Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Older Readers
Publication Date: 1st July 2005
Rating: 4/5 stars
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 vaporised my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters 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.
I missed the memo about this series when I was a kid, but my age hasn’t stopped me loving it!
Percy Jackson is twelve years old, which sometimes makes it difficult to suspend my belief – for some reason, I never find it odd when fifteen-year-olds do all this crazy stuff, but twelve is a bit young…. However, the premise for the story makes the age issue only a very small obstacle!
Basically, the Greek gods are still going about their daily lives, including all those dalliances with mortal women. This has resulted in a decent number of half-blood offspring, those who are destined to be heroes. However, there are evil forces at bay – despite their deaths in ancient times, they can never truly be killed – and these monsters, such as the Minotaur and Medusa, crop up in the story, with the intention of stopping the young heroes. This danger has resulted in the establishment of Camp Half-Blood – a place where heroes can be safe (at least until their next quest).
We meet Percy at a normal school, a kid who can’t fit in. He has dyslexia and ADD, which we later learn is because his brain has been programmed for Ancient Greek and fighting battles. I really liked that Riordan provided representation for kids with the same traits, and turned them into positives for the heroes.
My favourite character was Grover, a satyr, and Percy’s best friend. He provides humour in some of the crazy situations the others find themselves in. Annabeth, daughter of Athena, was pretty cool as well, though most times Percy mentions her it becomes about his fear of being seen to be friends with a girl!
I loved how Riordan made the Greek gods the powerhouse of Western civilisation – their new location above the Empire State Building (rather than Mount Olympus) indicates that America is the centre of the Western world, rather than Greece, as it was in ancient times.
Reading this series (well, only the first two so far, but I plan to continue) has really highlighted my love for children’t literature – authors have so much imagination and such skill to translate that into a world where children can thrive.
I absolutely adored reading this book – my main complaint is that it doesn’t take me long enough! I will probably be reading a bit more children’s fiction from now on too – it is so relaxing and there are such great stories which adults tend to overlook!
Have any of you gone back to children’s series as an adult? Did you love them just as much as when you were a kid? Did you have a greater appreciation for them? Or did you feel that you had outgrown them?