The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Age Recommendation: 8+
Length: Full Length (375 pgs)
Rating: 5 Suns
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

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 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. With cover art from the major motion picture, this first installment of Rick Riordan’s best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.

Sit back, strap in and get ready for a very exciting ride that includes a minotaur, Medusa and a plethora of gods and goddesses. Book 1 of Rick Riordian’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series sets the stage for an adventure straight out of Greek mythology but centered over modern day New York City. I began reading the first book, The Lightning Thief, just a few weeks before the movie’s release. While the movie was good, the book was amazing!

Mr. Riordian did an incredible job of creating a main character that was so pivotal to this fantastical story and yet so average – at least until he meets and fights his first monster. One of the first things I tend to notice about a well written YA book is the shared dialogue and the internal conversations of the characters. Does it sound like something a pre-teen would say? Did the author give them too much insight or is it typical young adult thought processes? Mr. Riordian completely nails the angst and idiosyncrasies of a pre-teen young man in the character of Percy Jackson.

Percy has never met his birth father and like any young man he wonders how much of his father is apparent in his own looks and actions. You just couldn’t help but feel anxious for Percy when he finally learns of his heritage and accepts his fate.

The supporting characters in The Lightning Thief do exactly that…they support the story and keep it relative to young men and women as well as older readers, such as myself, who grew up watching and reading classic tales such as Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, Hercules and The Odyssey. Without giving too much away let me just say Percy’s friend and fellow half-god, Annabeth Chase, is quite possibly one of the coolest characters I’ve read in a YA book in some time. Also, I come to the conclusion that everyone needs a best friend/satyr like Grover.

Mr. Riordian gives the reader so many individual character story lines interlaced within the main plot of the novel. You come to learn how they each are integral to the journey of Percy and his friends. What makes Mr. Riordian’s style of writing so easy to read, is that you never feel like he is “chasing rabbits” or writing filler details for the sake of lengthening the book. The chapters are well laid out and keep the reader engaged from start to finish with adventure and clever, and often humorous, dialogue.

Having read all five of the books in the series I would suggest that you have book two, The Sea Monsters, close at hand when you finish book one. Trust me!!

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