So this weekend I managed to scratch The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan off of my To Read list. Seeing as this is the first book I’ve read completely since starting my blog (I’m busy okay, don’t judge me) I wanted to share my thoughts on it for you all.
(Hopefully no spoilers, but I can’t promise!)
Blurb / Summary:
“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god. I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That’s when things started really going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends and generally trying to stay alive.
This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.”
What I Thought:
This book is written for children, in the narrative voice of a twelve-year-old boy. I knew that going in and so I wasn’t expecting great epic literary genius, which is good because I didn’t get it. I did get a fast-moving, entertaining fantasy story that I enjoyed. I do acknowledge and agree with the comments from some readers on the plot similarities to Harry Potter, but I think the mythology woven in is fresh and modern and the first person narrative makes it feel much more like a diary (which is what it’s meant to be). I think the plot is typically formulaic, there’s no real surprises jumping out here but the way the action progresses and keeps it all moving there’s no time for the predictability to get boring. On the whole, I liked it!
Out of Ten:
Out of ten I’m going to give The Lightning Thief a 6 out of 10. Mainly because I liked it and thought it was entertaining and I think the integration of the mythology is done really, but it is pretty basic. Even as an early teen I would have zipped through this and wanted something more substantial.
Besides the use of the mythology adapted and woven excellently and hilariously through the book, I’d say my favourite part was the connections between Percy and both of his parents. I think the relationship with his mother was incredibly well developed, especially considering the action-paced plot and the intended audience. I also found Percy’s attitude to Poseidon as his father notable and realistic (as realistic as finding out your Father is the god of the sea can be, anyway). He neither immediately and falsely embraces or rejects the idea, stating simply that he’s not sure about the guy, which I find to be rather refreshing. It’s a rather serious topic that isn’t greatly touched on, but I’m glad he doesn’t just jump into his long-lost-mythological-father’s arms and forgive and adore and worship and make it a happy-ever-after fairytale type story.
“I thought that would be obvious enough. The entrance to the Underworld is in Los Angeles.”
So have you read The Lightning Thief? What did you think?