Thursday, January 30, 2014

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Book Review

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Published: March 21, 2006
Synopsis: Percy has been in six schools in six years and is being expelled again. It's not his fault strange things keep happening when he's around like his math teacher turning into a mythological fury and trying to kill him. However, he soon finds out that he is no ordinary 12 year old. He is a demi-god, son of Poseidon, and evidently the thief who stole Zeus' master lightning bolt. Percy and his newfound friends from Camp Half-Blood find themselves going on an adventure to prove his innocence and stop the gods from going to war.
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
First off, let me just say, that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would have enjoyed this book much more if I were twelve and reading it. However, given the fact that I am not twelve, it was still a fun, quick read. And, of course, it was ten times better than the movie which I saw when it first come out on DVD.
I'm jumping on the Percy Jackson bandwagon really late as this book has been on my TBR list for years. I've been meaning to read it ever since I found out that the movie was very different (which most book-to-movie adaptations are of course). I was slightly hesitant because this, along with all of Rick Riordan's books, have been closely paralleled in hype and as a super popular middle grade series to Harry Potter. Walk into any Barnes and Noble and you'll see what I mean; I should know, I work in one. Now, I grew up with Harry Potter. I read the first book when I was 8, I think, about a year or so after it was published and I remember being completely saddened when I found out that the third book wasn't out yet. I've read and reread all the Harry Potter books several times since the series ended and they'll always be special to me. Now, while reading The Lightning Thief I couldn't help but make the comparisons between the two: brave protagonist who didn't know he was special - Harry/Percy, know it all girl best friend - Hermione/Annabeth, bumbling boy best friend - Ron/Grover, Dumbledore/Chiron, Voldemort/Kronos (don't say his name!), Snape/Mr. D, Hogwarts/Camp Half-Blood, etc. etc. etc. I could go on. However, regardless of any of that, I still very much enjoyed this book. It had great action sequences, likeable characters, and bits of well placed humor.
My favorite part of the book, of course, is it's take on Greek mythology. I loved that Rick Riordan modernized the myths and even poked fun at a few of the gods. For example, I thought it was great that Dionysus, god of wine, was being punished for his lush habits and I liked the idea that Olympus moves with wherever the heart of Western Civilization lies. I thought that was particularly clever. Although having prior knowledge of Greek myths makes the reading more fun - as it becomes a fun guessing game to figure out along with Percy which god you're dealing with - it's not absolutely necessary. Names, places, and beasts are adequately described so the reader doesn't feel lost if they're not familiar with the myth.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I wish I hadn't waited so long to read it. I'd definitely recommend this anyone interested in Greek mythology, fantasy, or adventure or to parents who want a stepping stone to get their kids into classical mythology.

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