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#17 The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Strange things tend to happen to Percy Jackson, but when his math teacher turns into a giant monster and tries to kill him, that has to be one of the strangest. Percy soon learns that he is not an ordinary twelve-year-old boy with dyslexia and ADHD, but is in fact the son of one of the Greek gods, and his divine heritage means that more monsters are coming after him. He enters camp half-blood, a summer camp for training and protecting demigod children. When Percy discovers the identity of his godly father, it sets off a chain of events that results in him embarking on a cross country quest to find Zeus's master lightning bolt, and somehow stay alive in the process.

The Lightning Thief is the first book in the fantasy series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I've been meaning to read it for a while now, and figured with the movie coming out tomorrow, that it was time to stop putting it off. The Lightning Thief turned out to be a very fun read. It moves at a lightning fast pace (pun not intended) and is filled with action, humor, and interesting characters. I enjoyed the modern takes on many of the classic Greek gods and monsters. I also found Percy to be a great lead. I like the fact that Riordan chose to make him suffers from ADHD, and dyslexia, and fact that he has a bit of a temper. I feel that he's the perfect hero to draw in reluctant readers with similar personalities, who might normally scoff at reading a book. I've heard it said that The Lightning Thief is a "hipper" Harry Potter, although I don't think that's quite it. Admittedly, it has a similar set up to the Harry Potter Series (young boy discovers that he has magical abilities and is sent to a place where he can develop them), but I would call it a more American version of that storyline. This can be seen in the fact that we have a summer camp instead of a boarding school. I enjoyed watching how Riordan tweaked stereotypical summer camp events, such as capture the flag.

The Lightning Thief has it's weaknesses as well. There's a heavy handedness to the writing style that didn't always mesh well with me. For example, whenever they would foreshadow a future event, it was if the author put up a giant red flag and said "this is important for later!" If you're looking for subtlety, this is not the place to go. This was the most obvious when building up to the reveal of Percy's father. Throughout the beginning of the book Percy's connection to water is made very obvious. Perhaps Percy wouldn't be the one to pick up on it, but I find it a little suspicious that more informed characters like Annabeth never bring it up as a possibility. Also, the road trip portion of the book consists of Percy coming up against monstrous foes from Greek mythology and having to evade them. Although this was fun at first, it did get a little repetitive after a while.

The Lightning Thief is a fun read with plenty to draw in even the most reluctant readers. Despite it's flaws, I am quite happy I picked it up and do plan on continuing the series.

Rating: four stars
Length: 377 pages
Source: paperbackswap
Challenge: This book is not part of any challenges
Similar Books: The Lightning Thief should appeal to fans of books like The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling (see all of my reviews), Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, and The Wish List by Eoin Colfer, which takes a similar view to Christian figures/saints, as The Lightning Thief does to Greek gods. For more "young hero discovers that he/she has magical abilities and is sent to a place where they can develop them" try both The Magic Circle and The Circle Opens Quartets by Tamora Pierce, and The Heralds of Valdemar Trilogy (also know as the Arrows Trilogy or Talia books) by Mercedes Lackey. The Heralds of Valdemar are intended for an older audience.
Other books I've read by this author: This if my first

xposted to bookish  and temporaryworlds 


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
I am about to start this today :D
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Nice! I hope you like it :)
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
I actually picked this up at the library as an audio (playaway to be specific) and finished it up yesterday. Like you, I figured better read since the movie is coming out tomorrow and I wanted to know more about the series. I'll definitely be picking up the next book and likely reading it.
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
I'm really curious about the movie. The previews look pretty good but I'm worried. There are just so many ways that they can mess it up! I'm getting the next book off of paperbackswap, so I'm looking forward to reading that.
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
Well I can already tell from some of the previews that there are elements not in the book, like the swimming pool scene and Percy breaking his own record for how long he can stay under water. But the fact who his father is kinda slaps you in the face repeatedly anyway before it's revealed or rather when he 'claims' him.

I've ordered the next book in the series just now. I'll just be reading other books in the meantime to tide me over.
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
I've read the series.

