Title: The Lightning Thief
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: March 2006
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mythology
Rating: ☕☕☕☕ (4/5)
This came as a surprise, even to myself, but I’ve never consumed any Percy Jackson stuff until this year despite how popular it is around the book community. I’ve never even watched the movies (which is a blessing, I think, based on the things that I’ve read). This year, Rick Riordan announced a brand new series adaptation of the PJO universe coming to Disney+ so I decided to join #Percydathon, a June 2020 PJO redathon, and finally read the series and this is a review of The Lightning Thief, the first book of the series.
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. (via Goodreads)
This book followed Percy Jackson discovering the truth about this existence (being a half-blood) and going to Camp Half-Blood to explore this whole other word of gods and goddesses that he only knew and read about in books. Together with Annabeth and Grover, they go on a quest to retrieve something important in order to prevent a war that could potentially destroy the civilization as we know it.
I find the whole premise to be really exciting and interesting: having the gods walk among us, the notable places in the mythology somehow accessible in the modern world. I am not a huge fan of Greek mythology (the most I’ve exposed myself with it is consuming a lot of materials related to Hadestown and Lore Olympus) but reading this book got me curious and now I am actually thinking about busting out my heavy Mythology book and to start reading it seriously.
We read about Percy meeting these gods and goddesses as well as the creatures I only read about in passing when I brush with Greek mythology. It was exciting to read Rick Riordan’s twists and takes on it. I do think one would find this more enjoyable and appreciate the inside jokes more in this book if one is well-versed in Greek mythology – which I am not (and I’m trying to correct it). But one could still enjoy it in itself, otherwise.
I particularly like the characters, as well. Of course, Percy was a shoo-in but I didn’t expect to love Grover so much. The humor is sharp and the writing is engaging – something that I really appreciate in middle-grade books. It doesn’t take itself too seriously while delivering necessary lessons that hit home without sounding too preachy. I could easily read this in an afternoon if I want to be whisked away in a different world. All in all – it was an easy read.
Looking back, the moment I read about Annabeth explaining to Percy about his dyslexia and ADHD as something that comes with being a half-blood was the moment I got really hooked in the story and felt that this is gonna be something amazing. The dyslexia exist because the half-bloods’ brains are wired to read thing in Greek and the ADHD, how you notice too much, gives you the instinct needed in battle. I loved that Rick Riordan created this world where these characteristics, ones that people usually treat as a disability, are translated into something necessary and critical for survival. Imagine being a kid having dyslexia or ADHD or even both and reading about this? How it could totally change your perspective. That in itself is a thing to applaud for, personally. And the fact that Rick Riordan initiallydeveloped this universe for his son Haley, who was also diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD? It made my heart feel pretty warm and big.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I kicked myself more than enough already for not reading this series sooner than I had. But I’m glad that I finally gave it a try. Now I understand why people willingly got lost in this world for quite a while now and never left. I would do the same, if I’d known.
I am excited for The Sea of Monsters!
My favorite moment? Poseidon claiming Percy as his son. That was epic!
It’s funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.
Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.