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’s 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’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed in 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.
I’m probably the last person on earth to have read Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t read this sooner! My only excuse is that I grew up with Harry Potter and when PJO came out, I was a little bit past reading middle-grade… and didn’t hear about the series until last year. Yes, I am pathetic, I know.
For those of you who are also a bit late to the party, The Lightning Thief is about Percy Jackson, a 12 year old boy living in New York City. He’s dyslexic and has ADHD and can’t seem to stop getting himself expelled from school. But he soon finds out that he’s not the regular kid he thought he was. He’s actually a half-blood, the son of a mortal and Poseidon, the God of the Sea. He’s dyslexic because he can only read properly in Ancient Greek and his ADHD allows him to be vigilant when he’s fighting the monsters that keep coming after him. And there are lots of monsters coming after him! For his safety, he is sent to Camp Half-Blood, a sanctuary for other half-bloods like Percy but his adventures only begin there.
I thought The Lightning Thief was so much fun! It was action-packed and adventurous and reminded me of why I loved reading as a pre-teen so much! This first instalment was filled with action in every chapter and was incredibly well-paced. There wasn’t a page that wasn’t exciting to read and I constantly just wanted to know what happened next. The book is composed of many little adventures that Percy and his friends have as they journey towards a bigger evil force. I almost felt like I was in a computer game where the hero was battling monsters along the way before confronting the boss at the end. It was a lot of fun to read and I enjoyed following Percy on his adventures. I do have to say though that I caught on to who the villain/friend-who-would-betray-him was quite early on in book, possibly because I’m an adult reading a middle-grade book. It wasn’t that surprising to me when it was revealed, but it was still fun to read.
The aspect that I enjoyed most was the Greek mythology. I’ve always had a fascination with mythology (and pretty much anything historical). However, even though I love trivia, Greek mythology isn’t something that I’ve extensively looked into. Sure, I know enough about the Greek gods and heroes to get by, but I’d love to know more about the myths and The Lightning Thief gave me the perfect opportunity to find out more. I really appreciated the amount of information we were given in this novel. It never felt info-dumpy but there was still enough in there for me to understand the myths and legends. It also inspired me to go out and do my own research to extend my knowledge, and I think the best books should do that. I didn’t mind that there were so many mythological creatures and gods mentioned in this book because ti gave me the opportunity to learn more about all of them and how they’re related.
I also really enjoyed how Rick Riordan really brought these mythological creatures to life and gave them their own personality! Ares, the God of War is portrayed as a tough biker in a leather jacket, who goes to abandoned theme parks with his lover, Aphrodite. He was probably the character who cracked me up the most. I also really liked how Poseidon was portrayed and what a chill guy he comes across as. Another aspect that I found hilarious but interesting was the fact that the offspring of each god are housed in cabins together at Camp Half-Blood, and that they’re all half-siblings?! It was super interesting that they all had similar appearances and personalities, and that the rivalry that existed between the cabins mimicked the rivalry between their parents.
I loved Percy’s character so much in this novel! He was so sassy and his voice was so funny to read from. I can see him being relatable to so many kids. His relationship with Grover had me from the very beginning and I just loved reading about the two of them together. Grover was another character that absolutely cracked me up! I love that he’s obsessed with food and eats even the packaging. He comes across as a little bit useless, but he definitely provides a lot of comic relief.
Overall, I thought this was a fantastic start to the series and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series. I can’t wait to learn more about the different gods and mythological monsters.