On this and Harry Potter, I think drawing up a list of their parallels and divergences would be -- interesting. Not always to Harry's advantage. People, for instance, have better motives for their keeping of secrets.
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
I would be interested in making/seeing such a list once I've finished the series. They both appear to draw on a lot of classic themes, so I would be curious to see their similarities and differences.
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
I actually just read this whole series over last three days. I loved it! Super entertaining. Speaking as a dedicated HP fangirl, I noticed a lot of parallels, but I don't necessarily think PJO comes of worse at all. In some cases I'd even say this series is better than HP - at the very least the author didn't fuck over his fans with the last book the way JKR did. But that's a rant for another day ;)

I actually loved the series so much I bought a ticket to the midnight showing of the movie tonight, despite the 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Edited at 2010-02-11 07:47 pm (UTC)
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
Yikes! Five books in three days is a big accomplishment. I'm very impressed.

Have fun at the midnight showing tonight! I'm trying to convince my fiance to go with me. He has his heart set on The Wolfman (which looks interesting) but maybe I can convince him to make it a double feature :)
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Haha, the joys of having an obsessive personality. ;)

Thanks! Have fun at whichever movie you end up seeing.
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
currently reading book three (Titans Curse)... and as a hardcore HP fan, I enjoy this series but I definitely do not think it is on the same level as HP. Maybe it's just me, but the writing style is fairly unpolished and rough. I don't know if that is supposed to reflect part of Percy's character, but it annoyed me as I read.

Despite the stylistic attributes which got on my nerves occasionally, the series definitely has merit. So far, the third book is my favorite.

good review, though :)
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
I think I understand what you're saying about the writing style. It's kinda how I thought it was a little heavy handed at times. From what I've read of the first book, I agree that's it's not quite on the same level of HP. JK Rowling's just so good at putting a story together. But if you've made it all of the way to book three, the series must be worth continuing :)
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
But if you've made it all of the way to book three, the series must be worth continuing :)

oh i definitely agree. i think his writing improves as the series continues... book three definitely had some interesting plot twists that i did not see coming.

maybe it was just book two that threw me off... lol
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Ooh I'm nevous about book two now!

Good to see he developes as an author over the course of the series :)
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah I definitely thought Sea of Monsters was the weakest book in the series. I know you haven't read them yet, but 4 and 5 (especially 5) are really fantastic.
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about picking up this book. But I don't want to read some crappy YA thats being made into a movie. What is the age range, if you know? I feel odd reading things way under my reading level.

I'm glad to hear positive reviews of it though!
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
To be honest, I do not consider this YA. This is more of a children's book, I'd say ages 9-12. Hyperion (the publisher) does not have a age or grade reccomendation printed on my copy of the book, but amazon does seem to agree with me, as it lists the book for ages 9-12.

I'd say it's pretty much for the same age group as the first couple Harry Potter books. Not sure how the rest of the series goes :)
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
Oh okay so it's for an even younger age range then I thought. I'm still unsure. I don't really want to read a children's book, but if it's good, it shouldn't matter I guess.

Thanks for your help :3
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Glad I could provide some information :)

Oh and if you want to preview it before checking it out, amazon has the first six pages up on their website. Maybe that will help you make a decision?
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
Really?! I think that is just what I need to do then! :D Thanks for letting me know ♥
Feb. 11th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
If you ever have a day when you want a quick, fun, easy, silly read then it's worth reading. I'm an English major so I suppose I should always read "Literature" (notice the capital L) and that "literature" is not good enough, but screw it I LOVE a FUN story!!
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
You're welcome :)
Feb. 12th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
I read the entire series a few months ago at the urging of my twelve-year-old son, and I truly enjoyed it. I agree with you, the characters were well developed, especially Percy, Grover, and some of the campers like Clarice. The use of Greek mythology enhanced the story greatly and served as a refresher. The lack of subtlety in foreshadowing is probably because Riordin wrote this with younger readers in mind, but I'm not sure that 'hitting kids over the head with clues' was necessary in many cases. I'm definitely going to see the movie this weekend. Good review!
Feb. 12th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
I liked the book too. I think the reason the author lets you know something is coming up is because these books are actually meant for kids my son's age. =)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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