The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #1)Hot
For fans of light urban fantasy, this book has a number of tried and true aspects to offer—all wrapped in an upbeat and adventurous package that should strongly appeal to the 9-12 age range.
The unseen world-within-a-world premise strikes a familiar chord—particularly in centering on the main character single-perspective of Percy, who discovers he has blood-born preternatural abilities and is sent to a hidden summer camp filled with other teens and pre-teens much like him. Those familiar with the Greek pantheon will quickly get a handle on the world-building, and those unfamiliar will get a steady-yet subtle lesson in Greek mythology.
This demi-god coming-of-age tale is a rollicking good time, fraught with classical monsters and adolescent derring-do. Slow on the pickup and sporting a unique blend of sarcasm, ADHD, and dyslexia, Percy makes for a refreshingly flawed protagonist. The writing style is simple without talking down to its audience and obvious moral quandaries are addressed without a needlessly instructive tone.
On the downside, Percy’s mother came across as pretty one-dimensional. She was so perfectly sweet, kind, patent, hard-working, understanding, protective, self-sacrificing, long-suffering… she just didn't feel like a “real” person. It was a bit difficult to care much about her fate—though it was clearly meant to be a primary motivating factor for Percy. Annabeth also seemed to lack some depth, but to a much lesser extent—and her character growth made up for much of this toward the end.
One particular concern gave this reader maternal pause, coming in the form of Percy’s dislike for Tom Sawyer. While his dyslexia is certainly cause for literature anxiety, he seems to spin it as an excuse for copying an online book report rather than suffer having to read it. (Sadly, no mention made of the audiobook option.) I can only hope Riordan wasn't purposefully trying to put anyone off on classic literature.
I’m sure almost everyone is familiar with the story, but if you aren’t, the book follows 12-year-old Percy Jackson, an ADHD and dyslexic boy who is constantly kicked out of school due to regular mishaps and bad behaviour. On a class excursion at his newest school, Percy is attacked by a teacher who turns into a horrible monster and he discovers a truth about himself: he is a demi-god, half-human half-god, and the son of the sea god Poseidon. The Greek gods are alive and real and living in New York City. Percy is taken to Camp Half-Blood where he meets more of his kind, including Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr. Not too long after he arrives, Percy discovers that he has angered the gods, especially Zeus, who believes that Percy has stolen his lightning bolt. Percy, Annabeth and Grover are sent on a quest to find the bolt, as well as Percy’s mother who was kidnapped, and the mysterious lightning thief.
Perhaps I read this novel at the right time in my life or maybe it was just that good, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was entertained from the first page, right until the very end. I am completely enchanted by the world Riordan has effortlessly created. It is such an amazing concept. I’ll admit, I was a little sceptical that the gods would simply just be there with no explanation aside from, “Yeah, they’re still alive,” but that was not the case. Riordan eloquently described how the ancient Greek gods are still kicking it. The gods, as well as Olympus and anything else attached to their realm, had followed the natural progression of Western Civilisation, becoming the central deities of whichever country or Empire happened to be in charge at the time. They started (obviously) in Greece, moved to Rome where the Romans deigned them with different names; then to Western Europe and the Renaissance, kept alive through the rebirth of classical literature and artwork. Today, the gods have settled in the current most powerful country in the world: America. Olympus can be found on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building and the entrance to the Underworld is in L.A.
The world-building is amazingly complex, detailed and well thought out. Everything makes perfect sense as Riordan divulges certain pieces of information and history into the text at precise moments. Riordan’s writing was a little elementary and simple, but considering his protagonist is 12 years old and the novel is middle grade fiction, that’s understandable. The writing matched the tone of the novel – fun, witty and comical.
I found the story-line engaging and I would frantically flip the pages, so excited and intrigued to discover the truth and what will happen next. I loved the inclusion of so many of my favourite characters from Greek history and mythology. Each time a new, recognisable character was introduced, I practically squealed in excitement.
The Lightning Thief was a delightful series-starter that left me wanting more. This novel was so fun and entertaining it was impossible to put down.
However, I was shocked at the beginning of the book when I read that Percy was 12 years old and in his first year of middle school! I couldn’t stop imagining Logan Lerman who was absolutely not 12 years old in the movie. It changed everything, it’s not the same reading the adventures of a 12-year-old little boy as reading the adventures of a 17-year-old teenager. I really don’t understand why they changed this in the movie. There are quite a lot of changes in this movie, of course the plot is still the same: Percy is accused of having stolen Zeus’s lightning, and he goes to find it with Annabeth and Grover, but there are HUGE differences in the story. I think I preferred the book.
I really love the story, the ideas, the way it is written, the book really easily grabs your attention and you can read it really fast. I loved the chapter’s titles, they made me laugh, here are a few of them: “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher”, “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom”, etc. It’s nice to have the protagonist telling us the story from his point of view, he always tells us how he feels about the other characters and what’s happening to him with a funny and sarcastic tone, but he’s really young and sometimes he looks naïve, and sometimes stupid (with Medusa, or Crusty). I really appreciate the fact that he doesn’t look like any Greek hero, he’s just a child dragged into this world of Greek Gods and heroes. And it’s good for your general knowledge to learn a little about Greek Gods, and, trust me, Percy will help you to learn all about them.
Seriously, a really good children’s book, and you can still appreciate it as an adult.
1. I think that the characters were simply divine. They were written amazingly and described perfectly, so well I just got a perfect picture of them in my mind.
2. Percy Jackson. Now that is a winning character. I loved his personality and that he was the son of Poseidon. Poseidon is my favorite greek god, don't know why, but he just is. With his connections to the Sea God, I just fell in love with Percy. He seemed like a great guy who I wanted to meet.
3. The chapter titles. The chapter titles are funny little phrases that made me laugh my head off. They were great jokes that actually were pretty accurate with what was happening in that chapter.
4. Last but not least, was the idea of a book that is based on Greek Mythology. Instead of writing a boring textbook with lame facts that bore people to death, Rick Riordan changed it and bought it to a whole new level.
This book has hidden jokes that I were hard to find, but once found, you would wonder why you didn't see it earlier. This book is well written and it simply blew my breath away.
Percy is a young boy trying to find his way in the world while discovering his best friend is a satyr and his father is a god. When he discovers his true nature everything changes for Percy. He embarks in a difficult quest to stop war and redeem himself after been wrongly accused of thievery. The quest becomes a metamorphosis for Percy; he discovers a new inner force, new abilities and affinities, stronger friendships and finds a new kind of empowerment to change his life and his mother’s. At the end of this hero’s quest we find a different Percy. His experiences have changed him but also all those around him.
This young adult fantasy draws from Greek mythology in an innovative way. It proofs an excellent choice for readers of all ages. Riordan made a great job creating this world of adventure for Percy. The book is surprising, entertaining and well written. We will see what else brings this hero’s saga.