Book Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)


Percy Jackson: The Lightning ThiefAuthor: Rick Riordan

Edition language: English

Characters: Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, Grover Underwood, Luke Castellan

Published March 1st 2006 by Disney Hyperion Books (first published January 1st 2005)

Format: Paperback, 377 pages

ISBN: 0786838655

ISBN13: 9780786838653

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Childrens, Adventure

Even though ‘The Lightening Thief’ is meant to be a Children’s book (or, young adult), I don’t see why adults can’t enjoy it. This book (and the series) is a complete package, full of entertainment, humor, good story, good characters, good pace and good writing style. If you’re into urban fantasies or mythologies I’m sure you would become a fan of Rick Riordan.

Percy Jackson is a troubled kid (or, a troublemaker) with ADHD and dyslexia. Wherever he goes, trouble follows. The schools don’t want him, especially when he is flunking all the time, and things blowing up all around him. Finally, when he thought he was doing well at a school his Mathematics teacher decides otherwise and attacks him after turning into a monster. A while later he learns that his best friend and his Latin teacher, only one who showed a little faith in him were cooking up something secretly. As the events unfold themselves, he loses his mother to a Minotaur, and makes his way to the Camp Half-blood. Oh, yes, that’s the place where he belongs. The place for Demi-gods.

He learns that his father is a God, in fact, one of the three most powerful Greek gods. Being a son of Poseidon, he discovers his superpowers that were mostly related to water and sea.

He is sent on a quest along with fellow demigod Annabeth Chase and a satyr Grover Underwood (who was his best friend at previous school). Throughout the quest they meet monsters and Gods right out of Greek mythology (I wouldn’t spoil it by telling their names if you haven’t read the book). In the end it’s all about retrieving the stolen Master Bolt, the celestial weapon of Zeus, failing which a war between the Gods shall start. Mind you, a war between Gods wouldn’t be nice.

What makes this book brilliant is how Rick has incorporated Greek mythology and weaved around it to build a fascinating storyline in an urban setting. His research into Greek mythology has been extensive, and their improvisation has been spot on. In fact, each time a character is mentioned with a backstory I searched on the internet to realize that it was accurate and masterfully assimilated.

Only down point about the book has been its vague similarity to Harry Potter’s. But, then, it is vague and doesn’t really bother me, and shouldn’t bother you either.

The writing style has been simple, yet clever and packed with humor. The first-person narration has added extra beauty to the book. Percy’s self-contemplation is brilliantly used to make the overall experience enthralling.

As I already said the pace is good too. At each and every point in the story either some action is in line, or an interesting piece from Greek mythology is being revealed. Thus, you’re never tired of the book. So, once you pick up the book, you’d never want to put it down. Even if you momentarily do that it’d be because of your own caliber or occupations and you’d get back to it as soon as possible.

Trust me I finished the entire series back to back, spending all my free time devoted to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians. (Which means more reviews from the series are in line).

Characters are very well written too. There is no way that you wouldn’t love Percy. And there is no way that you wouldn’t love Annabeth. And, there is no way you won’t feel sympathetic towards Grover, the Satyr. While Percy is a character who is naturally gifted, he always screws up everything, acts funny and invites trouble. However, what defines him is his loyalty towards his friends and family, and, of course, all the goodness which is absolute for a hero.

Annabeth on the other hand is an intelligent and sorted girl. While Percy is the main power on their quest, she acts as the think tank.

And, yes, I can’t forget to mention about Chiron, the centaur. He is just as good as an Activities Director at a camp for demi-gods can be.

Also, beware if you’re a demi-god and living at camp half-blood. Do not try to wander around in the night. While there are monsters in the jungle all the time, during night harpies would eat you even if you were just strolling around the camp for some fresh air.

Now, why would they make a movie out of the book if this wasn’t totally a good book? Oh talking about the movie, if you’ve already seen the movie but missed on the books, it’s still a good idea to go on and read. The books are more extensive, entertaining and sensible. The movies, under certain constraints, don’t show up a lot of things that are present in the books.

So, here it is. I completely recommend this book if you’re a fan of Fantasy, or Greek mythology. I’m sure you’re going to love it (even though it’s been 10 years when the first book was published).

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