Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Mythology
Started: 1st July 2016
Completed: 2nd July 2016
Summary: Half boy. Half God. All Hero.
Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God.
I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive. This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.
The Lightning Thief is the first book in a five book series by Rick Riordan known as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. In 2010 it was loosely adapted into a film with Logan Lerman playing the main character, Percy Jackson, and it also starred Steve Coogan, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, and Rosario Dawson.
I first read this book in 2009, I remember buying it from Heathrow airport before my flight to NYC because I was bored, and I really enjoyed it then. I decided to re-read the whole series this year so that I could review all of the books. So, I’ll be reviewing the other four books over the next two days.
There’s so much to like about this novel. This book is great if you like Greek Mythology because it’s a really nice modern twist on the old myths but Riordan does a good job of explaining the myths that he’s using in the book so you don’t need to know anything about Greek Mythology to read this book. The plot is great. I love that Riordan incorporates so many myths while creating a completely new story, he’s not just copying Homer or whoever, and I really enjoyed the adventure that Percy and his friends go on in this story. They travel from New York, where Camp Half-Blood and Olympus are located, to Los Angeles where the entrance to the Underworld is so that they can confront Hades who is the main suspect, after Percy of course, for the theft of Zeus’ master lightning bolt. They encounter monsters from Greek mythology, such as Medusa, along the way which makes for a very interesting plot.
The main characters are great. The story obviously centres around Percy and the prophecy about him but Clarisse, Annabeth, Grover, Mr D, and Chiron are all great characters too. Even though the book is entirely from Percy’s point of view these supporting characters are three dimension and well thought out.
The novel is well written and I really enjoy Riordan’s writing style in this book. It’s different to his later books which use alternating point of views but it was really nice to just read one character’s point of view in this novel. The writing is fast paced and interesting, always keeping you entertained and focused, and I think that it can be easily read in a day or two. It’s less than 300 pages long which is perfect for this type of book because some YA novels are just so long and you start to lose interest but that isn’t the case with this book.
The one thing I don’t like about this book is how young the main character is. Percy doesn’t seem like a 12 year old. It just doesn’t work in my mind at all. Maybe the film messed up my perception but it just didn’t seem right for me. Annabeth is meant to be just a few months older than Percy but she seems so much older than a 12 year old. It just really bugs me for some reason. I think it’s because Luke is meant to be 19. Maybe if Luke had been 15 or so then I wouldn’t have a problem.
Overall, this is a great young adult book that’s suitable for so many different ages. I’m reading this at 22 but I’d recommend it to my 9 year old niece. You’re never too old to read a series like this in my opinion. It’s just great fun and a really quick, easy read.
I also think that it’s a great introduction to Greek mythology and teaching children about Greek/Roman/Norse/Egyptian/Whatever mythology is always a good thing in my opinion.