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
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
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