Rating: 3.5 stars
“Poseidon, Earthshaker, Stormbringer, Father of horses. Hail, Perseus Jackson, Son of the Sea God.”
The Lightning Thief is the first book in Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan and is based on Greek Mythology.
Percy, a twelve-year-old of Yancy Academy, diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD has trouble focusing on his schoolwork and has been kicked out of six schools in six years. A fatal encounter with a Fury at a school trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art alters his life altogether. After school lets out, Percy leaves for Long Island with his mother, Sally. They are visited by Grover, a Satyr, in middle of the night who warns him of impending danger and together they leave for Camp Half-Blood, a Camp for demigods. But before Percy could reach the camp they are attacked by a Minotaur which attacks Sally and she disappears with a blinding flash of light.
When, eventually, Grover and Percy manage to reach the Camp a mystery unfolds when Chiron, a Centaur, acquaints them about the missing Master Bolt of Zeus, believed to be stolen last Winter Solstice, and that they must locate it and restore it before the Summer Solstice. Together with another demigod, Annabeth, daughter of Athena, they set out on an adventurous and dangerous journey, with monsters of the Myths hindering their quest, to retrieve the Lightning Bolt.
“The symbol of his power from which all other lightning bolts are patterned.”
This is my first Rick Riordan read and I enjoyed it immensely and I wish I’d read it when I was younger. The book is a perfect blend of 21st-century western civilisation and The Greek Gods from the myths.
The characterisation, in all probability, was the strongest point of the book and I praise the author for his imagination. Grover is brave and is determined to help Percy to get through the journey alive. Percy is a sassy little kid and I enjoyed his and Annabeth’s banters. My favourite is, however, Annabeth, a brave and clever demigod, who gave me Hermione vibes.
“Even strength has to bow to wisdom sometimes.”
The Greek gods are vividly reimagined and written in a way which is true to their nature and justifies their attributes and the elements they control and command. The appearance of Poseidon, the Sea God, resembles a tourist at the sea more than a God.
“He reminded me of a beach com from Key West. He wore leather sandals, khaki Bermuda shorts and a Tommy Bahama shirt with coconuts and parrots all over it.”
I found the appearance of Ares anything but intimidating. He looked cool for the God of War.
“All conversation in the diner stopped. The motorcycle’s headlight glared read. Its gas tank had flames painted on it, and a shotgun holster riveted to either side, complete with shotguns. The guy on the bike would’ve made pro wrestlers run for Mama. He was dressed in a red muscle shirt and black jeans and a black leather duster, with a hunting knife strapped to his thigh. He wore red wraparound shades.”
Medusa, a monster, is disguised as a Middle Eastern woman wearing ‘a long black gown’ which in my opinion is offensive to Middle Eastern women or women, in general, who wear a burqa or niqaab. Riordan could’ve easily written Medusa as a white woman but instead chose to write her as Middle Eastern.
“Then the door creaked open, and standing in front of us was a tall Middle Eastern woman- at least, I assumed she was Middle Eastern, because she wore a long black gown that covered everything but her hands, and her head was completely veiled.”
The story, with an obscure and intricate world-building, was action-packed and varied between slow and fast pace. The writing style is brilliant, witty and humorous and I found myself giggling throughout the book. The plot, however, was quite predictable at times but I’d let that pass because this is a children’s fantasy and does not have to be exceedingly complex.
I cannot wait to dive deeper, literally, into the world of Percy Jackson and I recommend this book to all fantasy and Greek Mythology fanatics.
“The real world is where the monsters are. That’s where you learn whether you’re any good or not.”
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, whether you’ve read The Lightning Thief.
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