Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
Yet another fantasy series, yet another favourite strong woman character.
For some reason, I love fantasy (only if it is well-written) and have acquired a taste for retellings of popular myths in a different perspective. But sometimes, books like this one (and the Heroes of Olympus series – which is basically a continuation of this) make me root for particular characters and get invested in their story arcs.
And yes, Annabeth Chase appears in both.
For some time now, (especially since Hermione Granger) I have loved teenage girl characters written with conflicting emotions and trying to fit in to stand out. Though personally I do not relate with either of the characters on any level, I love Chase as much as I love Granger, which is a pretty good yard stick.
In the famous spin-offs from the Greek myths, the Olympians series introduced Chase to me – as an uncertain girl repressed by situations, and also someone who has loved and lost enough to feel doubt and pain when chances present themselves. A daughter of Athena and a brilliant Professor, Annabeth Chase is every bit the mature teenage girl stereotype.
If she was one, what made her unique, then?
The fact that there was nothing that made her unique, but a lot of characteristics that made her relatable was what drew me to this conflicted character. Annabeth Chase knows. Blessed with intelligence since birth (and being born by a process that is unlike normal births), Annabeth is extra cautious, has her priorities straight, analyses quickly and still ends up messing stuff like everyone else does.
She is no mere sidekick or romantic interest, but instead the girl everyone turns to for inspiration and ideas. She has dreams bigger than herself, and sometimes they are impossible to attain. With her, Riordan gently nudged readers to see if they have fatal flaws in them that make them feel good about themselves but end up digging their graves deeper.
It was with Annabeth I knew what Hubris meant, it was with her that I realised the elusive nature of loving someone to the extent of wanting to save them from themselves, and it was with Annabeth that I finally knew, that such attempts were futile and too much of planning could anyway end up in a disaster so huge that every step you planned would only increase your chances of failure sometimes.
Annabeth Chase is that girl who finally values love and loyalty over other qualities, putting the greater good above individual opinions, and God, does she do that well!
The song I dedicate to her: Holy Daughter by Leonie Casanova. (Holy because of Athena? Suitable because of the lyrics? Is it a spoiler reference? Maybe it is everything put together.)