The Weigh In:
Rank: Lame, Great, Super, Ultra, Omega, God-Like
Revenue Stream: Poor, Good, Fantastic, Superb, Unrivaled
Fan Base: Low, Medium, High, Skyhigh, Universal
Appeal: Small, Average, Huge, Wide span
Harry Potter Series
Revenue Stream: Unrivaled (300,000,000 +)
Fan Base: Universal (400,000,000 +)
Appeal: Wide span (120 countries +)
Percy Jackson and the Olympian series
Revenue Stream: Superb (50,000,000 +)
Fan Base: Skyhigh (35,000,000 +)
Appeal: Average (20+ countries)
It's quite clear who the winner already is, therefore I'll keep this short. Harry Potter is one of the greatest novels I have ever read. So great, in fact, that all novels on the NYT Children's list owe this behemoth many thanks, as it was the one that started it all. The intricate plotting is one of its best assets, but more so are its characters, who beguile the reader from page one. I cannot say anything good that hasn't been said before. Instead, I'll attempt to point out some of its weaknesses - one of which is the redundant use of adjectives. The novel is tediously heavy with these absolutely, positively bad super descriptive modifiers, and I do recall reading the same -ly adjective twice on the same page! Another minor irk is the slow pacing. It takes ten years for a bit of action to start, and can be a tremendous turnoff for many readers. However, once the tension does commence, YOU CANNOT STOP!
The same cannot be said for our next contender.
Let's begin with the flaws. First of all, it's derivative, and quite horribly so. Many aspects of this series is adapted from Harry Potter. For instance, the invisibility hat (very tacky) Annabeth wears can be compared to the invisibilty cloak. Regrettably, it's used with very little zest or imagination: "Hey I'm Annabeth and I have an invisibility hat. What can I do with it? Oh, I know! I can use it to escape from danger." Oh Please! This is perhaps the most obvious use of the magic. At least when assassins brandish invisibility they use it to kill people, spy and rape women in their sleep. I'm not implying it be used for these foul purposes, but come on, give use something unique. And speaking of unique: another aspect far from this is the Expelliarmus Spell. . .with a sword. Yes, you read that right. The book employs the same effect of this world famous charm to disarm a piece of metal. The jist is to kinda juke forward and flourish your wrist in a manner that flips the sword out of the foe's hand. Percy used this to defeat Ares (and this is stupid 'cause a god should be able to counter this parlor trick - from a child, no less!).
As if the Harry Potter-esq themes isn't bad enough, the novel even went so far as to steal the villain. No, you say? So the fallen Dark Lord, who is not of his former self, but trying desperately to do so, by enlisting his dormant followers to gather items to rekindle his powers, yet indirectly finding ways to kill the boy who lived (oops!), Percy, is not He Who Must Not Be Named? SERIOUSLY?! Well excuse me! Either I'm a silly git or this has to be the most bold-faced character theft I have ever seen.
To say this was the least of it would be a terribly lie, but I'll leave that for someone else to comment on.
In spite of all this, I did like the whole idea. It was the best thing about this series. Sadly, the execution was poor and I often found myself saying : "If I'd gotten this idea, I would've done WONDERS with it!" And I know I would've, and I'm sure many of you would too.
To this end, I rate the Harry Potter series as Super-duper Boltacious and the Percy Jackson series as a Near Frosty Mess. There was action on every page of Percy Jackson, which was exhausting (gimme some damn breathing room, please) but a great allure for reluctant readers. The voice was pretty decent, despite the instances where you can tell an adult was writing (complex diction, phony dialogue etc.,), however, the derivative elements were too hard to ignore. As for Harry Potter. . .well, it's frickin' Harry Potter! What more can be said about a novel that forced the NYT to start a new list?