10 January 2010

The Lightning Thief

Oh, boy, the gods sure are mad. Zeus has just accused Hades of stealing his master lightning bolt (a big no-no) and Hades insist that he is innocent of these charges! Most folks would call a lawyer, but hehe Greek gods do not do that when they get ticked at each other. Instead, they start the equivalent of World War III. What you don't know about this? Hmmph. Not exactly up on current affairs are you? Well, neither is troubled twelve year old Percy Jackson. In fact, he doesn't even believe that the gods are real, but when he learns that his absent father is a god (making Percy a Half-Blood), lands at a summer camp for his demigods, and is tasked with retrieving Zeus' bolt, Percy quickly gets up to speed on things. With his new friends, Grover and Annabeth, Percy sets off on a cross country trek that is fraught with peril and battles with all sorts of cool mythological creatures en route to putting a stop to the gods' pending war.
I have had several people (including Scott and Penguins Quack) recommend the Percy Jackson series to me. Thanks, guys! I loved The Lightning Thief, the first book in that series, and have already reserved the second one. I love mythology, so I am proud of author Rick Riordan, a former teacher of Greek mythology, for introducing younger readers to all of the great characters and stories of Greek mythology with his engaging books. (Riordan's books prove that there is way more to mythology than just characters with crazy, unpronounceable names.) Riordan weaves his allusions to the original myths in well with the modern story; I had a lot of fun guessing which villain was which mythological monster in disguise.

This is a fun book to read in general, though. The plot is action-packed, with frequent confrontations between Percy and the likes of Ares, Medusa, and Chimera, and lots of heart stopping twists and turns. Percy's snarky first person narration is easy to read and is also quite funny. I also enjoyed Riordan's characters - I liked Percy and his pals, and Riordan's characterizations of the mythological characters stay true to form but are still original.

My only problem, and it's a minor one, is that, in true adventure story fashion, there were a couple of parts where I got annoyed at Percy for walking into a trap that I thought was obvious. It wasn't angry annoyance though, so much as sympathetic "Percy, what are you doing? No! Don't do that! What's the matter with you? No!" annoyance, and it didn't affect my enjoyment of the story.

The Percy Jackson series is targeted toward junior high kids, but I firmly believe that nobody can outgrow a good book. The Lightning Thief is an exciting, inventive fantasy adventure that you won't put down. (At least, I didn't.) If you love mythology, you'll love Riordan's take on the original tales and enjoy recognizing the characters. If you have never read mythology, this accessible book is the perfect introduction.


Next Time: I will review Hemingway's classic Spanish Civil War saga For Whom The Bell Tolls. I am about halfway through it and I start school tomorrow, but I will try to have my review up in the middle of the week, if at all possible.


  1. This book is awesome.
    Yeah, Percy does walk into some traps and do some typical hero things.
    But he's a Greek-ish hero...so...you know. I can forgive him.

    Thanks for posting, Zella!

  2. Scott, You're welcome! Thanks for telling me about it. :)

    Yes, I really did enjoy this book and cannot wait to read more in the series.

    Hehe He did seem a bit Achilles-like in his impulsiveness, didn't he? Yeah, it didn't bother me enough to make me mad. I forgave him, too. :D

  3. One look at the cover makes me want to read this and I do enjoy mythology. It sounds like an interesting concept. YA is a funny genre that I haven't figured out, though. Some of the writing crosses over to adult readers and some doesn't. I'm willing to give this one a try.

  4. It's funny, because when I was a teen, I didn't read YA, but now that I am an adult, I do enjoy it if it's well-written. I don't go for standard angsty YA, but the more imaginative stuff does intrigue me. Let me know what you think of it when you read it. :)

  5. i love this entire series! i always feel weird because the books are geared towards younger readers and no one i know reads Percy. i love and totally identify with this age group and the spirit of adventure and mystery they have. hopefully, i'll be able to write books as great as these ones:)

  6. n.a., Yes, I thought this book really did go beyond just middle schoolers. I am in college and I enjoyed it very much. I think anything well-written can transcend its intended audience. :)

    Good luck with your writing! Thanks for commenting!

  7. n.a., I like your enthusiasm. Okay, you guys have convinced me to give this one a try.

  8. Hehe Yay! Eric, tell us what you think of it. :)

  9. Ohmy goodness, Zella, I love these books! I completely agree. Fun and they introduce younger kids to mythology, and I had fun guessing who was who, too:) And even though they're YA, I still love them. Actually a ton of my friends just started reading them (so they can read it before seeing the movie) and they love them too! Go Percy!

    Have you read the other four yet?

  10. Laura, I am looking forward to the movie, too! Maybe not quite as much as The Hunger Games, but almost as much!

    I have not started the next one, but I do have it checked out. What I want to do (emphasis on want!) is write a blog post on the remaining books once I have finished the series. I can't wait to read them all! It is so much fun. :)