The best thing for me to do when stressed is return to a favorite novel, preferably one that’s a quick, fun read that’s sure to make me momentarily forget my troubles. That need led me to reread these two novels a couple days ago. It’s been years since I’d read them, but I still enjoy them.
These two seem an unlikely pair, but they share several similarities. They are both YA novels that target readers on the cusp of adolescence. I usually think of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympian novels as middle-grade reads, but I think The Battle of the Labyrinth is where the books start to lean more heavily toward YA because Percy Jackson is now a 14-year-old but still trying to protect his friends and survive until his supposedly fateful 16th birthday. Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic, the first of her Immortals novels, is YA fantasy and has content that is more mature than what’s presented in The Battle of the Labyrinth, but the protagonist is a 13-year-old girl who has lost her family and is seeking a new home while learning to accept who she is.
I immensely enjoyed reading both books and while reading them, both filled me with nostalgia for when I first encountered them. I first read The Battle of the Labyrinth when I was in college. That’s when I learned of the Percy Jackson series, got hooked, and marathon-read them. I did the same when I discovered Tamora Pierce’s books in middle school. Until I reread Wild Magic, I was convinced that the Song of the Lioness books were my introduction to Tamora Pierce. But now I believe I first encountered Pierce through the Immortals books, with the third book, Emperor Mage, to be exact, before I hopped to the Song of the Lioness series.
But no matter how I discovered them or who their target audience is, I’m glad that I’m able to return to them now and still be entertained by them.