Man, the stress of senior year. Passing classes, filling out college applications, and of course getting those letters of recommendation. It’s bad enough for mortals, but for Percy Jackson, it’s a whole other level. Percy is hoping to attend New Rome University with his girlfriend Annabeth Chase. The only problem is that he spent most of his junior year with amnesia living someone else’s life. Getting into New Rome University seems impossible. But if he can get three letters of recommendation from three gods he might have a chance. And how does he get these letters of recommendation? By completing quests of course! You’ve never seen a college pre-req quite like this before. Check it out in The Chalice of the Gods by Rick Riordan.
[Warning: My review of The Chalice of the Gods contains some spoilers!]
Another day, another quest for Percy Jackson
Percy is a hard-working demigod. He’s only seventeen but he’s already done quests for quite a few major gods. Now he’s looking forward (comparatively at least) to just getting through his senior year of high school. He also wants to apply to New Rome University, a college for demigods, so he can attend with his girlfriend Annabeth next year.
But thanks to all the godly troubles Percy’s had the last few years getting in isn’t going to be easy. Turns out he’ll need three recommendation letters from three different gods. And he can’t just ask for these letters, oh no, he has to complete a quest for each god in exchange for the letter. And the god has to seek him out with the quest, not vice-versa.
The first god to seek Percy out is Ganymede, the cupbearer to the gods. Someone has stolen his cup, the titular chalice of the gods, and he needs it back, now. And he doesn’t want anyone to know it’s missing. Not only would Zeus be annoyed by the cup being gone, but the cup itself is magical (of course it is). Gods that drink from the cup are refreshed but any mortal that drinks from the cup will become immortal (of course they do).
This is a very serious situation with the potential to cause all kinds of problems. Ganymede is terrified that someone will find out about the missing cup and Percy feels really bad for him (sad back story, see The Chalice of the Gods, or any Greek mythology book for details). So Percy agrees to take on the quest and that is when all the fun begins.
A predecessor to The Sun and The Star: a Nico Di Angelo Adventure
The Chalice of the Gods takes place after a whole bunch of Percy Jackson adventures that have already been published. But it also takes place before Riordan’s last book which was set in the Percy Jackson universe, The Sun and The Star. So that makes this a midquel? (This new word I just made up, I like it).
We know from things that happen in The Sun and The Star that Percy makes it into New Rome University. So we know that he’s going to get his three letters and that he’s not going to die in the process. This means that the suspense about those outcomes is removed. But that doesn’t mean that the story is boring by any means. It’s fun to see just what Percy has to do in order to get those letters.
Now he only gets one letter in this book (why when he has to do things for multiple gods during the quest? Because he’s a seaweed brain, that’s why). Meaning there are two more books coming in this mini-series sometime in the future, with Riordan already announcing the second novel, Wrath of the Triple Goddess which is to be released on September 24, 2024, so keep an eye out for the next novel!
An interesting theme in The Chalice of the Gods
Percy is all about the future in The Chalice of the Gods. He’s planning his life with Annabeth. But as he’s preparing for the next stage in his life, he’s thinking back on everything that’s changing and what he’s leaving behind. The idea of growing up and maturing is a strong theme in The Chalice of the Gods. The cup that is stolen grants immortality. But that means being forever frozen at one place in your life.
Everyone still seems rather confused by Percy’s refusal of immortality in the past, but each time Percy rethinks it, he comes to the same conclusion: living one full complete life is better than an eternity stuck in one place. It’s an incredibly mature decision for someone as young as Percy. And a lesson that our whole world could really use.
Everywhere we look today there are ads for products to help you look younger and live longer. Researchers are frantically searching for a way to stop aging and extend human life. But the truth is that we shouldn’t be wasting all our time trying to live forever and just live. From revisiting his childhood to embracing old age, to refusing immortality, Percy reaffirms over and over that living one good full life is all he wants and it’s all he’s asking for. It’s all any of us can ask for.
Another hit for Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan is one of the best authors out there right now. His stories are that great blend of funny, exciting, and thoughtful which makes them enjoyable to read again and again. I laughed so much when I read The Chalice of the Gods but I also teared up at a few parts too. It was really nice to see such profound thoughts packaged in a way that kids (the stated target audience) and adults (the second secret audience) can enjoy and understand.
Percy just feels so real. He’s not perfect, he’s not the best at anything (according to himself) but he’s relatable, funny, and kind. Exactly the kind of role model that kids need. The friendship between him, Grover, and Annabeth is wonderful too. Another really positive example of what we should all look for in life. If Riordan keeps writing, I’ll keep reading. And you should too!
My Rating: 10/10
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Chalice of the Gods is available now! Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus and in The Cosmic Circus Discord if you read through this new Percy Jackson adventure!