The Lightning Thief is the first book of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. It was published in 2005 and written by Rick Riordan. It was also his first middle grade book. He’s also written the Tres Navarre series (which is a crime series) and also a few books in the 39 Clues series. He’s also written several series related to Percy Jackson. By gods, he is prolific.
The Lightning Thief tells the story of Percy Jackson, a young demigod who is tasked with retrieving Zeus’s stolen master bolt in order to prevent a war between the three Elder Gods. He is accompanied by Annabeth Chase, a daughter of Athena and Grover, a satyr. They make the track west to Los Angeles where the entrance to the Underworld is located.
The book gave me a lot of Harry Potter vibes and that’s a good thing. A young kid with a tough life, finding out that he’s special, being whisked off to some magical land where he stays for an extended period of time to learn about being special. Oh, and the occasional fight with monsters and encounters with three headed dogs. Except that Camp Half Blood is a summer camp, while Hogwarts is an actual school. And Percy spends more time out of camp than in. And… well, there’s actually a lot of differences, but the feeling I get was there.
I’m a big fan of Greek Mythology, and Roman, Egyptian and Norse too. (Thanks, Age of Mythology!) All of which Rick Riordan has written about. All of which I’m going to devour soon. And it was really interesting to see the myths come to “life” in Percy Jackson and how they fit into the world Rick Riordan has created. I think my favorite has to be Iris Messaging.
Percy Jackson was a fun narrator to read. The voice of the entire book was distinctive. Some of his views on things are really enjoyable. That said, I have a feeling this might be a hit or miss, you’ll either like it or you’ll hate it.
I had an issue with the chapter titles. Mainly because they spoil a lot of what’s going in the chapter. I mean there’s titles like “I Battle My Jerk Relative” and while a lot of them are fun sentences that are witty, it bothers me a slight bit. I would prefer to read them after the chapter rather than before. Also, it kind of reminds me of Friends. The One with Unagi. Except in Friends they’re not spoilery and you’re not told the title in the episode itself.
The book also has a rather slow start. I mean it was kinda action packed, but I was waiting for them to get somewhere with the story. It felt like it was dragging on and on and on. It was like that zoo scene in the first Harry Potter, except expand it a few chapters more. Sure, some of the earlier chapters had a few important scenes that are referenced later on, but is it really worth it? Couldn’t it have been worked in another way?
Korean Covers of Part 1 and Part 2 of the Lightning Thief
Why does it seem like almost every Greek mythology story references the Titanomachy? Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but there really are a lot of stories revolving around that. Age of Mythology had it. God of War had it. The Fire Thief kinda had it, I mean Prometheus is one of the main characters in that one. It would be nice if the Titans weren’t villains for once. Oddly enough Clash of the Titans didn’t actually have Titans in it.
This book is also often thought to be a middle grade novel. I don’t really agree with that, but I can see why people would think that. That said, there are a few tropes that the book use that might not sit well with some people. The kid learning that he’s special is thrust on an adventure but the adults wouldn’t tell him the whole story thing is strong around here. But if you’re okay with that in Harry Potter, you’ll be fine here.
A brilliant story for all age groups, with an interesting narration and a good helping of humor, Greek mythology and good story telling.