I’ve already done one post on the original Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. The second series, The Heroes of Olympus, is just as fun and fascinating as the first. In this set of five novels, not only do our Greek friends from Camp Half-Blood return, but we also meet new characters from the Roman versions of mythology. Together, a team of seven demigods (both Greek and Roman) must overcome their differences and journey to the ancient lands where they battle giants in order to prevent Gaea, the earth goddess herself, from rising and destroying the entire world as we know it.
Just like before, I love these books for their brilliant combination of adventure and history that is both entertaining and educational. Reading through the second series, I finally realized what it is Rick Riordan does that makes these books so hard to put down. Specifically, it’s his use of captivating opening lines at the beginning of each chapter.
No, really! The first sentence or two at the start of a chapter is what grabs your attention and compels you to keep reading! It’s not the end of the chapter that urges you on – it’s when you glance over at the next page and see something that makes you just want to keep going. For example: “Until she met the exploding statue, Annabeth thought she was prepared for anything” (Chapter I); “After raiding a museum full of Confederate ghosts, Leo didn’t think his day could get any worse” (Chapter XXI); and one of my personal favorites, “Percy was not feeling the love” (Chapter XXIX). And that’s only from the third book, The Mark of Athena ;-P.
What’s great about such lines is that they set you up to expect an amazing explanation or backstory – and of course, Rick Riordan does not disappoint. It’s just like dangling bait from a hook when fishing, and what better way is there to lure in your audience? Of course, there is always the traditional approach of using “cliffhangers” at the end of the chapter to convince your reader they need to read more just to find out what’s going to happen next… and to be honest, that’s more of my style ><. I do very much like to end my chapters with something dramatic that encourages my audience to keep going. It’s a very tried-and-true method. And while I doubt I’ll ever give it up completely, seeing the success with which Rick Riordan has used his compelling story-starters makes me think I’ll need to branch out and try something new here and there. Who knows? Maybe I can use both, and my readers will never be able to put my books down again! (Okay, I doubt I’ll ever be that good, but a girl can dream, right? :-D)
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.