Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1:
The Lightning Thief
SUMMARY: Percy Jackson is one unlucky sixth-grader. Or so it seems. Trouble follows Percy like an extra shadow; when the novel opens, our hero is on the verge of being kicked out of boarding school. Again. The strange occurrences that usually surround him have increased and both his best friend and his Latin teacher seem to be hiding something from him. Soon, his usual daily struggles with ADHD and dyslexia become the least of his problems. It turns out Percy isn’t actually a bad kid; he doesn’t quite fit in because he’s actually half Greek god and half human. A whole new world opens up to Percy as he finds himself thrust into an adventure of mythical proportions.
ONESMARTCUPCAKE THINKS: I was latecomer to this awesome book. I was invited to join a Classics department trip to go see the movie and went on a whim. While I found the movie entertaining, my overall impression was that behind the fun film was a better and even more fun book. Turns out my instincts were right.
I guess I should state first that I am a total Greek mythology dork so I’m a sucker for books that use it as a jumping off point. However, the quality of these books ranges from awesome to mediocre or even terrible. Riordan has produced one of the good ones. The Lightning Thief is a humorous and rollicking adventure that combines great reinterpretations of Greek mythology and a quest for identity and self-discovery. Percy makes an excellent protagonist and narrator with his sarcastic tone, sense of humor, and earnest desire to do the right thing. Over the course of the novel, Percy begins to see himself in new ways; he realizes that his differences make him special instead of stupid.
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were fresh and funny and the plot moved along at good clip. Riordan’s blending of Greek mythology and modern American culture is inventive. Also, I have to note the hilarious chapter titles. How could I resist a book in which the first chapter is titled “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-algebra Teacher”? I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of this fabulous fantasy series and once you start, you will find yourself equally addicted.