Book Review: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Posted May 22, 2012 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on June 28th, 2005
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mythology
Pages: 377
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

4.5 Stars

I must admit, I was seriously late to this party. Sadly no one had ever thought to really recommend the Percy Jackson series to me. I did however see the movie quite soon after its release. I enjoyed it, but that was probably because I had no idea what the story was really like. Real fans of the series were disappointed by the movie and I can see why. It’s just completely different.

In any case, I thought this book was epic and awesome. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book where I’m not questioning everything as I go along reading it, and just am fully able to enjoy it. Maybe it’s because Percy Jackson was aimed at an age group significantly younger than the one I belong to, but I say, if it entertains you, there’s nothing wrong with it.

I think one of the strongest aspects of the book is the characters. Percy has just the right amount of bravery, courage, and confidence. Through his dyslexia and ADHD (which could have been elaborated on a bit more, imo) we don’t get the stereotypical hero, and it’s not a copy of Harry Potter. For that I am eternally grateful. Annabeth is amazing as well. While she may not have as big an effect on me as Hermione did, I love her character: her wits, her humor, and I can’t wait to find out more about her back story (and about her relationship with Luke!). [It’s sad that they’re 12 years old, because I would so ship Percy and Annabeth — for that I understand the age switch in the movie. I will also never dislike them for casting Logan Lerman because I love him so.] Grover was immensely enjoyable, for totally obvious reasons, and I really hope he comes back in the rest of the series. And the depiction of the gods and their personalities. It’s weird to have that image of them in your mind but then put a personality to it. But Riordan does it outstandingly.

Also, I fully love finally getting to read more about greek mythology. I love the concept. The world building was truly impressive, and that remains the most important aspect of any novel to me. I love having all those mythological elements intertwined with the real world, but then still done in such a way that it’s mostly believable. It really plays to your imagination, and is just great.

For the negative points, all I can say is that it was really short, but I suppose that is due to the target audience. Each stop on the trip across the country could possibly have benefited from more elaboration on the setting and the characters Percy encountered. But Riordan did a great job of keeping the story fast-paced. I hated myself each night when I had to put my e-reader down and go to sleep. I can’t wait to continue the story in book 2.

As a final point, and perhaps it was just because I’d seen the movie but even so, certain plot elements/twists were very predictable. It could have benefited from a bit more surprise. That being sad, this didn’t at all lessen my enjoyment, so it’s pretty much a moot point.

Recommended To:

Fans of Harry Potter (in other words, basically everyone).

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