The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, book 1) by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
As an adult reading this, I can clearly state this is a middle grade/independent reader written for that age group. To be honest I've never been a fan of middle grade books, when I was at that age group I didn't read them. Skipped right over to YA and mainly adult. There are usually two main reasons that middle grade books don’t work for me. 1) Lack of character depth. 2) Easy plots, that leave me frustrated.
The Lightning Thief definitely introduces a really fun cast. Percy's humor is great and it flavors the book well and matches the “I am Percy Jackson and this is my tale” style that Riordan uses to tell the story. There's fun banter and plenty of humor. Percy is twelve years old. I enjoy reading characters of all ages, so I can safely say that reading a younger character doesn't play on any bias I have. When reading Percy at times I felt like he was too old and then suddenly too young. The life that he has lived could definitely be cause for this . . . but Riordan doesn't seem to display emotions well in this first entry. The writing isn't telling me how I should feel or anything. I'll be the first to admit that the writing found in The Lightning Thief is fantastic! It's just that it feels like characters are being glossed over. We get the basics, some of what motivates them and so on. Maybe it's due to the huge cast found here. Riordan may not have fallen into the groove to show off all these characters. Yet.
Ah, now the plot. These kids are supposed to know the mythology. Annabeth came to the camp at age seven and is the daughter of a goddess of knowledge. Yet they all pranced into every trap. Yes, I know this is middle grade level. But at that age even at my own self taught Greek Mythology level I would have been like, “Oh, shit. Realistic looking stone statues with scared facial expressions. Medusa be here! Flee!” (Oh, yes. I used the word flee.) Percy was getting special Chiron (yes that Chiron) teaching. Yet no one seemed to know their centaur rump from their satyr horns. Then they made huge bounds of genius and I thought, “Really and you didn't see those other things coming?”
Those gripes aside. The world was awesome! The mix of ancient Greek mythology and it's culture into modern US of A is freaking cool. It's probably where most of my enjoyment from the book came from. Come on, the entrance to the underworld is a record company! Hades is worried how he's going to pay for expanding the Underworld as more and more dead come in! Even better is the logic of how this mythological universe and our world mesh. How each have affected each other. From influencing wars to architect.
This is definitely a middle grade book. The plot and emotional connections are lacking, and well it just doesn't have the depth that I crave from my books. However, the Greek mythology mixing and humor is fun. My interest in the characters presented are worth seeing if the books flesh out more. The idea of children of Gods has been a story I've always been drawn to. What Riordan has done here is worth a try for every reader. (Though if your a reader who needs adult writing it may not work out.) If you've seen the movie, but have yet to read the book never fear! This book is sooooooo much better and I'm shocked that Fox decided to “loosely base” the movie on it. (Why Hollywood thinks ignoring source material is a good idea?) The Lightning Thief is worth a try whether you're like me, and rarely dabble in middle grade reads, or love them!
Sexual Content: Clean.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
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The Lightning Thief (1)