has a realization of how much his father does love him. Poseidon cares about his son and for Percy it takes a few years to truly understand where and what that love is.

Rick Riordan has revolutionized middle grade literature by building reality in mythological worlds with real characters that are just like the readers who open the book. Younger readers will appreciate the joy of seeing Percy, Annabeth, and Grover back for more adventures, while older readers will reflect on how accomplishments and the passing years are a mark of success and not regret.

You do not need to read any other Percy Jackson book to follow along with Chalice of the Gods, but if you haven’t read any others, I strongly recommend them. The world is going to know a lot more of Percy Jackson come December with the release of the show. Since Riordan dedicated this book to the three stars of the upcoming show, I cannot wait to see what stories are to come.  

Bill Gowsell
Bill Gowsell has loved all things Disney since his first family trip to Walt Disney World in 1984. Since he began writing for Laughing Place in 2014, Bill has specialized in covering the Rick Riordan literary universe, a retrospective of the Touchstone Pictures movie library, and a variety of other Disney related topics. When he is not spending time with his family, Bill can be found at the bottom of a lake . . . scuba diving