Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning ThiefTitle: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Published: July 2005
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 8/10

Recently, I’ve been reading so much literature written specifically for children and young adults I’m surprised my brain hasn’t melted a little.

But, to be honest, I am enjoying reading these novels that don’t make you think. One of those novels is Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, a Percy Jackson and the Olympians novel.

The Lightning Thief starts in New York City, where a young middle-schooler named Percy Jackson discovers he’s not a normal kid. He is, in fact, a son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Percy must find his way to Camp Half-Blood, where he will be safe, but once there he goes on a dangerous quest to bring back the lightning bolt belonging to the lord of the Greek gods, Zeus, before there is a godly civil war.

I really enjoyed this novel. It was fast-paced, easy to read (I’m pretty sure I finished it in a couple days), and it has a very interesting take on ancient Greek history. I love learning about history, and throughout the novel, whenever I came across something I didn’t already know the myth about, I’d look it up in my little, basic mythology anthology.

Riordan, an author born in Texas, really developed the characters well. I loved reading the story as Percy told it. He was very humorous, bringing the ancient Greek history into the modern world and making it relatable to the demographic of children who would read this series.

Like always, though, I wish the novel had been written for adults. I love these plots with Greek warriors and mythological monsters battling to the death, but I always find myself wishing the descriptions and action were bloodier, more extreme, closer to the actual myths than what is appropriate for a child. For example, Kronos, the Titan king, eats his children when they’re young to prevent them from overthrowing him. Obviously, cannibalism can’t be expanded upon within a kid’s novel, but in an adult novel there are so many possibilities with that storyline.

Overall, though, this novel is really very well-written and exciting. It definitely allows children to be excited to read and be imaginative. I am excited to see where Riordan goes with his follow-up novels.

To read The Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, or the other series by Rick Riordan, check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble in-stores and online. Also, check out Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief on screen.

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