Book Review: The Lightning Thief

Title/Author:  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

     (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book One)

Genre:  Juvenile/YA Fantasy, Mythology

Published:  June 12th, 2005 by Hyperion Books

Hardcover, 377 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?:  Because my younger cousins ranted and raved about this series so much when it came out that I decided to go back and read it.

Book Jacket Blurb:  “Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.”

My Review of this Work:

“Whatever else you do, know that you are mine.  You are a true son of the Sea God.”

I am well aware that I am a little late on reading through this series, seeing as the first book was published almost 7 years ago (Jeez, 7 years!).  But, as the wise phrase puts it, “Better Late than Never!”

That mantra rings loud and true for this Juvenile/YA series (I am really at a loss for classification for this, seeing as my library has it in both places.  I guess the more proper blogging term would be MG for Middle Grade?).  Percy Jackson is your ordinary kid, except for the fact that he can’t seem to stay in the same school for more than a year because weird things keep happening to him.  Oh, and his father is actually Poseidon, the King of the Sea and one of the Big Three Olympian gods.  And he kind of accidentally vaporizes his algebra teacher. And his best friend is really a half goat.  But otherwise, he’s just your normal middle school boy.  =)

Eventually, Percy Jackson learns the truth about who he really is, especially after all of these mythical creatures start attacking him.  He seeks sanction at a Summer Camp for half-bloods (that is, sons and daughters of the Greek gods) and finds out he is a special half-blood because his father is one of the BIG Three.  This both isolates and reveres Percy Jackson, who now has a destiny that is bigger than he can imagine.

“You shall go west, and face the god who has turned,
You shall find what was stolen, and see it safely returned,
You shall be betrayed by one who calls you friend,
And you shall fail to save what matters most, in the end.”

These four lines of prophecy direct Percy Jackson, accompanied by Annabeth and Grover, on a grand adventure full of fighting, bravery, and wisdom across the United States to prevent what could surmount to the biggest war in the history of the world, which is actually a lot of pressure for a twelve year old to handle, don’t you think?

Overall, I loved this book.  Having Percy Jackson as a first person narrator adds a sense of quirky 12-year-old boy to this “serious and true” story, which adds humor and excitement to his adventure.  And as it has been a very long time sense I have read or studied Greek Mythology, I was learning things, too!  What a fantastic and original idea to incorporate Greek Mythology into a MG novel series, so that children can learn and become interested in such a cool field of study.  I just love it!

The story and plotline themselves are very simplistic and somewhat predictable, but that is perhaps because I am a 23 year old reading a novel written for a 10-12 year old.  So that might account for it.  But despite the simplicity, this novel is not simple, bland, or boring.  It is full of intriguing excitement and a compelling storyline filled with fantastical and mythological enemies and friends.

Rick Riordan brings the 3000+ year old stories to life in a modern setting, making them more graspable in the mind of the 21st century child, and bringing to life the mystery and magic that is Greek Mythology.  What kind of beings are lurcking in your own classroom?  Are you best friends with a satyr?  Who knows? 😉

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Fourth Shelf Book!

I love a good quest story, especially one with such a likeable hero.  Throw in some mythological creatures and gods and you can’t help but love this modern-day Hercules.  He’s cute, he’s clever, and he’s courageous.  It is a solid start to what I hope to be a fantastic series.  I am looking forward to reading the rest.  Hopefully I won’t be disappointed.

Love and lightning bolts,
Jennifer

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One thought on “Book Review: The Lightning Thief

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