by Rick Riordan
Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Publication date: June 28, 2005
Number of pages: 377
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Number in series: 1
Synopsis: Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This book is exactly what comes to mind when I think of middle grade bordering on yung adult books. Not only was it extremely well written, but the character and plot development, pacing, and humur really made this book what it is. The incorporation of Greek mythology into today’s society also makes this book really unique because it uses the myths and our society to create a new version of our world. Without changing much of our world, Riordan weaves the myths into it in a believable way that doesn’t seem overly outlandish.
Percy Jackson, the main character, is absolutely one of the funniest characters I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed seeing things through his eyes as it helped me connect with him and appreciate his humur. The male perspective was also really refreshing, and in my opinion adds something different to the genre. Most mythological retellings I’ve heard about are usually told through a female’s perspective, so the fact that this wasn’t adds a new dimension to the retelling and myths. Percy’s age also makes this book unique as most retellings are either told from an older teens perspective or from an adult point of view. Plus, his age makes the books enjoyable by everyone as it engages younger readers, older teens, and adults who might want to remember their youth.
The other characters in the novel were also really unique and added their own touches to the novel. Annabeth, a child of Athena, added brains, wisecracks, and her own special humor to the novel. As an experienced demigod Percy meets at Camp Halfblood, Annabeth is able to help him navigate the newfound parts of the world and their politics. She is also amazing at explaining the myths to Percy, and in turn, the reader. Grover, a satyr, is integral to the story because he introduces Percy to the world he’s a part of. He also helps out along the way, and acts as a mediator between Percy and the Greek world to ease Percy into everything. All three of these main characters’ developments was so much fun to read about because they all had something they needed to develop–whether it be knowledge, people skills, courage, or faith in themselves and others. Lastly, these characters were integral in the development of the plot and the rest of the characters and events that happened in the book.
Again, the inclusion of Greek mythology is amazing! I especially like how the myths are explained without prior assumptions that the reader will know them. Even for knowing most of the common myths introduced in this book, I had forgotten, or didn’t know the full story. Riordan also does a great job at shaping old myths and current events in the book around our past and current society. Events such as storms, hurricanes, and wars were shaped around the Gods, Greek myths, and demigods. Even so, Riordan shaped these myths into the events in a credible way that didn’t change the events themselves, but added a touch of magic to them.
The pacing in this book was well written and didn’t feel bumpy–it wasn’t overly fast or slow. I didn’t feel as if I was missing chunks at the beginning or that it was too rushed. Riordan kept the pacing consisstant throughout the novel, slowing and quickening at the proper parts while keeping the action level high throughout the book. Even at the end, the writing and characters kept the pacing steady.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to Greek myth enthusiasts. If you’re an adult and are hesitant to pick this up because of the age classification, all I can say is to give it a try because the writing in this book offers something for everyone.