The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
I don’t usually write reviews for books I’ve reread, but I haven’t finished a “new-to-me-book” this week so here we are!
I know I’ve read the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series a few years ago, but I haven’t read any of Rick Riordan’s other books yet (well, I read The Lost Hero, but I can’t remember anything that happens in it. Like, at all). And since it’s been a while since I last caught up with Percy & co, and only remembered the gist of the story, it was a nice refresher to start it all over again.
One of the strongest parts of the series, I think, is the way Greek mythology is so seamlessly integrated and, to a certain extent, modernized. I love the depictions of the different gods, though I did have to wait until book two (which I’m still reading) for my favourite god, Hermes, to show up. And I think the locations for Olympus/Hades are just perfect. Even though the first book is ten years old, it has an ageless feel to it.
If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.
The only thing I didn’t realize was how long it took for Percy to be claimed. The story starts off with a bang and there’s rarely a dull moment, but it takes 100 pages for SPOILER ALERT Poseidon to send a sign.
While Percy is the protagonist, Annabeth is an incredibly strong female character and the books wouldn’t be as good without her exasperated explanations whenever Percy doesn’t clue into something (he can be pretty dense sometimes). I started rereading Harry Potter just after finishing The Lightning Thief, so I couldn’t help drawing comparisons between Percy/Annabeth and Harry/Hermione and I have to say that, while I’m fully on board the Percy/Annabeth ship (and always have been), I never saw Hermione as a romantic interest for Harry, even though their relationships are pretty similar.
With all the series that Riordan is starting (the first Magnus Chase book recently came out, plus the first Apollo book is set to be released later this year), it would be easy to dismiss him as another author who just doesn’t know when to stop (*cough Cassandra Clare cough*). But his writing is so vibrant and fun, it’s easy to get sucked into his world and it will leave you wanting more.