Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book 6: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

I've been meaning to read this novel since the movie came out. A friend of mine is also a big fan of the series, so her recommendation was yet another reason to finally read it. Unfortunately, my copy ended up in storage when I moved to Georgia along with most of the my things, and I didn't want to buy another copy so I ended up reading the entire novel at Barnes and Noble Saturday afternoon. I used a hardcover copy so I wouldn't crease it or ruin it.

The premise of the novel is rather simple: Percy Jackson, the narrator, is an eleven year old boy that has always been slightly different. He has ADHD, dyslexia, has been kicked out of several schools, and in his newest school he is attacked by his math teacher except that no one else remembers her afterwards. Percy never knew his dad, and he hates his stepfather. When he goes home for the summer, his friend Grover finds him right before he and his mom are attacked by a minotaur. Percy's mom disappears, Percy kills the minotaur and makes it to Camp Halfblood which is both a safe haven and a training camp for other kids like him: the half children of the immortal gods of Olympus. Until his father claims him, he is assigned to Hermes's cabin, the patron of travelers.

However, all is not well in Olympus, and the gods are on the brink of war due to the theft of Zeus's lightning bolt. Percy must go on a quest to recover the lightning bolt, and has only ten days to do so. Annabeth, daughter of Athena, chooses to go with him, and Grover, the satyr, also accompanies him.

Overall, I thought the novel was nicely done, and I enjoyed the ways Riordan imagined the gods in the modern day. Since I think the original Greek myths are interesting enough, I don't necessarily think these books would be a good introduction to Greek mythology but a nice supplement or sequel for children that enjoy them (then again, I also grew up with both the Disney and the Grimm version of fairy tales so I might have no idea of what's actually appropriate for children). In addition to the Greek myths, it is easy to see the influence that Harry Potter has had on the series: Percy has two friends that help him complete the quests, Annabeth and Grover; Annabeth as the daughter of Athena is smarter than any of the guys much like Hermione (considering that Athena was one of the gods that never messed around with humans, I'm curious why Riordan decided to change that aspect of her, other than simply as an excuse to create Annabeth); by the end of the novel, it is clear that there is a greater, darker power behind everything, similar to Voldemort; there is a prophecy from the Oracle, only referred to hear, but it appears to concern Percy.

1 comment:

Malin said...

Annabeth's origin is explained in one of the later books in the series, as is that of her other siblings (as she isn't the only kid in the Athena cabin at Camp Half-Blood).

It's a good series, I read through all five last year, and will probably check out Riordan's other books as a result.